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Best Targets and Stands for Shooting [Ultimate Guide]

Best Targets All
Ready to grab targets but stumped on what to buy? We have the lowdown on the best targets (and stands) to make range time productive and fun!
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    Targets are likely the most overlooked part of your training regimen. What you shoot and how you shoot it is more critical than you realize.

    We preach shot placement over and over and over again. But how do you train for shot placement using a bull’s eye target? You can’t.

    So, you should use realistic targets for realistic training.

    Targets can enhance your training. They can also be used for a very specific purpose or just for fun.

    With that in mind, I’ve gone back and looked at the various targets I’ve used at my home range, at public ranges, SHOT Show, and beyond, to bring you what works. 

    Be it tactical training, zeroing purposes, or just a good time, I’ve rounded up the best targets for the job.

    shooting bottles fail
    We’ve all been there…

    Oh, and did I mention, I’m name-dropping a few target stands worth owning as well?

    Let’s take a peek and look at the best targets we can find on the market. 

    THE QUICK LIST

    1. Best for Pistol Zeroing

      RE Factor RMR Target

    2. Best Reactive Target

      Caldwell Duramax Ball

    How We Tested the Best Shooting Targets

    This article is a meta-analysis based on our experience with hundreds of targets and tens of thousands of rounds over the years at Pew Pew Tactical.

    Putting Down Targets at Range
    Putting Down Targets at Range

    Over the years, we’ve tested a variety of targets with pistols, shotguns, and rifles and evaluated them based on the following criteria:

    • Features
    • Uses
    • Ease of set-up/transport
    • Durability
    • Value

    Best Shooting Targets: Paper, Rubber, & More

    1. Infinite Defense Infinity Targets – Best Self-Healing Target

    Use code pewpew10 to save 10% off all orders over $175!

    Best Self-Healing Target
    $129
    at Infinite Defense

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Pros

    • Self healing
    • Lasts a long time
    • Easy to see shot placement

    Cons

    • Very heavy so you'll need a sturdy target stand

    Infinity Targets has a great product that looks like a paper silhouette target, but lasts a heck of a lot longer. Their Gen 2 targets are made out of laminated, recycled rubber.

    Inifnity-Target---1

    This thick piece of rubber is cut to the shape of a silhouette target and even features zones so you can score your target. The cool thing is that the target is all white, but when you shoot it, black holes are left behind.

    These holes close immediately because they are “self-healing,” so the target itself isn’t really degraded. You can continue to shoot it until your drill or session is complete.

    Inifnity-Target---3

    When you’re done, you simply spray the target with a can of paint. The folks we spoke with recommended Zinsser Primer and we can confirm that does the job well.

    After you paint the target again, it appears white and the holes are no longer visible. You don’t have to hang fresh paper or cardboard because the targets have a long life — up to 110 rounds per square inch according to Infinity Targets.

    These are a great addition to a range though one downside is, they are a bit heavy. You’ll need a well-supported target stand to make sure they stay up.

    2. RE Factor RMR Target – Best for Pistol Zeroing

    Pros

    • Great for pistol zeroing
    • Can be used as a regular IPSC style target too

    Cons

    • Might not be as useful if you aren't running a dot

    RE Factor wants to give you a zeroing solution that doubles as a training target. 

    They call it the RMR target. (RMR is typically associated with Trijicon’s famed red dot.) However, Trijicon ain’t the only game in town. Aimpoint, Doctor, Burris, Holsoun, and so many more make red dots that are perfect with this target.

    RMR Type 2 View
    RMR Type 2 View

    The setup is simple; the target is a reduced-size kill zone target surrounded by eight dots and a grid target. 

    The reduced Kill Zone target highlights the vitals, as well as the IPSC-style target zones.

    RE Factor RMR Target Hung
    RE Factor RMR Target

    The zeroing target has three rings that represent the most common sizes of mini red dots on the market at 25 yards. When the shooter aims at the target at 25 yards, the dot will sit inside one of the rings.  Once you hit your dot, you know you got the zero. Then train with the rest of the target and enjoy yourself.

    The reduced Kill Zone target is excellent for tactical training, as are the various dots. It’s a great multipurpose target, and I love multipurpose designs. 

    3. Sajnog Zeroing Targets – Best for Zeroing Rifles

    Pros

    • Designed for 5.56 rifles
    • Easy to see and use
    • Perfect for zeroing

    Cons

    • Not a lot of versatility here

    Chris Sajnog is a former Navy Seal and now a shooting instructor. He is a cool guy with a gift for funny Youtube videos and an excellent way of breaking down shooting concepts to new shooters.

    I say this as a guy he once rejected for a writing gig, so my opinion is truly unbiased. 

    Chris Sajnog
    Chris Sajnog — the man himself!

    His zeroing targets are genius.

    They are designed for 5.56 rifles in standard carbine sizes. One is designed for iron sights, and one is designed for red dots, but both give you a 100-yard zero at only 25 yards. 

    To make up for the ballistic difference between a shot at 25-yards and 100-yards, the targets have an area to aim at and an area where your shots are supposed to impact.

    This makes zeroing stupid simple and is an excellent example of how Chris Sajnog breaks things down for simplicity’s sake.

    These are perfect for zeroing and make the process quick and easy if you want a 100-yard zero. 

    3. Birchwood Casey 3D Torso Targets – Best 3D Target

    Pros

    • Great for training or running drills
    • Fairly durable

    Cons

    • Not great with heavy rain

    3D Targets are a great way to train and offer you both a literal and figurative angle to train.

    These super cheap and simple 3D Torso targets spice up training, allowing you to approach a target from various angles

    Birchwood Casey 3D Target
    Birchwood Casey 3D Target

    Not to mention you get some realistic engagement practice. As you work to move to cover, you might be shooting at a different angle to the target.

    And these targets let you train for that.

    Birchwood Casey 3D Target
    You can practice engaging at different angles!

    A 2D paper target doesn’t give you this kind of training.

    These torso targets are perfect for concealed carry training and can take a hot load of muzzle blast without ripping apart like paper targets. They are made from a heavy, paperish cardboard-like material. Simply nail it down.

    Birchwood Casey 3D Target
    Shooting the Birchwood Casey 3D Target

    Torso Targets are durable and can take hundreds of rounds. It can eat rifle rounds, pistol rounds, and even some shotgun blasts!

    Word of caution: while these might be able to shrug off a little rain, they cannot handle a downpour.

    5. Caldwell Duramax Ball – Best Reactive Target

    Pros

    • Self-healing
    • Rated from .22 LR to .50 BMG. 
    • Fun but useful to train with

    Cons

    • Takes up more room in your range bag

    I got one of these for free at SHOT Show and have had a ton of fun with it. It’s a 5-inch round ball that self heals and is capable of absorbing hundreds of rounds. This thing is rated from .22 LR to .50 BMG

    It’s a safe, polymer-reactive target that is a blast to shoot. When hit, it flies upward, rearward, to the side, or spins like crazy. The Duramax Ball Target is really fun with a shotgun loaded with birdshot. 

    Caldwell Duramax Self-Healing Ball
    Caldwell Duramax Self-Healing Ball

    The target can also be hung and shot like a polymer gong, which makes it a cheap and simple setup for reactive targets.

    It’s safer than steel, and you can engage it at any range you can engage a paper target. Like talk, it’s cheap, and I love it. 

    6. Clay Pigeons – Best Targets for Shotguns

    Pros

    • Affordable reactive target
    • Great for shotguns
    • Provide a bit more challenge

    Cons

    • Heavy to tote around

    Clay pigeons are the cheapest reactive target you can purchase.

    They cost almost nothing, and while traditionally, they are thrown through the sky and disintegrated with shotguns, they can be used with anything. 

    Toss them on the berm and you get a small and challenging target for a rifle, pistol, and shotgun training.

    Professional Clay Pigeon Shooter, like a boss!

    They explode when hit and deliver immediate satisfying feedback for pennies apiece. Clay pigeons can be found at any gun store or Walmart worldwide and are a very fun target. 

    I even use them with tactical shotgun training when I’m using birdshot over buckshot. It’s a small and challenging target that remains fun and easy to use. 

    Best Steel Targets

    7. Caldwell AR500 IPSC Targets + – Best Steel Target

    Pros

    • Super durable and long lasting
    • Can use with pistol, shotgun, or rifle

    Cons

    • Gotta be careful about richochet

    As a huge shotgun nerd, the best way to train with buckshot is with a steel target. Buckshot destroys targets, and steel targets give you a long-lasting training solution for using buckshot.

    That said, a steel target like the Caldwell AR500 IPSC target works for rifles, shotguns, and pistols quite brilliantly. 

    With pistols, you need to ensure you are standing far enough from the target or ensure it’s safely angled before shooting. Rifles allow you to extend your range into the safe zone, and unplated lead buckshot has little risk for ricochet.(Still, respect proper angling and distance with a shotgun.) 

    Caldwell AR500 Collection
    Caldwell AR500 Collection

    The Caldwell AR500 is a tough target rated for rifle rounds.

    It’s also painted a bright yellow for easy visibility at long range. Oh and you can definitely see your hits against that yellow. This paint wears with time, but the good news is you can spray paint it for a quick fix. 

    The targets come in reduced 33% and 66% sizes and full-sized variants of the traditional IPSC target. You can hang them like a gong or on a traditional hanger. 

    Looking for more steel targets? Check out our Best AR500 Steel Targets.

    8. Birchwood Casey Dueling Tree – Affordable Dueling Tree

    Pros

    • Can be used to practice target and sight tracking
    • Fun to shoot with friends

    Cons

    • Need a dedicated range to shoot, can't really tote place to place

    One of my favorite experiences ever is clearing a dueling tree perfectly in one go. It’s so satisfying to hear the rapid succession of dings as the paddles swing.

    If you’ve never used one, these targets fling to the other side of the stand when shot and reset themself for re-engagement. If you shoot them from side to side, you can practice target and sight tracking. 

    Birchwood Casey Dueling Tree 1
    Birchwood Casey Dueling Tree

    The Birchwood Casey setup powers through with six AR500 steel paddles. These targets really just bring joy to the shooter. Admittedly, you are limited to pistol calibers with these, but that’s okay because pistols make them way more challenging.

    This setup comes with everything you need. An all-in-one target system is quite convenient for a home-based range.

    You will waste a lot of ammo chasing the high of swinging every paddle perfectly in one run. 

    Best Target Stands

    9. Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand – Best Simple Target Stand

    Pros

    • Simple and easy to use and set up
    • Affordable
    • Braks down for easier storage

    Cons

    • Not great for shotgun patterning

    If you are chasing paper and cardboard targets, then you’ll need something to attach it to.

    The Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand is a very simple design that allows you to put up a cardboard backing to hang targets. It’s compact and breaks down for easy storage and transportation

    Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand
    Caldwell Ultimate Target Stand

    It sits super low, so shooting it would be difficult. Admittedly, if you shotgun-pattern your rounds, then maybe this isn’t for you. This handy and cheap little target stand makes it easy to stand one target or multiple targets up at the range. 

    The design is weather-resistant, so if it’s raining, you can still. 

    10. Highwild IPSC Target Hanger – Best Target Hangar

    Pros

    • Budget friendly
    • Hanger style for steel targets
    • Angles stell in a safe direction

    Cons

    • Heavier that others

    Highwild comes with an affordable target hanger for your IPSC steel target.

    This setup locks onto a 2X4 that’s easy to install and replace. The Highwild IPSC Target Hanger angles the target downward for safety and to prevent wild spalling or ricochets. 

    Highwild IPSC Target Hanger Back side
    Highwild IPSC Target Hanger

    It also has a buffer spring that allows it to move as it absorbs the impact of rifle, handgun, or shotgun rounds. This increases the safety and life of the target.

    Pairing well with a well-placed 2×4, you can utilize another Highwild stand to act as a tripod mount for your whole target stand. 

    Simple is as simple does, and this affordable hanger is hard to beat. 

    Final Thoughts

    Targets are an essential part of shooting that allows gun owners to train, zero optics, and have a little fun while on the range. From paper to steel and even reactionary, there’s a target designed for nearly every style of shooting.

    Shootsteel, Up Armored
    Shootsteel

    It’s easy to talk about guns, ammo, and ranges, but don’t forget; targets are pretty darn important too. 

    What are your favorite targets? Why? Let us know below. Looking for more great targets? Check out our Shoot Steel review and our round-up of the Best AR500 Steel Targets.

    Latest Updates

    June 12, 2024: Removed Caldwell Octogon, RE Factor Kill Zone, VTAC Advanced Training Target, IPSC Target Hanger. Added Inifinity Targets. Included more supplemental data on how we tested the targets and additional information to each product.

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    4 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Gerrit Grundling

      You are missing the Romtes targets.
      I think they will fit in nicely here.
      Might want to do a article on smart targets.

      April 21, 2021 1:22 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Daniel Hool

      I have the Birchwood Casey duelling tree. A real quality product. Because of the clever angle of the post, the paddles NEVER fail to return or get hung up. It comes though-with a real garbage plastic box- so I ordered a milspec hard case for the set from 'my case builder'....
      Although the post is also AR500 and it can take infinite hits -The base is the weak point -it's not AR500 and cannot take direct fire- so I place a wooden buffer block in front of the base so the base never gets hit with direct fire. My set has already taken thousands of 9mm rounds and a few .357. With this set up (always protecting the base) it should last a lifetime...Couldn't be happier.....

      January 3, 2021 4:54 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David Boerboom

      Chris Sajnog actually has his CCO mounted in the right place.

      January 1, 2021 12:04 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Gregg Cromeans

      I train with the Rubber Dummy as it is more life-like and can handle 1,000s of rounds. I feel it is much better than paper targets because it helps you focus on a gun fight, which is what most EDC people should think about.

      January 1, 2021 8:58 am
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