woman aiming at target

The Ultimate Guide to Hanging Steel Targets


Steel hanging targets provide an unmatched level of feedback to the shooter in practice. The audible ring, combined with the visible movement, offers immediate confirmation of a hit. However, there's an art and science to properly hang these targets. In this blog, we will delve into the world of steel targets, providing the necessary insights and guidance to correctly and safely hang them. Let's get started.

Essential Equipment for Setting Up Your Steel Targets


shooters aiming behind barrels at steel targets
Credit: Envato Elements/ marisap7

To set up your hanging steel shooting targets, you'll need the following equipment:

  • Quality Steel Targets: It's crucial to choose high-quality steel targets, such as those made from AR550 and AR500 steel. These targets, especially AR500 steel targets, are known for their superior hardness, making them capable of withstanding the impact of bullets without deformation or damage.
  • Target Stand: A sturdy and durable target stand is essential to hold the steel targets securely in place. The stand should be constructed from a material strong enough to withstand the force of bullet impacts. Various options are available, such as stands made from steel tubing or heavy-duty metal frames.
  • Mounting Hardware: To attach the steel targets to the stand, you'll need appropriate mounting hardware. Carriage bolts are commonly used for this purpose, as they provide secure attachment and are resistant to shearing forces.
  • Safety Clips: Safety clips are an essential component when setting up steel targets. They are used to secure the bolts and prevent them from coming loose due to the repeated impact of bullets.
  • Suspension System: To enhance safety during shooting sessions, it's recommended to use a suspension system that allows the targets to swing upon impact. This helps to direct bullet splatter downward, minimizing the chances of ricochets or dangerous bullet fragments. Common suspension options include chains, fire hoses, or rubber straps, which provide controlled movement and ensure safety during target practice.

How to Hang Steel Targets


woman holding gun aiming at target
Credit: Envato Elements/ westend61

Hanging your steel target correctly is integral to achieving an optimal shooting experience. A well-hung target allows the bullet's energy to disperse upon impact, decreasing the risk of ricochets while preserving the target’s life span. Moreover, the distinctive 'ring' sound when a bullet strike is best produced when a target hangs freely. Here's how to hang steel targets:

Step 1: Assemble the Target Stand

Many target stands come disassembled for easy transportation and storage. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for assembly. Ensure each part is secured properly, avoiding loose screws or misaligned parts that could compromise stability.

Step 2: Determine the Correct Hanging Height

Depending on your shooting needs, adjust the height of the stand. A lower setting may be suitable for practicing close-range, ground-level shooting, while a higher setting is beneficial for training at various distances or angles.

Step 3: Attach the Hanging Equipment

Connect a piece of chain, rubber strap, or fire hose to each hole at the top of the steel target or mounting bracket using bolts. Make sure the lengths are equal on both sides to ensure the target hangs level. This balance is important not only for the accuracy of training but also to ensure safety; an unevenly hung target may deflect bullets unpredictably.

Step 4: Secure the Target to the Stand

Using safety clips, hang the target on the stand, ensuring the clips are fastened securely. The target should hang freely, allowing it to swing upon impact. This swing not only provides satisfying visual feedback and improved sound quality but also contributes to bullet deflection, directing fragments downwards rather than straight back.

Step 5: Adjust the Target Angle

Ideally, the steel target should hang at a slight downward angle to guide bullet splatter towards the ground. Make the necessary adjustments to achieve this angle.

Step 6: Test the Setup

Before starting your shooting session, perform a test run. Gently tap the target to ensure it swings smoothly and freely, and the angle guides deflections downward. Walk around the entire setup to confirm the stability of the stand and the secure attachment of the target.

Safety Considerations


man with safety equipment aiming at target
Credit: Envato Elements/ YuriArcursPeopleImages


Ensuring safety should always be a priority when setting up and using hanging steel targets. Careful attention to the following guidelines can help prevent accidents and increase the longevity of your setup:

1) Stand at a Safe Distance

Maintain a minimum distance of 10 yards when shooting handguns and 100 yards for rifles. The distance acts as a safeguard against the danger of bullet ricochet or splatter, offering you enough reaction time and reducing the risk of injury.

2) Regularly Inspect Your Targets

Just as you would with your firearm, regularly inspect your steel targets, hanging equipment, and stand. Look for signs of wear, including loosening bolts, fraying of the hanging material, or damage to the target itself, such as warping or pitting.

3) Use Appropriate Shooting Gear

Always use appropriate safety gear, including eye and ear protection, when shooting at steel targets. Flying bullet fragments can cause serious harm, and the loud sound of the gunshot can be damaging to your hearing over time.

4) Use Proper Ammunition

Use the correct ammunition for your target. Steel targets are rated for specific ammunition types and calibers, exceeding these ratings can lead to severe damage to the target and pose significant safety risks.

5) Avoid Ricochet-Prone Areas

Set up your shooting range in an area free from hard surfaces, aside from the target itself, which could cause bullets to ricochet unpredictably. This includes large rocks, solid walls, or other hard structures.


Steel targets, when correctly hung and maintained, provide an unmatched shooting experience. From the instant feedback of a well-placed shot to the longevity they offer, these targets are a worthy investment for any shooter, from beginner to expert.

While steel targets provide undeniable advantages, we understand that there are instances where you might prefer a different shooting experience. That's why we're excited to introduce EasyShot – the ultimate solution for paper shooting targets. EasyShot combines the convenience and versatility of paper targets with innovative features designed to enhance your training sessions. Shop with us today.

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