The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes

The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
TaTargets Silhouettes: Left: C-Zone Right: Mini Vital Zone Steel Target

For those who have had the opportunity to shoot somewhere besides a public gun range, you have most likely scrounged around looking for targets minutes before leaving. From paper targets, clay pigeons, rusty repurposed scrap steel, to the classic tin cans, there are many redneck solutions that have got some of you by until now. Growing up on a farm, I found myself doing those exact things, and always looking for something new to shoot each time I would head out to my homemade range. While cheap, it was not convenient. My homemade steel targets would constantly need to be repaired or replaced and would allow a dangerous amount of spalling to fly in all directions. That is why back in 2018 I started researching steel targets.

In the search for the toughest steel targets available, I stumbled upon a company called TaTargets which made their silhouettes from AR550 in a market dominated by AR500 steel. The AR550 is even harder than AR500 so it is more resistant to dimpling and deformation from incoming bullets. Not only was it harder, but it also came with a different kind of mounting system. TaTargets prides themselves with their angled mounts, which deflect spalling from impacting rounds down, and away from the shooter. Shooting other steel targets that were mounted perfectly upright is a spalling hazard. I have personally been hit dozens of times with spalling from these types of target systems. While most spalling hits were minor, some hit hard enough to draw blood. Providing an angle is such a simple solution and key to reducing dangerous fragmentation. To date, I can’t remember being hit by spalling from any of TaTargets flat-faced silhouettes with the angled mount. This is a pretty good change from being hit multiple times per range day with other styles of targets.

The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
Multiple Angle Choices

After learning about TaTargets from my research, and then following their social media I could see they provided both safe-quality targets, and a 2A absolutist culture. They state that they “are committed to creating a culture of protectors and defenders through innovative training targets and systems.” For these reasons I reached out to them and they sent me out a target to test and review. While they didn’t pay me for this article, I want to disclose I am partnered with them. I sought them out on my own accord because I thought they made the best targets around while doing a great job of advocating for our freedoms. Being able to partner with a company I agree with wholeheartedly has been an honor, but should be disclosed.

The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
TaTargets Mini A-DAP

Their signature Mini A-DAP silhouette is a reduced C-zone-sized target. For those of you who don’t shoot USPSA to know what that means, this target is 8” wide by 16” tall. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. From what I have found, no other steel target company offers warranties like this on their target systems. At first, I was pretty skeptical of buying a smaller target, but really this keeps you more accountable. This target is basically representing the vital zone for a threat, so getting a hit on this would represent a solid hit on target in real life. You can get these targets in either 3/8” or 1/2” thick AR550 plate, and I chose 1/2” for my Mini A-DAP system.

After receiving my first silhouette from TaTargets, I put it through the wringer. I would bring it out to practice with Oklahoma State’s practical shooting team, where we would hit it with hundreds of rounds a day. Most of this was with pistols, however, we still hit it with a lot of 223 and 7.62×39 from 30+ yards. Pistols literally did not dent the steel at all, and rifles at distances of only 30 yards barely dented the surface. When shooting from 50+ yards I haven’t noticed any front face deformation from 223 or 308 FMJ. The following link shows a quick test of multiple rounds from various distances: Steel Test

Since receiving the Mini A-DAP, I have gotten multiple of their other models and they have all held up just as well. The exact same steel, just cut into different sizes and patterns.

The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
From left to right: Raven, C-Zone, Mini A-DAP with hostage assembly, Mini Vital Zone

Probably the biggest benefit of shooting steel is the instant audible feedback you receive. Well, nearly instant, I guess technically at the speed of sound which takes a couple of seconds when shooting from hundreds of yards away. Being able to both hear and see your hits (with freshly painted targets) is a great training tool. While steel targets aren’t as good as paper for measuring group sizes, they are fantastic for working on speed. They also are great for home ranges where you can leave the target outside in the elements and not worry about it.

I have shot this target out to 600 yards, and even with the blowing Oklahoma winds, I have still been able to hear my hits so having a spotter wasn’t essential. The following link shows me shooting their Raven target system at 400 yards.

The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
Center punching the TaTargets Raven

Having quality steel targets that can take a beating and not fall apart has been very nice. While investing in steel targets takes more money upfront, the phrase “buy once cry once” just seems to fit. MSRP is $271.75 for their most popular option, the Mini A-Dap System (comes with silhouette, top bracket, mounting hardware, and steel base), or $75.75 for just the Mini A-DAP silhouette as of 11-20-2021. Buying a target that will last forever if used properly will end up costing less in the long run than continually buying cheap targets that fail. Overall I have been very impressed with their different target systems. From the more durable AR550 to the angled mounting systems these targets have not disappointed.

Additional Photos:

The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
TaTargets C-Zone Silhouette
The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
TaTargets Mini Vital Zone Silhouette
The Best of Steel Targets? Featuring TaTargets AR550 Silhouettes
Pasting carboard targets at night is lame, shoot steel

Visit TaTargets for more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Pantexan September 13, 2022, 2:54 pm

    Do the targets ring when you hit them?

    Or can you just hear an impact?

  • W September 12, 2022, 11:18 am

    Are they made in the USA?

    • Bob Lese September 12, 2022, 12:24 pm

      Yes, they are made in Ephrata PA. I actually drove out there to pick up my steel.

  • Bob Lese September 12, 2022, 8:58 am

    I have owned their pistol tree with plates for both rimfire and standard, also 6″ and 8″ plates for several years now. Great quality and a stand up group of people that run it.

  • jim September 12, 2022, 8:51 am

    i started shooting target with dad when i was 5 years old that was 1965 and we used paper platsi now use plaits attached between 2 poles and staple the paper plates works very well you get 200 for a dollar

Send this to a friend