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Old 05-27-2015, 09:56 PM   #1
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Make your own reactive targets

A great pistol like a Walther deserves a great target to shoot at.

Here is how to make your own reactive targets for a lot less $ than commercial ones.

First a materials list:

This tool will make applying the 9" X 12" laminating sheets much easier. Of course you can probably source this locally at a kitchen supply store also.

If you don't already have one, I suggest a respirator rated for spray paint. Medium worked for me.

Make a plug (for lack of a better word) to keep paint off the bulls eye area. The easiest way to do this is take a coin and gorilla glue a flat head machine screw to it. You can use a dime, nickel, quarter, or half dollar for the coin depending on how big you want the bulls eye. The plug will be pictured later.


The laminating sheets I bought. These were the cheapest I could find.

28" X 22" bright colored poster boards. I like fluorescent green, but fluorescent orange or yellow also work. These can be sourced locally at Dollar Tree or any number of Art/Hobby shops.

The cheapest Flat Black can of spray paint you can find. The cheap stuff actually works better than a name brand like Krylon. I buy the 99 cent flat black at Lowes, WalMart is also a good source.

Price per target:

28" X 22" bright colored poster board. $.74 divided by 4 = 18.5 cents per target
12" X 9" laminate sheets $13.99 divided by 50 = 28 cents per target
Lowes or WalMart cheapest can of flat black paint $1.07 divided by 9 = 12 cents per target

Total price: 58.5 cents per target


Start by cutting the 28" X 22" poster board into (4) 14" X 11" inch pieces. On the top and left sides, draw lines 1 inch in from the edge.

Take a 12" X 9" laminating sheet, remove the starter strip, then fold the backing over to make a tab for pulling.

Place the laminating sheet with the tab folded back and sticky side down. Line the sheet up with the top and left lines. This will center the laminate sheet on the poster board. Press down the exposed sticky area, then reach under the sheet and pull the tab at about a 45 Degree angle towards the bottom. As you go, use the roller to apply the sheet while working out any bubbles. When the sheet is applied, run the roller back and forth, while pressing down, to assure good adhesion. Notice that 1 inch on each side of the poster board is not covered by the laminate.

After the sheet is laminated, use a template to lay over the target with a centered hole and use a Sharpie to draw a circle. This will center the bullseye. See above. Ready for paint. The bulls eye is created buy putting the plug in the circle. Make the hole in the template slightly larger than the plug. The plug will keep the paint off the bulls eye. Notice my ridiculously expensive paint booth, and the plug covering the bulls eye.

Put two fingers close to the plug's handle, start moving your fingers up and squeezing them together to snatch the plug off without smearing the paint.

This mornings production:

And the final product:

Yes, I shoot low and left. My big knuckle on my trigger finger is screwed up from injuries, along with the arthritis that comes with injuries. I'm lucky to hit the target at all.

Last edited by Pudge; 11-05-2015 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Changed URL for images
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:30 PM   #2
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Brilliant, Pudge. Positively brilliant.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:39 PM   #3
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imaoldfart .22 I guess you need to aim a little high and right.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:44 PM   #4
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Damn.... Summer mini-project that'll keep me busy for a day.

By posterboard, you mean the thicker paper, yes? Not foam core?
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:54 PM   #5
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When I read "reactive targets" I was thinking something different...

These look good...
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by UniversalExports View Post
Brilliant, Pudge. Positively brilliant.
Unfortunately this wasn't an original idea. I saw a video on youtube, tried it, and ended up improving the methodology. Originally he was using packing tape for the plastic laminate. Took too long to line up several strips of tape 2 inches wide, and it left seams. Plus the packing tape left a "Splash" that was too narrow. He also was using stick on dots like they use at garage sales for the bulls eye. But if you hit it or right next to it, the dot would fly off.

Next I tried "Carpet Saver" that came in two foot rolls that contractors put on your carpet when working on your house. Too thin, was like trying to put Saran Wrap on the poster board, plus if you didn't use it right away the sticky would start letting go. Plus it also left a small splash.

Stumbled on laminating sheets. Actually, I was talking to the wife about my little project and she promptly said, "We have those laminating sheets down stairs in the basement, that will probably fix most of your problems. Well she was right, but I will deny that statement if asked. The laminate sheets were 12" X 9" and covered most of the target with one sheet so no seams. The Laminating sheets were 3 mils thick, thicker than the packing tape and the Carpet Saver. Plus it was stiffer and went on easier. So the thickness and stiffness make for the perfect splash. Plus they adhere like crazy. Let's face it, the laminate sheets were made for exactly what I wanted to do.

I just realized, this is sounding a lot like a story my Mom told me about a girl and three bears!

Originally Posted by Rustedbucket View Post
By posterboard, you mean the thicker paper, yes? Not foam core?
Yes, it is thicker than construction paper and comes in larger sheets, and no foam core. If you go into a craft supply store and say poster board they will know exactly what you want.

Originally Posted by Milspec View Post
When I read "reactive targets" I was thinking something different...
Like something that would say ouch when hit?

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Old 05-28-2015, 03:47 AM   #7
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Interesting project. Thanks for posting.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:01 AM   #8
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I have seen these sheets (made by Pudge) in action. They work VERY well. I even saved a"clean" one and a used one so I could show another shooter buddy of mine. He was super impressed at how well these worked, and how visible the splash mark is at a distance.

Thanks, Pudge!
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:19 PM   #9
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Instant sticky - well done, sir!
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Old 05-28-2015, 02:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GeoNole94 View Post
Instant sticky - well done, sir!
Thanks. Just trying to pull my weight around here and give back something useful.

I usually make a big batch of targets in the spring and fall as these are the best times for spray painting. After shooting with jackrock, my winter stock pile was running low. Yesterday was in the 70's and almost dead calm for wind. Perfect conditions. So I decided as long as I was making some I might as well get the camera out and post some pics and a description.

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