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Once you’ve decided which air rifle, pellet gun, airsoft gun, or BB gun you’re going to purchase; you’ll need to do some target practice to work on your accuracy and get comfortable with your new gun.
Below, I’ve put together a great list of cool air rifle targets that are great for plinking in the backyard or even indoors with some of the targets on the list. I’ll also show you some good DIY free printable targets.
Oh, and if you aren’t sure which BB gun to buy, check out my review on the best BB guns here.
Why Should I Buy a Target When I Can Just Shoot a Pepsi Can?
Before I start this part of the review, I will say most my life I shot free targets like soda cans. We would shake the hell out of them so they would explode when we hit them.
But, let me answer the question, “Why do I need to buy targets when I can simply use bottles or steel cans (like a soda can)?” Well, the answer to that question is that you technically don’t “need” to buy targets, as cans and bottles have been used as targets for as long as guns and cans have been around.
However, training with moving or more realistic targets can be more fun and actually better training. From silhouette targets similar to those used at police shooting ranges (have a blacked out figure in the shape of a person with markings to assist you in hitting your target), to splatturburst targets that reveal a fluorescent yellow marker where your BB or pellet hits so that you can see how well you are shooting from a distance and adjust your aim accordingly. Moving and more advanced targets are great for training and improving marksmanship skills.
Types of Targets:
Silhouette: As mentioned briefly in the above paragraph, silhouette targets are typically stationary (meaning they do not move around) paper targets, like the ones at sport shooting ranges and police ranges. They have markings with point values on certain parts of the body, and are meant to improve accuracy in defensive shooting scenarios.
As a matter of fact, these targets are very good at increasing accuracy, especially in situations where you may have to use your weapon in self defense. That’s why they are often used by police departments to prepare officers for these types of scenarios.
They also prepare you to shoot at something that is the shape of another person, which, in turn, decreases the hesitation that many people may feel if they have to use their weapon (even if it’s in a life or death situation).
Varmint targets: These are little targets that can be placed in real-world settings, like your backyard or in the woods, or at areas where you would likely see game to hunt. If you purchased a BB rifle in order to take care of annoying or nuisance pests on your property, these are definitely the target for you. Not only can you increase your accuracy, but by placing them in different places, you are training for a more realistic scenario.
Varmint targets are often small and lifelike pictures of different types of small birds, rodents, and other animals that one would expect to encounter when hunting.
They are generally very cheap, as they are essentially just printed pictures of these small animals on thick paper or card stock, meaning if you have some card stock and a color printer, you can actually make these yourself without much effort at all. However, they usually come in at under $5, so you won’t hurt your wallet if you decide to buy them or if you decide make them on your own.
They may not look like much, but they greatly increase accuracy in the real world, and get you ready to pull the trigger aimed at a living animal if this is something you have never done before.
Round targets: These look like dart board targets printed on paper. They are circles printed on square target paper with markings on the target to help you increase your accuracy. These are usually the first targets that beginners use in order to get used to handing the weapon and to initially begin to train their shot to hit a target.
Specialty targets: There are several other types of specialty targets available. One type is a “gong” target, which hangs in between a stand. They resembled a gong, the ancient musical instrument, which is where they get their name. They are large, but can be placed at varying distances in order to test your accuracy, range, and to calibrate sights and maximum range of your new BB gun.
Next up, let’s take a look at self resetting targets. These come with a frame on which several targets are attached. One target (you never know which one) will pop up, and when you knock it out, another one will come up automatically, hence the name. These are great targets for spontaneous shooting, and because any target may be the next one that comes up, this unexpected characteristic actually allows you to increase your accuracy when shooting at a limited moving target, because, even though these targets do not actually move, the fact that you never know which is next means that you will have to adjust your aim according. Many carnivals use these types of targets as well as targets that move horizontally by and reset after they are hit, which is another type of high-end (expensive) resetting target apparatus.
Exploding targets are another type of specialty target that will produce a small explosion when they are hit. These are also rather small in size, but the smoke cloud that is released upon a hit will definitely serve the purpose of giving a bright visual aid to mark your hit. These are incredibly fun to use. To use these, you need to mix together the two chambers of nontoxic chemicals. When these are mixed, they explode upon impact with the projectile. They are not high explosives my any standard, but they are definitely some interesting and fun targets to use for increasing your accuracy.
Important note: While these are super fun to use, it is unlikely they will detonate properly unless you have purchased a high-power BB gun with velocity of 1000 feet per second or more.
Moving targets do not really need an introduction. They are designed solely to increase the accuracy of the shooter when aiming at moving targets. These are absolutely the best type of target to practice with if you are purchasing your new gun in order to go live quarry shooting, that is, getting rid of nuisance pests and other small game; or for training for real world self defense scenarios where you will likely have to shoot at a moving target, but I mean, these are BB guns we’re just trying to have some good fun.
There are also quite a few other types of specialty targets, but to list them all here would require that we write a small book. The types listed above are the most common and will allow you to accomplish everything you would want to get out of target practice.
What is the Best BB Gun Target or Air Rifle Target for Me?
Just like I said about the “best” BB gun, the best BB gun target or air rifle target for you is going to solely depend on the intended use of your weapon. If you are a brand new shooter and you are just target training for accuracy or to get used to the gun, a silhouette target or a round target will probably do the trick. Cans and bottles also work very well for this, though, and have a literal price point of zero.
Exploding targets, in addition to being able to increase your accuracy, can be placed in obscure locations instead of just on a target stand. Just like varmint targets, this will assist you in training you to shoot at things that spontaneously pop up. Plus, they are super fun, as you feel a sense of great satisfaction when you see your shot hit and the small explosion follow. Moving targets will even further increase your accuracy when using your weapon for hunting, but you will not get that satisfaction you get from hitting an exploder. If you are hunting small game, any of these (exploding, moving, or varmint) are the best way to go in terms of making sure you hit what you are aiming at while it is scurrying across a field.
Below are some of my favorite targets out there right now.
Here Are the Best BB Gun and Air Rifle Targets
1. Crosman Varmint Targets
As far as cheap air rifle targets go, nothing beats a soda can. That said, these varmint targets are super cheap and are a lot of fun to shoot at.
I like that they have the bullseye marked on them. When teaching kids to hunt you want to get them to practice aiming at the exact spot they want to hit, not just the whole target.
You know the old saying “aim small, miss mall.” Well, it’s totally true. If you buying a BB Gun or pellet gun as a gift I definitely recommend picking up a pack of these and throwing them in with the gift.
2. Crosman Squirrel Reset Target
Note: You need at least a somewhat powerful air rifle to actually trip the target. If you just have single pump rifle it might not trip the target, but it’s still fun. Multi-pump and CO2 rifles should be able to trip it not problem. It’s designed for 177 up to 1200 FPS rifles and 22 up to 950 FPS air guns. I attached a video below that shows how it works!
The target has two reactive discs that is great practice for getting a kill shot on squirrels. The top target trips the target and the bottom one resets it. Here is an image of what it looks like when the target gets hit. Basically, the yellow target just flips back and makes that ever so rewarding “ding” noise.
The only con I see:
- Low power rifles won’t trip it
- Good practice for hunting
- A lot of fun for kids
- Easy to reset by shooting
- Looks great in the back yard
3. Champion Traps and Targets Target Holder (Coolest Design)
Note: I only recommend this target for BB guns. It doesn’t hold up well against pellets or stronger air rifles, which is which it does have some poor reviews.
Over, this is a cool target that’s a lot of fun. There is something about the ding sound when you should a tin can with a bb gun that’s a ton of run.
The targets sit about 28 inches off the ground. You can hang targets or cans to the solid steel bars and the bottom of the base stand has a wind resistant anchor to keep it from falling over.
The only con I see:
- doesn’t hold up well if you shoot it with higher power air rifles
- Versatile design
- Multiple target types
- Cheap and effective
4. Hiram Self Resetting Air Rifle Target (Best Seller)
Note: This target is best for multi pump BB guns or pellet guns. Low power BB guns may not be powerful enough to flip the targets back. I attached a video below where you can see the target in action! I recommend skipping to around 1:05.
This is a best-selling BB gun target for good reason. To reset the targets to their original position all you have to do is shoot the very top target. It’s perfect for .177 (standard caliber) BB guns and .22 caliber. The stand is made of a durable steel and is perfect for training.
The 5 targets measure 1.7”, which is just the right size for BB guns. The overall dimensions of the target are 10.2” by 13.5” by 7.8”
The only cons I see:
- A little small
- Not good for single pump BB guns
- Targets move when you hit them
- Self resetting mechanism
5. Do-All Outdoors Spinning Pellet Gun Target (Most Durable)
Note: This is designed to be an air rifle target (more powerful than BB guns), but it also works great as a BB gun target and makes that classic and ever so important ding sound when you hit it. Just with BB guns don’t expect the targets to spin.
This is an all steel target hat is durable. You can leave this baby outside and not have to worry about it getting destroyed. It weights a bit more than you might expect for its size. It measures about 10 inches across and weighs about 3 pounds. Keep in mind it’s rated for 800 fps, so make sure double check what your rifle is rated at, but for most all BB/pellet guns this will work great.
The only cons I see:
- A little small
- Smaller/less powerful rifles won’t spin the targets
- All steel construction
- Designed for 800 fps air guns
- Interchangeable Spinning Targets
6. Reusable BB & Pellet Guns with Trap Net (Best Indoor Target)
Note: Fun for indoor plinking or shooting in the garage. The video below kind of sucks but it’s one of the only ones for this target on YouTube.
I don’t recommend letting the kids shoot BB guns inside, but maybe after they fall asleep you can pull it and head to the garage for some target practice.
My first thought when I saw this target is that there is no way in heck that net is going to be able to stop a pellet or metal BB fired from a high-power BB gun, but it actually can. It is made of a durable plastic and measures 7”x10”.
- Stationary only
- Outdoor or indoor target
- Easily replaceable paper sheets
- Quick set up
- Good for airsoft guns
- Good for BB/pellet guns
7. Coke/Pepsi Can (2 cents)
Shaking and and shooting a soda can is always a ton if fun. If you’ve never done it you really need to. So, if you look of the rest of the list but still can’t find a good bb gun target you like tin cans, plastic bottles, and hand drawn diy targets work just fine. Sure, it might not be quite as exciting for kids if they’re getting a BB gun or pellet gun as a gift, but it’s still a good cheap alternative.
8. Bad Guy Reactive Shooting Target
Splatterburst targets are a lot of fun and the fluorescent yellow paper tuns red when hit.
Now I understand that for younger kids shooting the image of an actual person might not be the best, so if you’re buying a BB gun and are looking for a target to pair with it this might not be the best. But to be honest if they’re planning videos games they probably do it all day anyway.
The good news is it’s called the “bad guy target” so at least they’ll have the idea in their head that their training in self defense or to stop a threat.
Overall the target measures 12” by 18”
The only con I see:
- Actual human image might not be good for young kids
- Heavy duty non-adhesive target board
- Made in the USA
- Good for indoors and outdoors
9. Splatterburst Silhouette Target
This offering from Splatterburst is a typical silhouette target but with Splatterburst technology, which will mark your shot with a bright yellow marking to indicate where you have hit so that you can adjust and calibrate your shot accordingly. These are some of the best silhouette targets available, and are great for shooting competitions and target practice.
The only con I see:
- A little on the pricey side.
- Splatterburst marking technology
- Great for shooting competitions
- Trusted brand
10. Round Splatterburst Target (Cheapest per target)
Note: I recommend starting with the 25 pack (it’s under 10 bucks and you can see how you like them)
This Splatterburst target is a typical round-type “bullseye” target. The high strength adhesive backing means that you can stick these in places that you normally would not be able to with a hanging target. As with all Splatterburst targets, the reaction upon impact will show up as a fluorescent yellow marking, very high visibility, so that you can train for accuracy while increasing your distance and range.
The only con I see:
- Can’t be reused like hard targets
- Less expensive than other splatterburst targets
- Can be placed virtually anywhere.
- Fluorescent marking upon impact.
Capable of handling up to 550lb, either a single or double nest, and both spreader and non-spreader bar hammocks, this stand was specially built for relaxing with family or a loved one outdoors.
Targets can do a great job in helping to increase your range and accuracy with your new BB or pellet gun. However, because of the time-honored tradition of target practice with bottles and cans, they can sometimes be hard to justify purchasing if you are frugal or money conscious with your purchases.
However, manufactured targets are specifically designed to draw your fire by calibrating your shot to line up with markings on the target. This will serve to increase your accuracy very efficiently and with less shots fired versus firing at cans or bottles. So, just like when purchasing your BB gun, when picking a target, consider what you are intending to use your gun for, and pick the best type accordingly.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments, or if you know of some good DIY targets.