I’m not a paper puncher. I prefer reactive targets. I grew up poking holes in pie plates and perforating Coke cans. Shooting always had an element of plinking involved. When I began shooting as part of my profession, I graduated to more durable targets. I know more about metallurgy and the composition of steel than most writers, all of which I picked up on the job. Yet sometimes I need to see exactly where my shots are hitting, and steel doesn’t do that very well. There’s a time and a place for paper.
And I recently moved and I’ve developed a new-found appreciation for store-bought targets. I’d been living in the backwoods of Virginia where I had access to a privately owned range. The range master trained students for ISPC and IDPA. The range was clean, well manicured, and almost always quiet. When I needed to sight in a rifle, or align sights on a pistol, I could set up a paper target and do what I needed to do. But most of the time I was banging on steel.
I’m now in the wilds of Arkansas. I’ve got the land for a new range, but haven’t established the infrastructure. It will take time. Still, I have work to do. I have guns to review. I need to see what I’m shooting, and I need to have something truly portable, at least until I decide on the location of the berm. The most convenient package I’ve found is from Birchwood Casey, makers of the Shoot-N-C line of stick-on paper targets.
Shoot-N-C Sharpshooter Stand and Target Kit
You probably know Shoot-N-C. Most shooters do. Most varieties use a black paint over a yellow background. The adhesion of the black on the yellow is just strong enough to keep it from rubbing off easily. When a bullet strikes the target, the impact knocks a hole in the paper and knocks off a ring of the black paint surrounding that hole, exposing the yellow beneath it. This all may seem fairly obvious, but it is some high-tech material science we too often take completely for granted.
Most of the Shoot-N-C targets have adhesive backs, which let you stick them to a board, fence post, tree, etc. The Sharpshooter kit comes with a corrugated plastic board and a metal stand. It isn’t unlike a small real estate sign, or political ad (both of which make great improvised targets). The stand is deceptively simple. The metal ends slide up inside the corrugation, and the cross bars support the board (on the top end) and allow you to stomp it into the ground (on the bottom bar).
Once you shoot the board, you begin the process of designed obsolescence. It will eventually prove useless, but it will take a while. The large stick on targets will cover the board. New targets can be stuck directly to the old. In theory, since you are such a good shot, you’ll only eat a hole in the very center of the board.
What’s in the box?
1 – metal frame
1 – 12″ x 18″ backer board
1 – 12″ x 18″ Silhouette
1 – 12″ Bull’s-eye
1 – 12″ Sight-in
1 – 8″ Bull’s-eye
It could be more fun if it came with 54 pasties, but you take what you get. The variety of styles is useful. Large oval rings, small circles, minute of angle squares…. I find that four targets get shot up rather quickly when I’m out reviewing guns, so I have picked up a couple of other options. I like BC’s deer targets, and I even shoot up some stylized bad guys. The pasters are about the size of most impact marks and allow you to reuse a target (especially if you have a random flier or two). The larger targets are typically sectioned off to allow you more opportunity to shoot them up good.
While a Shoot-N-C isn’t visible from 100 yards, it is through a good scope, a spotting scope (of course) and most binoculars. I was sighting in a troublesome muzzleloader recently and couldn’t see where the shots were hitting. I put up the largest Shoot-N-C we had and went back to the bench. When we pulled the trigger again, there was no doubt. The gun we had sighted in perfectly at 25 yards wasn’t even on the paper at 100. We had a problem, and it was easy to see (or not see, in this case). If only it was as easy to fix the problem with the gun.
The Sharpshooter kit is reasonably priced. With an MSRP of $12.70, it isn’t going to break the bank. While that’s more expensive than simple plinking, it can really be a benefit for everything else. If you’re sighting in for the fall season, or trying out a new pistol, the Shoot-N-C may be the way to go. You get the stand, and they’re neat, contained, and easy to clean up. Not bad.