Shooting targets is fun. Shooting targets on a course that allows you to move and challenge your abilities mimicking combative scenarios is even more fun. Add a mix of stationary and reactive targets and you have the makings for one heck of a fun day on the range, what’s more, if you have a personal place to shoot such as your own rural piece of property (a friend’s land will work just fine), you can build your own course and create your own challenges.


3-Gun, a timed competition that combines shooting targets at various stages with a handgun, shotgun and a rifle, is one of the fastest growing shooting competitions in America. Recreating some of the action of the sport on a down-sized personal course is easy.

First, identify a small space of land, I’ve seen courses set up on the space of a football field or even a large yard. The most important thing is make sure you set it up in area that is safe and where bullets won’t travel anywhere they shouldn’t. Creating a course in a depressed area of land with hills around it, or creating shots that angle downward from platforms or man-made risers, particularly where rifle targets are set can alleviate concerns. Safety should always your top concern.

For the most fun and versatility, you’ll want to create a range for shotgun, rifle and handguns. You can configure it any way you want. One suggestion for the shotgun gallery, where birdshot or buckshot will most likely be fired, is to create an arrangement of several silhouette poppers—10 to 40 yards away—in a staggered line. Set a few close enough together to allow for a single shot to take down multiple targets. RTS Targets’ Single CQB Complete Target is another great option. One to several of them are lighter weight than standard steel poppers, don’t require the space needed of typical falling targets and can be placed close together for hits from a single well-aimed shotshell. Other target options include clays, which can be set up, hanging or launched.

For rifles, targets can be set up as close as 10 yards to mimic a close encounter or as far out as 400 to 500 yards if space allows. Such long-range shots will really test many shooters. RTS’s Self-Healing Counting Static Target comes with two torsos capable of handling thousands of hits and a digital counter, which is perfect for keeping honest tabs on hits from repeat shots in a speed shooting or assault-training sequence. Splatter targets on which hits are easily visible are also decent options as are gongs, silhouettes, poppers and other reactive targets.

Lastly, all of the aforementioned target choices, can be good for the handgun portion of your range, with shots presented anywhere from point-blank range out to 50 yards—a real challenge with most shotguns. However, be careful, if going for a CQB-type presentation, to use either frangible ammo and/or avoid steel targets where ricochet can be an issue. Both the Single CQB and the Self-Healing Counting targets are made of durable polymer, which doesn’t allow for ricochets, making them an optimal choice for true point-blank shooting scenarios.