The best way to improve your shooting skills is to practice. Effective practice requires patience, focus, time, and plenty of quality targets. Thankfully, there are literally thousands of different options to choose from. You can easily switch up your targets to make shooting more challenging, or you can opt for something that’s just plain fun.
We’ve scoured the internet, browsed through local gun shops, used our own shooting experience, and interviewed the experts to compile this list of the best shooting targets on the market today. You’ll find a little bit of something for every shooting discipline. Some are highly specialized. Some are designed to meet specific competition standards. And some are all about making shooting more fun.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- Types of Shooting Targets
- Best Shooting Targets on the Market Review
- 1 Splatterburst Stick & Splatter Reactive Shooting Targets
- 2 Champion 47387 Sight-in Targets
- 3 Champion 40735 Green Police Silhouette Targets
- 4 MarksmanSKLZ Diagnostic and Training Shooting Targets
- 5 Caldwell 902365 Handgun Resetting Targets
- 6 AR500 Target Solutions Combo Pack
- 7 PIG Full Dexterity Tactical (FDT) Delta Utility Gloves
- 8 Do-All Outdoors Dancing Ball Ground Bouncer
- 9 SME Self-Healing Windmill Target
- 10 MarksmanSKLZ Resetting Shooting Bottle Targets
- Final Thoughts
Types of Shooting Targets
Shooting bottles and cans off backyard fence posts is cheap, easy, and fun. However, sometimes your shooting practice requires something more specialized or challenging.
If you want something different to take your target shooting experience to the next level, there are plenty of options out there designed to do just that. Here is a quick run-down of the different types of targets available to the modern shooter.
Paper targets are the simplest and cheapest target options out there. There are also a ton of different styles, all designed to meet specific shooting needs. You can choose from styles with grids to help you zero in long range rifles or silhouettes to hone your skills with a self-defense handgun.
Bullseye targets are the most iconic. This style of paper target features concentric circles, with the center as the intended aiming point.
Paper targets are very economically priced. However, they aren’t reusable, so you’ll need to replace your paper targets each time you hit the gun range. They are recyclable, however, which can be a selling point for shooters who care about the environment.
Steel targets are used in several different shooting sports, including cowboy action, IPSC practical shooting, Olympic biathlon, 3 Gun, and metallic silhouette shooting. They are also a popular choice for tactical training and recreational plinking.
Most metal targets are made of hardened (martensitic) steel. When the shooter makes a successful hit, the target gives acoustic feedback in the form of a tell-tale “ping”. Bullets can also leave a mark in the target’s surface, providing visual confirmation of a hit. Reactive metal targets may spin when hit, giving further visual confirmation of shooter accuracy.
Steel targets last much longer than paper targets. They are sturdy, weatherproof, and don’t get blown around on windy days, all qualities that make them perfect for outdoor shooting.
There is a small risk of ricochet when using steel targets, so using the right ammo, keeping a proper shooting distance, and wearing the right safety gear is extra important.
Made from high-tech polymer, the self-sealing target is a relative newcomer to the shooting scene. They work like steel, only without the risk of ricochet. While many react like a standard steel target (minus the “ping), the bullets pass right through the target. The hole actually closes back up after the bullet passes through. Unlike steel, polymer targets never have to be repainted, and they should (at least theoretically) last a lifetime.
Clay targets (sometimes called clay pigeons) are commonly used in shotgun sports like skeet, trap, and sporting clays. In these sports, the clay targets are thrown either by hand or by a machine called a trap. Sometimes clay targets are used as inserts for other stationary or moving targets. They also make regular appearances on 3 Gun courses, where shooters may need to use their rifle or pistol to score a hit.
Clays are usually fluorescent orange (although they may also be black, white, or yellow) and shaped like a small, concave plate. Made from a mixture of pitch and powdered limestone, clay targets easily break apart when hit, even if it's only by a few shotgun pellets. They also typically smash when they hit the ground, so these are one-time-use targets.
Best Shooting Targets on the Market Review
1 Splatterburst Stick & Splatter Reactive Shooting Targets
These reactive sticker targets from Splatterburst work well for both rifle and pistol shooting. Made for high visibility, the targets make a bright fluorescent yellow “splatter” on impact.
The yellow hit makes a serious contrast with the black of the target, so you can easily see your hits from the firing line. These high visibility hits can save precious time, saving you the energy spent walking downrange to check your accuracy.
You can use Stick & Splatter targets at indoor or outdoor ranges. They have a convenient peel-and-stick design with a highly adhesive backing that sticks to virtually any surface (even outside in a hot, humid Southern summer).
Each target also comes with several small cover-up patches. Just place these small black and red stickers over your previous hits, and it’s like you have a brand-new target.
These are some of the best paper targets we’ve tried. You can choose from several sizes (2”, 4”, 8”, or 12”). They are proudly made in America and even come with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
2 Champion 47387 Sight-in Targets
Designed for precision shooting, these high-quality paper sight-in targets from Champion Traps and Targets are the perfect way to dial in accuracy or zero in a new optic.
These targets feature one large diamond in the center over a grid of one-inch squares. Each target also has four solid red bars that run along the north to south and east to west axes. The targets measure sixteen inches square and have four additional small diamonds in each corner, so you can easily compare the ballistics of different loads on the same sheet.
The grid background makes it easy to measure MOA so you can make precise sighting adjustments. You can also use these targets to practice consistent sight picture, sight alignment, and trigger pull. A highly affordable way to practice, these targets come in packs of 100.
3 Champion 40735 Green Police Silhouette Targets
Perfect for practicing defensive shooting, these targets from Champion feature the classic green silhouettes often used for law enforcement training exercises. The entire target measures 24” x 45” and the silhouette is life-size, allowing for realistic self-defense practice and shot placement. The green color helps you see where your shots land and works especially well when used at indoor shooting ranges.
The middle of the silhouette features a large, round scoring table, so you can keep track of both the accuracy and effectiveness of your shots. These targets are made from relatively thin paper, and while they will easily handle multiple rounds, they probably won’t survive multiple trips to the range. Each package includes ten targets.
4 MarksmanSKLZ Diagnostic and Training Shooting Targets
If you want to seriously improve your pistol shooting skills, MarksmanSKLZ training targets are the perfect tool for the job. Not only will these targets help diagnose problems in shooting form and technique, they will also help you fix those deficiencies.
MarksmanSKLZ training targets feature fluorescent red ink for increased visibility. The color provides high contrast, so your weapon sights don’t disappear on a dark target. The design helps improve sight alignment, making it especially useful for new shooters.
The targets provide instant feedback on errors in technique, including trigger jerking, recoil anticipation, and grip. You also get a free illustrated guide that will walk you through proper shooting fundamentals. It also includes useful drills to help you improve your shooting skills.
Targets are available for both right- and left-handed shooters, and they come with a 60-day money back guarantee. If these targets don’t make your target practice more productive, the company will refund your money, no questions asked.
5 Caldwell 902365 Handgun Resetting Targets
These heavy-duty steel targets from Caldwell make for the perfect interactive shooting experience. The hanging 2.5-inch shooting areas automatically reorient after each hit.
Easily portable and conveniently compact, Caldwell Handgun Resetting Targets can be set up in a matter of seconds. For extra stability, the target legs insert into the ground and feature an extra brace to ensure the target stays put during training.
Although built to last, Caldwell Handgun Resetting Targets are not intended for Magnum loads. However, they do handle cartridges up to .45 ACP without breaking a sweat.
6 AR500 Target Solutions Combo Pack
These targets from AR500 Target Solutions are some of the best quality steel targets on the market today. The company has upgraded their materials and now uses high-quality AR550 steel, which is actually stronger than traditional AR500, helping these targets last through thousands of rounds.
The combo pack includes one 12” x20” IDPA/ IPSC silhouette target, one 10" round target, and one 8" round target. These targets are proudly made in the USA. The only downside is you’ll have to purchase your chains, mounts, and stands separately.
7 PIG Full Dexterity Tactical (FDT) Delta Utility Gloves
Highwild AR500 Steel Hostage Target
This challenging hostage target from Highwild is made from high-quality AR500 steel. Built to withstand weather, the AR500 steel also handles impact from high caliber rifle bullets, making it perfect for long-range rifle practice.
The Hostage Target features a 12" x 20" silhouette target with a 4-inch top swivel paddle and a separate 6-inch center swivel paddle. The paddles actively swing from side to side. However, they aren’t electronic, but instead use gravity to power the movement.
A different color (orange or yellow) shows depending on the direction of movement. You can use the target for shooting drills that simulate a hostage situation. The shooter must hit only the orange or yellow moving target while avoiding the white center silhouette.
8 Do-All Outdoors Dancing Ball Ground Bouncer
Improve your shooting skills with this Dancing Ball reactive target from Do-All Outdoors. Every time you make a shot, the target bounces, rolls, flies, or wobbles. Since no two shots are ever the same, your shooting practice is constantly evolving, requiring you to locate the target and readjust your aim with every shot.
The Dancing Ball is a self-healing target made from high-quality polymer. Built to handle more than 1000 shots, this challenging target will provide countless hours of entertaining practice. You can safely use this target with all soft nose ammo from .22 to .50 caliber.
9 SME Self-Healing Windmill Target
This self-healing windmill target sits on top of a solid steel frame. It spins when struck, giving instant visual confirmation of a successful hit.
Ready to go right out of the box, the SME Windmill Target requires no assembly. You just stick it in the ground and you’re ready to go.
The bright green color is easy to see down range, and the angle of the paddles changes with every shot, increasing shot difficulty for a more challenging range session.
This self-healing target is made from durable polymer and can handle thousands of rounds. It’s also rated for all calibers, so it works just as well for your .22 long rifle as it does for your .45 ACP.
10 MarksmanSKLZ Resetting Shooting Bottle Targets
If you enjoy plinking bottles off fence posts, these shatterproof resetting targets are a safe alternative to glass. You get six brightly colored plastic bottles and 19 feet of cord. You can hang these targets from trees or target stands, although they also balance easily on a rail or post.
These targets work well with handguns, rifles, and shotguns, and they handle almost any caliber projectile. Made from durable, environmentally safe LDPE material, these bottle targets are not self-healing, but will still last through thousands of rounds. MarksmanSKLZ also backs these targets with a 100 percent money back guarantee.
Whether you need to improve your skills with a pistol, rifle, or shotgun, the best shooting targets can help you shoot more quickly, accurately, and effectively. There are hundreds of different targets you can choose from, and there’s nothing wrong with trying a new target to test or strengthen your skills. You can even incorporate different types of targets into the same training session to keep things fresh, fun, and challenging.