The 8 Best Gong Targets
Benefits of a Gong Target
You can immediately tell whether you've hit the target — and hearing that ping sound is nothing short of magical.
If you're used to shooting at traditional paper targets, the thought of switching to a steel gong might seem a little strange. After all, won't shooting steel create more opportunities for ricochets?
The answer is yes, which is why their use is usually limited to distance shooting. However, the targets are designed to absorb kinetic impact, reducing the likelihood that the bullet will rebound; instead, they will usually hit the gong and fall safely to the ground. Different grades of steel have different dampening abilities, so that's something to consider before making your purchase.
If you're OK with a slightly higher risk of ricochets and fragmenting, gongs can be very helpful for improving your accuracy. You can immediately tell whether you've hit the target — and hearing that ping sound is nothing short of magical. The instant feedback lets you make corrections on the fly, while also helping develop positive muscle memory when you're sighted in.
Many are on chains as well, so they'll start to sway slightly after being hit. This increases the difficulty of each successive shot, forcing you to track a moving target. This is important for both hunters and tactical operatives like snipers.
And while they're initially considerably more expensive than paper targets, they can last you just about forever — or at least tens of thousands of rounds. That can save you money over the life of the gong, as you'd go through quite a few paper models during that same time. This makes steel gongs a smart choice for professional ranges.
They're huge time-savers as well. You don't have to constantly walk downrange to replace a tattered piece of paper, allowing you to get in a lot more practice — which means you'll see improvement faster.
That will come in handy in case the gongs ever come alive and decide to seek revenge.
How to Improve Your Distance Shooting
While becoming proficient with a pistol is always fun, there's nothing quite as sexy as being a sniper (well, nothing quite as sexy at the gun range, anyway). However, there's one big problem that tends to affect people's sniping ability: it's really hard.
That's probably why snipers have to train for thousands of hours. If you don't have that kind of time, there are a few quick changes you can make to drastically improve your accuracy.
Pull the trigger back slowly and steadily, and don't close your eyes during the recoil.
Finding a comfortable position is key. If you're squirming or wobbling, it's going to be hard to keep the barrel steady, so get in a position where you can remain completely still for at least a few minutes at a time. Shooting rests will help with this, and shooting from a prone position usually produces the most accuracy. If you're going to lie down, though, the most important thing you can do is check the surrounding area for ants. Trust us on this.
Your grip should be firm, but not too firm. Avoid a death grip, basically. You want to be able to control every bit of motion that the rifle makes, especially during recoil, but if you hold it too tightly, that can cause you to over-correct to any movement.
Squeezing the trigger should be a seamless process. Breathe in and out normally, and don't hold your breath — this is a common mistake. Pull the trigger back slowly and steadily, and don't close your eyes during the recoil. Pay special attention to where the crosshairs were when you pulled the trigger; this can help you make the necessary adjustments for your next shot.
It's probably best to start relatively close, maybe a hundred yards away or so, before progressing to longer distances. Being proficient up-close helps you identify and correct any technical issues, which would only be magnified by moving to a greater distance.
After that, it's all about how much you practice. If you put in the time, and pay attention to both your technique and your results, you will get better. Pretty soon, you'll have people coming up to you asking for advice.
Oh, and we almost forgot the most important thing: before every shot, whisper, "Uncle Sam sends his regards, Generalissimo." We don't know why, but it helps.
Other Helpful Gear You Need
Back in the Stone Age, our ancestors would go out hunting armed with little more than a high-powered sniper rifle and maybe a walkie-talkie or two (note: this history might not be accurate). Luckily, we don't have to do that anymore, as there's plenty of equipment available that can make distance shooting easier.
You'll need a notepad or a log book to keep track of all your shots.
One of the most important pieces of equipment you need is some form of optics, because as it turns out, it's hard to see things that are far away. A good scope is a necessity, of course, but you should also invest in a quality rangefinder. They're invaluable for sighting in at distance.
Having a tripod is a smart idea for the serious marksman, as they eliminate virtually any wiggle from your aim, while also taking the strain off your arms. They're just as useful for hunting as they are for practicing at the range.
You'll need a notepad or a log book to keep track of all your shots. These are sometimes called DOPE books, which stands for Data of Previous Engagements, which is a pretty awesome-sounding way to describe a spreadsheet. Still, it lets you have a detailed record of each of your shots, and the conditions in which it was taken. Then, when you're in a similar situation, you already have the data necessary to make an informed decision.
Beyond that, just make sure you have plenty of ammo, and maybe a range bag to carry everything around in. All this stuff should leave you well-prepared for any situation you might have to shoot your way out of — or, you know, just a normal day at the range.