Why Is The B8 So Popular These Days

While I don’t believe that B8 targets are a replacement for your personality, I do believe that the B8 is an awesome target. I used to be of the opinion that you needed a hyper-realistic target to train with. While I still see the benefits of realistic targets, I’ve learned of the benefits and the advantages of the super simple B8 target. 

The B8 doesn’t have a ton of documented history. Who designed it and when it was first used seems to be lost to time. We know it’s an NRA target and that the NRA Bullseye matches have been using the target since 1941, so it’s at least that old. The B8 is named because the ‘black’ portion of the target is eight inches in diameter. It’s designed to be a rapid-fire bull’s eye target. 

The design is about as simple as it gets. It’s a five-ring target, with each ring wearing a designator. The centermost ring is the X and is 1.695 inches in diameter. The 10-ring is 3.36 inches in diameter, the 9-ring is 5.54 inches wide, and finally, the 8-ring is 8 inches in diameter. The 9, 10, and X rings are all black and often referred to as the ‘black.’ 

The Rise in Popularity of the B8 

I don’t think NRA Bullseye Matches have exploded in popularity, especially amongst the tactical community. Obviously, one of the big reasons why the B8 is famous is the memes. If you hang around the higher-informed gun social media circles, you’ll see the B8 mentioned, you’ll see tag groups, and people asking to see your B8 in the midst of an argument. Those memes have an origin with reputable instructors.

Instructors like Steve Fisher and Bill Blowers are champions of the B8. I’m sure they aren’t the only two, but they are the two that come to mind. The B8 provides a very simple target and versatile target. I’m not saying this is why those instructors use these targets, but logistically, it makes sense. They are cheap, easy to find, and can even be printed if you so choose.

These targets provide an understandable and easy-to-read scoring system. This scoring system provides you with objective information that allows you to improve. It’s a bit like a shot timer, but it shows exactly where you’re hitting. The target can be used at a multitude of ranges and for a ton of different training applications. 

A Vital Target 

The size of the B8 very conveniently matches the sizes of most human vitals. Hold it up to your chest. It’s roughly the same size as your heart, lungs, and the artery area in the chest. Hold it up to your head. As long as you’re hitting within the black, you’re effectively making headshots. The B8 even makes a great replica of a human turned to the side. 

The B8’s dimensions are close to other common targets and can be used in place of them. Fold in the sides of one, and it’s basically an IPSC A-Zone. The B8 is also the subject of numerous drills aimed at improving shooter’s skills. 

The B8 forces a shooter to aim small and miss small. Rather than be happy with a shot hitting a massive man-sized target, the shooter is forced to improve their shooting skills and shoot smaller targets. 

While the B8 seems so old and out of date, it turns out it’s one of the most versatile target options out there. Plus, it’s cheap, readily available, and easy to stash in a range bag. Give one a spin, and it becomes self-explanatory. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.