Most shooters routinely shoot paper plates, cardboard, or paper targets, but shooting steel targets is a fun choice to consider. What are the advantages of  steel targets for shooting? What are the differences between steel targets and what are the key safety guidelines to follow? We can help by giving you ideas and suggestions for shooting steel.

Most shooters out-of-habit just prefer other materials for shooting, but shooting Steel Targets is a fun choice to consider and is a lot safer. But why shoot steel targets? What type of steel targets are available and are their important differences in steel metals and compositions?

What are the guidelines to follow for safety, ricochets, shooting distances, selecting steel and target thickness, etc.? What safety rules should a shooter follow and are there differences between rifles and handguns rules? What steel products are recommended for typical handgun practice and at what price? Do all steel targets crater and get pitted?

Steel Targets Give More Time For Practice

With steel targets, you can get more practice time in a given session, because there is no pause to replace or repair targets. However, all steel targets are not created equally. Anything softer than AR500 and AR550 steel can deform with repeated impact. But, for example, AR500 retains its flat shape after heavy use and helps ensure that bullets fragment entirely and are uniformly dispersed.

Steel Targets Are Of Better Quality

The industry generally recognizes that for steel targets to be functional and safe, they should be made of high quality, heat-treated, through-hardened steel that has a Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) of at least 500. The temperature metals are heated to, and the rate of cooling after Heat Treatment can significantly change metal’s properties. Steel undergoes Heat Treatment to improve its strength, hardness, ductility, and corrosion resistance. The proper steel provides sufficient strength, toughness, and impact resistance. The hardened steel must be hard and strong enough to destroy the bullet upon impact completely.

Always recognize that you shoot steel targets at your own risk. There is always a chance of some splatter errantly coming back toward you, but that risk is generally low (depending mainly on distance and caliber shot) and if it does occur, and you are wearing proper eye protection and clothing, there should not be a significant chance of injury. But, honestly, there is always some chance, no matter how small a risk. So follow these safety rules for shooting steel, as well as to preserve the longevity of the steel target.

Now that I’ve gone over the reasons on why you should be shooting steel targets and some general guidelines, be sure to always keep this in mind. Never compromise safety for some cheap shooting targets; always choose steel targets for shooting.


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