Sometimes, shooting targets for tiny groups needs to be balanced by shooting targets for plain ol’ fun.
Target shooting could never be classified as boring. Never ever. Punching holes in paper or banging steel simply does not get old. But, what if I were to tell you that there are ways to make target shooting even more enjoyable? Casually competitive?
Here are 10 “targets” that will change the way you look at — and experience — target shooting.
1. Zombie Industries “Bobo Clown” 3-D Bleeder
I don’t care if you’re a doomsday prepper, believer in the undead or just want to watch a zombie clown bleed — the Bobo Clown from Zombie Industries is for you. All of the zombie targets from ZI are life-sized and bleed when shot. They also show hits in orange and are biodegradable. Each order includes a zombie of your choice, a wooden stake to mount the zombie on and a box that becomes a dual-purpose target. One side is a tactical silhouette, while the other side holds clays and transforms into a reactive outbreak target. At $109, the zombie targets are a bit steep, but, they can withstand 1,000 rounds from anything from BB guns up to .50 cal. The zombie targets are great for group outings or tactical courses. The best part about them? They’re made in the USA by non-infected workers. www.zombieindustries.com
2. Birchwood Casey Pregame Battle At Sea
Who doesn’t remember playing Battleship? Who still plays Battleship? Well, with the new Birchwood Casey Battle at Sea targets, you can play something similar to Battleship while on the range. The ships are visible, so the guessing part is out — but hitting the targets is more fun than guessing anyway. The first person to hit all of the circles on the ships wins. Eight targets costs $12, or you can go big and get 100 for $100. These targets are also very fun for group outings, and a fun game for rimfire shooters and kids. www.birchwoodcasey.com
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3. Champion Re-Stick Targets
Champion realized that people were sick of covering shot holes with stickers, and re-stapling new targets over old ones. Champion teamed up with the Post-It Notes folks to create a peel-and-stick target. Simply peel it like a Post-It Note and stick it on top of the old target. They come in a large variety of styles, including life-sized deer vitals and turkey targets. The turkey targets have been my favorites when it comes to patterning each spring. The targets have a nice note-taking section to write in the loads tested, yardage and caliber — and they’ll cost you $10 per pack, which is very reasonable. www.championtarget.com
4. ShootSteel Magnum Rifle Spinner
The Magnum Rifle Spinner is everything you need to start banging steel. This setup comes complete with a stand that has 24-inch legs and a 24-inch crossbar, making the system compact and portable. The steel is made of ½-inch AR500 and has a 6-inch strike face — it’s perfect for out to 600 yards or more. For those large-caliber aficionados, the Magnum Rifle Spinner is rated up to .300 Winchester Mag. at 200 yards, and .308 Win. at 100 yards. This target doesn’t only help you with accuracy, but it can really fine-tune your timing as well: Hitting the target while it spins is a real challenge, and to do so required that you get your head in the game and keep it there. The 6-inch Magnum Spinner will cost you $180, and it’s also available in an 8-inch version. www.shootsteel.com
5. VisiColor Zombie Targets
“Another fun zombie target?” Yep, because, who doesn’t enjoy playing out a zombie apocalypse scenario whilst at the range? These reactive targets are a very large 18 inches by 12 inches high-quality paper target with VisiColor technology. Zombie heads show hits in bright green, body shots are bright yellow and misses or hits on hostages appear in white. A variety 6-pack will run you about $10. www.championtarget.com
6. Champion Center Mass AR500 Pop-Up Targets
The 4- by 14-inch pop-up silhouette target has been great for me and my wife, as it’s the perfect size for brushing up in preparation for our annual prairie dog trip. The 3/8-inch-thick AR500 steel targets stand up straight upon set-up, and they lay down flat before popping back up when hit. And best of all, they give off that beautiful tell-tale “ping” when hit. Besides prepping for a prairie dog shoot, these targets are great for AR practice and long-range precision shooting. The 14- by 4-inch model will cost you $130. www.championtarget.com
7. Benchmaster Shoot The Dice Targets
These consumable dice-shaped targets are not only long-lasting, but they’re also extremely creative. For $10, you get a pair of high-density foam dice targets that measure 4 inches square. They’re weather and chemical resistant, and they are also impervious to rot, mold and mildew for years of hard-hitting practice — they even float! The possibilities are endless when it comes to games … just be careful you don’t lose all of your money to your buddy. www.benchmasterusa.com
8. Tannerite Starter Kit
Yes, Tannerite combusts into a glorious ball of glory, and everyone has to experience it a few times — though “a few” is certain to lead to “a lot.” The Starter Kit is perfect for the beginner: This single case comes with six ½-pound targets, pre-measured packets of catalyst, a mixing container and instructions. At $28, this is the perfect kit to get your feet wet with binary exploding targets. And of course I have to say the obvious: Be sure to use extra caution, and follow the directions carefully. www.tannerite.com
9. Duraseal Interactive Targets
Duraseal targets have been wildly popular over the past few years. The entire lineup of Duraseal targets features self-healing material that will withstand shots from .17 caliber up to .50 caliber (yes, you read that right: .50 caliber). They come in a wide-range of options, from spinning varmints to soup cans that can be filled with fluids, chalk or flour. A favorite is the 7-inch varmint-orange spinner. It’ll cost you $22, and you won’t regret spending a penny of it, because it’s great for kids and adults alike. www.championtarget.com
10. Tannerite Bunker Box
If you’re looking for a gift for that special someone — or for yourself — the Bunker Box from Tannerite is right up your alley. This pack comes in a beautiful cedar box (which is great for ammo when you shoot up the contents), eight 1-pound targets, pre-measured packets of catalyst, mixing container, instructions, stickers, earplugs, a pen, limited edition safety glasses, a hat … and one of five mystery items. Coming in at $100, this box is great for a group party or bachelor/bachelorette party. The massive clouds of water vapor and the giant “boom” have made Tannerite land atop the list of fun range goodies. Again, use caution when dealing with binary exploding targets. www.tannerite.com
Remember to try to introduce someone new to shooting. And trust me when I say that having a few of these with you at the range could make shooting a lot more enjoyable for someone new to the sport.
Editor's Notes: This article originally appeared in the 2018 Shooting Is Fun issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.