Targets are an essential part of archery. There are many types of shooting and, likewise, there are many types of archery targets. There are targets used just for practice and some that can be used for both practice and tournaments.
Targets vary in how they are made. There are molded foam targets, targets that are made with layers of foam, and some that have cores made of other fillers. Four of the most popular target manufacturers are Delta McKenzie, Rinehart, Morrell, and Block. We will go over each type of target, as well as the best archery targets for whatever use you need it for.
The main use for bag targets is general practice and sighting in your bow. They are often on practice ranges at competitions but rarely used for scoring. Bag targets are good for beginners and backyard practice because they tend to be relatively inexpensive. They range in price, but they are typically under $100. There are smaller bag targets that are good to use while traveling if you need to practice on the go. One of the best archery tools, bag targets have a variety of shapes and target shapes printed on them to help with aiming.
Round Bale Targets
Foam bales are types of archery targets often used for competitions, like USA Archery, NFAA, and World Archery. These targets are big and round and don’t typically have markings or shapes to aim at on them. Paper targets are fastened to the bale to be able to score your arrows. There are different sizes, colors, and scoring rings, depending on what type of competition you’re in. Since these bales are one of the best archery targets, they are pretty expensive, starting at around $400, but typically they can be repaired with a new core over years of wear.
3D targets are used for practice as well as for archery competitions. 3D targets are made of foam in the shape of animals and painted to look somewhat realistic. They have scoring rings near where the heart and lungs would be on a live animal. The scoring rings depend on the brand of the target, as well as the type of archery competition you’re in. Targets are made to try to look like animals in real life, but some are made smaller, like elk and deer, because life-sized versions would be quite cumbersome. The price range for most 3D targets is $100-$500. 3D targets often have replaceable cores that can be exchanged to extend the life of the target. There are 3D events where there’s a series of these foam animal targets to shoot for score.
Modular targets are pretty new and are designed to get the most use out of the target. Some of them are made up of puzzle pieces, like shapes, and some have a multi-sided core that can be rotated when the center of the target gets worn down. Some of these targets have layers that can be rotated out of the center of the bale as wear occurs. Modular targets are often some of the best and most expensive archery targets on the market ($200-$2,000) but also have a longer life.
Layered Foam Targets
Layered foam targets are often referred to as Block targets. This is largely due to the fact that the first company to produce this style target was called Block. This target style is very popular among both target shooters and bow hunters. As the name would imply, these are built using layers of tightly compacted foam sheets to create a target that easily stops arrows from traditional recurve bows to compound bows to crossbows. They are available in several sizes, ranging from large 4x4 all the way down to smaller backyard targets that can be easily moved. Another reason why these are some of the best archery targets is that you can shoot field points or broadheads into them.
This article on the best archery targets wouldn’t be complete without mentioning what I like to call a hybrid target. These brands have taken on their own design but are very popular. Companies like Spyderweb and Big Shot produce targets that are popular at many backyard and indoor archery ranges. My business, 60X Custom Strings, and personal range consist of the Spyderwebs and they have held up great over the years. Another local club uses big shot and are super happy with them, as well. Both companies also offer smaller, portable targets that work well for home use for most archers. With this style of target, you can only use field tips.
There are many types of fun targets, like the archery version of skeet shooting. These are some of the best recreational archery targets, with a machine that throws foam disk targets into the air and shot with Flu Flu Arrows. The bows used for this activity are usually lightweight (under 25#) for safety. This is also an activity best done in an open field. You will generally see these set up at shoots and festivals.