Steel Targets for Noobs

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At one point in my life, I got bored with going to the shooting range just to punch holes in paper. Don’t get me wrong, I loved shooting, but after awhile it just got repetitive. But, as luck would have it, before I fell too deep into despair I landed a job with a steel-target company and discovered the joy of steel targets, rekindling my love of the sport. Although I have since moved on from that job, my love of steel still rings true to this day.

Dink!

To newbies, shooting on steel is usually pretty awesome because of the instant gratification it brings when they hit the target — the cling and clang followed by actual movement. But newbies might also find it challenging because instead of shooting a 36×24-inch paper target where mistakes are clearly marked, the target is an 8-inch plate that’s hit or miss. And if it’s a miss, it’s hard to tell if it was high or low, right or left. All of your bad habits are exposed when you shoot steel, but the challenge is part of the fun.

Steel targets come in a variety of shapes, styles and functions. The set up can be as complex as a series of plates that swing from one side to the other to test a shooter’s quickness and accuracy, or as simple as a gong set up out yonder just waiting to be rung.

Common set ups, and some of my personal favorites, are the Plate Rack and the Hostage Target, both made by Action Target. The two are just as challenging as they are entertaining.

The Plate Rack is a series of 8-inch plates that you shoot in order. You shoot one, it falls over and you move on to the next. It’s designed to challenge speed more so than accuracy.

The Hostage Target is a traditional torso target that has a 4-inch swinger plate behind the head of the torso. Basically it simulates a bad guy using a hostage as a shield. This design tests a shooter’s reaction and accuracy, and it’s just plain fun as the target swings back and forth.

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