Any defensive handgun is only as good as its wielder, which is why it’s so critical to get in lots of regular marksmanship and gun-handling practice. There are two main reasons why some armed women don’t get enough range time in: First, difficulty finding a place to shoot; and second, boredom. We can provide some assistance with the first—click here to use our range locator by entering your zip code, setting your radius and checking the "Places to Shoot" box. But what about the second problem, boredom? Well, that’s easy! Here are six fun pistol targets for the public or private range that will keep you entertained while helping you take your marksmanship to the next level.
Many public ranges, especially indoor ranges, limit the types of targets you can use to paper only. And when you think “paper target,” you’re probably thinking of the traditional bullseye target, or a squared-off humanoid shape—or maybe you’re just yawning. But paper targets can be both fun and instructive. Here’s what we mean.
Action Target Battle at Sea Splatter Target
You sunk my battleship! The Action Target Battle at Sea Splatter Target is a great way to plink away by yourself, or you can get a friend involved and turn this splattery target into a fun competition. Every hit will register with a clear “splatter,” so you’ll get real-time feedback about your aim. One case of 100 targets is $135; ActionTarget.com
Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C Handgun Trainer Target
The Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C target line has been around for a long time, and it’s a favorite among shooters for the bright chartreuse ring that appears on the target for every hit. This one is special because it shows you right there in real time what might be causing your point of impact to be different from your point of aim. Are you anticipating recoil, or jerking the trigger, or squeezing too hard with your thumb? This target will tell you so in clear English…no expert opinion required. $15.99 for five targets and 110 pasters; BirchwoodCasey.com
Champion Target Visicolor Training Targets
This last public-range target option is a bit of the best of both of the above. It’s a training target, but it also has options for “playing” with a friend or two to see who has the best reaction time and superior aim. Brilliant, high-vis bursts of color accompany every direct hit, and at $12.95 for 12 targets, it’s an inexpensive way to turn your range day into both an instruction session and a social occasion. ChampionTarget.com
What we mean by “private range” is any range that allows you to shoot at 3-D targets—some public ranges, especially outdoor ones, do permit this. However, generally, what we’re talking about is the type of backyard shooting that many private citizens with some acreage enjoy. Here’s how to make it even more enjoyable.
Birchwood Casey Handgun Dueling Tree Target+
Real duels between enemies are, thankfully, on the ash-heap of history … but fun duels between friends on the range are here to stay! Birchwood Casey’s Handgun Dueling Tree Target is a perfect introduction to the fun of shooting steel targets. They ping, they swing, and this particular model is for all handgun calibers. (The company also offers Dueling Trees for air guns and rimfire handguns.) At $429.99 it’s a bit of an investment, but one that you’ll keep for decades, and that will pay off over just a few months of shooting. BirchwoodCasey.com
Champion Target Duraseal Spinner Target
Duraseal targets may not look like much at first glance, but we promise you that they’re hilarious fun. Constructed of ballistic, self-sealing plastic, Duraseal targets are considerably lighter than metal targets, so it doesn’t take much to get them to move. And move they do; it’s impossible not to giggle as they flip and skitter with every strike. (The “soup can” target we’ve pictured can be filled with water or flour for extra hilarity.) Available in a mind-blowing variety of sizes and shapes, these targets can absorb hundreds of handgun and rifle rounds before they’re done. MSRPs depend upon product. ChampionTarget.com
“Waste not, want not,” say the sages, and we agree—if you have access to the sort of outdoor range where nobody gets mad if critters come to visit it, then you’ve got a cheap (or free) way to shoot all day and have more fun than you’d believe: expired produce. Yes, those mushy potatoes and manky apples will burst and explode in a glory of past-its-prime starch…and since it’s biodegradable and attractive to nocturnal critters, you can leave cleanup to the elements. No MSRP; YourFridge.home