Which types of archery targets are there?
There are roughly three types of archery targets, divided into two groups: traditional target boards, similar to the Olympic archery targets, and target bags. The former are targets that are used as a board onto which a paper target is pinned. These traditional targets come as straw targets (highly compressed straw, also known as stramit) or foam targets. Straw archery targets are very durable and as it’s compressed to quite a solid mass, it can also withstand arrows shot with very powerful bows. And straw isn’t pierced, but compressed, making it last for a long time.
Foam is significantly lighter to carry, making it very popular as a recreational bow and arrow target. Our foam targets have got a very specific density, making them hard enough to stop the arrows, while they’re also soft enough not to be full of holes after just a couple of shots. As they’re soft archery targets, the arrows can be retrieved relatively easy.
A very different breed are the target bags, often referred to as crossbow target bag. These are sturdy bags, filled with rags. They can be placed on the ground or hung from the ceiling. The bag itself has printed targets on it, often multiple targets, and printed on various sides. These target bags make great crossbow targets, as they’re also very capable of stopping arrows from compound bows. The arrow can be retrieved quite easy with much less resistance than straw targets give.
Which archery target should I buy?
The best archery target to buy is the one that ticks all the boxes. Which boxes that are, depends on your shooting. If you’re using powerful compound bows or crossbows, a straw target or 3D target bag will be the way to go, as foam will often prove too soft. A target bag can be placed and hung, making it pretty versatile.
Straw or foam archery target boards can be placed on an archery target stand. You can also place them against a sturdy object or a wall, but remember to tilt them slightly to prevent falling towards you as a result of the impact. This also means the target board must be prevented from sliding.
How long does an archery target last?
Well, that very much depend on how you use it, thus making it impossible to attach an exact number of shots to it. We can, however, give you some pointers to get the best out of your archery target. First will be the choice of material. Above, we’ve already told you that foam is perfect for normal bows, but powerful compound bows and crossbows will need straw or a 3D target bag.
Then there are the arrow that you use. As you can understand, you don’t want to use a broadhead point on a target, unless you want to rip it apart when pulling the arrow out. So you preferably use simple, pointed tips without grooves or pointy side wings, to pull them out effortlessly.
You can imagine, the archery target will endure the most behind the bullseye. That is, if you’re doing things right. To prolong the lifespan of your archery target, it is best to hit it at different spots, by -for example- using targets with multiple visuals. 3D target bags often already have multiple visuals and often, they’re printed on various sides of the target too.
Archery targets are best stored dry. Especially straw ones will start to disintegrate when wet for a very long time. And archery targets with a print, like target bags, can start to fade or discolour when exposed too long to sunlight. It’s better to store them away from direct sunlight.
Setting up an archery target
It’s logical that you’d place an archery target in such a way, that the arrow won’t do any damage when you miss the target. Still, it’s also recommendable to use a backstop that’ll prevent the arrow from disappearing into the unknown. This can be a board or a special net. But take care when using a board, as when it’s too hard, the arrow can ricochet.
The archery target is placed in such a way, that it can’t slide away or fall over. The arrow will hit it with quite some power, so don’t underestimate the impact. A 3D target bag often is heavy enough to stand alone, but when hanging it, please remember you’re creating an extra gap underneath through which an arrow can escape when missing the target.