Gear Review: Shooting Steel With Jumping Targets

Caliber Ratings   Jumping Targets

I think it would be safe to say the majority of us enjoy shooting steel targets. On the other side of the coin there are those who don’t shoot steel and to be honest not without good reasons.

There are several factors involved in shooting steel and being safe doing so. The primary consideration is the type and thickness of the steel used. Following this is the angle of the target in relationship to the weapon used. Next is the distance and type of rounds being fired. A 90 degree angle to the shooter is best, however a slight forward tilt at the top of the target works well and directs splatter into the ground directly in front of the target.

When choosing the type of steel for your targets never use T-1 steel targets or any with a Brinell of less than 400.

IPSC HOSTAGE SILHOUTTE TARGET  3 Jumping Targets

IPSC HOSTAGE SILHOUTTE TARGET 2  Jumping Targets

With these criteria in mind I’ve been using steel targets from Jumping Targets. I’ve had them for several months to give them a good workout and to test the quality of the AR500 steel (3/8th inches thickness). There were several things I was looking for. How much damage would they show after a significant number of rounds fired with everything from 9mm up to .308. In the rifle calibers and 12 ga slugs I used the recommended firing distances of no closer than 50 yards with .308’s.

Jumping targets sells a full line of targets and accessories. You can check their website for a complete list of products. For this long test I used their IPSC silhouette, which comes with a complete stand, made of the same steel as the target. This target also has a hostage target attached to the rear of the silhouette. This small target swings from one side to the other when struck. This is placed about shoulder high.

I’ve been impressed with this target. There are features built in I don’t often see in this type of target. From the base of the silhouette down a couple of feet there is a V shaped piece of AR500 attached to the vertical support pole. The V shape has the point towards the shooter. What this does is direct any bullet 20 degrees to the side or splits the bullet with each half going 20 degrees to each side.

The entire target with base and stand weighs 28 pounds, which isn’t at all difficult to transport back and forth to the range. The three base legs fold together to form one piece for easy carry. The support pole and target transport together. The small hostage circle detaches for separate carry.

Like any other steel target you can spray paint it in the target area. Jumping targets also makes orange stick on circles of various sizes.

After these last few months of shooting hundreds of rounds I can see where rounds have scuffed the finish but there are absolutely no indentations or damage that would be a safety concern. The price of this IPSC target is $269.00, which is less than most steel targets I’ve seen online.

IPSC HOSTAGE SILHOUTTE TARGET 1  Jumping Targets

The real fun begins with the second test target. This target is also where the company got its name. These are the “Jumping Targets” and jump they do. The shape you see in the photo below is the same in all three sizes. The sizes are chosen depending on the round fired. The larger the round the larger the target needs to be. If you notice each arm of the target is angled to one side which serves to make the target safer ideally by deflecting any splatter or rounds to the side and not straight back towards the shooter.

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Using this target is as simple as tossing it downrange and opening fire. The goal is to shoot the top most circle which makes the target jump and roll giving you a moving target or one you can shoot for accuracy if you increase the distance and allow it to come to a stop. No resetting just firing until you run out of space and move it back and start over again. A good feature for this target is you can shoot it with any type of gun you want.

We set up a little game among several of us. We spray painted each target a different color. The shooters pick a color and everyone starts firing. The shooter with the greatest number of hits on their color wins. On the honor system if a shooter hits another persons target points are deducted. It’s just plain fun!

Jumping Targets Set   Jumping 9Targets

The video below shows several shooters having some fun with the Jumper as we called it.
Sizes come in a 2.5, 3.5 and 4.75 inches for each round target on the jumpers. They use the same steel as the silhouette target. Thickness varies from ¼ to ½ inch. Prices from the smallest to largest are $39.99, $49.99 and $59.99. An entire set of three sells for $135.00. Also each of these targets are made of AR500 steel.

You know full size paper targets can get somewhat expensive over time. Steel targets can pay for themselves if you invest in good ones. I just encourage users to read the manufacturer’s instructions and you’ll be perfectly safe. It’s a lot more fun than shooting paper and you sure start to enjoy that sound of bullet on steel!

Jumping Targets Website




Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • patrickiv

    Those jumper ones look like fun You could tether them to one area with one of those anchors for dog chains.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      They are:-) Sometimes they jump backwards,sometimes sideways. Pretty challenging if you shoot while it’s still moving.
      I don’t see why you couldn’t tether it in front of a berm and be perfectly safe. I’m lucky in that respect. The PD range I shoot at has a good size berm and there’s nothing behind it for a good number of miles.
      I can say this with certainty and that is none of the pistol or rifle rounds fired from any distance left the immediate range area. When you shoot the hostage target it just spins to the other side with the round striking the berm. Hitting the main target and it usually just flattens and drops. Wolf loses it’s jacket and drops forward of the target a few feet.
      I know from the instructors at Gunsite they haven’t had any problems with the huge number of steel targets in all kinds of shapes at almost all of the many ranges they have. Almost all of the ranges have steel targets.

  • JLR84

    The ranges I’ve been too are all pretty strict about rounds only impacting the berm, and not the ground, which would preclude the use of any ground-based targets. The argument seems to be that round will skip out of the range if impacting the ground at a shallow angle. I’ve looked online and haven’t seemed to find any consensus on the issue.

    • JTarget

      Most bullets just obliterate when they hit Ar500, check it out 3.5″ Jumping Target getting hit with .45 ACP video is shot with a phantom slow mo camera at 6500 frames per second.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        JT thanks for adding this video it really does show exactly how it works.

      • JLR84

        I shoot plenty of steel, I know that the fragments after impact are small and lose most of their energy. My question was about the claim that rounds striking the ground at a shallow angle angle will “skip out” of the range and fly over the berm. Obviously if you’re shooting at a ground-target, you’re going to miss from time to time.

        I’m generally skeptical of the claim, but I see it repeated so often and I’ve not read anything definitive on the matter.

        Basically at my range the standing steel targets are fine, since if you miss your rounds are going into the berm. It’s ground based targets which are a no go, since misses impact the ground.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          I shoot them on soft ground. I would never advise anyone to shoot them on gravel or a concrete shooting lane.

  • ColaBox

    Would you recommend using Wolf with this or regular led core only?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      That would really depend on the caliber. If it’s a handgun you can really use whatever you want. It won’t hurt the target. I actually used some Wolf .45 acp and didn’t notice any damage.

      With rifle rounds you might want to increase the distance a little with something like a .308. The company advises 50 up to 100 yards minimum distance with this target. Steel core .308 I’d say 100 just to be safe.

  • John Dalton

    Just bought the big jumper. Damn! I hate buying things just based on a web article but this just looks to cool.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      LOL—It’s good to know I’m not the only one. These things are fun as you can see from the video. We had three guys at the range trying to see who could get the darn thing to go the longest distance in 3 minutes with mag changes:-) Fun stuff!

  • JaxD

    “When choosing the type of steel for your targets never use T-1 steel targets or any with a Brinell of less than 400 ”
    Why? Please explain.

    • JT

      You don’t want to use soft mettle on targets because it will pit and crater, once that happens you can’t predict the ricochet pattern, and bullets will stay in larger chunks after impact. In the words of the late crocodile hunter “Danger Danger Danger”.

      • JaxD

        Thanks.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      The steel is to soft. Bullets make indentations in the target. Some of these marks have sharp edges. This causes ricochets in who knows what direction. It essentially time to get rid of the target when that happens.

  • gunslinger

    i need to move..

    i want a “range” in my back yard

  • Dave

    There are some long term durability issues with the jumpers. I bought one some time ago. The inside corners where the ‘paddle’ connects to the ‘frame’ of the target forms a stress riser. The steel will crack starting there. Eventually the ‘paddle’ will fly off when you hit it, as it did on mine. When I checked the others, there was severe cracking on each. Machining a radius on that corner would have greatly reduced this problem.

  • Mr. Scratch

    THIS IS SO AWESOME!

  • Sheldon McNeely

    Yes you are right there are so many thing to consider when shooting a steel target. Like after shooting you have to go to the steel target and re-position it again. I love the concept of the jumping target. It’s very smart and clever. With jumping target you can go all the way until your magazine is empty.