Training & Handling

6 Tips to Making Your Own Shooting Targets

Making your own shooting targets is one the cheapest way to practice your shooting (and DIY) skills and it does not need to be difficult. Use these tips to make your own shooting targets without making a hole in your pocket. You can make different types of shooting targets by using recycled materials. You can also go a bit more for reusable ones. Regardless, you don’t need to spend a lot to make make them effective.

Written and submitted to The Well Armed Woman from James Forrester at

1 – When Making Your Own Targets Prepare a Design Plan

Used tins and bottles already make for good shooting targets. However, they are only good for a couple of uses. If you are going to make a truly reusable shooting target, then you have come up with a design plan first. Start by creating a design plan that allows you to visualize the performance and be able to determine the possible flaws beforehand. A design plan will also help you identify the right materials to use, including the power tools that you will need for this project.

2 – Consider Portability

If you’re going to make a shooting target from scratch, then consider one that you can use for a long time and bring anywhere. That means one that is collapsible. Check that the size will fit easily in the trunk for hassle-free transports to the field. If possible, make your design easy to disassemble and put back together without the use of any tools. For example, a collapsible PVC target stand allows you to easily carry it for outdoor shooting practices.

3 – Use Protective Gear When Making Your Target

Before you’re ready to start working, always remember this; wear protection for the eyes, hands, and ears when you are working on your shooting target. Do not skip this part especially if you are going to use power tools to cut or punch holes. A dust mask may also be required when cutting wood or other materials that would disperse fine particles.

4 – Look for Affordable Alternatives

Gather all the tools and materials that you will need for the shooting target. Yet, one way to reduce expenses is by using cheaper (and sustainable) alternatives. Check your garage storage for used materials like PVC pipes, strings, screws, and cardboard before ordering. Fortunately, you can already go a long way when you have a PVC or wood stand ready. Make one with a wide, sturdy base so that it would not tip over easily.

5 -Making Your Own Targets with Tin Cans and Bottles

Old cans and bottles may be used as substitutes for steel plate targets. Design a PVC or wood stand that has built-in hooks where you can easily mount used tins or bottles with a rope. There are plenty of design ideas for this type of target on Pinterest and other online sources. Hanging your targets this way allows you to practice simultaneous shooting. After shooting a can, you can shoot again while it is swaying to practice accuracy with moving targets. Another benefit is you avoid the hassle of going back and forth to rearrange a set of targets.

6 – Old Lawn Signs and Campaign Signs

Old political signs may also be used as a shooting target. If not campaign signs, you can also use old lawn signs. Just paint the surface according to your desired target design and attach neatly to the reusable frame. However, even if guns prevent thousands of crimes daily, it can also be a reason for an accident or injury. Always maintain proper distance even if you are not using steel plate targets.

Bonus Tips

Get rid of all your trash properly and store away all your tools after use. Make sure to clean up the work area and check for small screws and sharp objects left on the floor to avoid accidents.

Wherever you are shooting, clean up after yourself. You do not want to leave broken glass, tin cans, or anything else out in the desert, field, or anywhere you practice.

To make sure that the target works fine (and for a long time), check its performance. Remember to practice shooting in an open area, away from people and properties, especially for high-power firearms.

Even if you are not in an actual shooting range with other people, remember the basic shooting range etiquette and the four firearm safety rules.


Making your own shooting targets is possible with a good design plan and correct tools. There are many cheaper alternatives which you can use on your targets to reduce your expenses. In fact, even recycled materials may be used alone and make good options for shooting practice.

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3 thoughts on “6 Tips to Making Your Own Shooting Targets

  1. Danette says:

    We use an old metal funeral spray wreath holder with a piece of cardboard and clothes pins hot glued in place. Our cheap paper plates are replaced each time we shoot. The funeral spray holder is easy to push down in the dirt.

  2. Sue says:

    Used pizza boxes make great targets!
    Just draw your target on the back of the box and hang it up.
    Since most boxes can’t be recycled, it’s a way to reuse them before they go in the trash.

  3. Eve Antich says:

    I was thinking of using my old dart board for practice! It’s a big one so it may work out well..anyone else ever use one for practice?

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