What are the Best Air Rifle Targets in the UK?

5 April 2024  |  Air Arms

What are the Best Air Rifle Targets in the UK?

Air rifle shooting has gained immense popularity in the United Kingdom, attracting shooting enthusiasts of all levels - and using suitable targets is essential for honing your skills and improving accuracy when it comes to air rifle practice.

Whether you're using a pcp air rifle, spring powered air rifle, gas ram or co2 air pellet guns, we will discover the available targets that will enhance your shooting abilities. From paper targets to steel targets and interactive options, we will delve into the various types and their benefits and recommend the top choices for your shooting needs. In this article, we will explore the best air rifle targets available in the UK that can elevate your shooting experience.

Why use Targets for Air Rifles?

Before we can look at what types of air rifle targets are available in the UK, we need to understand why we use them in our air rifle shooting endeavours. Target shooting with air rifles is a versatile activity that caters to various interests, from skill development and recreation to competition and training, making it a popular choice among shooting enthusiasts and hobbyists.

So, let’s take a look at why it’s useful to use targets for our air rifles and the benefits they can bring to your shooting!


Benefits of Targets

Target shooting with air rifles serves various purposes and offers several benefits:

  1. Skill Development: Target shooting helps improve marksmanship and precision. It requires focus, concentration, and control, which are essential skills for shooters to develop and enhance over time.

  2. Recreational Activity: Many people enjoy target shooting with air rifles as a recreational hobby. It provides a fun and engaging way to spend time outdoors or at shooting ranges, offering relaxation and enjoyment for participants.

  3. Competitive Sport: Target shooting is also a popular competitive sport practised in various disciplines and competitions worldwide. It allows individuals to test their shooting abilities against others and participate in organised events.

  4. Training and Practice: For hunters and sports shooters, target shooting with air rifles serves as valuable training and practice. It helps them hone their shooting skills, understand weapon handling, and improve their overall shooting proficiency.

  5. Safety Awareness: Engaging in target shooting promotes safety awareness and responsible gun handling practices. Participants learn about firearm safety rules, proper shooting techniques, and respect for firearms, contributing to a safe shooting environment.

  6. Stress Relief: Shooting at targets can be a stress-relieving activity for many individuals. It offers a way to unwind, focus on a specific task, and release tension through concentration and controlled shooting movements.

So, what types of targets are there?

In the UK, there are many types of targets you can use to help with target shooting. Let's take a look at some of the most popular types of targets and find out why they might be a good option for you and your air rifles shooting.

Paper Targets

Standard Bullseye Targets

These targets feature concentric circles with a bullseye at the centre. They provide a clear visual representation to assess accuracy and precision. It is ideal for practising marksmanship and improving shot placement.

  • Clear visual representation: The concentric circles on bullseye targets make it easy to assess the placement of shots and evaluate accuracy.

  • Versatile: Bullseye targets can be used for various shooting disciplines, including pistol shooting, rifle shooting, and archery.

  • Skill development: Using bullseye targets helps improve marksmanship and shot placement by focusing on hitting smaller and more precise areas.

Animal Silhouette Targets:

These targets depict various animal shapes, such as deer, rabbits, or birds. They simulate hunting scenarios and help shooters develop target acquisition skills. Excellent for honing accuracy, target identification, and shooting in realistic environments.

  • Realistic simulation: Animal silhouette targets depict various animal shapes, such as rabbits, or birds. They provide a more realistic shooting experience compared to standard bullseye targets. This simulation can help you improve your target acquisition skills and shooting accuracy in scenarios resembling actual hunting situations.

  • Target identification: Shooting at animal silhouette targets requires quick target identification. This helps you develop the ability to distinguish between different animals and make accurate shots. It enhances decision-making skills and improves overall shooting proficiency.

  • Environmental adaptation: When using animal silhouette targets, you can practise shooting in realistic environments. This includes considering factors like distance, angle, and obstacles. By replicating real-world conditions,you can become more adaptable and skilled in diverse shooting scenarios.

  • Enhanced engagement: Animal silhouette targets add an element of excitement and engagement to shooting practice sessions. The challenge of hitting specific areas on the target, such as vital organs or smaller target zones, creates a more dynamic and interactive experience.

  • Fun and variety: With animal silhouette targets, you can enjoy a broader range of shooting exercises. They can mix and match different targets to create unique training drills and scenarios, keeping the practice sessions exciting and enjoyable.

Reactive Targets:

Reactive Targets are targets that react when hit - providing immediate feedback on successful shots. They can include exploding targets, splattering paint, or spinning mechanisms. Reactive targets can add an element of excitement and make practice sessions more engaging.

  • Immediate feedback: Reactive targets react when hit, providing immediate visual or auditory feedback on successful shots. This instant feedback allows you to assess your accuracy and make adjustments in real time, leading to faster skill development.

  • Enhanced engagement: Reactive targets add an element of excitement and make practice sessions more engaging. The reactive nature of these targets adds a dynamic and interactive element to shooting..

  • Realistic training: Some reactive targets are designed to mimic real-life scenarios, such as exploding targets or targets that simulate bullet impacts. This type of training helps shooters develop skills relevant to specific situations, such as recognising and responding to reactive targets in tactical or self-defence scenarios.

  • Variety of options: Reactive targets come in various forms, including exploding targets, splattering paint targets, spinning targets, and more. This variety allows you to choose targets that suit your preferences and training goals, keeping their practice sessions exciting and diverse.

  • Skill improvement: The immediate feedback of reactive targets helps you identify and correct your shooting errors more effectively. You can improve your accuracy, precision, and shot placement by focusing on hitting reactive targets.

  • Training enjoyment: Shooting reactive targets can be a lot of fun. The satisfaction of seeing or hearing the target react to a successful shot adds an element of reward and motivation to the training process.

Interactive Targets

Knockdown Targets

These targets are designed to fall down or reset when hit by an air rifle pellet. Knockdown targets are popular for practising target acquisition skills and accuracy.

  • Reactive and Interactive: Knockdown targets provide a satisfying shooting experience by reacting when hit. When struck by a bullet or pellet, these targets fall or reset, adding an interactive element to shooting practice. This instant feedback can help you improve your accuracy and shot placement.

  • Realistic Training: Knockdown targets simulate scenarios where shooters need to acquire and engage multiple targets quickly. You can develop target acquisition skills, target transition speed, and decision-making abilities by practising with knockdown targets.

  • Skill Development: Knockdown targets challenge you to hit specific areas or weak points on the target to ensure it falls. This improves precision and accuracy, as shooters must focus on hitting the right spot to achieve the desired result.

  • Fun and Engaging: Knockdown targets make shooting practice more enjoyable and engaging. Knocking down targets creates a sense of achievement and satisfaction, making the training sessions more rewarding.

  • Versatility: Knockdown targets come in various shapes and sizes, including animals, silhouettes, or simple geometric designs. This versatility allows shooters to practise with different target types and adapt their shooting techniques accordingly.

  • Portability and Reusability: Many knockdown targets are lightweight and portable, making them easy to transport and set up in different shooting environments. Additionally, they are designed to withstand repeated use, providing long-lasting durability and cost-effectiveness.

Spinner Targets

Spinner targets have one or more spinning plates or paddles that rotate when struck by an air rifle pellet. They offer an added challenge and help shooters improve their timing and precision.

  • Reactive and Dynamic: Spinner targets provide an engaging and dynamic shooting experience. When hit, the spinning plates or paddles on the target rotate, providing immediate visual feedback and indicating a successful shot. This reactive nature can keep you actively involved and add an element of excitement to your practice session.

  • Focus and Precision: Shooting at spinner targets requires focus and precision. The rotating plates provide a smaller target area, challenging shooters to aim precisely and time their shots effectively. This will help improve your concentration and fine-tune shooting skills.

  • Timing and Speed: Spinner targets require shooters to develop timing and speed. As the plates rotate, shooters must time their shots to hit the target immediately. This helps build hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and the ability to engage moving targets.

  • Versatility: Spinner targets come in various sizes, shapes, and configurations, allowing shooters to choose the difficulty or challenge that suits their skill level and training goals. They can range from simple single-plate spinners to more complex multi-tiered setups, offering versatility and variety in shooting practice.

  • Entertainment and Fun: Shooting at spinner targets can be entertaining and enjoyable. Seeing the plates spin upon successful hits provides a sense of achievement and satisfaction, making the shooting session more fun and rewarding.

  • Training for Competition: Spinner targets are commonly used in shooting competitions, especially in disciplines like Steel Challenge and action shooting sports. Practising with spinner targets helps shooters prepare for these competitive events by improving their accuracy, speed, and target transition skills.

Resetting Targets

These targets are designed with multiple smaller targets that reset automatically after being hit. They eliminate the need to manually reset the target after each shot, allowing continuous shooting practice without interruptions.

  • Continuous Shooting Practice: Resetting targets allows you to engage in constant shooting practice without manually resetting or replacing targets after each shot. This saves time and increases efficiency, allowing shooters to focus on their technique and rhythm.

  • Immediate Feedback: When a shooter hits the target, resetting targets provides immediate visual feedback by resetting themselves to the original position. This instant feedback allows you to assess your accuracy and adjust your aim or technique for subsequent shots.

  • Convenience and Cost-Effectiveness: Resetting targets eliminates the need to walk downrange to reset or replace targets constantly. This convenience saves time during shooting sessions and reduces target wear and tear. Additionally, resetting targets are often durable and long-lasting, making them a cost-effective investment for regular practice.

  • Skill Development: Shooting at resetting targets helps shooters improve their marksmanship skills, including accuracy, precision, and shot placement. The repetitive shooting at the exact target location reinforces muscle memory and aids in developing consistent shooting techniques.

  • Versatility: Resetting targets come in various forms, including spinning plates, knockdown targets, or swinging targets. This versatility allows shooters to choose targets that suit their training goals or shooting discipline. They can be adjusted to different difficulty levels, accommodating both beginners and experienced shooters.

  • Safety: Resetting targets provides a safer shooting experience than manually resetting or replacing targets. Shooters can maintain a safe shooting distance and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries by eliminating the need to go downrange frequently.

Plinking Targets

Plinking targets are typically made of reactive materials like steel or rubber, producing a satisfying sound or movement when hit. They offer an interactive experience suitable for beginners and experienced shooters.

  • Fun and Enjoyment: Plinking targets add an element of fun and enjoyment to shooting sessions. The reactive nature of these targets, such as spinning, bouncing, or falling when hit, provides visual and auditory feedback that enhances the overall shooting experience.

  • Instant Feedback: Plinking targets offer immediate feedback upon impact, allowing shooters to see and hear the effect of their shots in real time. This instant feedback helps you assess your accuracy, adjust your aim or technique, and improve your shooting skills more efficiently.

  • Versatility: There is a wide range of plinking targets available, including steel spinners, pop-up targets, bouncing targets, and more. This variety allows you to choose targets that suit your preferences and training goals, catering to both beginners and experienced shooters.

  • Skill Development: Plinking targets helps develop essential shooting skills, including accuracy, precision, target acquisition, and shot placement. The interactive nature of these targets challenges shooters to aim carefully and improve their marksmanship abilities.

  • Cost-Effective: Many plinking targets are reusable, making them cost-effective in the long run. Unlike paper targets that need to be replaced after each use, plinking targets can withstand multiple hits and continue to provide entertainment and practice opportunities.

  • Realistic Training: Plinking targets can simulate real-world scenarios, making them suitable for practical shooting training. Shooters can engage with reactive targets that mimic the movement or behaviour of game animals or dynamic situations, enhancing their shooting skills in realistic settings.

DIY Targets

Creating homemade targets can be a cost-effective and creative way to enhance your shooting practice. Here are some ideas and instructions for DIY targets:

Recycled Materials Targets:

You can utilise everyday household items or recycled materials to create air rifle targets. For example, you can make targets using cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, or tin cans. 

  • Cut out shapes or draw target patterns on the cardboard and attach them to a sturdy backboard. This not only provides a target surface but also helps with recycling efforts.

Fruit and Vegetable Targets:

You can incorporate fruits and vegetables into your shooting practice for a unique and biodegradable target option. 

  • You can attach apples, oranges, or watermelons to a target stand using string or wooden dowels. The satisfying splatter and impact provide immediate visual feedback.

Balloon Targets:

Balloons make for fun and interactive targets. Inflate balloons to different sizes, tie them to a target stand or, tape them to a backing board, and place them at varying distances. When hit, the balloons burst, providing an exciting reaction.

When creating DIY targets, it's essential to consider safety:

  • Ensure a Safe Backstop: Set up your targets in a safe area with a proper backstop to catch any stray rounds. Choose a location that provides a clear line of sight and sufficient space behind the target area to prevent bullets from going beyond the intended shooting area.

  • Use Appropriate Materials: Select materials suitable for the type of firearm you are using (e.g. spring powered air rifles). For example, ensure that the target can withstand the impact of your ammunition without causing dangerous ricochets.

  • Follow Local Laws and Regulations: Familiarise yourself with local laws and regulations regarding shooting on private property or designated shooting ranges. Always prioritise safety and comply with all applicable laws and guidelines.

Things to remember

From reactive, resetting, and DIY targets, each type of air rifle target you can use when target practising can offer unique benefits and caters to different shooting preferences and needs. When selecting targets, it's essential to consider your shooting goals, skill level, and the type of shooting discipline you enjoy. 

Always remember to check your local air gun laws to make sure you’re adhering to the correct codes of conduct and shooting safely. 

For more information on air guns (from spring air rifles, PCP Air Rifles, air guns, etc) please check out our product page. As one of the leading manufacturers, we at Air Arms deliver airguns to the highest standards for our clients so that you can feel confident in your shooting. Whether it's for pest control shooting, target practice or small game hunting, contact us today - we have the perfect air rifle for you.