[Editor’s Note: Price and availability subject to change. Prices were as of purchase. Stuff is pricey right now if they aren’t $10 anymore, such is life]
I scroll through Amazon randomly sometimes. Amazon acts as an anti-gun company, but seemingly sells everything from targets to full auto Glock switches. With two day shipping, they’ve become a favorite when I want little things like targets, QD sling points, batteries, Snap Caps, etc. One day I landed on a three-pack of 3D Targets from Birchwood Casey. For ten bucks, you got three torso targets. I hit one click and never looked back.
Ten bucks for three 3D Targets seemed to be a fantastic deal. These specific models are Torso/Head targets, they encompass the vital organs to include the heart and lungs. The targets are made from something listed as “recycled material.” It’s more paper-like than polymer but is thick and seems very durable. I wouldn’t leave it in the rain and expect it to last, though.
The target is also heavier than paper and won’t blow around in a light wind. At the top above the head is a tab that makes it easy to mount with nothing more than a nail. I used three staples and blew part of a pole apart. Well worth the fun I had with these targets.
3D Targets and Angles
I’ve never trained with 3D Targets beyond those fun little plinking targets in the shape of balls, cans, and bottles. Using 3D Targets was a different experience. There is always something to be said about using a realistic target in your training applications. These 3D Targets present a totally different angle than most training solutions.
I keep saying 3D targets, and I understand these are more like 2.5D, but as far as defensive shooting goes, they fill the role, and for the price, I won’t argue semantics. They open up different angles of fire and allow you to engage at angles not available with standard targets. The additional 30 to 45-degree angles open it up to new training situations.
The targets allow for realistic engagements of enemies behind cover, for longer range precision shooting, and even for extremely close quarter’s shooting. A 3D target offers an affordable opportunity for a new angle on your training. It adds a different layer of realism.
For long-range shooting, it creates a silhouette in a realistic manner that doesn’t require the paper to be a particular shade or color to be easy to see. It also offers a recordable means to measure groups that steel simply can’t do. You can see the outline of a target and not just a printed piece of paper. For close quarter’s shooting, the muzzle blast doesn’t destroy the target and provides you realistic angles for hits and misses.
The Birchwood Casey Targets
3D Targets are pretty sweet, and various companies make them provide you with realistic training at multiple angles. The Birchwood Casey models are easily the most affordable, but does that mean they are the worst? Price often affects quality.
That being said, these targets are perfectly suitable for most people. They wouldn’t survive an experience with a facility that hosts classes weekly, but for a day or a few drills training at an individuals level, they are perfect. Will they absorb 2,500 rounds and keep ticking? Probably not, but they can seemingly absorb hundreds of rounds without issue. However, at three bucks and some change for each target, it seems more than capable.
When shooting at moderate ranges with an optic, you can easily spot your hits. The big black hole is the tan paper target makes it quite clear where your hits are and where they aren’t. The target could ‘technically’ be patched up with a little tan duct tape if you really want to preserve your targets as long as possible, or just to cover hits for precision shooting purposes. Tan pasters may work too angles might fight that.
For close-range shooting, their ability to take a blow from the hand and, as previously mentioned, not explode from muzzle blast is a nice touch. Heck, you can incorporate some extreme close quarter’s knife stuff should you so choose. The target could be stabbed and cut at and presents realistic angles for that as well.
For the Money
Are there better options? Sure. Are their better options at this price point? Nope. The Birchwood Casey 3D Targets offer the best bang for your buck. They come in a three-pack so you can perform box drills, Dozier drills, the 1 to 5 drill, and of course, the famous El Presidente drill. You can do so with a realistic target that only highlights the vital zones.
I’m always interested in affordable training solutions, and the Birchwood Casey 3D Targets seem to be an affordable, robust, and valuable training tool to add to your range bag.
[Editor’s Note: For even more realism to target picture, these can be hung from a frame and then a shirt thrown over them.
One of the artificialities in square range training is the fact that we can see hits and get feedback from paper instantly (distance and optic dependent). There is a time and place when that data matters, yes, but there is value to be gained in having a clean realistic sight picture on target that doesn’t instantly show hits, groups, or give auditory feedback. Your training can focus on addressing the target with what you believe is your best sight picture for various distances and then feedback can be addressed after the drill is complete.]