Types of Gun Targets
Be it paper, foam, steel, or another material, the construction of a target determines a significant part of its performance. Additionally, factors like whether the shooting is done outdoor or indoor, or if the target is moving vs. stationary will impact your experience.
Paper & Cardboard Shooting Range Targets
This material might be the first thing people think of when they hear “target”. The iconic bull’s eye is often printed on paper or cardboard. The circle pattern may be the most recognizable, but paper targets can be produced in all kinds of shapes, and printed with nearly any pattern.
Paper or cardboard targets frequently appear at indoor shooting ranges, and are often the go-to pistol targets. They can also be mounted on rifle stands to provide an outdoor shooting experience.
The fact that they are made of paper-like materials means shooters can buy them in large quantities without burning a hole in the wallet. However, these targets typically become unusable after a dozen rounds or so.
Affordability and versatility come together best in this type of target, with reusability nearly nonexistent.
Foam & Rubber Shooting Range Targets
Synthetic materials like foam and rubber offer a solid material from which to mold a sturdy target. Popular forms include deer and big game, but the options vary wildly. These compounds are tremendously sturdier than paper or cardboard, and add a sense of realism to target practice.
Rather than firing at something abstract like a two-dimensional bull’s eye, these targets mimic animals like turkey or deer, and can also be manufactured into the shape of a human, for self-defense practice.
Foam or rubber shooting range targets can be excellent practice tools for more real-life scenarios. The main draw-backs for the plastic models include the heftier price tag (as compared to paper products) and the fact that these shooting range targets tend to perform poorly indoors.
As far as reusability goes, foam and rubber targets take the cake, but fall short when it comes to versatility or affordability.
Steel Shooting Range Targets
Metal targets are another sturdy option. Since most are made of steel or another penetration-resistant metal, the risk of bullets ricocheting off these targets makes them an unwise choice for indoor shooting.
Metal shooting range targets can withstand a remarkable amount of use. Stronger models even hold their own against rifle rounds. The longevity of these shooting targets also contributes to affordability, since you’ll only need to purchase one or two targets to last you quite a while.
Ambitious individuals might take it upon themselves to craft one of these targets at home, since the materials needed are reasonably easy to obtain, and the whole thing can be put together without too much hassle. Steel targets get low kudos for versatility, but they excel in affordability and reusability.
Miscellaneous Target Types
Clay pigeons are another iconic part of the sport. The small orange discs offer a challenging yet rewarding experience. Their use demands an open space, however, so indoor shooting ranges won’t be able to offer the experience.
Fragile construction also means that reusability is virtually nonexistent. These little fluorescent frisbees have little-to-no reusability and versatility, but are also one of the most affordable options out there.
“Plinking” can also be the source of all kinds of impromptu targets. Whether it be an old trash can or a decades-old television set, finding some old junk to fire off a few rounds at can be fun--but should be done with caution. As with steel shooting range targets, certain materials can cause a fired bullet to ricochet, meaning these types of targets should always be used outside. This method also won’t tax your wallet, so these targets get major props for affordability and reusability, but less so in versatility.
DIY Home Shooting Range
Setting up your own makeshift shooting range targets might seem like a daunting task, but proper safety precautions and ample supplies can make the project a rewarding and enjoyable one. A home shooting range can be a great place to save a few bucks and hone your accuracy.
You’ll need a large, open space. Be sure there won’t be any foot traffic at the business end of the range. Populate the range space with the gun target of your choice, which could be made up of an assortment of materials or just your favorite pistol targets.
You may want to vary the distances of the targets for better practice. The standing end of the range will be where the gun rests are. A long enough range may also accomodate a rifle, depending on the caliber. After setting up your rifle stand or rifle rest, you’re ready to test out your very own home shooting range. Practice utmost safety, as always.
Staying on Target
The variety of gun targets means it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. If you’ll be doing long periods of shooting with minimal target replacing, a steel target might be ideal. Alternatively, if you are just looking for a short time to fire off a magazine or two, paper targets at an indoor range might be the perfect option for you. Whatever you’re up to, there’s a target that hits the mark.
Once you’ve picked your ideal shooting range target, Ammo Planet has ammo for every shooter, so you can be a range-day hero.