Before your next trip to the shooting range, make a list of what you want to practice and head out with a plan of action. This simple step will make you a more effective pistol shooter and give you a foundation for what you can improve on.
When selecting a training target, you need to first consider where you'll be shooting. Each shooting range will have specific rules about what kind of targets they allow. Indoor shooting is typically restricted to paper, while outdoor ranges expand your options to reactive targets.
That being said, just know where you'll be shooting isn't enough. You need to consider why you headed to the range. Targets come in all shapes and sizes for their intended training purpose. Each style will guide your goals as a shooter and enhance the enjoyment you get out of your range sessions. There's no shame in using plain-old paper bullseye targets—shooting at a round circle of paper is not only boring, it limits your training options to just punching holes in paper—using reactive targets will allow you to see your hits and make adjustments.
Luckily, there are many options to choose from that will help you practice your pistol techniques. Here's a look at the best handgun training targets for your next range session:
IDPA Practice Target
A range standard, IDPA practice targets
feature scoring rings that allow shooters to fine-tune their aim. Set against a black background for shooters' visibility, IDPA practice targets are an economic alternative to cardboard.
Zombie Industries Bleeding Zombie Target
The Zombie Apocalypse is closer than you think, so there's no time like the present to sharpen your zombie-hunting skills. Zombie Industries' innovative Bleeding Zombie target
is a 3-D, reactive target perfect for would-be zombie hunters in need of some target practice. Available in a variety of different brain munchers, these life-sized targets ooze paint when shot, and is approved for 1,800 rounds of .22 LR, over 1,000 rounds of 5.56, 450 rounds of .45 ACP, over 700 rounds of 9mm and over 250 rounds of .308.
Birchwood Casey Sharpshooter IPSC Target
Forget cardboard. The Birchwood Casey Sharpshooter IPSC target
is built from durable, waterproof, corrugated plastic, making it an ideal alternative to cardboard or paper. Based on standard IPSC targets, the Sharpshooter features lightly perforated lines to mark the different scoring zones. The Sharpshooter also features two colors — one side is white, the other brown — to mimic shoot/no shoot scenarios.
Available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, Champion DuraSeal targets
all have one thing in common: The wobble, but they don't fall down. These highly reactive targets are approved for ammo from .17-caliber all the way up to .50-cal rifles and handguns — and even after thousands of rounds, it will keep its shape.
Price: Varies by model
Champion NRA Bullseye Targets
offers a wide variety of official NRA bullseye targets on paper or cardboard, and are available for timed and rapid fire, slow fire, and sighting in.
Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C
Offering maximum visibility for shooters, Birchwood Casey's popular Shoot-N-C line
features a variety of self-adhesive targets that explode in a bright, fluorescent, easy-to-see ring upon each bullet impact. Available in many shapes — including bullseye, sighting in, silhouette, and even crows and prairie dogs.
Challenge Targets Steel Handgun Target
There may be no more satisfying sound at the range than the "ping" as your bullet finds a steel target. Challenge Targets
offers a wide variety steel handgun targets, including this torso-shaped handgun target with a standard base. Rated for calibers up to .45 ACP, this target is approved for all standard FMJ ammo, and features an all-weather design and reversible target plate for extended target life.
Laserlyte Laser Trainer Target
Train wherever, whenever with the Laserlyte Laser Training Target
, an L.E.D. reactive target perfect for indoor dry-firing. This target uses the Laserlyte LT-Pro system, which is a microphone-fired laser that can be inserted into the barrel of your handgun. The reactive target features a Display mode that shows the shots you've taken, and a Reset option that will clear the board. Easy to set up and use, the Laserlyte Laser Trainer has a battery life of 6,000 shots on three AA batteries.