Whether you are brand new to the world of recreational shooting or have been a competing professional for years, practice is essential to become more proficient with your firearm. At MGM Targets, we believe shooting practice can be more than just pointing a barrel at a cardboard silhouette and pulling the trigger — it can be a blast, literally and figuratively. What’s the best way we believe there is to have the most fun with shooting? That would be using the best steel target plates on the market.
Nothing Like Steel
Cardboard and rubber targets get the job done when you’re developing shooting experience, and they can even be enjoyable to shoot. However, even with a bunch of brown tape to cover the holes, these targets sustain wear over time and eventually — or rather, soon — require replacement. Depending on the distance of your shot and the type of target, it can also be difficult to tell if you have hit your target.
One thing almost every shooter loves about training with steel is the distinctive ping that occurs when striking the target. There is almost no mistake that your target has been hit. Sturdy AR500 steel targets and higher ratings can stand up to pretty much any caliber, from .22 handguns to larger rifle calibers, including .50 BMG.
While steel targets generally cost more money initially than paper, cardboard, or even rubber options, they are excellent training aids, they last for years without damage from various projectiles and velocities, they can safely stop projectiles, and they are cost-effective in the long run. Steel shooting targets are useful for more than just military and law enforcement — they are fun to use alone or with a group of friends at the range.
But which steel targets are really the best? While the type of plate you invest in ultimately depends on your personal preference, we’ve identified five of our top picks for years of shooting fun.
A popper target is often a long target that stands upright until you strike it. Once you land a solid hit, the target falls backward and comes to rest on a bumper. Popper targets are actually their own category, and you can find a variety of options with this target type:
- Standard: Standard poppers are the ones that fall back onto a bumper when hit. These stay down and require shooters to manually reset the popper when they are ready to use it again.
- Auto: Auto-poppers eliminate the need to walk downrange and reset the target. After knocking down the target, it will reset itself. This gives you even more time for your shooting session.
- Flipper: A flipper is actually an attachment that can be added to most poppers. With the flipper secured, when you strike the popper target and it falls, it lands on one edge of the flipper, causing it to flip a target (such as a clay pigeon) into the air. Essentially, by adding the flipper, you get two targets in one setup.
2. Dueling Tree
Dueling trees are a favorite option among experienced shooters, and for good reason. This target consists of multiple plate targets hinged to a vertical steel base. When a plate is hit, the hinge allows it to swing around, setting itself up for another shot on the other side.
A dueling tree is a fan favorite because of its simple design and instant resetting ability. You can arrange the targets in whatever initial setup you want, with all of the plates on one side or certain plates on either side. Keep in mind that dueling trees rated only for .22 caliber ammo should only be used with .22 caliber firearms. Always check what calibers your steel target plates are rated for and use the appropriate firearm and ammo.
3. Plate Rack
Plate racks are another favorite for experienced shooters, particularly those with the targets resting on top of a base. Similar to a popper, top-resting plate racks fall back when you hit them. What makes this design particularly satisfying is that the targets are lined up in a row, so you can keep pulling the trigger as you move down the line and knock each one over. There are also hanging plate racks that swing when struck.
There are two ways to reset a top-resting plate rack: manually or with a cord. The cord attaches to a bar that you can pull to reset the targets into shooting position. You can use plate racks as metal rifle targets, but they are more commonly implemented for pistol shooting.
Spinner targets are a satisfying challenge when you’re ready to level up your skills. These shooting targets consist of two plates connected on either end of a strip of steel that connects to a horizontal bar standing on the ground. The goal is to strike the faceplates and get the target to spin — but wait, there’s more! The spinner won’t rotate with just one hit; you must strike it multiple times to get the momentum going and fully rotate the target.
5. Flash Target
If long-range shooting is more your thing, then a flash target is a fun way to spend the day. It requires no resetting once the stand is in place. Just choose your distance, aim, and fire! It can be more difficult to determine if you’ve struck a target from a long distance. That’s where the flasher comes in. When you hit the faceplate of the flash target, it will swing and provide you a view of the brightly colored target card behind it.
Perfect for Any Firearm Fun
You don’t need a special reason or a special professional to enjoy the effectiveness of steel targets. While paper targets are great for one-time use, steel targets can be used repeatedly for years without stressing about wear and tear. In addition, the steel is designed to absorb as much kinetic energy from projectiles as possible, meaning bullets are left flat, and any fragments are smaller, slower, or disintegrated.
Customers use these products for professional training, competition shooting, and recreational amusement. Some clubs and competitions have specific requirements for the use of steel targets, so we carry a large range of sizes and steel types to meet the needs of all firearms enthusiasts. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, we can help.
Find Your Ideal Target Products Today
Whether you’re looking for the best steel targets for shooting with your friends or practicing for your next 3-gun competition, MGM Targets has all of the options for a fun and lasting setup. Don’t forget to check out our steel paint products to color your steel targets and more easily see where you’re striking. Browse our extensive inventory of supplies and gear today, or contact our friendly and knowledgeable team directly by calling 208-454-0555. You can also reach us toll-free at 888-767-7371 or fill out our online form.
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