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10 Best Classic Shooting Range TargetsWords by Chris Hendrix
Every shooter has their favorite targets, and if you don’t yet, then you will soon. This often reflects on the shooter’s interests or what they look to get out of their hobby. The bench rest rifle shooter can be found shooting on a rifle target which denotes specific increments to allow for easy adjustment. Long range shooters might be shooting at steel, while pistol shooters could prefer bullseyes or silhouettes. Younger shooters who have watched a few too many YouTube videos may be making a mess shooting two liter bottles or fresh fruit. A shooter’s target speaks to more than just their choice of firearm, and is a direct reflection of what they want to accomplish.
One thing shooters can agree upon is that its best to create a “target rich environment” while you’re at the range. A good way of doing this is to pack a variety of different targets on your range trips, and to set many of them up at varying distances. Shooters can even create a “course of fire” by staging various targets at various distances, and then attempting to hit them in a specified order.
The important thing is to mix it up and try as many types of targets as you can. This will help you in your preferred disciplines of shooting while also making you a better shooter overall. Using a new type of target can revitalize the shooting experience even for the most experienced shooters. Here are ten classic targets that every shooter needs to give a shot:
1. Champion Clay Targets –
This may be the most recognizable target of all time. Most shooters have shot at clay targets if they’ve ever used a shotgun. However, these inexpensive, readily available targets aren’t just for shooting with shotguns. They are highly visible when placed on a berm at your local range, and can be shot at with a rifle from 100+ yards away. They pose a tough target from these distances, but provide instant visual feedback to the shooter when hit.
2.Redfield Target –
The Redfield Target is a great multipurpose rifle target. The basic format of it should be familiar to almost any rifle shooter, as it’s one of the most common targets used at the range. It features a large target in the center, with four additional smaller targets placed around the corners for more precise shooting. Overlaid across the paper is a grid of one-inch squares, allowing for easy zeroing and group measurements. These targets are also great to have a friendly competition out at the range, with you and your friends seeing who can put up the best grouping.
3. Diamond Pop Up Target –
There is no sound more satisfying than lead splattering on steel at high velocity. At distance, the feedback is slightly delayed, often allowing you to see the hit before you hear it. This particular metal target, designed for use with .22 Long Rifle, uses a spring to automatically reset the target after each shot. Steel targets for .22 LR such as this are relatively inexpensive, and cost no more than what a large package of disposable targets would cost. The price point makes it affordable to set up a course of fire to complete, and the automated reset means you won’t have to make trips down range between each run.
4. DuraSeal Bowling Pin Targets –
These bowling pin-style targets are the most versatile on the list. Made from DuraSeal, they are capable of handling anything from .17 HMR up to .50 BMG rifle rounds, offering the shooter a lot of utility for a single reactive target. The bowling pin is always a favorite design, and it will even react by jumping up off the ground on occasion. No matter how much you shoot these rugged targets, they will return to shape immediately after being shot. These targets are a fun addition to any course of fire and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are also spinners available that are made from DuraSeal for use alongside your metal spinners.
5. Zombie Targets –
Zombie targets are just as common as any other, and believe it or not, they actually predated the modern “zombie” craze that has taken the shooting community by storm. These targets are a really fun way to change it up from the other paper target offerings, and they allow you to shoot any style you want, whether you’re just looking to put rounds down range, or want to practice those double-tap zombie head shots while pretending you’re defending yourself and others on everyone’s favorite cable TV zombie drama. Regardless, shooting at zombie targets is one sure way to spice up your trips to the range. There are also zombie targets available in VisiColor™ options, which reveal multicolored impact halos to make spotting your hits much easier.
6. Metal Spinner –
The metal spinner target is another great way to get out and shoot with minimal trips downrange. Once you set up the spinner — which is available for both .22 LR and centerfire pistol — it will provide instant visual and audio feedback for your hits. There aren’t many things you can shoot that are more satisfying than watching a spinner take off with each bullseye you hit. This is especially true for youth shooters and those new to the sport who are just beginning to develop their shooting abilities. The metal spinner target is a great way to hone your skills with one target for an extended period of time. You can also combine this with some diamond pop up targets to create a course of fire to practice on.
7. Animal/Critter/X-Ray Targets –
While these targets are designed with the hunter in mind, they are also a good way for any shooter to change it up and practice their skills. It is recommended that those interested in hunting practice on targets such as these before venturing into the field, even if it is just to get used to the sight picture. Most of these targets feature the vitals of the animal shown and allow you to figure out what range you should try and take game at. Additionally, consider using these targets to pattern your shotgun prior to use in the field.
8. LE Silhouette –
This target is a classic for handgun shooters, and — along with the clay pigeon — it is probably one of the most recognizable and well known targets in the shooting sports. It is used for Law Enforcement qualifications as well as for concealed carry training. This target features scoring rings not unlike those found on a bullseye to allow the shooter to score their shots and track their improvement. It also allows for settings of benchmark scores for certain qualifications. Chances are, if you’re a serious handgun shooter, you’re familiar with this type of target. That said, the silhouette is great for many shooting purposes and should be considered no matter your shooting discipline.
9. Bullseye –
No list could be complete without mentioning this target. Everyone should be familiar with the Bullseye target, as it is one of the oldest and simplest targets of all time. The bullseye is one of the easiest ways to test your shooting skills at any distance. While there are plenty of other fancier targets out there, these targets are cheap and plentiful and come in a variety of sizes optimized for different shooting disciplines and distances. The bullseye target is the best available for squaring off with friends and family, and regular practice on these targets can help ensure you’ll always leave the range with bragging rights.
10. Folding Target Holder –
While this last entry isn’t actually a target, it can be just as important to have with you as a target. The target backing boards at local ranges are often found in states of disrepair. We’ve all experienced getting to the range to find that the backing board is mostly shot out, or someone decided they needed to shoot the 2×4 supports until they were no longer capable of holding up paper. Worse yet is when you get to the range to find that while a pistol bay is open, there’s no target holder available. Well, with this folding target holder that’s never an issue. The Folding Target Holder is a great product to have in your trunk so you don’t waste valuable range time trying to jury rig a busted 2×4 to stand up and hold your target, only to have it fall after your first few shots.