Low-Cost DIY Portable Target Stand

Portable Target Stand
Portable Target Stand

For the next several months I’ll be doing training in Utah and Nevada, and lately I’ve been spending a great deal of time in Southern Utah near Bryce and Zions Canyon. The best part about being out in this “wide open” country is that the city shooting range is at the bottom of a mountain and anyone can go shoot whenever they want.

In other words, it’s a free public range. You don’t have to pay any range fees. There are no range officers around. It’s up to the public to be responsible, which is the way it should be. Quite frankly, this type of shooting range is a little slice of heaven and is a good change from the NRA shooting range that I usually go to in Northern Virginia. (It seems there’s always an hour and a half wait at the NRA range and the majority of the range officers they employ need a lesson in customer service.)

The thing is, since the range I’m now going to is a public range at the bottom of a mountain, there is literally nothing there. You have to bring your own targets and target stands.

When I found this out, I quickly went online and searched for a portable target system…

Portable Target Stand
Portable Target Stand

A simple enough one popped up and I decided to build it with a slight twist. So here’s the target stand that I built and here’s everything you need to build one too. It really is simple. I promise if I can build it, so can you, since I’m extremely “un-handy.”

First, go to Home Depot and buy eight pieces of black ABS pipe that are each 1.5 inches x 24 inches long. Home Depot has these already pre-cut so you can grab them and go (like I did). Or, you can buy a long piece of the pipe and cut it yourself.

Next, you need two “Tees.” These connect the pipe that holds up the target. In other words, the “Tees” connect the two pieces to the stand, which hold the furring strips (more about these in a second.) After that, you need four “Elbows” to connect the pipes to form a square. And lastly, you need two wooden furring strips that are 58 inches long. (They come longer than this so you’ll have to cut them down a bit.)

Here’s the layout of needed materials again in an easier to read format:

  • 8 pieces of ABS pipe that are each 1.5 inches x 24 inches
  • Two connector “Tees”
  • Four “Elbows”
  • Two furring strips that are 58 inches long

After you have those items it takes about 30 seconds to put the target together. Once it’s together you simply staple up cardboard and a target. Since I know the directions were likely a bit confusing, see the picture I took to get a better idea of what the finished product should look like. It will cost you less than $40 in supplies from Home Depot and then you’ll be all set to shoot at “rural” shooting ranges should you ever find yourself out in the country.

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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Jeff Miller

Thanks Jason!! These will work great and are light enough to take up to my friends property. My only suggestion is that instead of gluing the parts, get some pins or screws with wing nuts for the joints. Drill through the assembled joints and use the screws to assemble them. That way the uprights and frames can be easily broken down. That way, the parts can be “bungied” together and transported in a small car or on a four-wheeler…


Thanks Jason! My husband and I made two of them today 🙂


To add my 2 cents, Home Depot sells 2″ spring clamps for 99 cents that are faster and easier than staples to hold your cardboard and target to the furring strips. Also, before you spend 40$ on parts and materials and your time to assemble one of these, I would check with your local gun shop to see if anyone in town is making and selling steel ones. We have a guy locally that makes and sells target stands for 25$ each or 2 for 40$. they are smaller and stiffer than PVC and they save time and money (if you can find them cheep enough). I wouldn’t get them from your sporting goods stores though, they tend to charge a lot for the steel stands. We also like to use 2 of the 3/8″ x 10″ steel spikes (~1.49$ each at Home Depot) to hold the target stands down, hear in NV it can get a bit windy.


Many of the forums that talk about building target stands either have broken links, or discuss a PVC model.

I have found the PVC target stand to not be as stable. It is certainly lighter, and can be disassembled. The price point is also about the same. The problem is that if you “accidentally” shoot it, the plastic fragments and renders the stand completely useless.