To get better shooting, you need to practice. To practice you need to shoot. And it’s boring, after a while, if you don’t have anything to shoot at.
Naturally it’s fun to have some targets. And steel targets are great, but the ricochet aspects of steel targets is annoying and dangerous.
That’s why it’s nice to have self healing targets to shoot at. Self healing targets are made out of a material, the manufacturers won’t tell us exactly what they’re made out of, for proprietary reasons, which makes sense, but they are made out of a soft rubbery feeling type material that pulls itself back together after a bullet passes through it.
Apologies for the less than scientific explanation of the material that makes these targets, but we’re not too focused on how the targets are made, but how they are to shoot.
A good self healing target will take thousands of shots, and still be reactive when hit. This means that they will fall backwards, so you can see from a distance that you hit the target.
It’s not as much fun if the bullet just passes through the target like butter, and you can’t tell that anything happened.
At Hotwells Shooting Range, we are big fans of the Throom ricochet free knock down targets.
These targets are great for a few reasons. First is they are self healing and ricochet free targets. You don’t have to worry about positioning the target so it angles downward, so the bullet bounces into the dirt, like you would on a steel target.
They knock down with each hit, and they snap back to their original upright position. This is great because there is no need to go down range to reset these targets. And that’s awesome.
Let’s face it, the bounce back/reset option is a luxury. It’s not the end of the world to reset your targets, but it’s a pain in the ass. To have the target bounce back on it’s own is just plain awesome.
The Throom targets are made out of a proprietary material called SHOOT THROO, which is a self healing polymer and allows these targets to take many many rounds and come back for more.
You can use these targets in two setups. You can screw them to a wooden platform, or you can leave the bolts off and just shoot them and let them fall over. But then you have to stand the back up, obviously.
We almost always use our Throom targets bolted into the platform.
Do-All Outdoors Big Gong Show 9″ Self-Healing Shooting Target
Another great option for self healing shooting targets are the Do-All Outdoors Big Gong Show 9″ Self-Healing Shooting Target.
It’s great to have a larger target to aim for and these 9″ Big Gong Shows fill that need nicely. Like all the self healing targets, we don’t know exactly what these targets are made out of, but Do-All Outdoors calls it a “technologically advanced material”. And that’s fine.
What’s important is that the target can handle repeated abuse from all calibers of handguns and rifles. The material does the job and reseals after the bullet passes through.
We like that the stand for the Big Gong Show comes with the package, and that it is pretty thick and built out of fairly sturdy materials.
This target hangs down off a wire. When a bullet hits it, the target will swing back and forth and it’s possible that the target would flip in a complete circle, but in real world use that never happens.
There is the benefit of the target being on a swing, you don’t have to reset it. But, it’s also a little less fun than a knockdown target like the Throom. So it depends what you are looking for.
You have the option to buy Big Gong Show in one, two, three, or a four piece set.
Since this is a fairly large self healing target at 9″ in diameter, you can attach a paper target to the front of it if you want. We do this sometimes because of the swinging action of the target, it’s not as exciting as a knockdown, so sometimes we attach a paper target to the front to mix it up.
Overall, we think that these are decent targets for the price.
Caldwell Duramax 5″ Self Healing Targets
Caldwell also makes some great self healing shooting targets. These are in the shape of what is best described as a ball. The fun thing about these shooting targets is that they are more active, compared to the targets previously stated.
Caldwell’s self healing material is made of ballistic polymer for maximum durability and it’s called Duramax. It can take lots of abuse from rounds in pistols and rifles. The Duramax will even take hollow point rounds, with minimal damage.
Because it’s a 3-dimenisional ball shape, this type of target is called reactive. Meaning that is responds to the rounds that hit it and moves around. We like this because it adds some variety at the shooting range.
You can also buy, essentially the exact same product, it’s still a Caldwell Duramax, but it’s in the shape of a square.
It’s important to know, that you basically want to use these targets in the grass. And then you don’t want to be shooting it grass that is too high, because then it will be hard to see the target.
You can even drill a hole in the target and hang it, if you don’t want to shoot in the grass.
And that’s what it’s all about with the targets mentioned here. We picked these targets because it give you a variety of shooting options. And with the different options comes different levels of shooting difficulty.
You want to mix up your targets because it will improve your performance over time as well as keep you from getting bored.