We know you’ve been dying to find out what some of the best pistol targets on the market are, okay maybe not dying, but let’s face it, no matter what product you’re using on the range, you want it to do its job, and if some added perks come with it, then we’re game. So, to keep you from waiting any longer than you already have, here’s a list of the top 7 pistol targets, put together by yours truly, RE Factor Tactical.
Table of Contents
- Top 7 Pistol Targets
- Types of Pistol Targets for your Caliber
- Free Printable Targets
- Steel Pistol Targets
- What makes a good pistol training target?
- 3 Pistol Shooting Games to take to the Range
- Basic Pistol Course
Top 7 Pistol Targets
The kill zone target is our favorite here because it not only provides the shooter with a target, but it also gives the shooter the image of the standard human anatomy. This is great because it gives the shooter the ability to see how their rounds would affect the body. Now, we aren’t saying blood will start splattering all over the place and bones will shatter, but it’s great for the tactical shooter who wants to know exactly what part of the body will be affected when hitting the target. This means you can train to hit the heart, along the spine, or a specific part of the face or skull. The damage you cause could mean the difference between the suspect re-engaging or you, being the badass that you are, bringing him down.
Want to improve your marksmanship? Read our blog, 5 Gun Targets to Increase your Marksmanship
Kill Zone Target Specs
- Measures: 23” x 35”
- Standard Human anatomy design
- Made in the USA
2. IQ Target
The IQ Target ranks as our number two, not because it graduated college with a 4.0 GPA, made 1600 on the SAT, and has an IQ of 200, otherwise, it would have taken our number one spot. You don’t have to be that smart to use it either, but, it will help you get that much better when it comes to your shooting accuracy, and in a fun way, when combined with the Dead Man’s Hand Shooting Deck, adding 52 ways of improving your precision. This target does more than give you a single silhouette to shoot over and over again; it adds variety and purpose to your training. It may not improve your IQ score, but it could help improve your range score the next time you’re competing.
IQ Target Specs
- Measures: 23” x 35”
- Unlimited amount of shooting combinations
- Pistol targets in 3” shapes
- ** Rifle targets in 5” shapes
- Made in the USA
Now the IPSC/USPSA target may not be as fancy as the Kill Zone target or as fun as the IQ target, but it holds a special place on our top 7 because of its use. The IPSC/USPSA practice target holds true to its name. This target is great for practicing because it was designed for the competitive shooter and has been approved as the official IPSC/USPSA training target. It is also used for competing in IPSC/USPSA matches. So, if you’re looking to get a heads up on the competition side of things, this is the perfect target for you. There may not be any fancy bells and whistles blowing, but it could give you a leg up, simply by practicing with the right target.
IPSC/USPSA Target Specs
- Measures: 23” x 35”
- IPSC/USPSA Approved Target
- Printed in the USA
Okay, let’s be honest here. Sometimes we go to the range, we set up, shoot at the same boring target and go home no better, and hopefully no worse than when we arrived. So then, what’s the point of going to the range if you’re not improving or at least maintaining what proficiency you already have? Well, here’s a target that will finally help you move past that. Combined with the Essential Shooting Guide—which by the way works great with the Kill Zone Target—this target gives you an essential set of drills that will at least help you maintain your current proficiency level, it takes 150 rounds with 17 courses of fire to complete the drill and help you with your marksmanship, to include: slow aimed fire, weak and off-hand shooting, target transition, trigger speed changes, pistol draw, mag reloads and controlled multiple shot groups.
Essentials Target Specs
- Measures: 23″ x 35″
- Unlimited amount of shooting combinations
- Designed to maximize range time
- Made in the USA
Splatter targets are great for the eager shooter, you know, the one who can’t stand but to look and see if they hit the target or not? Well maybe if you used the essentials target a little more, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about that. Either way, sometimes it’s just nice to know if you’re on target or not, whether you’re 15 yards away or further. Splatter targets also come in various styles, from basic to more realistic, for example, a picture of a real person.
This does more than help you know where you’re hitting, it also makes the shot seem more realistic because shooting a real person and a black silhouette is very different.
Splatter Target Specs
- Instantly see your SHOTS BURST BRIGHT FLUORESCENT YELLOW upon impact, spend more time shooting and less time checking your target.
- HIGH VISIBILITY targets make it EASY to see your shots at a distance, no more wasting time walking downrange to SEE YOUR SHOTS.
- The BRIGHT yellow bullet holes are visible in all light conditions, great for people with reduced vision. The heavy-duty non-adhesive tag board withstands shot after shot.
- The ULTIMATE TARGET for all firearms and calibers, including; Airsoft, BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles and even shotguns. PERFECT for shooting indoors or outdoors, short range or long range. Preferred by police, military and NRA.
The Caldwell Handgun Resetting Target has claimed a place on our list because it’s designed to stand up to your .45. Made with heavy-duty steel, it makes a nice loud sound when you hit the target—of course, that means if you don’t hit the target, your buddy standing next to you gets to make fun of you for life, or maybe you’ll be the one with all the laughing rights, either way, this target will give you that. Not to mention, this target is reusable, you don’t have to keep purchasing a new target and it resets itself, which means, no more walking all the way down to the end of the range just to reset, patch-up or change your target out. It’s a great target for the lazy man—or woman.
Looking for another target option? Read our blog, The Best Silhouette Targets
Caldwell Handgun Resetting Target Specs
- Resetting Handgun Target
- Made of heavy-duty steel
- 12″ wide x 26.8″ high x 1.8″ deep
- Each target is 3 1/2″ diameter
- 3 targets total
- Each target is 3 1/2″ diameter
- 3 targets total
- Designed For Up To 45 Acp 44 Special – Not Intended For Magnum Velocities
- Resets Itself
No target is worth its purchase if, at the end of the day, you haven’t actually improved anything about your shots. Missing a shot can tell you a lot, but where the round lands on the target can tell you even more. That’s why the Florescent Pistol Diagnostic Shooting Target makes it onto our list of tops 7 targets. This target comes for both the left and right-handed shooter and tells you what you’re doing wrong if you hit the target, but not the bullseye. It’s also a fluorescent target so you can see where you hit without walking downrange.
Fluorescent Pistol Diagnostic Shooting Target Specs
- Bright fluorescent target easy to see downrange and acquire the target
- Hits are easy to see against the bright background
- Heavy-duty paper holds up shot after shot
- Great for use with all guns bb, airsoft, rifle, and pistol
- Made in the USA with US materials
Types of Pistol Targets for your Caliber
We all love shooting here, and knowing how to shoot and knowing how well you shot are a must. But, every target isn’t created equal. Some targets are meant to be shot at with a smaller caliber, while others can take a .45 with no complaints. While the following list isn’t a complete list of every target available to match every caliber, we’ve listed a few just to get you thinking.
What’s the best target for a .22 pistol?
If you haven’t realized it by now, there’s about a gazillion—we’re using this jocularly, but no really—different types of targets out there, but some are too heavy, too expensive or just too complicated to deal with, and when it comes to the .22 pistol, there’s no point in buying more than you need, so long as you’re getting what you’ve paid for. That’s why we think Champion Traps and Targets are a great choice. These are targets that not only reset themselves and give you the sound of success you’ve always wanted to hear while on the range—assuming you’re using a steel target—but they’re rated specifically for the .22 pistol. And we know you want a cool target to shoot at, so why not this prairie dog? There are other options too, but prairie dogs are cool, so we’re going with that. Not to mention, there’s no assembly required, because who wants to have an IKEA built target?
Looking for rifle targets? Read our blog, The Best Rifle Targets for your Next Range Day
Do-All Outdoors Prairie Popper Steel Auto Resetting Shooting Target Rated for .22 Caliber Specs
- RATED FOR .22 CAL PISTOL OR RIFLE: This steel target is specifically rated for soft nose lead .22 caliber ammunition only (at a minimum of 30 yards).
- NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: This lifelike prairie dog silhouette comes ready to take a beating with no assembly required. It measures approximately 4 x 5x 11 inches.
- RESET WITHOUT WALKING DOWN RANGE: After being hit with your .22, this pop-up target automatically springs back up for you to take your next shot.
- FUN FOR EVERYONE: The automatic popping action with every direct hit makes practicing with your .22 fun and interactive experience for all to enjoy.
- STURDY CONSTRUCTION: Both the target plate and base are made of heavy-duty steel, making this a sturdy pop-up target. Stainless steel stabilizing spikes are included to ground your target and help keep it upright.
What’s the best target for a 9mm?
When you go to the range, you need to have a plan. Don’t just go shoot to shoot, that’s like throwing dollar bills down the toilet. Shoot with a purpose, and with a target that makes sense for what you’re doing. There are plenty of targets out there rated for the 9mm, many ranging from .22 to .45 caliber. If the target you pick is rated for the 9mm, your next step is to make sure it fits your needs for where you’re shooting at. If you’re shooting indoors, then you’ll probably have to use paper targets, so pick a target that will help you or give you variety. Look at purchasing targets with multiple points of aim and give the shooter various scenarios to work with. The IQ Target is great for this, it gives you several scenarios at different levels of difficulty.
Don’t have the finances to buy new targets? Read our blog, Free Printable Shooting Targets
What’s the best target for a .45?
Sometimes we get a little too caught up in the details, and while we’re looking to find the product that works best for us, we forget about what we will do with that product. Just as finding a 9mm target mostly depends on what type of training you want to do on the range, so does finding the right .45 caliber target. It’s not just about, “will this target stand up to this caliber”, but it’s also about where you plan to shoot at. Are you firing at an indoor or an outdoor range? Do you want to hear the sound of a round hitting steel, or will paper targets work for you? You can fire a .45 at almost any piece of paper, and I’m sure my 90-year-old granny has plenty of paper she can take out of the printer and give you, but that won’t do you any good, not skill-wise. Again, the best target is the one that works for you.
Now, we know there are plenty of fancy targets out there to select from. The most expensive targets that move, reset themselves, self-healing, etc. But there’s nothing like free, especially if you want to practice or maintain your skills when the budget is tight. If that’s you, or maybe you’re like me and spent your entire budget on new guns and ammo, then free printable targets may be for you. It also gives you a chance to change things up a bit and find a little variety as to what your paper target looks like.
RE Factor Tactical offers free printable targets you can find here, that aren’t just free but also incorporate some of the aspects of our for purchase targets, like the Kill Zone, IQ, and Essentials targets, this way you can practice your skills without the same old boring target.
Steel Pistol Targets
Steel targets require a little more detail than finding a free paper printout online, lucky for you RE Factor Tactical already put together a detailed article you can find here on how to find the best steel target, for pistol or rifle.
Read more about The Best Shooting Targets
1/4” AR500 Steel should be your go-to for pistol shooting. Why? Because this steel is rated for centerfire handguns up-to 45ACP. The type of steel you use matters, because if you use the wrong stuff, you may end up with some shrapnel in an undisclosed location on your body, which is fine if you’re cool with that, but RE Factor Tactical believes weapons safety is paramount, so don’t just shoot at some random piece of steel you found in the woods behind your house. AR500 Steel can be shot at from 10 yards away, so use that instead, because no one wants to spend 8-hours in the ER with you while the Dr. picks shrapnel out of your face.
What makes a good pistol training target?
After all this information, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now as to which target you want to buy, don’t worry, that’s common. With all the options out there, it can be hard to pick the one that’s just right for you. Don’t worry; we’re here to help make your choice just a little bit easier because we know you have better things to worry about—like how to improve your trigger squeeze. Because what makes a good target isn’t just about how well it’s put together, but how much you can get out of it.
Cheap Targets vs. Expensive Targets
Okay, I’m sure you’ve heard it before, more expensive isn’t always better, but that doesn’t mean cheapest is better either. In many cases, expensive may just mean you’re buying the brand’s name when something half the price that isn’t name brand will do the exact same job at the exact same level of quality. This mean, when you start looking into buying a target for your pistol, don’t get too wrapped up in buying the most expensive product out there, because unless you’re making your own rounds and carving out your own weapons, let’s face it, you’re already spending enough money on what you’re shooting that high dollar target with. And unless you want your wife taking over the finances again because of all your guns and gun accessory spending habits, then make sure you’re buying quality and not just an expensive name brand.
Pistol Target Ratings
Some pistol targets can withstand some pretty powerful calibers, some hold up to rifles, some shotguns, others, just low caliber pistols. When you’re looking to buy your next target, look at a target that best suits your needs. Do you have five pistols, seven rifles, and 15 shotguns or do you simply have a few low caliber pistols? If you want to find a target for all your needs, then find the one that gives you the most bang—pun intended—for you buck (again, pun intended). For example, if you own both a .22 pistol and a .22 rifle, there are targets out there that are rated for both. If you own both a 9mm and a .45, there are targets out there rated for both. Then, there are also targets rated for all calibers, like the Do-All Outdoors Black Back Auto Resetting Steel Target, if you’re willing to pay the price.
This means, you can find targets that are rated for multiple weapons and calibers, which saves you money in the end. So, in this case, go for quantity as well as quality, because the more uses you get out of your training tools the better.
Types of Training Targets
If you’ve ever shot any weapons system on the range or watched a few YouTube videos about firing a weapon, then you’ve seen the prodigious—fancy word for a crapton—amount of training targets out there. There are targets like the Essentials Target that will help your marksmanship skills; there are targets like the Fluorescent Pistol Diagnostic Shooting Target that will help you diagnose your shooting, meaning if you jerk the trigger too hard or you anticipate the shot, the target will tell you. The next time you’re in the market for a target, look at your skills, look at what type of training you want to do. Do you simply want to put rounds downrange, then maybe a simple and free printable target will work. Do you want to train as part of a Law Enforcement group, then maybe something more realistic like the Active Shooter Target and not just a simple silhouette will work. Or, do you want to improve your skills for competition, maybe targets like the IPSC/USPSA, IQ or Essential target will work.
3 Pistol Shooting Games to take to the Range
The next time you’re out at the range, make sure you take these games with you. Now we know games and firearms don’t normally sound like a good idea, but we promise it’s not like that.
This is the number one game on the market because it requires the shooter to change things up a bit. Instead of shooting at the same target, making the same movements, and practicing the same skills, this card game tells you what to do. With 52 different shooting drills, intended to work with the IQ Target, you could spend an entire day at the range and never do the same drill twice. This particular game also ranges in difficulty for the most novice shooter to the professional shooter, so no matter what your skill level is, anyone can have fun while still practicing basic and advanced shooting skills.
- 52 different shooting drills
- Instruction guide
- Metal case for storage
The Essential Shooting Guide may not sound like much of a game, but there’s more to it than just another boring guide. In fact, this guide has a ton of content inside it. With 91 pages of material, shooting drills, such as that which is intended to be used with the Essentials and Kill Zone Targets, you won’t get bored anytime soon, and you’ll improve your precision shots. This book will help you find a fun way to improve some of the most basic skills to combat-focused shooting.
Of course, if you really want to sharpen your skills and get into the nitty-gritty of things, the Army has the Pistol Gold Book you can view here, and while it’s not a game, it does have valuable material you can use from range safety to dealing with malfunctions.
- Measures 4×6″
- Multiple shooting drills
- Designed for use in conjunction with the Essentials Target
- Provides space for recording results
- 91 Pages of content
- Made in the USA
3. Tic-Tac-Toe (No this isn’t a joke)
There are also more simple games you can look to play, and if you’re good with a few programs, you can make or even find for free online. Remember all those games you played as a kid? Tic-tac-toe, battleship, and even some more adult-like games, such as darts and pool? Well, the good news is, you can take those games with you to the range, and they’re played quite similarly, only this time you’re improving your shooting skills.
Tic-tac-toe, for example, you can either make the target yourself or find free already made targets for the game. The target looks similar to a regular tic-tac-toe game, only there’s an X and an O in each box. The point of the game is to take turns with the other shooter and try to hit your designated letter in the box you chose. However, if neither you nor the other shooter hit your letter, then whoever is closest gets to claim that box. This game may sound simple, but it is a fun way to help improve your accuracy.
Need work on your target transitions? Read our blog, This Drill is Designed to help work on your Target Transitions
Basic Pistol Course
If you’re looking to supplement your shooting games, why not try taking an official course. Different organizations, such as the NRA, offer these types of courses, which can be found here, ranging from basics to even instructor level skills.
After you’ve mastered your shooting skills using some of the best targets and shooting games found on the market, take a look at testing your skills and signing up for an IDPA match, which you can look at doing from their home page, found here.
To sum things up for you, RE Factor Tactical understands, finding the target that best suits your needs can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of simply looking for “targets”, look for targets that suit your needs or the skills you’re looking to master. Look for targets that meet your skill level and then help you boost it. And remember, no matter what your skill or desired skill level, RE Factor Tactical has a target for you.