Best Steel Targets

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Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned shooter, steel targets are a great way to improve your shooting skills. They’re also just plain fun to shoot at!

But with all the different types and sizes of steel targets on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the different types of steel targets and what they’re best used for. We’ll also give you some tips on how to set up your targets for the best shooting experience.

So whether you’re looking for the best steel targets for competition shooting or just want to have some fun at the range, read on!

The best steel targets for shooting

If you are building your own range or looking for quality targets to take to the range you’ll likely land on buying steel targets.

Here are some of the best steel targets on the market.

Shoot Steel

Shoot Steel Target

When it comes to finding the best steel targets for practice, Shoot Steel is the industry leader.

Their high-quality AR500 steel targets and stands are designed to provide valuable feedback and practice for everyone from hobby shooters to government agencies.

Their unique target designs offer some of the most varied options of any steel target manufacturer.

For a full shooting experience, their IDPA Silhouette is a great choice that requires only 2x4s from your local hardware store.

If you’re looking for something more robust, their short-range rifle target is a great option that has survived thousands of rounds.

For those who don’t want to deal with 2x4s or bolts, check out their Armadillo target in AR550.

When shooting steel targets, always remember to veer on the side of caution and be aware of the quality and integrity of your targets.


Best Steel Targets Texas Star by Shoot Steel

ShootSteel is an industry leader in AR500 steel targets, offering a wide range of products from hobby shooters to government agencies.

Their Target AR500 Portable Texas Star “No Weld” Reactive Steel Shooting Target is a popular choice among shooters, offering 8in paddles for maximum stopping power.

texas star shot off

The Texas Star is by far one of my favorite targets to shoot. It’s fun and adds an added difficulty that makes you an all-around better shooter.

3/8″ AR500 Steel Target PPT Starter Bundle

AR500 Starter Bundle

The 3/8″ AR500 Steel Target PPT Starter Bundle includes one 8-inch and three 4-inch AR500 gongs made of ½-inch thick AR500 steel.

The targets are suitable for rifles up to .338 Win. or Lapua Mag. when set up beyond 200 yards and pistols from 10 yards or greater.

The bundle also includes two 20-inch tall, 12-inch wide, 3/8-inch thick or ½-inch thick steel targets, perfect for defensive training or long-range work.

All of the targets are made in the USA and feature a lifetime guarantee when used as directed.

Xsteel Targets

Xsteel Targets have many features and benefits that make them a great choice for shooting enthusiasts.

Their targets are well-machined and durable, providing long-lasting performance.

Xsteel Targets are also competitively priced and made from the highest quality AR500 and AR550 steel, making them suitable for use with a variety of calibers.

Xsteel Targets offer a variety of shapes and sizes, including hanging, gong, static, moving, and reactive steel targets, as well as stands, hardware, and accessories for mounting them.

Xsteel Targets offer innovative designs, such as their steel hostage and chest flappers that add an extra challenge to shooting drills.

Finally, Xsteel Targets offer a fun and safe shooting experience that can be enjoyed by everyone from hobby shooters to government agencies.

Best AR500 Steel Shooting Targets

What are the best AR500 steel shooting targets?

Shoot Steel Inc. is the industry leader in high-quality AR500 steel targets, target stands, and other valuable range equipment.

PING! Nothing is quite as satisfying as hearing that sound when shooting. With the right AR500 steel targets, you can practice high-speed, dynamic shooting and get valuable feedback and practice for everyone from hobby shooters to government agencies.

For the best AR500 steel shooting targets, look no further than Shoot Steel targets.

Benefits of Shooting Steel Targets

Here are the top 6 benefits of shooting steel targets.

Steel Targets can take Abuse

Steel targets are a great choice for target practice due to their superior durability and user-friendly features.

Unlike paper targets, steel targets can withstand much more abuse and still function properly.

Steel targets are made of tough steel that has been heat-treated and hardened to ensure durability and long life.

This makes them much more resistant to wear and tear than paper targets. Steel targets are also reusable, as they can easily be wiped off and reused, while paper targets must be replaced each time they are used.

Steel targets can also provide audible feedback when struck, allowing the shooter to know that they have hit their mark.

In contrast, paper targets do not provide any feedback, as the shooter must physically check the target to determine if it has been hit.

Steel targets also have the added benefit of ricocheting a bullet in a safe direction, while paper targets do not.

All of these qualities make steel targets the clear choice for target practice, as they have better durability and are more user-friendly than paper targets.

Steel Targets Provide Instant Feedback

Steel targets provide instant feedback during shooting, allowing shooters to easily identify when they strike their desired target.

Steel targets utilize hardened steel, such as AR500 or AR550, which is designed to withstand thousands of rounds of ammunition.

When a round is fired at a steel target, the target will react by either ringing or a muffled thump depending on the distance the shooter is from the target.

Steel targets also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including reactive targets that can be set up to move when shot.

This provides shooters with an added level of challenge and fun.

Some steel targets also come with stands so they can be securely set up on any range.

Steel targets are an ideal choice for training and recreational shooting as they are more durable than paper targets, last for years, and cost less per trigger pull.

Steel Targets are More Cost-Effective

Steel targets are more cost-effective than other targets in the long run due to their longevity and durability.

In contrast to paper targets, steel targets can take thousands of rounds and can last for years with proper maintenance.

These advantages make steel targets an excellent choice for ensuring an enjoyable and cost-effective shooting experience.

Steel targets can last a lifetime if properly cared for

Step-by-Step Instructions on Caring For Steel Targets to Last a Lifetime:

  1. Invest in high-quality AR500 or AR550 steel targets. These targets are specifically designed to take thousands of rounds and will last longer than cheaper alternatives.
  2. Hang the steel targets correctly. Make sure the targets are mounted or hung at a downward angle and that the shooting surface is completely flat to avoid any dangerous ricochets.
  3. Use the proper steel hardness. Depending on the type of bullets you’ll be using, you’ll want to make sure to purchase the correct hardness of steel.
  4. Regularly inspect your steel targets. Make sure to check for pitting, indents, and other imperfections in the steel surface. If you have any doubts about the quality or integrity of the steel target, replace it.
  5. Clean your targets regularly. Over time, steel targets can accumulate lead and other debris.
  6. Use the correct ammunition. Make sure to use ammunition that is designed for use with steel targets, such as full metal jacket bullets. Soft point, hollow point, and other types of bullets can cause bullets to fragment when striking steel targets, resulting in ricochets.

How to Buy the Best Steel Targets

Here is a lest of what to look for when buying your steel targets!

Quality of the steel

The quality of steel is paramount when choosing steel targets for shooting.

A quality steel target will ensure that the target can withstand impact without becoming deformed, cracked, or destroyed.

Steel targets made of AR500 or AR550 are typically more durable and can handle more rounds than other materials.

Quality steel is also hardened to a specific hardness rating, allowing it to absorb the force of impact from higher velocity rounds.

Steel targets that are properly heat treated and capable of lasting for hundreds of thousands of rounds are far superior to cheaper steel targets that are quickly churned out.

By investing in higher-quality steel targets, you can rest assured that your investment will last for many years and provide an engaging shooting experience.

Size and Weight

When choosing a steel target based on size and weight, there are several factors to consider.

The size of the target is important as it will determine how visible it is at different distances and how challenging it is to hit.

A smaller target will require more accuracy, while a larger one may be visible from farther away.

The weight of the target is also important, as heavier targets will be more durable and able to withstand repeated shots, while lighter targets may need to be replaced more often or only be for smaller calibers.

Ultimately, the size, weight, and material of the steel target must match the intended use in order to ensure optimal performance and safety.


When it comes to choosing a steel target for shooting, durability is an important factor to consider.

Shoot Steel targets offer superior durability compared to competitors, as they are designed to last longer and experience less cracking and cratering.

ShootSteel also uses the highest quality, impact-resistant steel and are built to take thousands of rounds, making them the industry leader in steel targets.

Overall, ShootSteel offers durability, quality, and innovation, making them the top choice in steel targets.


When choosing a steel target for shooting, there are a few coatings to consider.

Firstly, powder coating in white is a popular choice, as it can be ready to shoot straight away.

Enamel paint can also help to extend the target’s lifespan by preventing rust. Painting the target also allows for greater visibility of where you have hit the target.

Applying a coat of enamel paint helps extend the target’s life by preventing rust, as well as making it easier to see your shots.

On the other hand, Grizzly Targets offer Hot-Dip Galvanization on all their steel target systems.

This prevents corrosion of the mechanisms, making them rust-free for many years. Other competitors may not paint their targets, leaving the customer to do it themselves.

When it comes to steel targets, the best coatings are those that protect the target and make it easier to see your shots.

Powder coating and enamel paint both provide long-lasting protection, while Hot-Dip Galvanization is a rust-preventative measure that ensures the target remains in good condition for longer.

Holes and carriage bolts

Steel targets with holes and carriage bolts are used to mount the target securely in place and protect the shooter from ricochets.

The holes are typically 1/2 inch in diameter and the carriage bolts are used to hold the target in place when hung from chains, rubber straps, or steel target hangers.

The steel targets must be able to swing or move freely for them to deflect bullets safely. Mounting the target in this way allows for a safe and effective shooting experience.


Price plays an important role in the selection of a steel target for shooting.

The lower the price of a target, the more affordable it is, allowing for more people to purchase it.

On the other hand, the higher the price of a target, the more features and quality it may offer.

For example, a target that costs $39.99 may be of lower quality than one that costs $135.00.

The price can also determine the size and weight of the target, with higher-priced targets typically offering more durability and sturdiness than lower-priced targets.

Ultimately, it is important to consider the cost of a steel target in relation to its quality and features, as this can ultimately determine the performance and longevity of the target.

Variety of targets

Steel targets for shooting come in a variety of styles, materials and sizes, providing shooters of all levels with challenge and movement.

Challenge Targets offer modular target systems that are durable and maintenance-free, making them ideal for law enforcement use.

For recreational shooters or beginners, a wide selection of single targets, target systems and stages are available for USPSA Steel Challenge events.

Reactive targets

Reactive targets are targets that respond to being shot in some way, such as spinning, swinging, or falling over.

They are important for shooting steel targets because they provide instant feedback on a shooter’s accuracy and can add a degree of challenge and fun to range shooting.

Reactive targets also provide an interactive, tactile experience, allowing shooters to experience the sound, motion and challenge of shooting steel targets.

Unlike paper targets, reactive targets allow shooters to practice their defensive shooting skills since they are not supposed to hit the silhouette of a “hostage” on the target.

Reactive targets are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used for target practice, competitions, and even self-defense training.

Many high-quality reactive targets are designed and conceptualized for competition use and are designed to be safe and fun to shoot.

From lightweight rimfire targets to plate racks and dueling trees, steel reactive targets provide a unique and challenging experience for shooters of all skill levels.

Target holders

Target holders are an essential part of choosing a steel target for shooting. They are used to securely and safely mount a steel target onto a range or shooting area.

Target holders can be made of various materials such as steel, aluminum, and even plastic.

They are important because they help to ensure that the target is securely mounted and that it can withstand the intense pressures of shooting.

Properly secured targets are also safer and can help to prevent ricochets that can be dangerous.

Target holders also help to reduce the need for frequent replacement of targets, as they provide a sturdy and secure mount for the steel target.

When choosing a steel target, it is important to make sure that it comes with a sturdy and reliable target holder that is appropriate for the type of shooting you are doing.

Training benefits

What training benefits are offered by steel targets for shooting?

Steel targets provide instant audible feedback when hit, making training scenarios fun and providing great visual feedback.

This helps shooters to develop tactical skills that are essential to those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve the public.

Steel targets are also more durable and require less maintenance than other target systems, making them a preferred option for repeated long term use.


What types of steel targets are available for shooting?

Steel targets come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, making them suitable for a wide range of shooting activities.

The two main categories of steel targets are static and dynamic.

Static targets include silhouettes and gongs and provide audible feedback when hit, while dynamic targets are interactive and require more skill to hit.

Dynamic targets include falling steel silhouettes, dueling trees, and MGM spinner targets.

Plate racks suitable for pistol shooting and IDPA targets are also available.

What are the differences between gong targets, silhouette targets, and hostage targets?

Gong targets are round and have three mounting holes which makes them a very versatile targets that can work with handguns and rifles.

They swing when hit and reset quickly, making them a great choice for honing one’s self-defense skills.

Silhouette targets are static targets that don’t move when hit, making them ideal for nearly any firearm.

Hostage targets are a lot of fun because they spin around when hit and reset to the other side, challenging the shooter to hone their self-defense skills without shooting the silhouette “hostage.”

Dynamic targets, such as falling Steel Challenge-style silhouettes, dueling trees, and spinner targets, provide an extra challenge and are great for speed shooting.

Plate racks, which come in six, eight, ten, and twelve-inch plates, also provide an enjoyable shooting experience.

How durable are steel targets?

Steel targets are extremely durable and long lasting, making them a great choice for target shooting.

High quality steel targets can take thousands of rounds of ammunition without showing signs of wear or damage.

Heat-treated steel targets are even more durable and can last for hundreds of thousands of rounds.

When cared for properly, steel targets can provide shooters with years of reliable use.

Steel targets are a great investment for shooters that are looking for an economical, long-term solution for their target practice needs.

How often should I check for rust on steel targets?

Steel targets should be inspected regularly for rust and other signs of degradation.

To ensure maximum safety, it is recommended to check your steel targets for rust and other signs of wear and tear at least once every 6 months.

Additionally, if you are shooting high-caliber rounds (such as .50 BMG) it is particularly important to check for rust as these rounds can cause significant damage to the target.

Painting your target with a coat of enamel paint can extend its life and make it easier to spot where you have shot the target.

It is also important to make sure the steel target is hung at the proper angle and distance to prevent it from being damaged.

What type of ammunition should I use for steel targets?

When shooting steel targets, the best type of ammunition to use is frangible ammo that will disintegrate upon impact, as it will limit shrapnel and ricochet.

This ammo is more expensive and not always easy to find, but it is the best option for shooting steel targets.

As an alternative, FMJ ammo is also suitable for steel targets.

It is important to not use armor piercing, steel core, or green tip ammo as these can cause dangerous ricochets and shrapnel, and can also damage the steel targets.

The most popular steel for shooting targets is 3/8″ thick AR500 steel plates, as this is strong enough to handle a bullet impact without pitting, warping, or incurring excessive damage.

The best steel targets for .223 and 5.56 are made of AR550 steel and are either 3/8″ or 1/2″ thick, while low-velocity ammunition only requires 1/4″ steel plates.

Distance also affects which type of steel is required, as rounds will lose more velocity at greater distances and thus have less of an impact on the steel targets.

What are the safety considerations for using steel targets?

When shooting steel targets, it is important to consider safety as a top priority. Here are some safety considerations for using steel targets:

  1. Always use properly hardened AR500 steel from a reputable manufacturer.
  2. Always veer on the side of caution and if there are any doubts about the quality or integrity of the steel target, change it out for a newer one.
  3. Use a different bullet or get another target if afraid the bullets being used are too hard for a specific target.
  4. Angle the target downward to decrease the risk of ricochet accidents. Ensure the proper angle for every kind of bullet used.
  5. Immediately cease using the target if it has started to develop dings, dents, or cracks.
  6. Ensure the steel target is smooth and free of any surface damage.
  7. Use the right ammunition with the right target.
  8. Observe a minimum safe distance with all steel targets.
  9. Follow specific instructions for each steel target and pay attention to the thickness of the target.
  10. Wear appropriate protective gear such as eye and ear protection, and consider using a face shield or mask when shooting.

Are there any special features I should look for when buying steel targets?

When shopping for the best steel targets, it’s important to look for certain features that will ensure your targets will last a long time and remain safe to use.

The most important thing to look for is AR500 or AR550 steel. This is a high-grade steel that is built to withstand the pressure of centerfire calibers, even up to .50 BMG.

You’ll want to consider the size of the target and the mounting system required. The larger and more complex the target is, the more support it will need and the more money you’ll have to spend.

Finally, it’s important to make sure you’re buying steel targets from a reputable manufacturer with a track record of producing quality targets.

Cheap targets can be made with a laser cutter and do not have to meet the same standards as a great target.

Great targets are heat-treated and can last for hundreds of thousands or even millions of rounds.

Michael Savage
Michael Savage

Michael is the President of Lynx Defense and an avid gun owner and outdoors man. He's passionate about helping find the best bang for your buck and helping others learn about firearms and the industry as a whole.

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  1. Honestly couldn’t be more disappointed with Shoot Steel. The quality of welds and overall experience with the targets is far worse than other brands. I honestly should have just stuck with Action Target for steel. They are consistent, safe, and reliable. Sure they cost more, but you really get what you pay for.

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