DIY Portable Target Stand for Shooting

DIY Target Stand for Shooting

Everyone needs a target stand for practicing and improving their handgun skills. I am not sure if you have priced a basic target stand lately, but you can pay anywhere from $50. and up for a very simple stand. When you add in the high cost of shipping or delivery, you can have a lot of money committed for a simple target stand. Well for me Mr.Thrifty, it makes sense to build my own from PVC Schedule 40 plastic pipe (thick walls for stability & durability), with very little effort. I wanted the stand to be adjustable or accommodate different target sizes from 18″ to 24″ wide, so I can use it for IDPA, IPSC, silhouette targets, and others as necessary. I also wanted to build it for no more than a cost of $20. What a challenge. Now understand I am not Mr. Wizard nor have I won Handyman of the Month. My lovely wife gets mad at me for lacking handyman and fix-it skills, but I tell her that I have other skills. She replies “Well what are they?” Such a challenging life. So I had to prove to myself and her majesty that I could make a very simple, sturdy, and low-cost $20. target stand and I did. It cost me less than $20. I even made three more. So I want to share my simple target stand plans and experience with you. Feel free to use my simple plan. Hope it helps you. I might add that I made my first stands like this about 10 years ago and they are still working fine. I transport 2 or 3 stands easily in my small SUV for our weekly classes. I put 4 small targets on each stand. They are very portable, lightweight, durable, waterproof, adjustable, simple to build, require little storage space, and are very low cost.

Here are the Materials I used from Home Depot here in the panhandle of Florida, the quantity and their best costs, and some optional supplies and equipment you might want to consider.

Target Stand Materials and Costs

DIY Portable Target Stand Construction Process

STEP #1.  First I bought a 10 foot long piece of PVC Pipe that was Schedule 40 rated for thick walls and durability, with an Inside Diameter of 1.5 inches. I learned that PVC pipe sizes are named by the measurement of the Inside Diameter (ID or bore) of the pipe and not the Outside Diameter (OD.) If you measure the OD it will give you a larger reading than the actual PVC pipe size.

STEP #2.  Then I had the store cut the 10 foot length of 1.5″ PVC pipe into 7 pieces each 16″ long. See image below with 7 cut pieces. This was a total of 112″ or 9.33 feet used. There was 8″ of PVC pipe left, which you can use to adjust the length of the stand’s middle crossbar to make it wider for a wider target later, if desired. If you do this, you can buy an inexpensive PVC connector. Also, have the store cut the 8′ Wood Furring Strip in half to get your 2 strips.

7 PVC 1.5" ID Pieces, 2 4' Wood Furring Strips, 2 T Joints, 2 Elbows, and 2 End Caps

7 PVC 1.5″ ID Pieces, 2 4′ Wood Furring Strips, 2 T Joints, 2 Elbows, and 2 End Caps

STEP #3.  I assembled five 16″ long pieces to form the base of the target stand, using the 2 T joints and 2 End Caps. The remaining two pieces of 16″ length were added as vertical sections using the Elbows at the ends opposite the End Caps, where the wooden furring strips will be inserted. I then drilled a small hole in each of the two horizontal side PVC pieces near the vertical pieces, so I could insert a tent spike/stake in each if needed for stability for windy days and to anchor the stand to the ground. The spikes came in real handy for windy days at the range, so drill these 2 holes. I learned after my first stand, that the Wenzel stakes with the T-Stops help anchor the stand better. Be very careful if you decide to use PVC cement to permanently attached the PVC pieces, since it is very caustic and dangerous to your health. Make certain there is adequate ventilation for the PVC fumes. I did NOT cement the pieces together since I wanted to have a very portable stand and for easier storage. Some cement the 5 pieces together for stability, but do not cement the 2 vertical pieces. Your decision. You can also use a PVC Primer before using the cement for a stronger hold.

CAUTION! The vapors from the PVC cement and primer can make you dizzy and are dangerous to your health. Make certain you have plenty of ventilation or wear an approved vapor respirator when working with the cement and primer.

Assembled Target Stand with 2 Drilled Holes with Spikes Inserted for Stability (Optional)

Assembled Target Stand with 2 Drilled Holes with Spikes Inserted for Stability (Optional)

Wenzel Steel 10" Tent Spikes 

Wenzel Steel 10″ Tent Spikes

STEP #4.  I inserted the two 4′ wood Furring Strips into the vertical PVC upright pieces.  

2 Wood Furring Strips in Verticals

STEP #5.  I used a staple gun to attach the cardboard backing to the wood Furring Strips. I recommend that you use a heavy-duty steel staple gun and 9/16″ heavy-duty longer staples to firmly attach the cardboard and targets. Initially, I used 1/4″ and 3/8″ long staples, but they did not hold as well. If you need a staple gun, there is no need to pay $20. or $30. for a heavy-duty steel staple gun, since there is a good heavy-duty steel one made by Stanley (Model TR110) available on our website for less than $11.

Cardboard Backing attached to 2 Furring Strips

STEP #6. Attach your target to the cardboard backing with the staple gun and staples as shown in the first picture. Now, you are ready to practice shooting with your new target stand. It probably took you about 10 minutes to assemble, after you bought your materials, and it cost you about $20. for a decent stand. There are many variations for this target stand. Another stand Option #2 includes putting the two vertical PVC pieces back in the middle of the cross section using PVC connectors, rather than at the front on the horizontal lengths as with this first version.  Option #3 includes placing the vertical pieces in the center on the sides. See these Option images below with the verticals in the center. This might make the spikes not needed for stability, but it can get very windy and even these options may still require the spikes, as I discovered. Another Option is to use PVC 2″ ID wide pipe for a larger stand. Do you have an inexpensive, portable, and sturdy target stand plan or idea to share?  SUCCESS!

Option #2 Target Stand with Verticals in Center on Crossbar

Option #2 Target Stand with Verticals in Center on Crossbar

Option #3 Target Stand with Verticals in Center on Side Pieces

Option #3 Target Stand with Verticals in Center on Side Pieces

Photos by Author. 

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2017 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].

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  • firelooker

    Very good article do your gluing outside & you don’t need a respirator, or just stick them together w/o the glue so you can take them apart & reassemble when needed, if necessary you can drive a wood screw into the joints for stability.

    • Col Ben

      Hey Firelooker. Thanks for the comments. Yes, I usually do NOT glue mine together, so they are real portable. But with the high winds here in North FL at the outdoor range, I recently find that the Option #3 (with the uprights in the middle- not at front) shown at the very end of the article works best with the high winds, if I do not want to take the time to drill holes and later use the tent stakes. No big problem, just a little time. Try Option #3 with no extra materials. Success my friend!

  • Bounced rounds

    Great idea! Simple assembly and common materials, thanks for sharing! Just wanted to add that the height should be chosen to guarantee the rounds impact whatever backstop you are using (not impacting the ground ahead of the backstop). We have had cases at our local gun range where pistol rounds bounce off the ground and leave the range! I very much enjoy your articles, keep them coming!

  • Ron Sorrentino

    You/someone stole this from the website Box O’Truth from their educational section.

    • Col Ben

      Leadspitter. Thanks for sharing and your “contribution.” I want to be positive and helpful with my remarks and ideas. That’s what I did with my simple target plan and common materials. Incidentally, I have learned that libelous, negative, and put down remarks are not beneficial. A simple target stand idea is not rocket science. Many versions of basic target stands exist. Never been to that website. Just trying to help folks from something I’ve done for years. Email me privately and I will give you several more of my target stand versions for free.

  • Allen Benge

    I made stands similar to the second option over 20 years ago when I was in law enforcement. where I lived in Arizona was ideal, due to being able to shoot within a ten-minute drive from my home in just about any direction.

  • Mary Ann Head
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