Deciding that you want an at-home archery range, you go to look up the cost of archery targets online—your mind gets blown wide open! You discover how archery targets cost more than you would have ever guessed. Especially when you consider how much a bale of hay costs, the archery targets look less attractive. Why do they cost so much? Let’s have a look…
Why are archery targets so expensive? Archery targets cost a lot because of the materials used to make them. The better the material, the higher the cost, but it tends to last longer than other targets, and you can remove the arrows easier from targets like this, which is part of the attraction.
Keep reading because we will explore the different materials used and rank them in terms of cost. We will also look at the specifics of what makes an archery target so expensive.
Don’t Buy the Most Expensive Target without Thinking
If you plan to buy an archery target, we would never advise buying the most expensive solely on the price. You must evaluate the archery target to understand if it will be worth the cost. For example, what are some of the features that it should offer?
Some of the most important features that should be included with an expensive archery target are:
- Easy removal of arrows
- Weather-resistant materials
- Can handle shots from broadheads
- Designed for long life
- Stability when shot
- Made in the USA
- No speed limitations
- Hard to destroy
All of these things combine to make for a high-quality archery target, and before you buy an expensive one, you should make sure that it includes some of these things to get your money’s worth. Each of these things combine to make certain archery targets more expensive. Archery targets that cost more should be able to withstand more shots. You won’t tear them up as much.
Better Quality Materials: What Makes Archery Targets so Expensive
To be clear, you can buy cheaper archery targets for around $20 to $40. The Field Logic Youth Block GenZ Open Target (check it out here on Amazon) is a good example of a target in that price range. If you want better quality materials, you will pay anywhere from $90 to $200, but this target lasts longer.
Heavy shooters may want to choose the more expensive target because of how it lasts for years. Many of the more expensive targets will use a material like authentic Spylar Woven Facing, which allows the target to last longer. When you shoot an arrow, the strands will usually spread apart, but they won’t tear, which makes the target last longer—keep in mind, even this target eventually breaks down, but it takes time before that happens.
Many of the more expensive targets will contain self-healing foam. Don’t let the marketing fool you, however, because the genuinely self-healing foam targets aren’t what you might think. Real self-healing targets would have to use polymers that heal themselves after being shot. No archery target uses this material. Most archery targets will use urethane foam, normally, polyurethane.
How do polyurethane targets operate? After a bow shoots the arrow, you remove it from the foam, and this closes off the hole. However, over time, the damage becomes extensive enough that you notice it more. Still, this lasts longer than the average archery target that you may need to replace frequently, depending on how much you shoot. More expensive targets will use better foam for shooting. Good materials will offer more resistance to the arrow without wearing it down.
Expensive Targets Made to Stop the Arrow
The cheap archery targets usually only use styrofoam. For someone who shoots a bow with a high fps, the arrow blows right through the target. Even if they don’t blow through the target, the arrows dive so deep into the target that retrieval becomes a hassle. Pay attention to the density of the target. A target that markets itself as high density, will have a higher likelihood of stopping the arrows.
Before you buy an archery target, check to see that it meets your specifications. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a youth target that can only handle 40-pound draw weight if you have a bow with 70-pound draw weight. The arrows will blow right through the target, and your target won’t last as long as stated.
Checking the specifications and what the target offers matters as much as the price.
Larger-Sized Targets Cost More
Many times, you can buy a cheaper target of a smaller size. Check each target you want to buy because some include smaller sizes. The cost depends on the size because a larger target requires more foam and other materials. Handmade targets add a dimension of old-time archery, but keep in mind, they may not achieve the exact size stated. Buy mindfully and avoid handmade if small differences in size matter to you.
3D Archery Targets More Expensive
The 3D archery targets will simulate a real hunting experience. For example, you could buy a 3D deer or a 3D pike (for bowfishing), but you should understand some of the advantages and disadvantages, which include:
- Teaches shot placement
- More fun shooting
- Builds confidence
- Encourages muscle memory for shots
- Can replace shooting cores or shooting vitals
- Larger 3D targets cost more
- Awkward to move alone
- Arrow removal more difficult
- Cheaper 3D targets get torn apart fast
Usually, you will find that 3D archery targets often cost more, which could have to do with demand as well. They can charge more because people want them more. As the law of supply and demand dictates, the cost goes up as the demand rises. Keep in mind, however, not all of these targets will withstand shooting well, so you need to do your research to see how it stands up.
Think of the Weather
Especially in cases where you will leave the target outdoors, you don’t want the rain or snow wrecking your expensive target. Even the targets that say weatherproof will still see some level of damage from the elements. Taking your targets back inside is the best practice because it ensures that they last the longest. For example, the rain can discolor your 3D deer.
Cardboard targets especially need to be brought indoors after each session because if you have ever seen the rain hit cardboard, it absolutely destroys cardboard. In general, I would simply bring my targets back to the garage—regardless of weatherproofing—because it ensures that my targets last the longest.
Materials to Avoid for Targets
Usually, I wouldn’t advise using targets with wood as a backstop because of how it can wear down the arrow fast from continual impacts. Avoid hard materials in general for backstops. They should stop the arrow well without causing damage to it, especially when you pay a lot for the target. Wood does have the advantage of durability, but the weight and dust become a problem. Also, it will wear down your arrows faster, so I would recommend other choices.
Sandbags would be an equally horrible idea. You might use wood or sandbags as a last resort for a backstop, but you don’t want it as the primary source of the target.
Alternatives to Expensive Archery Targets
Around the age of 12 or 13, I would shoot at a simple archery target with my friends that sat in front of hay bales. You don’t need to buy fancy targets that cost a lot—maybe it comes from my rural upbringing, but I don’t see that as worth it. In fact, that is probably what makes the higher-priced targets seem less worthwhile is that you can make without the high cost.
Going with a target between $30 to $200 is fair in most cases if you shoot a lot, but I wouldn’t recommend going for targets that cost too much more. You will only receive so much return on investment no matter what the retailer says. At that point, replacing arrows and the target probably cost less than buying an expensive target.
A lot of people also say that making archery targets from carpet works incredibly well, and you can often get the stuff for free or a low price. You could do something as simple as filling a cardboard box with cushions, old clothes or rags to create a target. The fact that you can make them for a lot less has made it so that many archers choose to go this route. Some will prefer to make it, but you do get a benefits from buying one, such as durability of the target. It’s a legitimate route.
Are Expensive Archery Targets Worth It?
All of this begs the question, are expensive archery targets worth the higher cost? I would recommend paying for a more expensive archery target for a couple of reasons. First, these targets don’t wear down your arrows as much. The higher cost translates to less damage to your arrows from better materials, and you don’t need to replace the targets as often. Someone who shoots a lot will find it worth the extra cost to buy archery targets.
Archery targets range in price anywhere from $30 to $450. Would I recommend that you buy the most expensive archery target for shooting? Honestly, no, I think that once you reach past $250, you’re being taken advantage of, and I wouldn’t pay that much unless you feel good about the quality.
I even saw one archery target that cost $430, and it didn’t come with the targets—you have to buy those separately. On top of that, you can’t use broadheads on the target. Sorry, but no, that’s a terrible deal, unless you can afford to blow money. Don’t let the price fool you. You can buy a cheaper target and receive similar quality and sometimes with more benefits.
If I were going to pay $200 or more for an archery target, I would only advise doing that for 3D archery targets. I don’t see the purpose of paying that much for other targets. It’s important to remember that you can pay much less for targets or make them yourself. Granted, you may need to replace them more often, but a little extra work can make paying that much for targets irrelevant. The archery of the sport is what matters: Not the price of your targets or how long they last. The length of time that they last is only for convenience.
Good Value: What Target Should You Buy?
Looking at the targets available on the market, the Block Classic Archery Target looks like a great choice in the middle price range. It stops arrows with friction, not force, which means that your arrows won’t take as much of a beating. The greater visibility of black on white makes it easy to spot for shooting. Made in the USA, you proudly can support our nation’s companies at the same time. On top of that, the United States has a good reputation for the quality of the products that it makes. If you’d like to learn more about the arrow brand made in the USA, check out my article, “What Arrows are Made in the USA?“
This target also takes broadheads. I saw another target in a higher price category that couldn’t do that. This is how you look for value in your archery targets. Don’t think of price alone, but you can use it as a marker when you see other value offered. The highest price doesn’t always mean the best, however. One thing to be aware of with this target is you may not want it for bows with a higher fps because some archers said it blows right through it.
Most often, archery targets cost more because of a higher quality in materials. However, I would advise that you exercise caution with that approach. Look carefully at each target you want to buy and consider the purpose because price by itself won’t equate to a good target. You need to consider your needs with each target and the specifications and features. For example, if you want to shoot broadheads, you need to buy a target that can handle broadheads. This will often cost more because broadheads require more durable material.