How to Score Handgun Targets

••• target image by Francois du Plessis from

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When it comes to handgun targets, there are only two typical targets you will find. The first is the dartboard target, which is essentially a series of decreasing rings set within one another like the target in the game of darts. The second target, typically used in law enforcement firing ranges, is the silhouette target, which depicts the black silhouette of a human head and torso against a white background. Other handgun targets exist, but these are the standard targets you will find at just about any commercial gun range.

    Set up the target. If you are at a commercial shooting range, you can just attach your target to the appropriate background. If you are firing in the woods or in a similar outdoors location, make sure that there is a strong backstop to catch your bullets. Hay bales and a commercial bullet stop are recommended.

    Start shooting.

    Examine your target once you have finished firing to determine scoring. For dartboard targets, each bullet placed in the bullseye ring is worth 10 points, with bullets in the outer rings being scored one point less for each successive ring away from the bullseye. With silhouette targets, the scoring portion of the target is towards the middle of the torso, with the bullseye being a center-shot near the chest and progressively lower scores being assigned to the areas outwards away from the center. Some silhouette targets also assign high scores for the head area--this being representative of a "kill" shot--though they are not the typical format used by professional target shooters or law enforcement personnel. Head shots are scored differently depending on the target, with some targets assigning a score double that of a bullseye, and others scoring them far lower.