I chase down numerous firearms qualifications shot by the military and police forces around the world. I love seeing how the blue and green sides train and what their expectations are. With that in mind, many of these police and military forces use a specific target with a specific scoring system. That requires a very specific target. With that in mind, I’ve looked at a wide variety of targets, and I’ve assembled some of my favorite military and police targets.
I’ve chosen these for a few reasons. Most are versatile targets that force proper shot placement and go behind just hitting a target and calling it a win. These military and police targets help create realistic training demands for defensive shooting skills. With that in mind, let’s dive in and look at some of the best targets on the market.
The Classic FBI Q Target
The FBI doesn’t adopt a realistic target in terms of how it looks. The Q, often known as the Coke bottle target, does create a real challenge for shot placement. The Q is vaguely person-shaped but greatly reduced to represent the vitals of a human threat. The target doesn’t post hands or arms to make the target wider. Modern versions of the Q have a chest and head target, and others have reduced the Coke bottle to just the chest and head.
The Q is easy to see and easy to score. There are no ‘did it break the line’ arguments that decide if the shot scores four or five points. It’s simple and works well for observing accuracy as well as doing things like patterning a shotgun. The Q provides a simple but useful target for all your training needs.
BT-5-EL Dorado DA
The BT-5 target series is fairly popular and consists of a vague silhouette of the chest, shoulders, and head of a threat. Inside sits several rings with various numeric characters for scoring. It’s good, but the El Dorado DA version is better. The numbers are gone. Instead, we have three colors, black, grey, and red.
Black is the majority of the target. Grey is a large portion of the chest and spine to the head. The heart area and brain area are red. It’s a visual signifier that tells you where the shots are supposed to go. Red means dead, and there isn’t a numerical score that matters if the threat isn’t down.
New Mexico Dept. of Public Safety Police Target
The New Mexico Dept. of Public Safety Police Target isn’t just one target but a series of targets. While the external difference varies, what is on the inside counts. These targets feature different prints of various people, men, and women, some obvious threats with the gun pointed at you and others less obvious with their guns pointed downward.
Inside each of these prints is a thin line that marks the various hit zones of the threat. The zones of these police targets get smaller as they get closer to the vital parts of the human body. This trains you to recognize and identify threats and helps you put rounds where it matters.
Department of Energy Target
The Department of Energy’s security forces is very well trained with everything from handguns to light machine guns. When they train, they use a specific target that I’ve grown fond of. It’s a simple green silhouette vaguely representing the outline of a person. For their training, it makes sense to learn to identify the silhouette of a threat because no one should be snooping and pooping near nukes by mistake.
Additionally, inside the silhouette sits two squares, one inside the other and one smaller than the other. In the head is a small circle. Your shots often don’t count if they don’t land inside these smaller internal targets. It’s another target that really wants you to ensure you know proper shot placement.
Wisconsin Dept of Justice Target
I love this target…not just because it’s a good target. It’s the model. He’s the most Wisconsin man I could have ever pictured. He perfectly represents the state. Beyond the mustachioed cheese head sits a very well-designed target. Most of the target is rather plain, but the chest and head feature an internal outline. Beside the guy’s beautiful mustache is a scoring key.
The outline highlights the vitals and provides a sharp accuracy standard. While visible for scoring, it’s not super visible on the range. This makes you think and relate to a real target while having to use a little vital anatomy knowledge to make successful hits. This is probably my favorite police target.
Bonus – 2013 Coast Guard Transitional Target
Finally, it’s not that I think this target is very handy for most of us, but I love it, so it’s a bonus target. Admittedly not everyone will find it handy, but as a Floridian and Miami Vice fan, I might be able to sue it. What makes it great? Well, look at it.
It’s a boat engine! Wooo, and guess what? The target even uses ovals descending in size to ensure you have proper shot placement on the target. This is a great target just because it’s so weird.
Military and Police Targets
Do you need a specific target to train? Not really. A B-8 works well for most tasks. However, using man-sized targets does help you mentally prepare to engage a man-sized target. Using properly designed silhouettes can help establish a mental game plan for engagements. When it comes to patterning shotguns, these man-sized targets really help you visualize the threat and how your gun engages that threat. I do like these military and police targets are starting to focus on proper shot placement rather than just hitting a target. It’s always nice to see the armed professionals move towards better and more efficient training.