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Using steel targets for shooting offers various advantages for firearms enthusiasts, sports shooters, and professionals. There are many reasons to shoot steel targets, and we’ve worked with individuals and organizations across the board. Police departments, military, special forces, world competitive champions, ranges, and even celebrities’ are shooting steel targets from And for good reason! Here are the top 10 reasons to use steel targets.

10. Ease Of Use

Steel Targets are very easy to set up and maintain. Many options come as complete packages, or simply need a wooden post or fence post. Assembly can be done in under 15 minutes for most steel target packages out there. And once set, maintaining steel targets requires little to no effort. Target grade steel is thick, and harder than other steel, so it would take several lifetimes to rust through. For those who don’t like to see the surface rust, a quick coat of paint gives the target a fresh new look.

9. Cost Effective and Green Option

Steel targets seem expensive right? Wrong! You get what pay for, and more expensive steel target systems will last decades and hundreds of thousands of rounds when used properly. Consider using paper and cardboard targets, or cheap steel that breaks down quickly. You’ll be spending more and more money as time goes on replacing these “more affordable” options. As the saying goes, ‘buy once, cry once’. And since the steel will last, you’re reducing waste and carbon footprint.

8. Set It And Forget It

Not only do steel targets hold up round after round, but they also handle the elements better than other options. Another great reason to to use steel targets. Wind, rain, sleet, or snow. Steel Targets don’t care, and can be left out for years throughout the changing seasons. Most of the target ranges keep their steel targets out year round’, taking all kinds of punishment from a variety of ammunition and weather conditions. We’ve had the privilege of seeing some very unique and fun personal ranges that our long-time customers have poured hours into perfecting their own personal shooting experience.

7. Skill Building

Practicing with steel targets can help shooters improve their accuracy and marksmanship by providing a clear and satisfying indication of hits. The audible feedback allows you to move on instantly to your next shot. Other options don’t give that audible feedback, and after a few rounds, you’re wondering if the hole in the paper target is a new shot, or one that was already there. Instead of focusing on the next shot, you’re wrapped up in wondering if you made a hit. This slows you down and shifts your focus to the wrong thing when trying to improve.

Steel target systems like the Magnum rifle spinner or the magnum spring-popper are great for shooting at long distances with high caliber, loud rifles. The audible feedback at long distances can be tough to hear when wearing hearing protection. You instantly see swing of the rifle spinner, or the knock-down of the popper. Great options for long distance, reactive targets, that don’t require any resetting!

6. Realistic Training

Steel targets can be designed to simulate real-life scenarios, making them valuable for law enforcement, military, and competitive shooters looking to hone their skills under realistic conditions. Once again, the instant feedback allows you to move on quickly, and change positions to simulate real life scenarios. Moving quickly to-and-from cover isn’t very realistic if you’re stopping to see if you made a hit! Angled steel, when used properly, also allows you to get close to the target.

Our hands-down, #1 Steel Target package for law enforcement and military, is our 1/2″ AR550 Short-Range Armadillo. While we do not recommend getting any closer than 50 yards with an assault rifle, trained professionals wearing safety equipment can comfortably shoot as close as 25 yards with .223 ammunition at fully automatic.

Other targets like silhouettes offer a realistic torso size and shape for law enforcement when they need to act quickly. The 3/8″ 12×20 Target Package is perfect for this kind of scenario, as they’re a bit lighter than the 1/2″ counterpart so they can moved around and placed for different scenarios. They’re also cost effective enough that departments typically have around 5-10 packages. And at 3/8″ thick AR500, they’re prefect for all handgun cartridges out there.

5. Convenience

Many steel targets are lightweight enough, and easy to transport, allowing shooters to set up their own shooting range or practice area. Once you’ve set up your targets, you don’t need to go down range after hits! Paper and cardboard targets require extra purchases and constant swapping out targets, which can get old when you’re shooting outdoors at 50 yards + out.

Another convenience is that you don’t even have to bring the targets in! Remember when we mentioned you can set it and forget it? Leave them out for the next time you plan on having some fun and doing some practice. And even if you have you do need to take the target with you, you’re only stuck setting up and taking down, so only two trips needed down-range.

4. Immediate Feedback

The distinct “ping” or “clang” sound when a bullet strikes a steel target provides instant feedback, helping shooters know when they’ve hit their mark. Nearly all steel targets and steel target systems also has a visible feedback as well. You’ll might see dust kicking up from the splatter, or the swinging from the gong target, or compression of the spring on a hanger or popper. The immediate feedback is an instant gratification those who haven’t shot steel take for granted. It’s a beautiful sound that lets you and everyone around you know you’ve made a solid hit. The instant feedback is especially handy when shooting hundreds of yards out from your target. It can be a long walk just to check out whether you hit your target otherwise!

3. Durability

Steel targets are built to withstand repeated use and are highly resistant to wear and tear, making them a long-lasting investment. This isn’t your everyday steel – steel targets designed for shooting are extra durable compared to anything else you shoot. The hardness of the steel, often noted as abrasion resistance, is measured on the Brinell scale. The higher the Brinell number, the harder the steel. is one of the few companies out there to that’s very selective on steel, and even offer AR550 targets.

Check out our article ‘AR500 Vs. AR550: What’s the Difference?’ for more information on the differences between the types of steel, as well as our YouTube video that shows us putting the steel to the test. Shoot Steel Inc. is very particular on what steel we make our targets from. Our steel is on the higher end of the Brinell scale for each range. You better believe not all AR500 steel is the same! AR500 can be 470-530 on the Brinell range, and our steel is on the high side! Each batch can vary, so we take the time to test our steel and only use select trusted mills.

Even our shooters who put hundreds of thousands of rounds on our steel still have targets that have lasted as long as 10 years! Pew Pew Tactical have been using our targets for years and rank our steel #1 in the industry

2. Versatility

Steel targets can be used with a variety of firearms, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns, making them suitable for different shooting sports and training needs. They also come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, including silhouettes, gongs, poppers, and more, catering to different shooting disciplines and preferences. Some are better for training, some for competing against one another, and others are just downright fun.

We really like to see new, young shooters starting off on the rimfire KYL with their first .22 firearm. The ‘Know Your Limit’ rack is fun way to improve shooting while getting that instants audible and visual feedback. All of our spinners and racks will let you know how good your timing and accuracy is. A direct hit will give more movement than graze, and timing your shoot on the KYL will get the target spinning super fast!

Dueling trees and Texas Stars are great for timed challenges and require practice to master. Pepper Poppers, while needing to be reset, offer a challenge with undisputable evidence of a hit. Gong Targets are great for longer distances where you really want to time your shot (good practice for hunting, right?) since the target is going to be swinging after the 1st hit.

1. Extremally Fun and Motivating

The audible and visible feedback provided by steel targets adds an element of fun and excitement to shooting practice, motivating shooters to improve their skills. The feeling of that audible ‘ping!’ is an adrenaline rush for new shooters, and hearing it shot after shot makes the experience so much more enjoyable than shooting and guessing whether you’ve made a hit. This helps build confidence in new shooters and veterans alike. Shooting steel is it’s own unique experience that stands out from other shooting practice, the fun and excitement can’t be compared! And with so many options for types of targets, you can get very creative and make your own experience.

The more you practice, the better you get, and the more fun you will have! Accurate shooting is like a muscle that needs to be exercised, and the skill will diminish without practice. It is not like riding a bike! But with steel, you will never get bored and keep that eagle-eye trained and ready.

There you Have it! 10 Great Reasons To Use Steel Targets

When using steel targets, it’s essential to follow safety guidelines, such as maintaining a safe distance, using appropriate ammunition, and inspecting targets regularly for signs of wear or damage. Proper care and responsible shooting practices are key to enjoying the benefits of steel targets while ensuring safety.