Do You Shoot Human-like Targets?

Do you shoot human-like targets?

Do you shoot human-like targets?

Right now I’m still on the West Coast and I’ve been traveling around Utah and Nevada looking at new shooting ranges to use for future training classes.

And the other day while I was inspecting one of the ranges the gentleman who was showing me around said, “You don’t use targets that show real people do you?” I explained to him that I use several different targets throughout my courses and some of them are indeed human-like.

He then got a frown on his face and said, “we do mainly hunter education here and we don’t like to encourage people to shoot other people so we don’t want human-like targets on the range.”

A comedy routine?

When he said that, I almost laughed out loud thinking he was deadpanning some comedy routine, but when I realized he was serious I simply said “okay” and left. The sad fact is, I guess this illustrates, much to my surprise, that all gun people aren’t perfect.

I do realize there are a lot of ranges and even states that don’t allow human-like targets. (I don’t know if this true, but I was once told that the state of Massachusetts did not allow human targets.)

Now for people who have common sense, and I like to think I’m one of them, obviously, shooting a human-like target is not going to encourage me to want to go out and kill people. Normal people (like you and me) have no desire to kill another person and will try to avoid it at all costs.

The only people who want to kill others are already “messed up” in the head and I’m pretty sure they’re going to kill people whether they’ve been training on human-like targets or bottle-shaped targets.

The thing is…

Us “normal people” who carry guns for personal protection need to make our training as reality-based as possible. When someone breaks into your home at 3am and tries to kill your family it’s going to be a person, not a bottle-shaped cardboard silhouette.

And if you’re sitting on the range and you get queasy about shooting at a human-like target then carrying a gun is not for you. It’s better you find out now before the gun is taken from you when you hesitate to use it, and instead it’s used on you.

The bottom line is, at my pistol courses we shoot at human-like targets because that’s what the threat is most likely going to be one day (it could be an animal too) and you need to train as close to real life as possible.

So if your range allows it I encourage you to take a few human-like targets with you next time or if you dry fire in your house you can start dry firing on a human-like target. And if your friends or family members tell you it’s “inhumane” or wrong to use a human-like target, just remember that these will be the same people begging you to grab your gun and protect them when someone’s trying to break into your house or cause them harm.


  • Darknightdad

    Most law enforcement agencies utilitze the standard B27 target, which is human-like. But POST requires a discretionary course of fire that uses pictures of people. We teach assessment and shoot the threat. Real pictures of real humans doing real bad things

    • Paul

      Ah, The good old day’s………..The running “Black Man” target………

  • christopher medina

    Sadly yes massachusettes has that very stupid law in place unless your a police officer or agent you cannot shoot at human shaped targets.

    • Dewey

      Where was Romney Gov.? North Dakota, right? Oh wait. Two lousy choices. We need another “Major” party. Maybe the “I’m not going to do only stupid shit” party?

  • KenInMontana

    The security company I work for uses a human-like target, human-like in a rudimentary form. The targets are a paper version of IPSC-CB targets. The local range usually only allows their use for events but granted our company an exception. Personally, when I practice on my own, get around it by posting a square sight in target and staple a paper plate just above it on the board.

  • Why did they go from black to blue? Hmmmm

  • amd

    I am a new shooter (2/12) and recently took a CCW class. I thought it was required to use a human shaped target. I think everyone should have to do that at least once. I can’t tell you how unnerved I was when my instructor shouted at me… “Shoot him in the chest”. Even though it was just paper…it still took some getting used to the idea. Of course, I hope to never have to “shoot someone” but I think that using the image of a human as a target helps me realize that someday… I may have to.

    • Ron

      I have been in law enforcement over 38 years. It has always been taught to shoot at center mass including at least a double tap or until the threat stops. I have been involved in numerous police shootings and investigated police shootings. Most of the time you do not know how many rounds you have fired. I have also been involved in shootings where the subject was so high on drugs that numerous rounds did not put the person down. Had I not seen it with my own eyes it would be hard to believe. You need to shoot at realistic targets and situations so it becomes muscle memory without thinking twice about what to do. This is not TV and the bad guys mind set out weighs most of us.

      • Glock Fan

        People that I have trained with many where or still in LE Some in BP others in ICE then others in local LEO jobs All say to always train that the first clear shot go for the head.

        • RayMarotta

          Sadly, what we’ve seen lately with LEOs is the old “close your eyes and pull the trigger as fast as you can until it doesn’t go boom any more” technique. Yeah, yeah stress and adrenaline add to it but, proper and constant training should largely overcome that tendency…

          • Dewey

            What was it, 16 rounds for like 7 hits and 9 innocent bystanders to stop one armed guy in NYC this summer? These were anti-terrorist guys? The perp never even fired back and they did a heck of a spray and pray, or did I miss something?.

      • notsuresothis

        I’ve been leaning away from COM to sniper’s triangle instead. The person on drugs will go down with a spine/CNS shot. LEO’s use h.p.’s so “bonded” ones in the heaviest bullet weight is the way to go. Wondering about “staging” the trigger with those polymer models LEO’s most seem to use for a head shot on a drugged up person.

      • Ronin

        Back in the old days we trained in the Mozambique Drill. 2 to the head and 1 to the chest. This always worked in the far flung reaches of this Earth. A year or or 2 ago a friend who was taking a Carbine and Pistol class said the demonstrated the technique but called it the failure drill. He asked why the name change and the response was that is was outdated and brought up bad images of the Rhodesian War. Well so be it. I still call it that and always will

        • You do mean 2 in the chest one in the head right? I think failure drill is referring to the condition of your rifle since you are fighting with a pistol.

          • Ronin

            Negative, It is called the failure drill now by those who are politically correct.

            The Mozambique Drill, also known as the Failure to Stop Drill,
            or Failure Drill, is a close-quarter shooting technique in which the
            shooter fires twice into the torso of a target (known as a double tap to the center of mass), momentarily assesses the hits, then follows them up with a carefully aimed shot to the head of the target. The third shot should be aimed to destroy the brain or brain stem, killing the target and preventing the target from retaliating.

            It is important to note that in the heat of such an encounter, all
            but the most well-trained shooters will be unlikely to score such a
            precise head-shot. For the vast majority of people the point of aim
            should remain the torso.


            Rhodesian Mike Rousseau was serving as a mercenary in the Mozambican War of Independence. While engaged in fighting at the airport of Lourenço Marques (modern-day Maputo), Rousseau was armed with only a Browning HP35 pistol. As he turned a corner, he bumped into a FRELIMO
            guerrilla armed with an AK-47. Rousseau immediately performed a “double
            tap” maneuver, a controlled shooting technique in which the shooter
            makes two quick shots at the target’s torso. Rousseau hit the target on
            either side of the sternum, usually enough to incapacitate or kill a
            target outright. Seeing that the guerrilla was still advancing, Rosseau
            made an attempt at a head shot that hit the guerrilla through the base
            of his neck, severing the spinal cord.

            Rousseau later related the story to an acquaintance, shootist Jeff Cooper.
            Cooper later incorporated the “triple tap” maneuver (two quick shots to
            the torso and one quick-aimed shot to the head) into his practical
            shooting technique. Rousseau was later killed in action in the Rhodesian War.

  • durabo

    I use human outlines because I have never been attacked, nor do I expect to be attacked, by circular aggressors…unless, of course, tiny UFOs become aggressive.

  • Generally use standard bullseye and diamonds for 22 LR & WMR shooting, then put up the police silhouettes for the larger calibers. Zombies seem to be the hot commodity where I practice. Too busy for me, I like the standard B&W or Blue & White outline (no full color). I’ve been places where they have posted that You Cannot bring in Pictures of Real People. I would agree, that indicates some sort of animosity as would a person next to you shooting that might be mentioning a persons name as they shoot a target : ( You don’t go to the range to take out your frustration(s), full concentration should be focused on your skills, safety and awareness of your surroundings when practicing; indoors or outdoors.

  • I always use profile targets. I carry a firearm to protect my family and me from bad humans. I want to make sure I can hit a body where I need to should the need arise. But just because I practice with “human-like” targets doesn’t mean I’m gonna nut out and go shooting people. Unless they attack.

  • jrcbecher

    I just use two pie plates One large on the bottom and one eight inch on top and have had no issues here in Ontario were gun laws are crazy

  • melloyello

    I use human based targets and outlines when practicing with my handgun because I am more likely to be attacked by a human and usually don’t see them with a bullseye in the news.

  • DarrellM5

    I think this is part of why Zombie targets are so popular. They are anatomically correct and nobody seems to care if you shoot zombies.

    • Shadowhawk

      Good point. I like it. That should keep the nambie-pambie complainers quiet.

  • kfleming

    I think shooting ranges should encourage the safe use of firearms for all purposes–target, hunting and self defense. So, in self-defense, we practice shooting people. It’s unpleasant to even write those words, and it should certainly give us no entertainment. I’m happy to see that a shooter is initially a little uneasy about shooting a photograph of a real person–that’s a good sign. But, that uneasiness is part of what you’re training to deal with–if the time comes, the choice has to be decisive and instant, not plagued with reservation.

    There is a practical aspect, in my opinion at least, to practice using targets that have distractors. For example, clothing, weapons, a back-pack, and so on, all serve to throw off our focus on shot placement. Threats aren’t squared-off to us like most targets are, threats that are crouched or not entirely exposed, and threats with what we may initially think are barriers to shot placement (the backpack, briefcase, etc). This is all probably good, practical stuff. I personally feel that, for self defense, nearly any target is as good as any other, given you’re standing still at a typical indoor range. There is a benefit and some good practical work that can be done, but it’s limited. If you and/or your target aren’t moving, then the practice is a bit limited in its utility.

    Ranting on a little more, I personally don’t care too much for the zombie target theme and that sort of thing. I understand ‘fun’ shooting–tin cans, water jugs, wet phonebooks–but even though I admit to enjoy the zombie movie or two, it’s getting into abusive violence. This is something the film industry can pander to, but I don’t care too much for it at the gun range.

  • R

    Where i took my CHL class, they provided human-like silhuette targets. The point of carrying a handgun being to protect one’s self from bad humans makes this logical.

  • Used to be that human shaped targets were not allowed by the NRA.

    In World War II; only 15% of the soldiers could sight a rifle on a human and pull the trigger. Most intentionally shot over their head. Most people killed were by machine gun or artillery. The army then changed to human shaped targets and added more realistic training and the number in Vietnam was over 80%.

    The reason for this is basic Pavlovian Conditioning. See a human target, pull the trigger. Make sure that this is done only under orders and you have a soldier.

    An excellent book that details this is “On Killing” by Dave Grossman. It’s a must read.

    • Ronin

      And that is exactly what all defensive classes are teaching. Defensive against a human who has the intent of harming us or our loved ones. Hence the necessity of using life like targets.

  • Jason ya better watch saying “US NORMAL PEOPLE” or the queers will be threating you like they have Chick-fil-A!!! :o) LOL

  • gsmith

    I have been shooting handguns for around 40 years, and have had my CCW for the past 6 years. I have yet to see a criminal with a bullseye target on his front or back or any other type for NRA sanctioned type target. When I practice I usually use IDPA targets or the standard B-27 target. When I got my CCW we shot B-27 targets at 3 yards and only had to put 20 out of 25 on the target. That was a joke for me, but some had a hard time meeting the minimum requirement. go figure.;

  • Mt Buckshot

    Our locale sporting goods store will not carry humane shape targets and they are the main seller of our range memberships. By the way there is no ban on shooting the targets at the range. Go figure!

  • adtuvet

    Why would I want to shoot an animal…animals have never harmed me! As a law enforcement officer for 26 years, the only targets I’ve ever shot at were human silhouettes. If a deer or bear breaks into my home; I’ll just have to improvise.

    • tionico

      you’re obviously not a cyclist who has been attacked by a crazy dog whilst pedalling down a country road. THAT is what made me get my Mother May I paper and start carrying. That, and the stories of homeless bums waylaying “wealthy” cyclists at a choke point on a local popular bike trail. But the thought did cross my mind, if I did shoot someone’s nasty dog after he bit my leg a few times, I’d likely have more of a time with the dog’s owner once he got HIS gun and came after me… this, the need for humanoid targets………

      • notsuresothis

        Try to scare the dog with a warning shot unless seriously attacked by a very dangerous dog.

        • Tony R.

          ANY attack by a dog is potentially serious. You don’t know if the dog is rabid. Where I live, any dog that bites a human in a public place the first time is automatically subject to a 10-day quarantine. The second time the animal may be confiscated and destroyed.

        • Warning shots are a very bad idea in any situation.
          1) it shows you weren’t in fear of death or great bodily harm, & that means it’s generally illegal to shoot. (Other than at a range.)
          2) you’re wasting ammo. Under stress your aim will be worse anyway.
          3) the bullet has to stop somewhere. Just hope it doesn’t hit some_one_. (Less of a problem in the country than the city, but still a bad idea.)

    • BillyBob753

      Invite them for dinner

  • Jim Isbell

    I think maybe we should pass another law that requires all perps to wear clothing that has a round, scored, target on the back and chest. Then we can practice with round targets. If this law works and they obey the law, then we can outlaw guns knowing full well that the perps will obey it also.

    Oh, I know that someone is going to ask why a target on the back. For Texas where it is legal to shoot the perp in the back if he is carrying some of your property and he is still inside your property lines.

  • Inglorious Basterd

    I respect people’s preference to shoot at whatever targets they prefer. However, the proposition that using human like targets is likely to create an urge to shoot a real person is just nonsense. Personally, I am happy shooting at any target that is available, including zombies, human silhouettes, puppies, or bunny-rabbits! I didn’t realize that photographs were not generally allowed, however that doesn’t stop someone visualizing someone they can’t stand 🙂 Just shows how stupid these rules can be!

  • Cobrawing

    I too see nothing wrong with using the standard police B-27 black and white target that I used while in law enforcement for a quarter of a century. It is merely the shadow of a human target and not specific to any particular individual, race, ethnic group, etc. I think some ranges object to some of these human targets when people bring in the Arabic images, the minority images of a someone in a hoodie and things of that nature. Public ranges are there for the use and enjoyment of ALL people from ALL backgrounds and things of this nature can and do offend. However, the use of a nondescript human image is perfectly fine.

  • old45toter

    I use FBI Q targets. Bottle shaped if you will. Range won’t let you use pictures of your wife, ex-wife, recognizable pics like the president etc. So my targets are okay with them and the general bullseye public.

  • mvantuyl

    Guess I’m some sort of nut, but I have been known to put a T-shirt over a target frame so that it’s as realistic as possible.

    • Back during the Iran embassy crisis, we put pictures of the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini on our ‘dog’ targets… If I thought a freaking Deer or Javelina was going to invade my home, I suppose I might think about putting Rudolph the red Nosed Rein-deer up on a target!

    • TxPatrick

      Have shot T-shirt (old /worn-out shirt) targets in IDPA.

  • steve

    Zombies. Always zombies. And unopened cans of Natty Ice. That stuff sucks.

  • sqlbullet

    Wow….And even worse, I know exactly which range you were at just based on that kind of comment.

  • geeareess

    I do not hunt. I do not shoot skeet. I am not a collector. I own firearms and maintain my skills for one reason- to protect my family, myself and my home. To that end, I will practice with targets that are most applicable to that purpose.

    • CharlieMay

      This is exactly what I came here to say.

  • farrightextreme

    The ranges here don’t allow human like targets. Front Sight Nevada, where i’ve been going once ayear does.

  • rev. dave

    Well, I like silhouette targets myself. I don’t relish the idea of shooting anyone, but I can’t recall the last time I read or heard of someone being assaulted by a bulls-eye.

  • Vegasgun

    Did you go to Frontsight on your swing through Nevada? Human-like targets all the way…

  • I would prefer to make training as realistic as possible so the targets should be as realistic as possible. Unfortunately, at my range here in the Baltimore, MD area, I cannot use human-photo type targets, even of dead humans (bin Laden) since it ‘may be offensive to others’ according to the range owners.

  • No Human Targets in MA: MYTH! There are ranges that don’t have them, but most do.

  • Bulletproof77

    I was shocked at this article – we are not allowed to use human like targets at my gun club – I thought it was like that in the whole country. Maria (Massachusetts)

  • runswiththunder

    The targets I use are printed free from the internet, on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Most are forms of bullseye and one is a human silhouette. If I can hit an 8 1/2 x 11 silhouette, I think I can hit a full size form. One bullseye target has four 3 inch circles, which allows me to try different ammunition on each circle, or use a couple of different firearms on the same target, using different circles. As I like to say, I’m frugal.

  • I have always used “human like” targets…I do lighten things up by shooting “smiley faces” into the head part…

  • Brianmacray

    If I’m ever attacked by concentric circles, I’ll be ready.

  • green mountain boy

    When I can, I get cardboard displays from various stores. Most are “real life” size.

  • me

    I am a hunter and carry for SD. I shoot almost always at 6″ and 9″ paper plates with a 3/4″ dot in the center (or there about’s). Why? I can staple them on a heavy rubber mat so they won’t blow away. Also as my hunting has shown me, whatever I am shooting at becomes a target, period. Be it a skunk, deer, antelope, or prairie dog. I’m guessing it would be the same with any other target. Pick a spot and shoot at it, “aim small, miss small”

    • pastorm1

      I too am a hunter. I have killed birds, rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs, snakes, and deer. Shooting at round targets helped me prepare for shooting these animals and I think it will help if I ever have to shoot at a human. I also think hunting can help prepare a person for the possibility of killing a person. The hunter has already had practice looking down his sights at a living thing and then seeing it die. Part of it is just mental conditioning-thinking about the possibility of needing to kill another human being and what you would do.

  • .357 Sig

    I use all kinds of human type targets.

  • christopher hisgen

    Except when zeroing our weapons, in the US Army all we shot were human pop-up silhouette targets!

  • Matt Seavey

    I can’t imagine practicing on an object that wasn’t shaped like the target I was practicing against. If I was going bear hunting, I would practice shooting at a bear target. Most of my practice and shooting classes are geared toward self-defense, so I use human like targets. I do like to mix my targets up and use targets that have an armed individual mixed in with targets with individuals holding cell phones, wallets, etc., so my clients make sure to practice identifying threats before making a decision to shoot. I would never shoot at a range that didn’t allow human shaped targets.

  • Usmccpl

    I have several guns all of which have different uses. I practice with each one occording to their specific uses. My S/D weapons do get used on human shaped targets. My hunting guns get used on animal shaped targets. My range guns ment to make tiny groups in paper get used on target with bullseyes. One exception to that rule is if my of my children are shooting with me and then the point is working on fundamentals or having fun. My daughter likes shooting but doesn’t like to hunt and isint old enough to carry for s/d. My oldest son wants to hunt but is a bit small to handle even the shortest carbine that that I have found. One day they will both shoot human shaped target just not yet.

  • Dr. Ronald Fountain

    I think the best recent work on this point is the book On Killing by Col. Dave Grossman. He cites the work of S. L. A. Marshall and others regarding the resistance by humans to shoot directly at other humans, even when under attack by those humans. It is a classic on this point. Human like tarkets might desensitize the thoughtful person from shooting an attacker but that then only serves to balance the attack/response equation. The time to decide if it is right to shoot an adversary is NOT when you are under attack. At that point it is appropriate to decide where to shoot the attacker and when. I believe that thoughtfully trained people do not look for humans to shoot. At the same time they do not regard themselves as “sheep” targets. That is a good thing.

  • wolf_fire

    It’s absurd to me that anyone that wants to practice to defend themselves is then subjugated to defend themselves on how they practice by others who own firearms. My preference is the B-27 style target. Why, because it gives a frame to show where on a person I should be aiming. If I practice that way, then when/if a threat should happen, that is how I will react. I have also been trained to practice the body armor drill: a double tap to the center of mass and if that doesn’t drop them one to the ocular cavity. How do I practice that without a human-like target??

    Guess what type of targets I use when I prepare for hunting season? Animal targets… Bingo!!!!

    If you don’t like my targets, don’t use them. If you are offended by my targets, grow up and stop bothering me.

  • davis98

    Heavens yes I shoot Human Paper targets how else do you learn to place your shots for the most effective wound or kill? When I use my browning .22 I can hit where I want at 45 yards That includes hands knees. When I use my .45 I use all kill shots. Being that weapon is used within15 yards or less. I also use 12×12 inch hit visible targets at various distances. I also practice at least twice a week. No I have never had to use any weapon on a live target since 1975. For that I am extremely grateful. I do carry every day just like I carry my wallet

  • I seem to recall a story years ago about some law enforcement agency that used only bullseye targets…they were having officers getting shot…when they changed to silhouette targets, that caused a training upgrade and officers began hitting the people that they were needing to hit….

  • zdnb02

    People just need to get used to the idea that in a real survival situation there, will be a warm body on the other end of that bullet speeding toward your head

  • Jim

    I teach personal defense shooting especially point shooting. Not only do I only use human targets in my shooting drills, many of them have the vital areas outlined so when the targets are pulled back my students can see where their hits actually were and what part of the body was hit. I tell my students that a person is easy to kill but hard to stop. Knowing exactly where to shoot to stop the assault is critical. I teach an anatomy lesson for just this purpose. I also use a 3D target so they can see where shots need to hit to get into the critical areas that must be hit to stop the fight. I can turn This target at various angles to demonstrate that real assailants do not always face you head on. What is the shot where the assailant is quartering you or at a sideways angle. What is it you are high and they are low or vice versa. Conventional center of mass shots in these situations are usually very ineffective.

    My students learn how to shoot fast and with combat accuracy in their drills. Some drills are set up to increase their level of discomfort so they can experience a little of what a real fight might be like. I start them with an SIRT training pistol that is laser based so they can learn to aim without relying on the sights. (PS sights do not work very well or at all in low light or in the dark.)
    Point shooting is effective when done within the limits of ones skill. Most of my students are combat effective at distances up to 16-18 feet I demonstrate to them that effective point shots can be taken at distances of 30 feet of more with lots of practice. Of course at some distance the sights can be brought into play and indeed need to be used if a precision shot is needed. It is all about trading off speed and precision and knowing what your skill level permits you to do.

    In my opinion there is great value in using targets that resemble the criminals they may face in an actual situation. I want them to learn to shoot when the threat has clothes covering the vital areas. I also use targets that are not always face on.

  • Craig

    Probably just me, but I like to use somewhat real targets, and I used take, or did take
    a standard B-27 and replicated it many times, only smaller… Used the standard silhouetted picture, only it was half size….. I’m retired, not an LEO any longer but I still shoot, and while
    it isn’t upper most in my mind to shoot another human, the fact remains that it can happen..
    I would hate to have anyone show up in my front room, looking for a handout, by force..
    I live alone now, and I have all the tools necessary, to defend against all enemies, foreign
    and domestic… I’ve been permitted to carry, since the second year of our ability to do so..
    The reason I used smaller versions of the B-27 should be obvious.. aim small, miss small..

  • Paul P.

    Range rules are normally the responsibility of the board of directors, even on ranges that were constructed with Pittman Roberts monies and which may be primarily dedicated to hunters education. So, those of you who may encounter rules barring humanoid targets need to get involved at the board of directors level or at least attend the meetings and get the target situation corrected. I know of no agency concerned with training and self defense (re armed security or law enforcement) that use anything but humanoid targets which is as it should be. The same applies to private sector self defense firearms training which should use the same target types to what ever extent the trainer deems necessary..
    Get active at your range, and get the target situation corrected.

  • j410

    I know of a lot of human targets that should be on the range opps human-like targets(humor boys just humor)Our range allows anything you bring in but only supplies round targets.

  • I switch between a variety of targets, including silhouettes & realistic human prints (AKA “bad guy/victim” targets). I also have my wife shoot at all types so she is ready to pull the trigger if necessary.

    This way I feel that we get a mixture of feedback from our targets.

    I have been tempted to buy the bleeding Zombie targets but can’t get myself to spend the $100 for each one.

  • Glock Fan

    another fudd lol the truth is guns and the 2nd amendment is about killing bad people Period and that is a good thing. Thank God I live in Arizona!!!!!!!

  • Tom Johnston

    Now I’ve heard everything! I live in Illinois, perhaps the most anti-gun state in the country and, even here, I have never once heard anyone even suggest that you shouldn’t shoot human-like targets. As you say, if you are attacked, it will not be by a bottle or a round paper target! I would have not been able to control my laughter if someone said that to me. You did the right thing by leaving the range but I hope you at least told the guy who said that what you said in this article. I never cease to be amazed at how common sense seems to be les and less common these days.

  • Tom Johnston

    Speaking of human-like targets, something funny happened at a range one day involving human-like targets. At an indoor range, I noticed that one shooters targets stood out from the rest of the targets being used. Everyone but that shooter was using white targets with a black human silhouette. That shooter was using a black target with a white human silhouette. Then I noticed that that shooter was the only black man at the range. I wish I could have gotten a picture. Please note, this is NOT a racist comment! It was simply funny.

  • Steve Challis

    We use the standard B27 target for our CCDW course because we are REQUIRED by law to do so. we use photo hostage and shooter targets for our Personal Protection courses because it makes sense to train as realistically as possible, and we shoot bulls eye targets for Hunter education again because we are required to do so by the State .
    The State do not accept the NRA course for Concealed Carry because they do not feel the standard is high enough,
    We live in a State that has a Democratic Governor who supports the Second Amendment.
    And has common sense gun laws. Thats why we live here .
    Steve Challis
    Harmony Hollow Firearms Training . Jeffersonville Ky.

  • PJ

    Practice, practice, practice.. be it a human silhouette or bullseye, practice, practice, practice.

  • Always,,,and would not use a range that did not!!!

  • Dave Brandt

    That’s pretty funny, but when I think back to wilder times, I did see someone attacked by a bottle (of course it was wielded by an actual person).

  • Shipwreck

    I PRACTICE WITH Shoot-N-C bull’s eye targets
    most of the time. It is easier for me to correlate exact point of aim and point
    of impact. Helps me diagnose problem
    areas and make adjustments. As I’ve
    gotten older, my eyes are not as sharp & my hands not as steady as even a
    few years ago. About every 3rd
    range visit, I’ll also pin up a green silhouette target. I find if my bull’s eye practice has been
    successful, I put most of my silhouette shots within the torso, not in the
    arms, groin or upper leg areas. I believe the silhouette practice is important,
    but I do not practice hitting hands or knees.
    In a real-life situation, something the size of a hand or knee would be
    (for me) a most unlikely target. That would
    also be a good way to get myself killed while my attacker just aimed to put a
    couple of rounds in the middle of my “52-Long” torso while I’m trying to go all
    “Randolph Scott” on him.

    I practice placing shots where they are
    likely to stop an attack, without aiming for the head. It’s a smaller target & likely to be
    moving anyway. Moreover, there is always the possibility of having to defend
    yourself against a claim that you “intentionally shot to kill” that troubled
    17-year old, future brain surgeon, lying dead on your den floor. One shot between-the-eyes “sounds” a whole lot
    better than it “looks” in court, and that’s where you may have to defend your
    actions. That’s just my view. When this retired
    old man goes out the door, he does so hoping to avoid or to defuse any potentially
    deadly situation that might eventuate; nonetheless expecting, hoping to face the
    challenge if avoidance is not possible. A good day includes returning home with
    5 in the cylinder& s weapon NOT in need of cleaning.

  • Joe

    I use IPSC’s and B-27’s. I also use a stuffed pair of coveralls on a mover (TM 5) which really gets the shooters heart pumping. I’m looking to help others have the proper mindset to do what needs to be done when bad things happen.

  • i wonder What the Police in Mass use when they go Through the Weapons Testing at the Academy, Cartoon Characters?????

  • NRA Instructor

    I am a NRA certified firearms instructor and I give a class that will allow citizens to ontain a CCW here in Florida. When we get to the range part of the class I use the ICE-QT target. It is a big 23″ x 35″ target of a thug looking male pointing a gun at you. I tell my students that most bad guys don’t run around in a T shirt with a bulls eye target on it.

  • So I suppose that if a burglar breaks in on me in the middle of the night, I should ask him if he will get on all fours and snort like a wild boar? Then he will be shaped a little more like a hunting target.

  • Robert Young

    Yes, I do train using human like targets for I agree that in a home invasion or an attempted mugging that is the kind of target you will have to defend yourself and family against.

  • TPaine

    I don’t waste time on bulls-eye targets or silhouettes because I am practicing my skills on self-defense. I like hostage targets, because they make me aim more precisely. And I shoot at all other kinds (including the zombie style) of “people targets” to know that I am hitting my targets where it will stop them. Like other here have said, I’m not a target shooter – I carry only for self-defense.

  • I prefer to do my hunting in the meat department of a grocery store. I don’t shoot sporting clays and have shot at the standard NRA silhouette target for as long as I’ve been shooting. I know that there are some ranges around Las Vegas that don’t allow any targets that remotely resemble a human. I bought one of those “bleeding zombie” targets at the last gun show I attended and plan to use it this Saturday. If these ranges don’t wish to allow my preferred targets, that’s their right as business owners; just as it is my right as a customer to go elsewhere to spend my money.

  • pastorm

    I have shot at human like targets on rare occasions, and I have done some dry firing at human pictures, but normally on the range I use circular type targets.

  • Anvil6

    Well, if I expected my likely attackers to BE bulls eyes, I’d sure practice shooting them!
    Meanwhile, for those without easy access to “human-shaped” targets in our backyard ranges can “unfold” medium sized cardboard boxes and duct-tape a correctly sized “flap” into position as the head. “Human-like?” Nope, I tell the neighbors, just puting the household trash to good use before it hits the recycle bin.

  • BillyBob753

    Zombie caricatures are plain stupid in my opinion. What do police, FBI and other law enforcement groups train with? I would prefer those.
    I bought 100 “inanimate” silhouette targets that are 45 inches tall. Too large for close range practice at the indoor shooting range.
    But they are “life size” images that can realistically indicate what size an attacker will appear at any distance.
    Punching “holes” in paper does not translate to “taking” innocent lives due to an individuals’ lack of social and mental acceptability.

  • sideswiped

    If I end up in a gun fight, chances are better than average the opponent may have Kevlar body armor, so I usually target the head and groin areas. Both of these are fatal hits. The torso is an inviting target but when ordinance keeps coming down range, that means my rounds are ineffective firing on the torso, so why waste ammo?

  • Big Kahuna

    My wife and I are retired LEOs with over 60 years of experience. We practice 2 to 3 times a month and always use the B-27 silhouette Department Issued targets. Went to one range and they said that the B-27 targets were not allowed. That was the first and last time we went to that city owned indoor range. We practice double tap center mass and a tap to the head. Strictly S/D from distances of 5, 7, 10 and sometimes 15 yards. Practice, practice, practice.

  • baldmurph

    Having trained with human silhouette targets and small arms in the Army for the express purpose of stopping a hostile someone before he stopped me, I have no problem shooting human-shape targets. Now, years later, whether this will translate into putting a .45 ACP ball into an intruder in my home has yet to be tested, but training and practice give me confidence that odds are strongly against the intruder. Also that collateral damage will be minimized. Prohibiting human silhouette targets strikes me as being as misguided as prohibiting private ownership of firearms. It didn’t work on alcohol during Prohibition but did succeed in creating a larger, richer criminal class. Better practice makes better results.

  • utfanx2

    My local range does not allow silhouette targets. Being in the military, I shoot nothing but silhouette targets. Do you see how that’s a problem for me?

  • I suppose we shouldn’t use Dart Board or Playing Card targets either. It might encourage someone to shoot up a Rec. Room or Poker Game. What about targets showing endangered or non-game species?
    What would this range-owner think if your targets were pictures of fluffy little kittens?
    How absurd can this PC stuff get … no … forget that, I don’t think I want to know.

  • Targets with good guys and bad guys faces are invaluable in training. We need to practice that quick reaction to determine good from bad so that we do not accidenlty, in the heat, shoot the good/bad guy depending on your viewpoint.

    • Dewey

      A wise idea. Shoot the ones with weapons, don’t shoot the kids, non-combatants and bunny rabbits.


    Silhouette targets for practice and any non NRA class I teach. The NRA does not want it’s Certified Instructors to use anything but blank paper or bullseye targets during class.

  • GT66

    No human like targets. Thats almost comical. They practice hunter education. I guess they don’t allow pistols on the range either…LOL

  • OldVirginian71

    Ironically, the NRA Headquarters indoor shooting range in Fairfax, Virginia does not allow human-like targets on their range, either. Seriously, NRA?

    Thankfully, there is a private range down the road in Chantilly called Blue Ridge Arsenal that allows them and sells a wide variety of targets, including terrorist targets, zombie, and killer clown targets just for fun.

  • I couldn’t agree more with the statement: “if you’re sitting on the range and you get queasy about shooting at a human-like target then carrying a gun is not for you. It’s better you find out now before the gun is taken from you when you hesitate to use it, and instead it’s used on you”
    If you are concerned about shooting a piece of paper and afraid of what other people think then you are going to be even more afraid to shoot an invader in your home and may even screw up and shoot your own family members. Its Paper. If you are afraid to shoot a piece of paper you are going to end up hurting or killing yourself or a loved one.
    If thats the case dont buy a gun. Take up martial arts classes and defend your home with unarmed combat and hope the guy who invades your home didn’t buy a gun (legally or more likely illegally).
    If he does have a gun, don’t worry I am sure he will be reasonable and agree to a gentleman’s hand to hand combat versus just pulling his gun and killing you.

  • harry fugginknutts

    I used to use can and bottles when I was growing up, one thing that did was sharpen the aim. However, a can or bottle never attacked me. I like the human sillouette and even shoot on ranges that have different people as part of the realistic range where you are entering different buildings and have to draw and shoot what would be a villian. I have not personally been a victim but witnessed a situation where someone else was and made the determination should never happen again in the society we live in!

  • Laurence Almand

    So what kind of targets do they prefer? Daises and diamonds, or some other silly design? Skunks? Rabbits? The purpose of carrying a gun is to protect yourself from a HUMAN criminal, and hence you should use a human target. There are many human targets available, including hostage photos and guys in ski masks. Search the internet and buy some REALISTIC targets so you will be able to defend yourself when the time comes!

  • I am concerned about overpenetration in bullet selection and this sounds like a great way to evaluate what bullets over penetrate and which ones do not which in the end can help prevent needless death

  • Our gun range is used by three law enforcement agencies and a near by prison for training, guess what their targets look like.

  • Frank Clair

    I carry my .40 caliber XD sub compact for personal protection. I believe that I’m more likely to be attacked by a human being than an animal. I shoot at human shaped targets!

  • Cougar

    I love to shoot at my favorite ‘human-like’ targets. My favorites? Bin Ladin, various masked bg’s, Ahmadegeneratedad, Assad, Mohammed, K5’s, etc.

  • FreedomForever

    I shoot human-like size targets everytime I go to the range. Thats how you train to become more effective when the time comes!

  • generations

    The NRA doesn’t allow human like targets in their classes either. Even the personal defense classes

  • AvidshooterTX

    Funny, here in Texas the Dept of Safety requires human-like silhouettes for our CHL test.

  • AvidshooterTX

    I must say that I would be ashamed of the target pictured in the article. Nice grouping? NOT!

  • I found a great sale on what are probably seconds of targets used by a certain state highway patrol department, showing a man in a jacket & knit cap pointing a pistol forward out of the paper, at the student.
    They’re nearly life-size (head to crotch). Even has the state agency name & seal in one corner.
    It bothered me at first that the perp was a black man, but reality is that where I live that’s likely to be who’s attacking me.
    I’ve used these at the outdoor range I prefer, & the indoor range I tolerate, with never a complaint.
    That same indoor range sells a variety of human picture & outline targets.

  • Deetscoupe

    I shoot human like targets & so does my family . We do so because odds are I won’t be attacked by a deer or a bowling pin in a parking lot or in my home . So yes we practice on what shows the most threat , Humans ( targets ) . It’s a good feeling when my 10 year old daughter can put 10 rounds center mass @ 10 to 15 yards from her human like target .

  • Hersfelder

    The key is to be able to hit your target every time. I shoot at 6-inch paper plates (out to 35+ feet) and 3×5 cards (out to 30+ feet) and old business cards (out to 25+ feet). Believe me……being able to put 6 out of 6 in a business card at more than 25 feet in low light with my carry piece definitely proves to me that I can hit any target I want when it comes to business. I do not need to shoot at silhouette targets. Besides, paper plates are CHEAP…so are 3×5 and old business cards……..also, ain’t it funny how a 6 inch paper plate is the size of the average brain bucket?

  • Oakspar

    I use hum-sil targets and usually make sure I draw on a heart, lungs, and liver. I want to know when I am shooting at max range how many shots I need to take to be sure of a terminal sollution.
    I don’t practice shooting people for their good health and well being. I practice so that if, God forbid, it ever comes up, I don’t have to think about it. Muscle memory is key.
    If putting a turbaned face, a hoodie, or “Forward!” button helps people shoot terrorist, criminals, or tyrranist more accurately – then it is a good thing. Shooting people is not easy – the military works hard training that into soldiers. If you are carrying for defence, they you need as much of that training as you can give yourself.

  • GunTotingLib

    The main reason many sites have banned “human” shaped targets is because many of my shooting ” friends” have let their politics take over and shoot targets that resemble real people of note. And it is easier to restrict all human shaped targets then to limit only human shaped targets that resemble certain people. Lets keep our politics and hate off the range , Practice our skills and enjoy our sport . I love to shoot, I have a large gun collection and am a re loader. I love competing, talking guns and comparing loads and if you cross my threshold meaning harm to me or mine I will shoot you dead and then go out for ice cream., And I am a liberal, and I find it offensive to shoot a target that resembles George W Bush OR Barrack Obama and because many of my shooting brothers do not share that offense we have lost the right at many gun clubs and some states to shoot silhouette targets. It is a shame how hate has invaded the noble cause of self defense and basic sport.

  • sneakyinshorewood

    I think it’s safe to say that if you ever need to use a pistol in defense that it won’t matter what you shot towards on the range. Bottles or shadows, if that time ever comes (and I hope it never does!) that with enough practice and knowledge you will do what is needed with accuracy. I don’t need a shadow of person to know how to aim. We don’t practice on round targets to fire upon the elusive north American target if it ever attacks…

  • Mike W

    Wow, my targets generally look like,… Well my targets. Unless I am dialing in a gun, then I used non-target targets. Was that clear? Good article.

  • Paul E

    Yes on the action pistol range. The range rules permit the cardboard human shaped targets; they do not permit images or photographs of innocent and bad guys. We shoot steel poppers and plate racks. I have heard that sometimes they have bowling pins, but have not seen any yet.

    No human targets on the primary firing line. The range rules only permit scoreable targets or target dots. Neither range permits exploding, animals, zombie, or other similar targets.

  • tonya engle

    my name is Tonya Engle and I am trying to find someone that can help me turn a picture into a target,my father is looking to make a target of my niece as a gag gift for Christmas pleas help if you can.thank you. my email is [email protected].

  • the best zombie targets are the Nazi ss. You don’t want any hesitation when a Nazi is at your door. I’m going to start posting my zombie Nazi targets. I think that it will send a clear message while still allowing plausible deniability. I think people have to begin thinking about what they say and who they say it to if they want to avoid first class seats in a box car. Just saying:>) It happened to my people once, it aint happening to me.Buchenwald

  • odie11

    I can readily see people not wanting to encourage shooting at human targets. And while I don’t agree that you should NOT shoot at them, I do agree that we are seeing a pervasive lack of empathy in regards to both law enforcement, the military and the civilian population that really do not understand what entails shooting another human being.

    It is no secret that too many of our law enforcement officers are taught to shoot as quickly as possible and keep shooting until the person is down. This psychotic mentality has contributed significantly to other law enforcement personnel to be killed in the line of duty.

    There have been numerous examples of plain clothes police officers that have responded to robberies in progress that have been killed by their own police departments by both friendly fire and misidentification.

    Using human targets begets a desensitization of shooting humans. We read of police officers tasering 7 year olds, 75 year old ladies and pregnant women–where does this come from? It comes from police department trainers teaching a twisted philosophy of gun use.

    Today, the average home owner feels under gunned unless he is carrying a black rifle with a 30 round magazine. We are now at the stage wear our civilian police departments are using military hardwear in order to do standard police work.

    Some departments even have drones and tanks.

    And while I have no problem with people using human targets, I’m wondering if the writer would be laughing if the target was our president?

    How about selling a line of targets of police officers for civilian marksmanship practice? How about puppies and kittens–how about pregnant women? How about Priests and other clergy–you know since the writer “laughs” at people that disparage the use of “humanlike” targets–after all, we “must” keep it real?–Right?

    There is something both ugly and sinister going around in the USA with this kind of talk. If you have both the maturity and the professionalism and perhaps the complete lack of sensitivity to using human targets, then by all means, put them up. But make sure you have some pregnant women, six year olds, priests and clergy and maybe throw in some minorities as well. That way, you can “laugh” at those people that don’t “understand” that you are ONLY trying to be as “professional” as possible–and it doesn’t “mean” anything.

    Oh, and when the Secret Service comes knocking on your door asking you to explain why you have a “human President target” at the local range. Tell them this writer said it was “okay.” After all, you have to practice for ALL CONTINGENCIES–one never knows when a president goes “rogue” and attempts to “hurt” your family.