Shooting Drones

Who hasn’t dreamed of shooting at a target drone at the range instead of boring steel targets?

I have been wanting to put together a target drone, or more specifically a drone that can carry a target, to use at the range. My biggest problem is in order to make it durable it needs to be armored but this will make it big and heavy, requiring more effort to get it to the range and back.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Looks like a good time! There is a company out of Australia that is doing reactive target done work that is a little more advanced than this specific project but not much cooler.

  • Nathaniel

    Is that much fun even legal?

    • Vhyrus

      Considering they’re in Kalifornia, probably not.

  • Aurelien

    Steve, to make a drone target, you don’t have to make it heavy with armor.
    You have to work on the design to get it very low, with very steep angles on the armor. That way you will need less armor for the same level of protection.

    A company in Europe made “running targets” out of mannequins and segways. That was pretty fun.

  • MacK

    Holy frackin SLIDE THUMB

  • Arch

    Just good clean fun!

    Spent 1975 to 1978 in the 1st Test Squadron at Clark AB, Philippines. Our DoD Mission directive was “to evaluate fully integrated air-to-air weapon systems in realistic scenarios while enhancing training.”

    The weapon systems were USAF F4s firing AIM-7 Sparrow semi-active radar guided and AIM-9 Sidewinder heat seeking missiles at BQM-34A Ryan Firebee drones. I could hardly believe the USAF would pay me to do something that was that much fun.

  • tdubb

    I wish I had this setup.

  • Sian

    Occasionally used fighting robots get put on the market for far less than what it would take to build them. Some of these are VERY mobile and quite respectably armored.

    alternately you could buy a used mobility scooter or motorized wheelchair and gut it. If it can carry an old person, it can carry 150 lbs of sloped steel plate no problem.

  • Chase

    It bothers me when people call things “drones” and “robots” when they aren’t. That is not a robot. It is a remotely operated vehicle–an armored RC car. The same goes for the Predator “drone.” It’s not a robot, and it’s not even “unmanned.” It’s just manned from a long distance.

    • Laenhart

      To be fair, Predators are legitimately UAVs or “drones” in that they can fly themselves and are only reliant on human operators for destination and targeting information. Software currently exists that would allow them to aim and shoot on their own, but militaries are wary of this for obvious reasons.
      The remotely operated vehicles in the video on the other hand are not drones, being glorified RC cars, similar to bomb-disposal “robots” (which are also incorrectly called robots.)

  • Gerald

    I have been thinking, one of those new quadrotor drones would make an excellent target, except for the fact that they cost $2000 a piece. Now, if someone were to hang a small, steel target a significant distance beneath the drone, that would make one hell of a shooting range. Targets swarming everywhere.

  • Lance

    Looks fun. But if your target shoots you first that’s a bit embarrassing. LOL!

  • John Doe

    The Aussies have put targets on Segways and used them for sniper training.

  • 2hotel9

    Not a “drone” but still good training and fun, use a tire with plywood “target” inside it, roll across field of fire. Does not work at all ranges, got to have an incline(berm or ramp) for it to work, and a sheltered position to start them from.

    We have a good location on an old stripmine property, plenty of room and we built recessed position from which to roll out. Made a plank trough to launch and the firing line is over 100 meters with a slight decline which keeps them going pretty well. Added to our steel popups they make for some good shooting.