When children begin shooting, traditional bull’s-eye targets are perfect for working on safety skills. They’re also good for zeroing your rifle before hunting or competitions. However, if children continually shoot the same bull’s-eye target, they can become tired, exhausted or bored. As the boredom sets in, the effort that goes into shooting can deteriorate. In our case we have youth competitors, i.e. LG and friends, who train on a regular basis. Sometimes they want, or rather need, to have fun at the range. That’s when it’s time to introduce other types of targets to change things up, so children have fun at the range.
7 ways children can have fun at the shooting range include:
Animal shaped targets
These targets are fun to shoot while sighting in for hunting season. They also come in handy in showing new shooters where the kill-zone is on an animal. Targets with images of all sorts of species are offered by Birchwood Casey ($12.70). LG and friends shot paper rabbit, squirrel and deer targets at a recent competition.
VisiColor targets by Champion ($11.49) have bright colors that appear upon impact. They also offer a number of games within their line. One game is a dartboard type. After the bullet hits the paper, colors appear at the penetration site, representing different scoring zones. Shooters can also play “C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N” which is similar to a game of “horse” or “pig” played in basketball. One shooter hits a mark and the next is supposed to follow up with the same shot.
Mutants and zombie targets
We’re not sure if they will frighten young children, or if they can imagine they’re getting rid of the monsters from their nightmares. Regardless, they do look like lots of fun! LG picked out a pack of 8 Darkotic rat and dog targets ($12.70).
Biodegradable clay targets
These bright orange, dome-shaped discs are easy for children to see. They’ll enjoy watching it bust into pieces, and they can hit it 2 or 3 times. These targets are biodegradable. We recommend using these when transitioning from the bench to practice other shooting positions. White Flyer offers biodegradable clay targets ($9.99).
Plinker targets are great, because they’re interactive. You don’t have to replace your worn out paper target after you shoot. A single shooter can plink at a target continually as it shifts back and forth, up and down or spins, resetting itself.
Children have fun watching little chickens, rabbits or other shapes fall or spin. It’s also rewarding when they hear the “tink” as they hit their metal targets. There are many brands and kinds of plinker targets available, and prices range from $15 to $300. We use the Do-All Steel Dueling Tower Target ($99) and the World of Targets Gallery Resetting Target by Birchwood Casey ($53.40).
These targets are placed on the ground, downrange, of course. As your shot hits them they tumble, hop or jump. They are “self-healing” targets so can take hundreds of shots and still keep their shape.
These targets come in an assortment of shapes from various manufactures.
One of our favorites is the Ground Strike Jack Target from Birchwood Casey ($30.30). It looks like a big jumping jack. These interactive targets create challenging shooting opportunities.
These are on the top of the “fun” list. The resounding “BOOM” and puff of smoke is fun to see, hear and … smell. We shot some with a couple of LG’s teammates and had a BLAST.
Before we used Tannerite’s starter kit ($34.99), we consulted Tannerite directly, as well as explosives experts. We strictly adhered to the instructions to ensure the safest environment for the kids. We had a total of 5 adults supervising 3 children, and everyone had a great time. – you could tell from the huge smiles on everyone’s faces According to the kids, these were the “best of the best” at the range.
As you decide what targets your children will shoot at the range, remember, plinking targets are a blast. They’re inexpensive and you can use them time and time again.
Exploding targets can be quite expensive, and you do need to be extra careful. Take the time to adhere to the safety precautions.
Regardless of the target you choose, it is important to remember shooting safety rules. Be safe and have fun.