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Best Archery Targets

best archery target

You can’t just shoot your arrows at just anything. A proper archery target is designed to stop arrows in an efficient manner while allowing ample time to slow down to reduce damage.

There are all sorts of different archery targets out there designed for different applications of practice. To best optimize and enjoy your archery practice, a proper target, or several targets, is a necessary component. Now let’s take a look at just what is out there on the market in terms of archery targets. With this knowledge, you should have a good idea of what the best archery target for yourself will be.

Types of Targets

Not all targets are created equal. There is a wide range of targets out there due to the wide range of services they provide to archers. Some are several feet across and designed to withstand tens of thousands of shots, this also makes them cumbersome and unable to move. Other targets are small and portable with a more limited lifespan. Others are intended to mimic animal targets in 3-dimensions, optimizing real-life performance. Lets take a look at the common targets available to archers.

Bag Targets

These targets are basically as the title suggests. These are generally woven plastic bags filled with foam or other material to stop arrows. They are sometimes freestanding but perform best when used with an accompanying target stand that they hang from. These are great budget targets for entry-level archers.

  • Advantages
    • Lower Cost
    • Lightweight and Portable
    • Large surface area limits accidental target misses
  • Disadvantages
    • Not recommended for broadhead use
    • Limited durability and longevity
    • May require use of hanging target stand

Block Targets

Some of the more common targets you may see archers utilizing is foam block targets. These come in many shapes and sizes but are essentially large cubes of foam. Most are available between 18-24 inch square surfaces. The foam can be either solid or stacked in layers. It is all designed to provide optimal stopping power for both field points and broadheads. They are lightweight, portable, and have several sides to shoot at making them a very versatile target.

  • Advantages
    • Compact and Lightweight
    • Available in large varieties of shapes, sizes, colors, etc.
    • Durable
    • Broadheads and field points alike can be used on most
    • Affordable for most archers
  • Disadvantages
    • Generally a small target surface on most
    • Lack realism of 3D animal targets

3D Targets

These types of targets are designed for hunters. When it comes down to practicing for real life hunting scenarios, 3D targets are unbeatable. Offering a true depicter of your quarry, they are essential to practicing for the shot that counts. Making a proper shot on an animal is much different than that of a target. There are many factors to consider when making a proper shot placement on an animal and a 3D target helps you figure this stuff out. These types of targets come at a higher cost and even if you can’t afford one, it is imperative to at least practice on some life-like targets before you go out hunting. Particularly if you plan on hunting out of a tree stand, this situation may prevent odd shot angles and shot placement will be paramount.

  • Advantages
    • Replicate real-life shots in hunting scenarios
    • Allows you to develop knowledge of proper shot placement
    • Constructed from durable high-density foam
    • Can be repaired with replacement mid-sections
    • Available in all sorts of different animal styles.
  • Disadvantages
    • Higher cost
    • Smaller target area may lead to accidental target misses

What about Crossbows?

Modern day crossbows are formidable weapons. With draw weights up to 200 pounds and speeds exceeding 400 feet per second, these pack quite a bit more punch than a compound bow. You should not assume just any archery target can withstand the forces of your crossbow. Some targets intended for use with compound or traditional bows may not offer sufficient stopping power for crossbows.

There are many companies that targets intended for crossbow use. These targets feature higher density foam to offer ample stopping power for higher speed arrows. Crossbow targets are available in a variety of both bag style targets and block style targets. Some targets out there are designed for use with both crossbows and compound bows.

With these higher density targets, another thing to take into consideration is ease of arrow removal. You will quickly become frustrated at a target that makes you re-enact “the sword and the stone” during every practice session.

Types of Material

How Long Should a Target Last?

Archery targets are designed to withstand 1,000s of shots. A quality archery target should last at least a year with daily shooting, and longer with less frequent shooting.

However, this is with field points. If you practice with broadheads on your target often, that will limit the target lifespan.

You will likely see that the middle of your target becomes worn quicker than others. This is why many targets are designed with multiple sides. Many also have multiple target dots on a single side. To extend the lifespan of your archery targets, try to distribute your shots all around the target through its life. Continually shooting at the same dot on the same side will limit the life of the target.

Target Protection and Maintenance

While your targets lifespan is inherently limited, there are other things you can do it maintain and extend the lifespan. As discussed above, one of the biggest things you can do is distribute your shots equally across the target surfaces. However, this is not the case for something like a 3D target.

For 3D targets, there is really only one general area you should be aiming at, the vitals of the midsection. Target manufacturers know this and you can purchase replacement mid-sections for your 3D target. Alternatively, crafty people will use spray foam to replace lost foam in the target center. This is a good “quick-fix” and target life extender.

The outdoors is hard on most materials, including your target. Leaving your target outside to endure the toils of Mother Nature is a sure way to limit the lifespan of your target. An easy way to extend the lifespan is to have a cover or a safe place to store your target sheltered away from the elements. While a block target is easy to store in the shed, larger 3D targets become a little more cumbersome. In that case, a tarp or other sort of covering might be easier.

In my experience, 3D targets don’t bode to well without some sort of protection. Leaving them outside all the time is harder on them than lots of foam and bag targets. With the cost of 3D targets, you want to be sure to protect your investment with care.

REVIEWS

Morrell Yellow Jacket Supreme 3 Field Point Bag Archery Target

The Yellow Jacket Supreme is a big and versatile bag target. The best archery target is designed compound bows and can withstand thousands of shots. This bag target recommends use with only field points but is a durable target and easy on the wallet. The top of the target features handles and grommets. These can be used to either carry the target around or be used to hang the target from a stand. Though this target is designed to be freestanding target.

The Yellow Jacket target is larger than other targets, though this provides more surface area for shooting. The internal self healing foam and external weave ensure easy arrow removal. Overall in this archery target review, I would highly recommend this field tip target for those who want a big yard target on a budget. It is easily large and tough enough to stop thousands of arrows to come.

  • Pros
    • Large Target Surface
    • Budget-minded target
    • Portable
    • Easy Arrow Removal
    • Can be used in conjunction with hanging target stand
  • Cons
    • Not recommended for broadheads

Bottom Line

For an affordable and versatile archery target, the Supreme 3 by Yellow Jacket is a safe bet. It comes in at a little larger size than some other targets, which makes it a great yard target. However, it still remains portable and easy to transport around. Though not recommended for broadheads, this target will withstand thousands of field points. If you are tight on a budget and looking for a bag target, be sure to check this one out.

Morrell Outdoor Range Bag

Morrell is a popular brand that produces both commercial and consumer style archery targets. The Outdoor Range Bag target is marketed as a commercial model, but is available for purchase to anyone. If you rarely shoot outside of your own yard and want a big target to just sit there, look no further. This large bag target (29”x31”14”) is filled with a finely shredded material that is packed together. This forms a dense target that stops arrows, yet keeps them easy to remove. It is a big heavy target that weights about 50 pounds, rendering it suitable for use with crossbows as well.

Being a bag target, it is not recommended for broadheads, so just stick to field points. Though being a commercial style target, you know it will stand up to ridiculous amounts of shots. You can even purchase a new cover for it when it wears out. The internal foam should have a longer lifespan. This bag target also features grommets for hanging your target. Though at 50 pounds, be sure you have a sturdy stand.

This target is definitely not the most portable in our archery target review lineup. Though if you are looking for a big target to stay put in the yard, I would be hard pressed to find a better one than this. I personally like big targets for my yard just to reduce on accidental misses, and Morrell delivers a perfect target for this application.

  • Pros
    • Great for a permanent yard target
    • Designed for heavy commercial use
    • Easy arrow removal
    • Crossbow bolt compatible
    • Ability to purchase replacement cover
  • Cons
    • Heavy
    • Not very portable
    • Not Brodhead compatible

Bottom Line

I’ll tell you this; my normal everyday yard target is a big one. Big targets cut down on lost and damaged arrows that are inevitable in daily practice. Though this isn’t a nice compact and portable target, you can find another to suit that need. When looking for a permanent affixture to your home archery range, here is your ticket. The Outdoor Range Bag can be found at archery ranges across the country. Why not in your backyard?

Morrell Double Duty Box Bag Target

This box bag target by Morrell is a crossover target between a black style and bag style target. Though at it’s core it is a bag style target. This 4 sided target features a variety of different target surfaces. Best of all, it retains a nice budget price for its durability. This target features a woven bag outer layer, which is not broadhead compatible. The woven designed helps to reduce the wear and tear of field points however, as the points tend to separate weaves. The thick size of this target is designed for all bows, including crossbows. According to Morrell, they rate this target for arrows up to 450 feet per second. That is faster than even conventional crossbows. I really like this target for the fun different shooting surfaces it includes. If you generally find yourself shooting with friends, this can be a fun activity. You could find yourself playing a game of darts with your arrows. The target also includes a deer vital image. This is important to practice on to develop proper shot placement.

  • Pros
    • 4 Unique Shooting Surfaces
    • Rated for crossbows
    • Portable and lightweight
  • Cons
    • Not rated for broadheads
    • Thicker than other bag targets

Block Targets

Black Hole 4-sided Target

The foam layered target measures 18″ x 16″ x 11″ and offers shooters 4 sides for shooting. The foam portion on the front and back target is designed to take field tips, broadheads and expandables. The Polypropylene wrapped sides are recommended for field tip arrows only for longer lifespan. The target features multiple aiming spots on the foam side with high contrast black, white, and yellow. The multiple aiming spots aid in target longevity. The color of them makes target acquisition quick and easy. This target is effective at stopping arrows and you can count on it stopping thousands of arrows. You should expect arrows to protrude a bit from the backside, so don’t place against a block wall. The target features wood on the very top and bottom to keep a stable form. The target is light and portable, making it great for transport. However, the lightweight nature may lead to the target shifting on arrows hits.

  • Pros
    • Lightweight and Portable
    • Best Value Archery Target
    • Suitable for field points, broadheads, and expandables
    • 4-sided shooting
    • Layered foam makes for easy pulling
  • Cons
    • Smaller size may lead to accidental misses
    • Layered foam targets are easily damaged by broadheads.

Bottom Line

One of the more popular targets on the market due to it’s functional affordability. This 4-sided archery target by Black Hole will stand up to thousands of arrows and retain stopping power. On top of that, the arrows will continue to be easy to extract from the target. At a nice compact size, it makes for an easy target to take to camp or transport from the shed to your shooting lane. You won’t regret this affordable target.

BLOCK Classic Archery Target

One of the tried and true archery targets through the years is this target by BLOCK. The classic 2-sided archery target measures 18″ x 18″ x 13.5″ and has open layer stacked foam design to stops arrows with friction rather than using force. One of the old names in archery target, BLOCK targets continues to stand the test of time. The simple yet effective high contrast white-on-black aiming points provide easy focus and target acquisition. It is available in 3 sizes if you prefer larger than the portable 18” target size. All the different sizes come featured with a grab handle for easy transport. This is not self-sealing but very tightly packed foam. Field tips do not tear out foam but broadheads do though. Since it is a layer target, it is comprised of layers of foam that are compressed and stop arrows with friction, which allows for ultra easy arrow removal. To prevent wearing out the target too quickly, the target features multiple aiming points on the two sides. Be sure to use them to get the best life out of your target. If I were buying the target, I may opt for 22″ instead of the 18″. This may save any wild shots and damaging arrows. The target does not hold up well to lots of broadhead shooting, though can still stop them. It is a great practice target that is easy to transport around.

  • Pros
    • Affordable quality
    • Reputable Archery Target Brand
    • Compact and available in 3 sizes
    • Easy arrow pulling
    • 2 sided shooting surface with multiple aiming points
  • Cons
    • Layered foam easily damaged by broadheads
    • Less shooting surface than other targets

Bottom Line

Overall in this archery target review lineup, this is a top contender. For the price, durability, ease of pulling the arrows out and portability it offers archers great value. BLOCK continues to produce top quality targets. This classic design by the company continues to offer archers excellent compromise in price vs. quality.

BLOCK Vault 4-sided Target

The Vault target is the newest development in archery targets from this reputable company. BLOCK targets really took over the market with the open layered foam design years back. A designed now used in nearly all block style targets. There newest innovation, is a locked in core protected by an outer layer. This helps the target withstand outdoor elements a little better. The foam core is the tried and true open layer design. This can withstand years of abuse and hold onto arrow stopping power. Fear not though, as easy arrow removal is a feature of this target. The simple black and white design of this target makes for a good target. The high contrast design makes target acquisition easy. Additionally, color blind people will have no struggles with black and white designs. The BLOCK Vault is available in 4 different sizes to suit your purpose. All of the sizes remain portable with the integrated and rugged carrying handle. The thick design of this target ensures that it will even be suitable for crossbow bolts. The target is also rated for use with broadheads on all 4 sides.

  • Pros
    • Newly Improved Rugged Design
    • Open Layer Foam Core
    • Durable Outer Protective Layer
    • 4-sided shooting
    • High Contrast Black and White
    • Portable and available in 4 sizes
  • Cons
    • Slightly more expensive than other block style targets

Bottom Line

The newest addition to the BLOCK line targets offers great new innovations. You will appreciate the polyfusion open core foam that retains stopping power while allowing for easy arrow removal. This target is rated for all bows up to crossbows and offers buyers a selection of sizes to suit their needs. The fully encased rugged design of this target steps up the level of durability expected in archery targets. There is a reason there are many people out there who use this target. Find out for yourself.

Rinehart 18-1 Archery Target

Slightly different than other targets on the market is this 18-sided target by Rinehart. Similar to a rifle or handgun target you can throw out on the range and shoot however it sits, is this target for archery. Simply throw the target out onto the range to an unspecified distance and test your on the spot shooting skills. With 18 high contrast target zones, the legendary solid Rinehart “self-healing” foam can take arrow after arrow without losing its shape or integrity. The foam is rated for both field points and broadheads and can stop even crossbow bolts. The 18-1 is lightweight with its own easy-to-carry handle. This is an easy target to throw in the vehicle and take around with you. Likely one of the most durable archery target out there. Some reviewers have reported slight difficulty in removing arrows from this target compared to others, particularly in the cold.

  • Pros
    • Fun and easy to use target
    • Portability and convenience
    • Solid self-healing foam
    • Rated for broadheads and crossbows
  • Cons
    • May be difficult to remove arrows from

Bottom Line

Rinehart 18 – 1 Broadhead Target, “a target that shows you its best side, every time!” For a fun addition to your target collection, check this one out. It is truly a great option for throwing in the vehicle and taking camping or wherever you go. It is a highly durable target and will withstand years of wear and tear.

3D Targets

Shooter Buck 3D Archery Deer Target

Hunters are always looking to improve their ability with their bows before the next season and making the shot that counts. This 3D target will help archers hone their shot placement and accuracy on deer. It features durable construction and realistic design that can be easily used by beginners as well as experienced archers.

The durable construction can withstand repeated hits with field tips, and it is also designed to withstand most weather conditions. The true to life size buck measures 36 inches at the shoulders. This is a realistic depiction of a typical adult whitetail buck and will allow you to truly hone your point of aim.

The replaceable core is sure to stand up to hundreds of shots. Replacements are relatively inexpensive when you wear the core out in a few years. The sturdy metal pipe securely holds the target in the ground, and you will love how easy it is to remove field tips from the center. Constructed and designed to take a beating during practice, this 3D buck target will get you ready for this year’s hunting season at a budget 3D Target price

  • Pros
    • Affordable 3D Target
    • Replaceable Core
    • Lifelike Dimensions
  • Cons
    • Core Replacement Area small compared to other models

Bottom Line

For around $100, this 3D target by Shooter is not going to break the bank. If you goal is to be out their harvesting deer with a bow, you need to be practicing on a 3D Target. For an entry-level price, there is no excuse not to have a 3D Target like this shooter buck. Practicing shot placement on a life like target is key to a successful hunt. Make sure you get some practice in on a 3D archery target.

Glen Del Pre-Rut Buck by Field Logic

The practice that a 3D archery target offers is invaluable to ensuring optimal chances at harvesting your animal with a bow and arrow. This 3D target by Field Logic emulates the size of a typical pre-rut and offers archers a large shooting surface to hone their skills. On top of that, a replacement core ensures years of use. Field Logic understands archers. They understand that maybe you won’t always be able to protect your target or shelter it from the storms. So they have engineered their 3D targets to better withstand the harsh rigors that targets experience outdoors. This is a target you could rely on for years to come. Also lending to its durability and longevity is the replacement core. This core on this target is much larger than other targets available. This means that you have a larger area to practice upon and be able to later replace the damaged foam. Additionally, the block style core allows the user to rotate the core, further extending life before replacement. The target breaks down into more pieces than other models for increased portability.

  • Pros
    • Large shooting surface
    • Large replaceable core
    • Core can rotate
    • Break down into several pieces
    • Weather-Resistant Design
  • Cons
    • Not a budget option

Bottom Line

This pre-rut style buck by Field Logic is on the upper end of performance for 3D Archery Targets. Most users will truly appreciate the larger than average replaceable core. This will do wonders in extending the life of your investment. On top of that, the core even features detailed drawings of the vitals to assist in learning proper shot placement. If you are looking for the best 3D archery target out there, this one by Field Logic should be on your list.

Yo Buddy Lil Buddy Archery Deer Target

So what if you don’t want to deal with the bulk of a 3D archery target? How does one still practice for shots on animals without one? Cue the Lil Buddy archery deer target. This freestanding target is essentially a mid-section from a 3D deer target. It offers archers the ability to practice shot placement on a vital section of an animal without paying for all the other foam to make the rest of the animal you won’t even be shooting at.

For a cheaper and more portable option, this target fits the bill. It offers detailed etchings on the target surface to outline major organs and more importantly, bones. It is one of the more anatomically accurate targets available on the market. This is absolutely important to making precise shots.

The self-healing foam will take thousands of shots on all 4 sides of the target. The target was meant to be free standing so there should be no need to reinforce for shooting. The foam was designed to withstand shots from both field tips and broadheads. This will allow you to fully tune in your hunting broadheads.

  • Pros
    • Portable (~8 pounds)
    • Realistic Deer Anatomy Drawings
    • Freestanding
    • Budget Option
  • Cons
    • Doesn’t offer full 3D Target Realism

Bottom Line

All in all, I find this to be a great option for archers of all types. I like the realistic appeal of a 3D target but they are bulky and expensive. Truly, the Lil Buddy target should be all the people need to practice proper shot placement. By condensing the 3D target down, it offers the best of both worlds. For a great option under $100, the Lil Buddy target will give archers the ability to practice shots on a life-like target and learn the anatomy of a deer.

What about DIY Targets?

Many people on a tight budget are hesitant to fork over the money for a target. These types of people have devised all sorts of cheap DIY targets that can work in a pinch. Though realize that they will never perform as well as a manufactured archery target. The nice thing is you have more freedom to customize the target image.

Some people have filled burlap or canvas bags with soft foam or other material. This is essentially a homemade bag target emulating ones that are produced commercially.

Compressed carpet or cardboard is another option that requires a fair bit of work to make. Like targets at the archery range, people make durable large targets with stacked cardboard or carpet. This big blog is then compressed with straps of some sort and arrows are shot to travel between the different layers.

Hay bales are probably the quickest and easiest DIY target for most. Simply set up one or two bales of hay and slap a target on it. The hay will eventually degrade and has a limited lifespan but it sure does work in a pinch. You can even paint your own 2D animal figure targets on cardboard or carpet to stick onto the bales. A poor mans solution to an expensive 3D target.

People have come up with all sorts of other DIY targets out there. Though for most archers, the practicality of a commercially produced target is your best bet.

Conclusion

I’m sure you are aware by now, but there is not true “Do-it-all” target. The best archery target is different for different people and applications. There are different targets for different needs and to be a proficient archer, you need to practice all sorts of scenarios. Most serious archers have a selection of targets at their disposal. If hunting is your end game, you have got to practice shot placement on 3D target style vitals.

What targets you end up with will be dictated by your needs. Determine just the type of archery practice you will be doing and where you will be doing it. This will help you determine the size and type of target you need. With your archery target, be sure to practice different shooting scenarios like these. Keep up the practice and keep putting those targets to work stopping your arrows!

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