Targets 101: The Different Types of Archery Targets

Have you ever wondered how many archery target types are available for archery training?

Archery requires plenty of practice to get better. The fact that you shoot a projectile out of a bow to improve your accuracy means that you need to have a target to shot at. This also means you are going to be wearing out the target and you will have to replace it at some point. This is probably one of the biggest hassles of being into archery. You need to make sure that you can get the best possible targets for practice and avoid having to change them too often. this means you have to be familiar with the  different typs of archery targets

Today, I will be sharing some important information regarding the different types of targets that are available for archery practice and competition. We will go over the advantages they offer as well as their disadvantages. This is going to allow you to make an informed decision when you decide to buy one.

The different types of targets

The bag

This is the most affordable and basic target that you can get for archery. They are filled with synthetic fiber and this is going to stop you arrow quite easily. The biggest issue with these targets is that you have to keep them in-store when not in use. These targets tale a great deal of damage from the elements, but some newer versions of these bags are weather-resistant, so you need to make sure that is the case when you buy them. These targets can have all kinds of different bullseye patterns, so you can get them with different prints based on what you prefer.

Where to purchase

You can purchase bag targets at a very low cost. This means you can create a range with several targets for a dynamic practice session. Just remember these bag targets do not last long if you leave them out to get wet during the rainy seasons.

My personal experience with this type of target has been very good. I used them all the time when I started shooting. I feel that these bags are very practical. This is why they are the initial choice for most archers when they begin practicing.       

The foam block

This is the best target you can get once you have already tried using the bag targets. The bag targets will eventually seem a bit unpractical for your needs. These targets basically pinch the arrows as they come in and this makes them even more durable because the damage done to the foam layers is minimal with each arrow. There is only one issue that most people have with these targets and that is the removal of arrows. They will often get stuck deep inside the foam. This means you will have to struggle a bit to get them out, but that is a small issue compared to how durable and practical they are for training. 

I have to say I have been pleased with the results I get from the foam block. They come with different patterns and colors and I prefer the bright yellow with a black combination. That one is the easiest to see from far away. I also have one that is black with dark brown circles and I go that one for a more difficult long-range target practice.

Where to purchase

You can find these targets all over the internet. There is plenty of variety in terms of their patterns and target shapes they use. I would strongly recommend that you buy one of these and you will find them very practical and useful.

3D practice

This is probably one of the best ways to practice archery. The targets have the shape of many different animals. This gives you the chance to practice your archery skills with an object that resembles a real target instead of a flat surface with a target printed on it. There are targets that look like deer, like turkey, like bears, hogs, and even dinosaurs.    

The biggest issue with these 3D foam targets is that they will wear out much faster. You will start to take them limbs apart rather quickly if you fail to hit the mid-section of the target. They are affordable, but definitely not so cheap that you will be ok with having to constantly replace them. This is why I would strongly suggest keeping this for when you really want to work on fine-tuning your accuracy and your form.

I strongly recommend that you use these targets as a way to refine your accuracy after doing plenty of target practice with a bag or a foam block. This is going to be the best way for you to get optimal results. Personally, I have three different types of targets. I use them for different training scenarios, and I suggest you also get at least two out of these three options for your training.

Types of 3D targets

I have purchased tow bears and a couple of turkeys. One of them is hardly a turkey anymore, but the bears have held up quite well even after many sessions. I think that these 3D targets are ideal for people who are looking to hunt at some point.

One of the things I do for a challenge is to shoot my 3D targets at night. This helps enhance my vision of the target with minimal lighting and that just sharpens my senses. I know some people are not interested in hunting. On the other hand, for those of us who are, this kind of target practice drill is quite good.  

Make your own

I know some people make their own targets by filling bags with sand or using several layers of foam stuck together. This is often going to turn into a mess once you shoot enough arrows at these types of improvised targets. If you are ok with picking up that kind of mess every time you practice, you are probably going to be ok with these DIY targets. This is not to say that some homemade targets are not very well done. The problem is that it takes more work to create a proper target. This is why buying the target options I mention here is a better option. Mainly for people who are unable to invest too much time on their archery.

If you want to learn how to make some top quality targets by yourself, you can find many great videos on YouTube that will help you. Here is a good example of a video that goes into detail on how to build your own archery targets.

How to set your targets

If you are planning to create your own archery range at home, you need to take some important and basic precautions. The first thing to do is never have your range facing any property or areas where people might be passing by at any given time. You should always have your targets close to a high wall or to any place that is not dangerous to anyone.

Once you have decided what the best place is, you should also make sure that your target is protected from excessive dust and sunlight. Some of these foam targets can harden when exposed to high temperatures. The same can happen with dust and dirt accumulation.

Last but not least, you should always let people at home know that you are going to be practicing your archery. This is very important to avoid having kids running around close to the targets. It will also help you avoid any accidents. Sometimes people forget that archery can be deadly, so it’s good to remind yourself of that fact to avoid getting careless.


If you want to learn how to create your own target range with all bells and whistles, this is perfect for that purpose. Many other similar videos are available on YouTube, so just make sure that you do some research on DIY targets. You will find many great tutorials and guides. I always look for a video on YouTube. The archery community is huge in that platform. There are always plenty of comments from users to verify the quality of the content.

Shooting cans or bottles

I would strongly suggest that people avoid shooting cans or bottles. This is something that might be ok with guns. I can see how gun owners would use those items for target practice. Arrows are reusable and this means that you could end up hurting yourself or ruining the arrow. This can easily happen when using these items for target practice.

Final thoughts

Being able to find the right kind of target for your archery practice is always going to be important. I believe that the more you practice with proper targets, the easier you achieve results. This is important when you are looking to improve your accuracy. Some people feel that the best thing is to combine the different types of targets. Then you can use them for different practice scenarios, which is what I do most of the time. Remember that besides that casual archery equipment, there are lots of accessories that can improve your outfit and help you when practicing archery.