You’re gearing up for range day! You have your rifle, ammo, cleaning kit, safety accessories and probably a bunch of other crap you don’t actually need—which is fine, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. But, did you truly consider the type of targets you’ll be using? If not, here’s a list of the best rifle targets.
Best Rifle Targets
1. IQ Target
By now you may have noticed the IQ Target is one of our favorites. There’s a reason it’s always number 1. It makes the shooter think. Instead of simply going out and sending a few rounds down range, you’re now doing it with purpose. What’s so awesome about this target is how great it is for any shooter’s skill level. Whether it’s your first time touching a gun or you millionth, this target is going to work for you.
The shooter now has multiple points of aim on the same target, which combined with the Dead Man’s Hand rifle shooting deck, challenges even the most skilled shooter. This target also works great in various shooting courses. The instructor can give commands such as, “shoot all the squares” or “shoot all the shapes with a ‘1’ in it”. The shooter is now forced to think about where they need to shoot and how they’re shooting. It’s no longer about shooting the same target over and over again. The shooter needs to continue focusing on the basics, to get the round on paper, while the need to think adds a new level of difficulty you can’t get on a plain silhouette target.
The Steiner Precision Target is great for the long range shooter and is meant to be used with Steiner Optics. It not only includes a standard long range bullseye, but it also comes with a “T” box for various sniper qualification schools and 1”, 2”, and 3” squares used as an MOA zero at 100, 200 and 300 yards.
The Hitman Target was designed with the long range shooter in mind. This target was built with comprehensive zeroing and an engagement system for precision marksmanship. Shooters can work on their precision shots while seeing the impact their round is making because of the grid overlay system—which by the way is in both Metric and US/Imperial measurements. The squares have also been sized from 1-3″ to maintain a 1 MOA zero at 100, 200, and 300 yards.
Okay, Splatterburst targets are just fun and they work with just about any type of firearm. If you’re shooting from a distance, you’re able to see if you’ve hit the target or not. While it’s not necessarily ideal for making adjustments if you don’t have a decent pair of binoculars, it does give the shooter an idea as to how well they’re shooting. For example, if one round lands left or right of the bullseye, maybe you’ve jerked the trigger. After you’ve put a few rounds downrange, if they’ve group in the same location, you’ll have to make adjustments to your rifle accordingly. But at least with a splatter target, you can see immediate results without binoculars or walking downrange just to find out you’re on target.
Spinner targets are awesome—if you get the one rated for your rifle’s caliber. They’re generally easy to set up and you don’t have to worry about buying them as often as paper targets. They also give you immediate feedback. If it spins, you hit it, if it doesn’t, well, you suck.
Spinner targets are also great for new shooters, and youth shooters tend to love them because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as hearing and seeing the results of your perfect aim.
The Caldwell AR500 Steel Spinner Target is a great example of a spinner target that’s meant to withstand rifle use. This target is a 3/8” cut, and meant to handle a .308 Winchester at 150 yards. The target is also good for bad shooters, who tend to hit everything but the target, because everything is replaceable. If you damage the steel legs or crossbar, it can be replaced by a 1/2” re-bar.
Best Steel for Rifle Targets: AR500 Targets
AR500 is a specific type of steel, you can shoot. Unlike some steel, which is too hard, causing the round to ricochet and potentially cause life-threatening injuries—AR500, depending on its cut will withstand different calibers. With this being said, just because it’s AR500 grade steel, does not mean you can shoot whatever you want at it, from whatever distance. With rifles in mind, AR500 steel comes in three major cuts, 3/8”, 1/2” and 3/4”. If you want to shoot a rifle with a caliber up to .308, then 3/8”will work. However, if you’re thinking about shooting a .338 magnum rifle, you’ll have to invest in some 1/2” steel targets. Now, let’s talk about 3/4” steel. Because this steel is much thicker than the other AR500 steel targets mentioned above, it is also quite a bit more expensive. Of course, prices vary based on the size of steel and company you order from. The good news is; this steel can handle much higher calibers, such as .408, .416 and 50 BMG.
Something to keep in mind: When you purchase your steel target, don’t buy more than you need! This is just a really stupid idea. If you don’t plan on shooting a .50 Browning machine gun, because you only have a .308, then there’s no point in buying an AR500 3/4” steel target. All you’ll be doing is wasting your hard-earned cash, and you won’t be any better off for it.
Here’s a list of steel targets you can purchase, based on your caliber:
Highwild laser cuts a 3/8” steel target meant to withstand calibers up to a .308, including .223, 5.56, 5.54×39, 7.62×39, and other similar rounds. If you’re shooting at this target with a rifle, simply make sure you’re a minimum of 100 yards away. The 3/8” AR500 steel target is also capable of handling the impact from magnum handguns.
Ar500 Target Solutions makes a 1/2” steel silhouette shooting target. What’s nice about this is, it comes with a portable stand that’s easy to put together. The 1/2” steel will handle daily rifle use, including the impact from .300 and .338 magnum rifles. The target is also set at a 20% angle to deflect shrapnel.
When buying steel targets, remember—steel isn’t the cheapest metal. Meaning, the thicker your target is, the more money it’s going to cost. So, if you don’t need it, don’t get it.
The XSteel Torso Target is meant to stand up to a .50 BMG, .416 and a .408. Keeping safety in mind, if you’re using .50BMG, ball or solid brass ammo, you’ll need to be a minimum of 300 yards away, but 400 yards is preferred.
Targets for Sighting in Rifles
Following weapons safety, inspecting and cleaning your weapon, and doing your function checks, zeroing may be the next most important part of owning a rifle. Otherwise, who knows what you might hit. With that being said there’s a lot of tools out there to help you sight in your rifle some for boresighting or simply to hold the rifle steady in an attempt to prevent human error. There are also some pretty great targets out there you should add to your range bag for zeroing day.
The Hitman Target is designed to offer long range shooters a comprehensive zeroing and engagement system for precision marksmanship. If this is you, the printed grid overlay system in both Metric and US/Imperial measurements are a must. The target allows you to see the impact offset and then adjusted onto different zeroing squares. The squares have been sized 1-3″ for maintaining a 1 MOA zero at 100, 200, and 300 yards with precision aiming points at their centers. They have also been colored to contrast with red and black reticles for improved sight picture. The shooter can even rotate the target 90º for MILDOT measurements for wind call adjustments.
The Long range target comes with a standard long range bullseye. It also includes a “T” box, used as a sniper qualifier by many local, state and federal police agencies. Under the target are 1, 2 and 3″ squares used as an MOA zero at 100, 200 and 300 yards. So, if you’re looking for sniper precision, this is the perfect zeroing target for you.
The EZ2C is meant to help zero in your optic sights. You can buy this style of target fairly cheap and still benefit from it. EZ2C use a bright green center for their targets so there’s contrast between your sights and sight picture.
Cheap Shooting Targets
If you’re looking for a cheap day at the range, a great place to start is with your targets. If you need more range time, but can’t swing the bill for targets—because you spent all your money on beer and bullets—then there are a few cheap alternatives to those more expensive targets.
Paper targets tend to be some of the cheaper targets on the market. Not to mention, the quality and quantity of paper targets you can purchase vary extensively. There are paper targets that let you know when you hit the target, such as splatter targets. There are paper targets for zeroing, such as the grid overlay targets. There are paper targets used for games and targets simply used to help improve your precision. They even make weatherproof targets—so you can practice for the zombie apocalypse during the next hurricane. We don’t advice this.
Simply buying paper targets vs. a steel target can save you a lot of money short-term. If you need something for right then, paper targets are great. You don’t have to worry about your round ricocheting off the steel target—though knowing what’s behind your backdrop is still a huge deal. Paper targets can also be a great option for your cheap day at the range because it’s easier to purchase paper targets in bulk.
Bulk paper targets
If you’re looking for a cheap target option, buying your favorites in bulk can help alleviate some of the cost. Here’s a list of some well-known targets, which you can buy in bulk.
Big Dawg Targets are great for shooters who enjoy using the same target—although we recommend changing it up a bit—and with 250 3” adhesive targets, you won’t run out anytime soon—at least not within the hour. This target is also a splatter target, meaning you can see where your rounds land without having to walk all the way downrange.
The Champion Redfield Style Precision Sight-In Target claims to be made of the highest quality material. It’s also a pretty recognizable target. It’s great for conforming sight-in groups and the small diamond targets can be used to test the results of various ballistic loads. It also comes in a pack of 100, which saves you a little money over buying one target at a time.
If you’ve served any time in the military, you recognize this target for zeroing your rifle. Did you know it was also weatherproof? If not, now you do. This 25-meter target is great for zeroing an M16A2/A4 or M4 Carbine, and with its grid overlay, makes MOA adjustment a lot easier. This particular purchase also comes in a 100-pack sheet, again, only saving you more money.
Shooting Range Targets for Pistols or Rifles
We really like this target, not just because you can shoot at it, but because it has a picture of Bin Laden’s face on it—violence promoted—and we really like shooting at terrorists, even if they’re already dead. This target was also an official target for the army, back in 2002. It was meant to be used with the M16A1 Rifle at 25-meters—of course, you don’t have to use a military issued rifle to use this target. The target comes with varying sized pictures of Bin Laden, to simulate him being 50-300 meters away.
You can also get a 10 pack of some of the most notorious douchebags no longer alive today here.
Any target that makes you better is a good target. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper target, steel target or a game—if you’re getting variety and gaining valuable skills. With that being said, the more you get out of your targets, the better. That’s why we like these EZ2C Paper Targets. They’re range versions of some of your simple, favorite games you grew up with, including tic-tac-toe, darts, and battleship. This means you can have fun at the range and still improve upon your kills.
Steel Target Stands
This target is meant specifically to go with AR500 Steel targets. This 2×4 stand and mount kit are portable, so you can take it anywhere and set it up, and then bring it home for safe keeping until your next range day. It’s also really easy to put together, and since you weren’t going to use the instructions anyway, it’s probably for the best. This specific target’s top mount hangs the target at a 20% downward incline, which means it’s a lot safer than your average target stand. The incline allows shrapnel to be deflected toward the ground instead of your face.
This particular style of target is another easy to assemble target stand. So easy, it doesn’t even require tools to put it together. It’s built to be sturdier, having a boxed design and pegs to fix it to the ground. This prevents the target from moving every time you shoot at it.
DIY Target Stands
Maybe you don’t feel like buying a target stand. You can always make one. If you already have the materials lying around, it’s an even better idea. Building a target stand actually isn’t that hard either and takes few carpentry skills. Click here for the instructions and materials needed to build your very own target stand.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve been adequately prepared to purchase a few new targets for your next day at the range—you’re welcome. If you took nothing else away from this, remember, the best target is the one that makes you better. With everyone in mind, RE Factor Tactical has a verity of targets to accommodate even the most novice shooter. So, remember, no matter what your target needs are, we have your back.