Your Guide to Buying a Shooting Target

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Your Guide to Buying a Shooting Target

The secret to consistent target shooting is concentration and quality equipment. This guide will offer information on how to purchase a shooting target, which is an essential piece of equipment for target shooting. This activity is mainly used to improve the ability to hit specific targets to help with other outdoor activities such as hunting.

Shooting targets are used for shooting sports and tactical training. Depending on the need, there are a variety of options available to potential buyers. These alternatives are available on the eBay platform within the hunting section. There are a host of different targets that can be bought depending on the type of calibre (.22 or .177) and condition of the target.

Safety Guidelines

Safety is the first factor to be considered. It is highly recommended that all shooters and observers/bystanders wear safety glasses that have been approved by governing bodies at all times.

Steel Targets

Gaining increased popularity, steel targets are commonly used to train law enforcement and military personnel. They are also affordable for the recreational shooter and enthusiast.

Points to consider when looking to purchasing steel targets:

  • What safety equipment is required?

Research the prospective company who produce the steel target. Due to safety concerns surrounding steel targets it is advisable to use a company who has a track record of:

  • Providing clients with their product.
  • Carrying out extensive tests on their products.
  • Have designed their products specifically for the use it is required for.
  • The products deflect bullet fragments in a safe direction.

Always follow the manufacturers recommended shooting guide distances. The standard guides are:

  • 7 yards for a hand gun
  • 50 yards to 100 yards for targets depending on the model you are using

Ease of transporting and setting up the target. For example, a commonly used material is ¼ inch thick angle iron. This adds weight to the target.  Reputable companies and suppliers will list their products on their website or in the product listing on eBay.

  • Where will the target be stored?
  • What type of fire arm is it for? This will affect the material used to create individual targets. For example, a target made out of ¼ inch angle iron will withstand a bullet from a hand gun, but a rifle will easily penetrate and cause considerable damage to the same target.
  • Is a steel target and frame required or can you substitute a steel frame with an inexpensive and replaceable support frame, like wood?

To note: Steel targets can be single targets, or multiple targets like plate racks or duelling trees which offer more than one target to hit.

Reactive targets

A reactive target is designed to react to the shot, giving visual feedback i.e. falling over if the shot is accurate. Based on a pivot mechanism and lock and pin, this target allows the rotational movement of the target. The lock and pin allows the target to have a couple of setting:

Pin installed – the target will fall back when shot then reset itself to an upright position after a short delay.
  • Pin removed, the target will fall back when shot and remain there.

The target will only be reactive if the shot hits the scoring zone of the target. Most systems have two components, a reactive device that sit behind steel, paper and/or cardboard targets. The steel, paper or cardboard targets are replaceable and the device is lightweight. These are designed to be moved from range to range. There are two different versions available:

  • Standard duty – SD – which are designed for and traditionally used for recreational use only.
  • Heavy duty – HD – which are better suited for commercial ranges and used by law enforcement and professional training shooters.

The targets lean is adjustable which increases the difficulty of a visual reaction i.e. multiple hits are required. You can place the target to the side of the target to alter the trigger point. The length of the wood post can be altered giving or taking height.

Exploding Targets

Exploding targets sit in the reactive targets category. Exploding targets can be attached to an existing target to produce the ‘explosion’. They are particularly popular with targets projected into the air (clay pigeon shooting).

However, they are also used on static exploding targets. These targets are suitable for firearms and archers. Exploding targets have a hit recognition system in place that when penetrated by a bullet or arrow explodes. A direct hit, the target ignites and produces a polytechnic reaction. This reaction is accompanied by a loud sound, smoke and a flash of light.

Please note:

  • The target will only explode if it receives a direct hit.
  • The addition of an exploding target will not affect the original purpose of the target. i.e. a clay pigeon target will still stack into the trap.

Extreme Reactive Targets

It is possible to purchase extreme reactive targets which use a counter weight mechanism to produce a quicker reaction. This is ultimately a more dramatic visual affect. As well as offering a quicker response, the target also falls completely flat before resetting itself (no manual reset required) to the upright position. The time lapse is generally between 2 to 5 seconds. Most are all-weather resistant, and these products do not require electricity, battery or pneumatic power supplies.

There are three extreme reactive targets:

  • Standard
  • Heavy
  • Magnum

Depending on the targets you decide upon that best suit your need, there are necessary accessories to accompany your purchase and improve your experience. These include:

  • Stake kits to secure your target
  • Side, front and/or stand along armour guard
  • Different sized target plates
  • Target stands

Moving Targets

There are a variety of different moving targets. Each is as individual as the purpose it is required for. The most common types of moving targets are:

  • The track runner. The target is mounted on a trolley system that runs on a system across a short distance. The trolley is mounted close to the ground. A track runner can change direction and speed.
  • Mobile clay targets or pigeon shooting targets. Clay targets are projected into the air by an automatic system out of ‘traps’. The height and distance of the target can be adjusted.

Paper and Cardboard Targets

There are three categories of paper/cardboard shooting targets to choose from:

  • Fun targets
  • Bulls eye targets
  • Novelty targets.

Fun targets have multiple different targets to hit and can be anything from pictures of billiards to the moon to flies. Bulls eye targets are usually circular targets with a bulls eye in the centre. Novelty targets can be a variety of different pictures. All targets are designed to challenge and engage the target and used for sport purposes only. Depending on the type of fire arm you are using will determine the best target to use.

Tuff Targets

Tuff targets are made out of water proof materials. They are designed for multiple use and all-weather conditions. Tuff targets also mark rounds and can also be used for Taser training.

Official Shooting Targets

If engaging in competition shooting, you will require regulation targets for practice. The type of target required will depend on the class or model being used. Each class will have its own official sanctioned shooting target. These targets are regulated and certified for consistency and quality. They also have accurate, competition dimensions.

Ballistic Polymer Targets

The Ballistic polymer target sits in the reactive target family.

Ballistic polymer targets are small novelty targets that sit close to the ground on small metal legs. The targets stand straight but when hit spin before returning to their original position. They are available in different shapes and styles. Because they react when hit and reset quickly, they are a fun alternative target.

Even though they sit in the ground on small metal legs, they are suitable and reliable in different terrain. All ballistic polymer targets are hands free. They are an affordable option for non-competition shooting enthusiasts. However, they are also suitable for military and tactical training.

Free Targets

Free targets can be found downloaded and printed from online websites. If the software is available, they can also be designed at home using a 2D-object drawing application. Please note: these will often not be up to regulation standards. They will also only be suitable if a paper or cardboard target is required.

If an affordable target is required, a suitable alternatively is to draw the target freehand. This can be done on different found materials like paper. It is possible to use inanimate objects like tin cans. Please note, these options are not suitable for training for professional meets.

Shooting Target Accessories

Depending on the target being used, accessories are required. These include:

  • Adhesive spray to mount the target to the shooting block.
  • Cleaning products.
  • Repair products to maintain the target.
  • Target holders
  • Target stands
  • Target plasters, dots and squares

How to Purchase Targets on eBay

eBay is a great source for target, and offers a wide range of all the different types of shooting targets.

  • Firstly, select the Sporting Goods categories from the drop down menu on the left hand of the page.
  • Next, select Hunting from the submenu and then choose the Targets option on the left hand search menu.
  • Now you’ll be able to browse through the targets available to find the right option to for you. Take advantage of the search options on the right hand side to narrow down the list further.
  • The next stage is to bid on the products that fit your requirements using eBay’s bidding process.

Once the bid is accepted, the buyer should use the various payment options available on eBay to make the purchase.

It is vital to engage in a dialogue with a specialist before purchasing a target to gain the knowledge required to understand the challenges and needs of firearms target shooting. As there is no specific ‘one size fits all’ target, this conversation will offer the answers to make the correct purchase. Be sure to ask about the safety requirements for the chosen target.

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