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Designing a Better Steel Gong Target

Most of us who enjoy clanging steel targets have had the opportunity to shoot what are commonly referred to as gong targets. Ringing and swinging the steel plate is great fun and the audio and visual feedback is immensely gratifying.

There are a wide variety of gong targets available for purchase and some people choose to fabricate their own. There are, however some inherent problems with this design that Challenge Targets was determined to overcome.

A traditional gong target or flash target includes a frame, a cross support bar, and two chains to suspend the plate. Some designs are very heavy and other lighter weight models require ground stakes to secure the target. The support frame and chains are vulnerable to being hit by errant shots. Transportation and set-up can be cumbersome and you’ll need to select a location that’s relatively flat for stability.


Traditional gong targets are susceptible to broken chains and damage

Challenge Targets solves these issues with introduction of our new Stake-N-Shoot Targets. We eliminated the legs, crossbar and chains so all the mild steel components are fully protected behind the AR500 target plate. The steel target is secured to a 12″ long ground stake using hardened carriage bolts and industrial grade compression springs.


Fully Assembled, this Stake Target measures 30″ tall and weighs only 15lbs. (Price on this model is $129)

The 1/4″ thick steel ground stake includes flanges and stiffening ribs so it can be pounded into almost any terrain. The compression springs prevent the ground from dampening the ring of the steel and allow the target plate to move when shot.


Heavy duty ground stake and industrial springs are built to last

The end result is a near indestructible rifle target that weighs less than 15lbs, set-up in seconds, and provides satisfying feedback with each good shot.

Visit our store to shop for stake targets:

Online Store: https://www.challengetargets.com/Category/Stake_Targets.asp

Target Review Videos

Spring is officially here. It’s been a busy winter around here at Challenge Targets. We’ve added some awesome archery targets. We also released our new multifunctional steel targets.

Now, as we head into warmer weather, stay tuned for for more information and pricing on our new Stake Targets. These will be the ultimate in ease of setup and portability for just about any type of shooter.

As the temperatures start to rise, many of us are excited to get out to the range. Here at Challenge Targets, we want to make sure that you get the most out of every round of ammunition that you send down range. Below you can find some of the latest video reviews of our different target systems. Be sure to take a look…



The below target review is from the Military Arms Channel. A big up to those guys!




Challenge Targets Awarded Contract at Tactical Defense Institute

Tactical Defense Institute
We want to take a moment and thank our firends over at Tactical Defense Institue for placing their trust in Challenge Targets. We will be installing 12 new targets at TDI.

TDI is located in West Union, Ohio. All firearms classes are conducted at their Adams County, Ohio facility in Southern Ohio. The 186 acre facility provides seven ranges.

From the Press Release:

Challenge Targets was recently awarded the contract to update the main lower range at TacticalSteel Target Range Defense Institute in West Union Ohio.  The new shooting range equipment is scheduled for installation later this month and will include (12) new torso shape steel targets.

These shooting targets are made from through hardened AR500 plate.  The shape is precision laser cut to minimize heat and preserve the hardness of the steel.   The plates are mounted using hardened carriage bolts, die springs and nylon lock nuts.  This combination of hardware minimizes fatigue and reduces the risk bullet fragments splashing back toward the shooter.

After a full season of testing, Challenge Targets product showed no cracking or stress problems that were encountered with the welded products provided by other manufacturers.” John Motil – TDI Facilities Manager.

Make any Cardboard Target a Reactive Target

Challenge Targets is proud to introduce our new line of multifunctional targets.


Each system includes a steel target that can be placed behind the scoring zone of any cardboard target. When the shooter hits the appropriate scoring zone, they receive instant audio and visual feedback.  The base of the system includes a pivot mechanism and lock pin which allows rotational movement of the target.  With the lock pin installed, the target bounces back when shot then resets to the forward leaning position.  With the lock pin removed, the target falls completely down when shot. Only shots within the scoring zone produce feedback.

New Shooting Targets

This powerful new system supports steel, paper and cardboard targets.  It is a lightweight and portable design that disassembles in seconds without tools for easy transportation and storage. The base of the system is offered in two versions.  Standard duty (SD) models are designed for recreational use, while heavy duty (HD) models are better suited for commercial ranges, law enforcement, and professional instructors.

Top Shot  season 4 winner, Chris Cheng using our “A” zone target for IPSC training.

Chris Cheng - IPSC Training


  • The forward lean of the target can be adjusted so multiple hits are required to drop the target
  • By placing a cardboard target off center, you can also simulate hostage situations
  • Teaches shooters to keep their sites on target for follow up shots
  • The steel target is supported by a standard wood 2×4
  • Shooters can train for center mass shots or head shots by adjusting the length of the wood post
  • The instant feedback provided by steel targets is proven to increase speed and accuracy

Target Down


With lock pin installed, target bounces back then resets.

With lock pin removed, cardboard and steel target fall completely down (manual reset).Steel Target Head Assembly




 Each system includes an AR500 target (available in different sizes and shapes).



Models available for IPSC, USPSA, and IDPA training and competition

IPSC Zone “A” Target
IPSAC Zone "A" Target
IPSC Zones “A, B, C” Target
IPSC Steel Target Zones "A, B, C"

Civilian Zombie Shoot At Miami Valley Shooting Grounds

Law Enforcement sales are up almost 70% so far this year as agencies across the country prepare for the 12/21/2012 zombie apocalypse.  This trend is highly secretive as our government doesn’t want civilians to know the inevitable fate of our country. Our Extreme Reactive Targets have been a popular item for SWAT team snipers.  These automatic resetting targets fall when shot but rise up again after a short delay simulating waves of zombies rising from their graves.  Our steel targets are made using AR500 hardened plate which is ideal for this type of intense tactical training. 

Another popular target system is our Extreme Hostage Target which creates lifelike movement of the zombie behind a helpless hostage. This moving zombie target requires patience and discipline to wait for a clean head shot. We also now offer a low cost civilian version of the hostage target which sells for only $199 but requires construction of a wood base. 

Challenge Targets will be sponsoring and providing targets for a civilian zombie shoot at Miami Valley Shooting Grounds in Vandalia Ohio on Saturday 10/13/2012.  The shoot will take place at night from 6:30-9:30 p.m.  Two hundred and thirty shooters are already registered and they are planning for a one of a kind event.  This is a great way to prepare for the apocalypse and have some fun in the process. 

Zombie Shoot

The resistance needs everyone we can get.  We hope to see you there!

Shop for Zombie Targets

Zombie Target - Becky
MeatCake - Zombie Target
Zombie Bin Laden
Zombie Bin Laden
Clown Zombie Target
Zombie Soldier Target
Zomide Target - Roxie


We carry a fine selection of zombie targets for your Halloween themed shoot. Check out the undead clowns, walker soldiers, Zombie Bin Laden, and creepy varieties like MeatCake! Invite your friends to an evening at the range and start putting those walkers down! I can’t imagine having more fun than a friendly shooting competition using several Extreme Hostage Target systems in conjunction with some of these fine Zombie Targets…


Steel Targets and Safety

Safety is the first factor that should be considered.  If you research steel target safety on the internet, you will find a wide variety of information on this subject.  I suggest you browse the forum posts on this subject but don’t put too much authority in sources if you can’t verify their credentials.  Without spending too much time on this subject, we can break down safety into several key points:

  • Always where safety glasses when shooting ANY steel targets.
  • Only shoot AR550 or AR500 targets purchased from manufacturers that you trust. Review the manufacturer’s web site.  Who are their customers?  If they are selling military targets and law enforcement targets, they most likely have the manufacturing processes in place to ensure consistent quality and safety standards.
  • Make sure you follow the manufacturers recommended shooting distances.  Challenge Target’s steel safety directions specify a minimum distance of 7 yards for handgun targets and a minimum distance of 50 yards to 100 yards for rifle targets (depending on the model).
  • Use the right ammunition.  Never use armor piercing bullets, green tip bullets, steel core bullets, or steel shot when shooting metal targets.  Standard FMJ rounds are suitable for all our targets.
  • Select targets from trusted manufacturers that are designed and extensively tested to consistently deflect bullet fragments in a safe direction.


Other Factors To Consider When Selecting A Steel Targets

Portability and ease of set-up are also important when choosing your target. Think about where you plan to shoot.  Will you leave your targets on the range?  Will you be moving the targets to different locations on the range?  Will you be transporting them in a passenger vehicle? One of the most common mistakes people make is buying a target that’s too heavy and immobile for their needs.  We often see expensive,reactive targets buried in the back of a storage shed or garage because people get tired of moving them to and from (or on and off) the range.  Top target manufacturers will list the product weights on their web site.  Also consider how easy or difficult it is to break the system down for transportation or winter storage.  

The next consideration when selecting a steel target is the upright support mechanism.  Manufacturers typically approach this one of two ways.  One solution is to design and build the vertical support pieces using steel for durability. A common material used for this component is ¼” thick angle iron.  This construction adds weight to the target system and reduces the flexibility because the height isn’t adjustable.  That being said, steel uprights are durable when used on pistol targets and won’t require much maintenance.  This design, however, will not work well on a rifle target.  Most centerfire rifles (including .223 caliber) will easily penetrate and damage angle iron up to ¾” thick.  A second  solution is to use an inexpensive, replaceable upright support such as wood.  Target stands that accept wood uprights, allow the shooter to customize the height of the armor plate by varying the length post.  This design also reduces the product weight, package size and associated shipping cost.  Wood posts last much longer than most people expect.  In fact, there is a common event in SWAT competitions called the “lumberjack” where 3-5 SWAT members face off with other departments to see which team can cut through a wood post with their duty weapon fastest.   The distance is set at about 10 yards and it usually takes close to 100 well placed shots to destroy the wood. Check out this independent video:


If you decide to move forward with a steel target that utilizes a wood post, we suggest a design where the 3-1/2” dimension of the wood faces the shooter.  This has yielded the best results in our extensive testing.  Also, make sure the wood post is parallel to the surface of the steel plate, otherwise, bullet fragments off the steel will destroy the wood.

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