shooting range training target practice pistol
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Everyone loved to save money. And most of us love train, too. The problem is, those things frequently oppose each other. Range time costs money, ammo costs money, and – you know it – targets cost money, too.

I can’t get you free range time or free ammo, but I can help out with targets. And not just free targets, targets that are capable of making sure you’re using your range time effectively…targets designed to intensify and improve your training.


Travis Pike for TTAG

I’ve written about dot torture before. It’s a drill I love and one I use regularly. Dot torture is both a target and a training scenario. It involves two magazines, a holster, a mag pouch, and at least 50 rounds.

The target is made up of 10 2-inch dots, each with a corresponding training drill. These drills involve slow fire, drawing, reloads, single-handed fire and more.

Dot Torture is designed for both beginners and seasoned pros. It gives you a real challenge and it doesn’t take much time or ammo. It’s a drill that becomes increasingly difficult as it advances. Start the drill at three yards and aim to finish it in under five minutes. A miss counts as a failure.

Travis Pike for TTAG

Once you’ve mastered that at three yards, move out to five yards. Master that, then try to do it in under three minutes.

Dot Torture tests and exercises numerous skills and it can be invaluable when your ammo budget is as tight as your target budget.


Travis Pike for TTAG

Sage Dynamics is a firearms instructing group that teaches law enforcement and military training courses around the country. The trainers are top-notch, some of the best in the business. They also designed some super-simple free targets you can use.

This is actually two targets that can work together. The targets are known as the Cranial Vault and Thoracic vitals. They’re realistic representations of the vital areas in the head and torso.

The most important areas are outlined in red and secondary areas are outlined in blue (though you can print them in monochrome). These targets define the ‘T-zone’ as well as the heart and spine.

They’re simple and give you a target you can practice combat shooting on with realistic targets and concentrate on proper shot placement.


Travis Pike for TTAG

The RE Factor Tactical Kill Zone Target is similar to the Sage Dynamics Cranial Vault target but looks different. It’s a headshot target that’s an accurate representation of a human head, specifically a skull.

The target has a small A zone. The rest of the noggin is the B zone. This target offers training variety by giving you a challenge by trying to hit that smaller A zone, as well as being able to see how your fire would affect a target.

The simple design of the Kill Zone Target works and, as far as free targets go, it’s simple and effective when it comes to practicing shot placement. RE Factor Tactical offers a variety of free targets on their website that you can download and use the next time you hit the range.


Travis Pike for TTAG

Baer Solutions is a firearms training company that has a focus on defensive shooting and practical application to the armed citizen, the police officer, and soldier. The Baer Solutions Standard Target is both a target and a drill, designed for shooters to use before and after a class, and it’s perfect for a variety of skill levels.

The target works for both rifles and handguns and is made up of two rectangles and a small circle. The drill itself is simple. You’ll need two magazines, a holster, a mag pouch, and thirteen rounds. Load one magazine with ten rounds and the other with three.

Draw and fire five rounds into each rectangle, perform a slide lock reload and fire 3 rounds into the small circle. The par time for the drill is nine seconds at five meters. It’s quick and easy, but very effective for developing a variety of important skills.

Baer also offers a number of other free printable targets, which you can check out here.


Travis Pike for TTAG

Guerrilla Approach is another professional firearms training outfit that offers top-notch firearms training. Their Consistency Target is a target and drill that demands precision with small targets, as well as multiple strings of fire that add variety. The drill makes you think and remain consistent with your shot placement.

The drill is fired at three yards and requires 24 rounds. The little circles take a single round and the big targets take two rounds. Start from the top and move from left to right. Par time is 24 seconds.

It may seem easy, but when you factor in the inevitable reload(s), it means you have less than a second per shot.

This one’s free, but you have to go through the website and add it to your cart and check out. It’s slightly more complicated, but only takes about 2 minutes total. Well worth the time.


shooting training pistol target practice

The goal is to make it easy get out there and train. Train hard, train often, and be prepared to protect you and yours. A few free targets can give you an great opportunity to tighten up and learn new skills.

These targets will give you one less excuse to get some practice in this week.

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.

This post originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

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  1. “5 Free Shooting Targets You Can Download and Print Now”

    “Free targets”?

    Have you priced inkjet-printer ink?

    • get a toner based printer. 3000+ prints for about a 70 dollar cartridge.

      Even everyone can afford that

      • If you can find a compact HP laserjet like the P1500 or P1600 those things last forever and an aftermarket toner is like $35 for 4000+ pages. I got an old one when my company changed print and copy contracts.

        So now I print my targets at ork :p

        Full disclosure: I use my own ligtweight card stock and I’m the one who monitors the copier contracts and I know it’s costing work nothing additional because of our page counts and how the contracts works.

  2. I found all kinds of fun targets for kids like bottles and carnival games. Tic tac toe. A pinata.

    Google is your friend.

  3. Targets don’t cost as much as you think…go visit the dumpster of your local Goodwill, you’ll find a wide and splendid variety of things to shoot into pieces and then shoot the pieces. Then you can claim that you’re going green, or recycling, or upcycling, or some such nonsense.

    • And – if you’re not shooting on your own personal range – then spend lots of time cleaning the pieces off the ground so you don’t leave a mess for the next user.

      Or, as too many people seem to do on public land, just be a jackass, leave it there and eventually get the area closed for shooting.

      • Every time I go out to shoot it further ruins my faith in humanity. BLM (no, not that one) shuts the area down because of all the trashole humans. people suck.

  4. i love train.
    i just watched big boy #4014 pass thru des plaines on it’s way to iowa. 150 years of union pacific.

  5. LOL…there are hundreds and hundreds of free, printable targets. There has been for years. I like the ones I get at the store best though. I think I’ll go and pick up a six-pack of them tonight on my way home.

  6. BE VERY CAREFUL! The first link to “DOT TORTURE” appears to be a virus site.
    The “https” in the URL is crossed out and the site shows an error message telling one that the computer’s date and time are off and to click on a link to allow them to correct it. Typical virus, computer hijacking tactic.
    The other links work fine, so I kknow it’s not my computer.

  7. My free targets are gophers.
    Nothing like a moving target to sharpen the skills.
    Cheap 9 mm FMJ works well.
    I know. Not everyone can afford their own gophers.

  8. Just use blank 8.5 x 11 inch plain printer paper. Various colors available. Center hold with primary focus on the sights. Or quarter the target with rifle scope reticle.

  9. Not free, but cheap, I buy at gun shows the 24″x45″ paper targets for 25 cents each. Paper targets are one of the few things you can buy that’s not overpriced at a gun show.

  10. I have and use the Dot Torture target.

    I also seem to end up with a supply of cardboard boxes that I can trim to silhouette size. I use a 3×6 card to outline the head box, and the plastic top of an old coffee can (about 6″ diameter) to outline the thoracic area. As a challenge, I outline them in pencil and see if I can keep my rounds in the area without a strong border outline. I mount them on old wire yard-sign stands in a gully on our property at appropriate ranges and practice.

  11. I use cheap 8″ paper plates. If I want an aiming point I put a self adhesive Dennison dot on the plate. 8″ is a good representation of either the head or the chest. Keep your shots on the plate at whatever distance you feel meets your training needs and you are good to go.

  12. No simple bull’s eye target?

    For accuracy it’s hard to beat. Aim small, miss small.

  13. When I go to Costco to shop I look for large 24” x 18” or larger white or light colored cardboard boxes that can be used to carry home goods and then cut apart into target size pieces for free, recycled rigid targets. Many of the tray type shallow display type boxes have completely clean white gloss bottoms. I then go to Staples or Amazon and get quarter size self stick target dots in blaze orange or any fluorescent color for a point of aim on each target. I use them for handgun and rifle shooting drills and also for archery by using them to reface older worn block type black targets. They last much longer than paper and are truly free and helping the environment at the same time!

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