Our Favorite Steel Targets for the Shooting Range
When I was a kid, I’d just go out to my friends farms or a field somewhere with some guns, and start shooting.
I’d make sure I’d bring along whatever I could find laying around the house to shoot. Maybe I’d take an old plastic gallon of milk and fill it up with water.
I’d take all the empty soda cans I could get, and even sneak one or two can that were full.
It’s just more fun when they explode.
And that was how I started. Nothing fancy and just pulling together whatever I could find, and taking it to an empty field and firing away. It was always really fancy if I got my hands on a target and something to hang it up with, but I usually didn’t have one.
I’ll never forget the day my buddy took me to the local gun and hunting supply store. It wasn’t a big box retailer like Cabela’s but it had all the gun toys and accessories you can imagine.
All I can say is, it was awesome to walk into that store.
One of the first sections I came across was a section of steel targets. I was blown away! These weren’t just pieces of metal, but actual toys, or tools, that were well thought out, designed, and manufactured.
I had heard of these types of steel targets, but I’d never seen them. And I was broke at the time and really couldn’t afford anything except some bullets and empty soda cans to shoot.
Anyway, I was hooked on these steel targets and wanted to get them like a kid wants candy.
As I grew older and got a job and life happened, I could afford to spend money on shooting and of course I bought a bunch of different steel targets.
These AR500 Steel Gong targets are a great way to get started building your collection of steel targets. This one is made by the company ShootingTargets7.
This is a great starter target because it’s simple and it’s a very heavy target. The AR500 is 1/4″ steel which is fine even for most handguns and some smaller magnums like the 357 mag.
Now, if you’re like me when I started out using steel targets, you might be worried about if there is a risk of ricochet. Well, you don’t have to worry about ricochet for the most part. T
he plate is built with a small angle to is so that the bullet deflects downward.
If you are taking smart safety precautions, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Just take it out to a field or a range where there is a dirt mound behind it. And make sure you stay a safe distance from the target.
For handguns, make sure to stand at least 15 yards back and for rifles, make sure you are at least 50 yards back.
I’ve shot hundreds, maybe thousands of rounds at these things and they are fased even a little. Some people like to paint them. I have before, but I’m usually too lazy to bother.
Resetting targets were something I couldn’t even dream of as a kid. Once I blew up the soda can or cantaloupe, that was all I had to shoot and my day was over.
I’d have been over the top if I had these portable resetting targets from Caldwell.
The targets are really easy to use and to setup. The 2.5″ targets automatically reorient after every hit, so you can keep shooting until you get tired.
I just love when I hit the target dead on and I hear that perfect “plink”. I don’t know how they do this, but the sound isn’t the same, it’s not as satisfying, when my shot isn’t as accurate as it should be.
The legs insert into the ground keeping the display pretty stable.
The targets are durable, made of heavy steel, but they are not designed to be used with magnum velocities.
Personally, I don’t bother to put the stickers on as they will fall off with the first hit. Simply get a spray can of orange color a re-spray the gongs every now and then.
Final Thoughts / Conclusion
Steel targets are fun. You need to be careful with them, ricochets can happen, but for the most part they are safe and very reliable. If you are only going to have one type of target, you want it to be steel.
If you plan on spending the day at the range, you will be glad that you brought along some steel targets.