Selecting A Steel Target

Rogue Shooting Targets  wants to help you when selecting a steel target,  we manufacture our steel targets from 100% domestic laser cut AR500 and AR550 steel that is quenched, tempered through, wear resistant, steel target plate used for severe impact applications. These characteristics make AR500 and AR550 an ideal choices for steel targets.

The average commercially made steel target is made from a lesser grade steel with a Brinell hardness of 265. Our targets have a hardness of 470-550 BH, which not only makes a better target but a safer one. The harder the target the more the bullet “vaporizes” on impact.

The hardness of the steel is only one aspect when selecting a steel target. Steel targets are like most other hardened materials, as hardness goes up it becomes more brittle. Steel targets used only for handgun use will probably last a lifetime, targets used for rifles can be a different story. There are so many variables when it comes to rifle cartridges, distance,velocity, bullet design, bullet weight, exact angle of impact, and so on. When a steel target is impacted by a projectile it actually flexes, this flexing over time can cause the plate to crack, just like bending a piece of wire back and forth until it breaks. This is not considered a defect.

Other factors when selecting a steel target are thickness, size, and method of hanging of steel target will affect the report of a hit. Thinner large plates will make a louder higher pitched “ring” when hit which can be heard over longer distances.

Steel targets can be hung from cables, chain, hooks, the methods are limitless. The steel target should be able to move upon being hit, this allows the steel target to dissipate some of the impact energy. Another aspect of hanging your plate is the angle in which it hangs which also allows dissipation of impact energy. The target should be angled somewhat, actual amount can vary with application. Typically the closer they are going to be shot the more the angle. A quality AR500 target
can be destroyed quickly if mounted solid and with a target face parallel to shooter. This requires the target to absorb the full impact energy.

Shooting steel targets can be similar to throwing tomatoes against a wall, when it comes to bullet splatter. When you throw a tomato straight at a wall you get a splatter in 360 degrees, same with a bullet. If the wall leaned toward you, you still get a 360 degree splatter but with the majority being deflected downward, but not all. It is important that shooters and spectators wear eye protection and depending on distance, maybe even protective clothing. We have done extensive testing on bullet splatter. We shot different types of shooting targets while they were inside of an enclosure covered with cardboard panels, which allowed the splatter to be obvious. Every test had eventually ended with a 360-degree cut pattern in the cardboard at the angle that the plate was hung.


Tension mount targets (Steel Challenge Plates, Square Plates and Silhouettes) have a mount that softens the impact, due to the spring tension on the plate. Since the target does not swing, it allows for quicker follow up shots. A popular choice when selecting steel targets for handgun and rifle shooters.

Tension Mount Targets – Buy Now >

Swinging targets (Gong Plates, Square Plates and Silhouettes) allow the target to swing during bullet impact, allowing some dispersing of bullet energy. A popular choice for rifle shooters selecting steel targets.

1/2″ AR500 Steel Gong Targets – Buy Now>
3/8 AR500 Steel Gong Targets – Buy Now>
AR500 Steel Square Targets – Buy Now>
AR500 Steel Silhouette Targets – Buy Now>


3/8″ AR500 steel gong targets and 3/8″ AR500 steel square targets will handle magnum handguns and rifles up to 3000 f.p.s, 3500 ft. lb. impact energy, and are recommended for the competitive handgunners and gun clubs who shoot high volumes. Also used for larger magnum calibers at extended ranges where the impact energy is less than 3500 ft.lbs. Generaly can be used with large magnum rifles at 300 yards and beyond.

3/8″ AR500 Steel Gong Targets – Buy Now >
3/8″ AR500 Steel Square Targets – Buy Now >


1/2″ AR500 steel targets and can be used for all calibers up to .338 magnum rifles at 100yds with an impact velocity of 3000 f.p.s. or less. Can be used with .50 BMG at approximately 400 yards and beyond.

1/2″ AR500 Steel Gong Targets – Buy Now >
1/2″ AR500 Steel Silhouette Targets – Buy Now>

If you shoot a rifle that shoots faster than 3000 f.p.s you can still use our steel shooting targets, just shoot at a distance further out where the impact will be at 3000 f.p.s. or less.