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Steel targets have become a popular choice for shooting enthusiasts, providing durability and a satisfying audible feedback. However, selecting the right steel targets involves considerations beyond the visual appeal. In this guide, we’ll explore the various types of steel targets available in the market and the key factors to consider when choosing a steel target.

Hanging Steel Target

Types of Steel Targets

1. Static Targets:

  • Description: Stationary steel targets that remain in place when hit. They provide the best sound, and the larger the target, the louder the ring!
  • Ideal for: Pistols and general-purpose shooting practice at close range (10-200 yards). These targets tend to go up quickly and have less moving parts. If the goal is quick, consecutive hits, these are your go-to targets.

2. Reactive Targets:

  • Description: Targets that react to hits, offering immediate feedback with movement or sound.
  • Ideal for: Adding an interactive element to training sessions, enhancing engagement. Reactive targets can either auto-reset, or may involve down range-time to reset the target. Reactive targets provide clear visual feedback, perfect long shots in open area where the fire can echo through the sound of the hit. Non-resetting targets are great for competition because they mark a clear indisputable hit. Check out the selection by clicking here.

3. Silhouette Targets:

  • Description: Provide a realistic shooting experience. These targets are ideal for self-defense training and can easily be marked using paint and vitals stencils to mark specific target areas
  • Ideal for: Defensive and tactical training, simulating real-world scenarios. The 1/2″ Short-range Armadillo is our most popular among Law enforcement and military for close-quarter training.

4. Gong Targets:

  • Description: Targets with two mounting holes designed to hang from chains.
  • Ideal for: Long-range shooting, improving accuracy, and precision. Gong targets are reactive targets that don’t involve heading down to range to reset after hits. Setting up multiple gong sizes at large distances can really help gauge your progress, such as this 3-gong package.

5. Spinner Targets:

  • Description: Targets that rotate upon impact, Providing instant feedback
  • Ideal for: Long-range shooting (100+ yards), improving accuracy, and precision. The Precision magnum rifle rack is a great example of how spinner targets can help you improve while adding a little extra fun.

Key Factors to Consider when Choosing a Steel Target

1. Size:

  • Consideration: Choose a target size appropriate for your shooting distance and skill level.
  • Tip: Larger targets are suitable for beginners, while smaller targets add challenge for experienced shooters.

2. Thickness:

  • Consideration: Thicker targets withstand more rounds but may be heavier and more expensive.
  • Tip: Balance thickness based on your ammunition and intended use. 1/4″ steel, which we place in our rimfire category is great .22 and most handguns. 3/8″ thick steel is perfect for pistols and short-action rifles. 1/2″ steel is recommended for long range shooting with something like a 30-06. Still not sure what fits your shooting best? Check out our cartridge guide for some specific cartridge examples.

3. Intended Use:

  • Consideration: Determine if the targets are for handguns or rifles, close range or long range
  • Tip: Different targets cater to various shooting purposes, so align your choice with your specific needs.

4. Portability:

  • Consideration: Assess the ease of transporting and setting up the targets. Some targets and target packages are better setups if they’re staying in one place, while others such as the 3/8″ Static target package is ideal for ranges, as there’s only 3 parts after initial assembly, and targets can easily be swapped out.
  • Tip: Opt for portable designs if you frequently change shooting locations.

5. Material Grade:

  • Consideration: Evaluate the grade of steel used in the targets for durability and longevity.
  • Tip: AR500 steel is a popular choice known for its hardness and ability to withstand high-velocity impacts. AR550 offers increase life and resistance to high velocity rounds, such as .223/5.56. For more information on AR500 and AR550, consult our article AR500 Vs. AR550: What’s the difference?

Choosing a steel target involves understanding your shooting preferences, skill level, and intended use. By considering factors like size, thickness, and target type, you can enhance your shooting experience and make informed decisions when expanding your steel target collection.