The Tactical Relevance to B8 Targets

Richard L.
by Richard L.
Many renowned instructors are using the B8 target in classes, but do we understand why? In a recent IG live, Steve Fisher went over some reasons we use B8 targets. It is obvious that a target with set dimensions gives a standard. This standard allows us to track our score and therefore analyze our score to see improvement. We compare current to past scores with the same or similar conditions. However, the B8 does far more for us.

B8 Target Sizing, Printing and Purchasing

B8 Targets can be printed online or purchased from numerous sources.

The B8 target sizing is important to understand in order to draw a good correlation. The B8 target gets its name from being 8″ in diameter. The 9 ring is 5.54″, 10 ring is 3.36″ and the X ring is 1.695″ in diameter.

How you print your B8 is important as the sizing could change if done incorrectly. You can find B8s free to download at Big Tex Outdoors. Notice that it is important to deselect “fit to page” in your printer options. Also set “scale to 100”. This ensures measurements do not change. He also has some B8s lower on the page that print in gray for less ink.

B8s can also be purchased. A simple google search will result in plenty of sources. They can be purchased on different types of paper that are more or less weather resistant. There are also B8 centers. Often a large B8 is purchased and then the center is simply replaced. This allows a larger area to show misses that are further out when shooting at longer ranges. Keep in mind there are endless uses for B8s for both pistols and rifles based on the drills used. While stapling is possible, gluing is the preferred way to cover the original B8 with new centers. Misses outside the center are usually taped off.

Correlation to Human Anatomy


The B8 resembles sizes that have anatomical importance. It is more than just another NRA target. Place the B8 target on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper over the chest. The black center containing the 9, 10 and X ring resemble the same size as the heart and vital arteries where impacts would have the greatest effect. This is a bullseye approximately 5.54″ in diameter, about the size of your fist.
Notice how the 9, 10 and X are between the nipples and the area covered clearly resembles the size of a heart and important arteries.


By folding in the sides of the page to the edges of the black B8 in a lateral fashion, we see that the target again fits the average human body along their side. The 9, 10 and X rings notate the 5.54″ area targeted for greatest effect. It is important to remember that while the paper is not 3 dimensional, the defensive target that it represents is. Sizing should be considered from multiple angles.
As you can see, the size of the targeted area does not change when engaging from the side.


Finally, fold horizontally so that the top and bottom edges are folded down to the black of the target. The black circle notates an area that reflects the average size of a human head with minimal room for error. The 10 and X rings are 3.36″ in diameter and represent the area targeted when shooting for the brain stem. As you turn the head in any direction the targeted size has little to no change. The only change in target would be to gain easier access to the brain stem with less impediment to the bullet path from the skull.
Here we see the B8 in relation to the face from the front.
Despite the change in angle, the targeted zone really does not change in size.


Next time you are shooting consider using a B8. While the B8 is often used as a simple means of scoring shots, remember the importance and relevance to defensive shooting as well.

Special thanks to @marlisphotos for the pictures in this article.
Richard L.
Richard L.

Richard lives in southern Indiana and has a strong interest in training, modified pistols, optics, and low profile gear/tactics. Some may consider it hoarding or some form of addiction, but he never tires in his pursuits as a stamp and lumen collector!For any corrections, input, or interest in posts, you can reach him at

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  • Kaban Kaban on Oct 14, 2020


    Having killed bunch upon bunch of bullseye paper targets, I am pleased to know those round black circles had tactical relevance because of their size (e.g. standard №3 for 300m rifle has head-sized 9 and 10, too) :-) But let's be honest - those nice circles are just common idealized targets, lacking real-life outline and target areas, and providing exemplary point of aim instead.

  • Wunder Nein Wunder Nein on Oct 14, 2020

    Is it difficult to master B8 targets?