Targets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. One of the most recognized may be the human silhouette. Silhouettes also come with an array of intended purposes; therefore not all silhouettes are created equal. Here’s a list of the best silhouette targets you might consider using on your next trip to the range.
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Silhouette targets can be found in an assortment of material, such as steel, paper, self-healing, etc. You can even find them in different shapes. Animal silhouettes, such as the doe are very common. But, that leaves a lot of questions unanswered, such as what’s the best steel silhouette I can buy? What the best paper silhouette target, and can I print them for free? Or, what’s the difference between this human silhouette and that human silhouette? If you’re purchasing a paper silhouette, is there really such thing as better quality? And so much more. We’ll start with the most common, paper silhouette targets.
Want to improve your marksmanship? Read our blog, 5 Gun Targets to Increase your Marksmanship
Paper Silhouette Targets
Paper silhouette targets are easy to come by, which generally means you can find them at low cost—compared to buying a steel version. If you’re in the market for paper, here’s a good place to begin. You can also read about the best shooting targets overall, to include paper targets here.
The Iceman Target is great for shooters of all levels. But, like we say, the best target is the one that makes you better. This target can help you do that. Iceman lets the shooter know the importance of shot placement. With that should come a better focus on accuracy. You can also work on your target transitions using either a pistol or rifle, which makes this another reason you should bring this target with you on your next range day.
Looking for rifle targets? Read our blog, The Best Rifle Targets for your Next Range Day
The Blue Man Target is similar to the Iceman Target. It shows the importance of shot placement and makes the shooter focus on basic skills, with an intention of improving accuracy. The real difference between the two targets is the more realistic human silhouette. While neither is as realistic as a picture of say, Osama Bin Laden, there is an advantage to shooting at the Blue Man Target over the Iceman Target. The Blue man has arms and gives points of aim by importance. For example, the target has points with numbers including 0, 8, 9 and 10. If you hit 0, fatality or stopping the criminal is near impossible. Hitting a 10 location, however, is the most valuable area, which can cause the most damage.
We want you to become a more proficient shooter, which requires you to focus on your shooting fundamentals and ability. This can be done using the ATF Transitional Target. This target is similar to the Blue Man Target. It gives you a human silhouette, only this time there aren’t any numbers showing you the most valuable areas on the body. However, it does come with two extra points of aim, which can allow you to work on your target transitioning skills. This target is primarily used for the ATF Pistol Qualification Test.
Want to add more pistol targets to the collection? Read our blog, Top 7 Pistol Targets
The Triple Silhouette target is another great option for shooters wanting to work on target transition. Having three silhouettes can also lead to shooters working on their level of accuracy. For instance, if you have three silhouettes on one target, and only one of them is the “shooter”, you’re not going to aim for all three. Instead, you imagine, the non-shooters are your hostages, and if you shoot them, game over. That’s why owning a gun of any kind comes with a lot of responsibility. When you shoot it, you better shoot it at the right target. This is also why it’s important to practice with multiple points of aim any time you’re out on the range. You don’t want to get the title “most likely to shoot the hostage”, so practice with accuracy in mind.
This particular paper silhouette target is also a splatter target, which means you can see where you hit instantly. This is great for shooting from a further distance, and it’s fun.
The IMZ Human Silhouette is another great silhouette-style target. This target was designed with self-defense in mind. It contains a human skeleton structure inside the silhouette, and with its bright, high-density ink, you can get more out of each round you send downrange. The skeletal system is definitely an added bonus and will let shooters know the impact of their hit.
Don’t have the finances to buy new targets? Read our blog, Free Printable Shooting Targets
Steel Silhouette Targets
Most people like steel targets, because unlike paper targets, they have a long lifespan. They also have the advantage of instant feedback. Paper targets don’t fall down when you shoot at them, if they do, you’ve probably hit the tack or staple holding it in—you’re not supposed to do that. Steel targets, however, fall down, make a heavenly sound and in most cases, popping back up or spinning around, awaiting your next round. You can learn more about steel targets here.
If you read our blogs regularly you’ve seen us talk about this particular steel target a few times now. We like it because it considers safety. If you’re not careful, steel targets can sometimes cause rounds to ricochet. This target takes that into account and gave it a 20% incline. The incline will help prevent ricochet by deflecting it toward the ground. Keep in mind, this particular steel silhouette is AR500 with a 3/8” cut. This type of steel is rated to handle the impact from magnum handguns and rifles up to .308. It can also be used with .223/5.56, 5.45×39, 7.62×39 and other similar rounds. You can read more about this here.
Read more about The Best Shooting Targets
Animal silhouettes are often used by hunters and are even better if you can get a life-sized one. Now, we can understand why finding or even making a life-sized 1/2” thick bear silhouette would be pretty hard to do, considering the cost and weight of such a target. With that being said, it’s still good practice, just pretend it’s a small bear. This particular animal silhouette works with .300 and .338 magnum rifles. Anything beyond this, such as a .408 will require a 3/4” piece of AR500 steel.
Any target with the name “rockin’” in it sounds like a fun target to shoot at. This steel target is an AR500 3/8” piece of steel. It’s a great target because it moves and then resets itself after it’s been shot. So, you can both hear and see that your round landed on the target. This rockin’ rabbit includes four small targets on the ends of the rockers to help improve accuracy. We also like this target because it’s a rabbit wearing sunglass, and who doesn’t love an animal wearing glasses?
We gave doe silhouettes their own category, not because they’re so much more superior than other animal silhouettes, but because they might be the most popular in the category of animal silhouettes. Doe silhouettes are great for the hunter. And because it’s a popular game, a lot of hunters will choose it over others, such as a pig.
You can get doe silhouettes as either a steel or paper silhouette. The advantage to some paper silhouettes, is they show you the sweet spot on the deer—you could probably add this to a steel target yourself if you know where the sweet spot is. However, a steel target can be used over and over again. Remember, while steel is great, you should get the one rated for your caliber. You can read more about the best steel targets and their ratings here.
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What is a Reactive Target?
A reactive target is what it sounds like. It’s a target that sends a reaction. For example, a steel target is a reactive target. When you hit it, you’ll hear a sound—it’s action/reaction in an instant. Some steel targets do more than make a sound. There are reactive targets, which fall when you hit them and then reset, which tends to be a lot of fun for new shooters because they give instant gratification.
Steel targets, however, are not the only reactive targets on the market. Paper targets can be reactive as well. For instance, splatter targets. When you hit a splatter target, you get instant confirmation because you can see where you hit immediately. A spatter target will show a bright ring around the point of impact. These tend to be a bright green ring, but the colors will vary from target to target.
You can also make your own reactive targets. Again, a reactive target just means you get a reaction out of your target. For instance, some people will fill balloons up with paint. When you hit the balloon it sends paint everywhere, which youth shooters generally love.
Reactive Silhouette Targets
Again, a reactive target is simply a target, which gives you immediate feedback. That feedback can come from sound, movement or splatter. Therefore, keep in mind, all steel targets are reactive targets. When you see an advertisement saying, “steel reactive target”, it’s just reiterating it’s going to make a noise when you hit it.
This target is clearly reactive because it’s steel. However, it also has two holes cut out in the shoulders. Because of this, you can hang your target from a chain. This means, you’ll get a second reaction—it’s going to move—when you hit it. Meaning, it’s great for those of us who are hearing impaired. You no longer have to rely on a sound you can’t hear, and you can see that you hit the target when it swings back and forth.
Jumping Targets makes a 3/8” AR500 steel target that does more than just make an auditory reaction. This particular reactive target rocks back when you hit it, and should reset for your next round. The “Rockin’ Gopher” also comes with four smaller targets on the sides so you can work on improving your precision.
Threat Down Silhouette CTZ targets are definitely not your average paper targets. This style of reactive targets comes with small paint pouches on them. If you hit one of the key areas on the target, paint come oozing out, making it feel like a more realistic shot. It helps the shooter improve their accuracy while also giving instant feedback on shot placement.
What are IPSC Targets?
To answer the commonly asked question, “What are IPSC Targets?” It is important to first know what IPSC stands for. IPSC is the International Practical Shooting Confederation. This confederation recognizes handguns, rifles, shotguns and action air. They are recognized at the World Shoot, as their flag passes during the closing ceremonies. During competitions, IPSC makes sure that they never have the same course of fire. This means competitors are getting a lot of diversity by shooting in these matches. It also keeps the competitor form becoming too familiarized and being able to play the system. However, a simple online search will show you variations of IPSC targets. This lets competitors practice on what could be one of the many styles of targets they could encounter. It is important however to know that IPSC uses a lot of variety. They use multiple targets, moving targets, reactive targets, penalty targets and partially covered targets. So, if you were thinking about entering a shooting competition with IPSC, make sure you’re working to become a well-rounded shooter.
Need work on your target transitions? Read our blog, This Drill is Designed to help work on your Target Transitions
Here’s a list of some targets rated for IPSC competition
This target is an approved IPSC and USPSA practice target. It is specifically designed for training to compete in IPSC/USPSA shooting matches. If you were thinking about signing up for one of these matches, this would be a great target for you.
The IPSC/USPSA Cardboard Target is sized at 18” x 30”. It’s also reversible. One side is white, while the other is brown, as seen in the picture above. However, unlike the picture, these targets don’t actually have lines. The target is perforated, and the lines are simply pointing this out. You can use this target multiple time—depending on your shooting habits—simply use a matching colored sticker to patch the holes.
Okay, we know this isn’t a target, but it’s a target stand holder that was made with the IPSC shooter in mind. It’s a stand made with steel and it holds both standard IPSC, USPSA and IDPA targets. It’s also a collapsible base, which makes for easy storage.
How Big Is a B-27 Target?
A B-27 is one of the most common targets out there. You can think of B-27 as a code. With that being said there are varying “codes” for different targets. These codes, like the B-27 target, are kind of like a model number for a car, except this is a model number for shooting targets. A standard B-27 full-size silhouette paper target is 24”x45”. You can get a B-27, B-27-E, B-27 PRO-G and more. Again, the code is in reference to the model of the target. A target with a man holding a gun is a different model number than a standard black silhouette target. Say you wanted a target with a man shooting a gun at you, you would be getting a B-60 target, whereas a B-27E is a simple silhouette of the human torso.
B-27 Silhouette Targets
This official NRA B-27 target is a silhouette of a man with his arms hanging to his sides. This style of target is extremely recognizable to shooters but used mostly by different law enforcement agencies. You’re likely to see avid shooters with this target pinned up at the range. And with the 7 numbered rings, it allows the shooter to realize the importance of shot placement.
The B-27E Economy Target is a different variation of the standard B-27 target. This target comes as a silhouette human torso only. It still has 7 rings in the center of the body to help shooters work on hitting the most vital areas of the body. The only major difference is the lack of arms.
What’s the Best Target for me?
Overall, the best target for you is the one that gives you quality training and a lot of variety. When you’re looking to purchase a target of any kind, even a silhouette make sure it’s the one that fits your needs and helps to improve your accuracy. If you want to know the best targets for rifles, click here. If you need pistol targets, check out that article here. If you’re not in the market for targets because your budget is a little tight, you can also find free, good quality, printable targets here. Just remember, no matter what target you’re looking to get, the best one is the one that makes you better.