By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
Naturally, a person that’s into guns is going to be into shooting, which is a wonderful way to kill some time. It’s also how you keep up the skills to use a gun effectively. That’s kind of a must if you’re going to pack a handgun in a concealed carry holster, punch paper in matches or put meat in the freezer…or at least try to, because any hunter will tell you that it doesn’t always work out!
That said, shooting can get a bit expensive when it comes to the consumables. Ammunition, of course, is a significant expense but another area that can start to add up is shooting targets.
Look at some of the popular sporting goods or shooting supply sites and there are a myriad of targets, some of which get rather expensive. Paper targets are, of course, very cost-effective but if a person wanted to…you could actually skip the gun store entirely and save a lot of cash but keeping shooting skills sharp.
Here are a few improvised targets that are actually great for shooting practice. Granted, these are more for practical accuracy rather than ultra-precise shooting. For the long-range shooter looking to hit bullseyes at 1000 yards, these aren’t very good solutions. These hacks are more suited for the handgunner that wants to keep their shooting skills sharp for concealed carry, home defense or otherwise.
One very easy cheap target is a 6-inch paper plate. Don’t worry about the lack of a bullseye so much, but given the white background the shot groups can still be measured to judge accuracy and precision. For concealed carry practice, the goal is more combat accuracy rather than scored shooting anyway and it isn’t a whole lot bigger than the 8-ring on most targets.
Another fantastic target is white 3×5 index cards. Much like using a white paper plate, the white background of the target allows you to measure your groups for accuracy and precision. If you can keep all your shots inside an index card at combat distances (let’s say about 12 yards) that’s outstanding shooting.
If you wanted to get REAL serious, try a sticky note.
There are also a number of downloadable target patterns on websites all over the internet. Simply download the image and print as many out as you want.
Each of these improvised targets can be easily put up in a variety of ways. If you wanted to get real cheap, use either tape or a stapler and a cardboard box. This writer has found Amazon boxes stand up pretty well to being shot if purposed into a target stand, so you may want to save a few.
You can also get a portable target stand, such as one of the inexpensive ones that hold a bit of cardboard and have to be pounded into the ground a bit. The Birchwood-Casey brand units, for instance, are pretty common in stores, are very reasonably acquired and work very well. You can also cobble your own together out of a few bits of lumber if you have some about.
Basically, all you need is a surface to attach the target to. Set up the target stand, put up some sort of backing (cardboard works great) and attach a paper plate, index card or sticky note if truly heroic, and you’re ready to go.
If you wanted to go even cheaper, just trace a 3×5 card onto cardboard with a Sharpie or other felt pen. That way you aren’t even wasting index cards. If you can put ten of them on a big sheet of cardboard, you can shoot ten five-shot groups and use a whole box of ammo.
Granted, paper targets are not exactly expensive so it’s not necessarily a huge expense. Ammunition and cleaning supplies are far and away the more expensive consumables when it comes to owning a gun. That said, if you wanted to save a little cash – or if you wanted to cobble together a shooting target with hardly anything – these would be some very good ways to do it.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.