When it comes to your firearm, you understand the importance of proper training on a regular basis. To avoid letting your skills get rusty, the use of targets can help improve accuracy and confidence handling your weapon so you’re ready when the time comes to spring into action. If you have questions in regard to navigating this area of gun ownership, let our target training buying guide help you find the right option for your next session.

Different Materials

The first matter of importance when looking at which types of targets are best suited to your training needs is to look at the different types of materials available for this purpose.


Paper targets are the most common on the market. They are easy to set up, easy to change between rounds, and affordable overall. This type of target can come in a variety of types, sizes, and training objectives to work with any level of proficiency from beginner to expert marksman. Paper targets are also well suited to training sessions where scoring between shooters is necessary since it gives an easy way to tally target accuracy ratings. It can also be a great way for a shooter or trainer to track progress in terms of overall improvements from one session to the next since they can be easily saved and compared. While paper targets can be used in any type of range, they are more commonly used indoors. Paper targets can also be reused when taped over which is another benefit of this material.


Clay targets are used in outdoor ranges and can be a great way to work on accuracy and speed at the same time. Clay or ceramic targets break upon impact so there is no wondering if the accuracy of the shot was successful which makes this type of target useful for competitions or training sessions where speed is a focus. Since the clay targets can be fired in succession one after another, a shooter can work on hitting their mark repeatedly in a matter of minutes to work on improving speed. There is also an immediate sense of satisfaction that comes from using a clay target since the shattering of the material lets the shooter know they made their mark. The drawbacks to this type of material are that it needs to be reset every time, it isn’t reusable like steel or paper, and it can only be used in certain types of areas to avoid danger from the falling clay pieces.


This material is usually used in large sheets on outdoor ranges. The biggest benefit of this target material is that it gives feedback with every hit so the shooter knows they hit their mark. Commonly used for reactive drills and distance sharpshooting drills, this type of material is aimed more at professional training than concealed carry shooters, but can help demonstrate and define a different set of skills worth honing.

Target Types

Aside from materials used, the other big factor in our target training buying guide is the matter of target type. Targets can come in a range of visual types with each one serving its own unique purposes to the shooter in terms of skills and performance improvement. Since most ranges use paper targets and it is the most common, it is important to understand that not all paper targets are created the same. Here are the most common and useful target types you need to know to help improve your firearm mastery.

Point target

This is the most commonly used target for beginners learning new skills, but it can also be utilized by experts to stay adept at their skill set over time. Designed as a circular point which has overleaping circular rings, this target helps to gauge accuracy and precision. These can be used for both near and far sight exercises which helps to improve proficiency at a range of distances.

Grid target

Designed with a single point which is mapped by grid squares, this type of target is used for correcting issues related to sight alignment and sight picture. The grid helps shooters to see where they need to improve alignment to reach the intended single point. These are great for both near and far sight just like point targets.

Partial target

This type of target replicates a human behind concealment which is helpful for real-life scenarios where the shot isn’t always so clear-cut. This can help to get an accurate shot in a range of scenarios.

Kill Zone Targets

Intended to help shooters have the most impact in terms of deadly force when applicable, this type of target focuses on hitting certain spots on the body to ensure deadly force is achieved. With highlighted areas to show where your bullet will have the most impact on the body, these are great for both professionals and concealed carry owners to help with accuracy when it matters most.

Lifelike Figures

These are called full silhouette targets and are meant to replicate a human in a lifelike way. If you only work with point or grid targets, taking the shot in real life at an actual human can be too much for some gun owners. With lifelike figures, you can get more comfortable with this idea. This type of target is also useful in terms of where to hit for deadly force. Many lifelike figure targets use kill zones on the target to help with this area of firearm mastery.

Combination Targets

If you are looking to work on your proficiency level with a range of targets in one, combination targets are the best choice. These options include several target types on one sheet to allow for a more diversified target practice session to save you time and money overall. This type of target covers areas such as accuracy of marksmanship, slow aimed fire, speed of reloads, trigger speed changes, and other factors to help improve performance with a firearm.