Reflective vs. Non-Reflective Targets: Pros, Cons, and Using Rangefinders

Reflective vs. Non-Reflective Targets

In the battle of reflective vs. non-reflective targets, which is better? Read on to learn which type of target might be right for your shooting needs.

If you are a hunter, or you simply like shooting at targets, the only way to improve is to practice your shooting skills. Of course, there are many different types of targets on the market today, and you might be weighing your choices of reflective vs. non-reflective targets and wondering which of the options is best for your needs.

Because there are many different options available, we thought we’d look at some potential choices that you might like below. We will also provide you with more information about reflective vs. non-reflective targets, as well as how and when to use them. Some, for example, are great when you are using a rangefinder and you want to measure distance, while others might not work as well for that purpose.

You will also find some great examples of different types of targets that you might want to get and use to help improve your accuracy.

What’s the Difference Between Reflective and Non-Reflective Targets?

A reflective target is any type of target that can reflect light. When you are out hunting and using a rangefinder, you might not have the luxury of using commercially made targets to let you know your distance. Therefore, you will have to look for objects in the environment that can provide the rangefinder with a reflective surface to measure.

In the field, this might be something like a piece of metal, glass, or even a wet rock in the distance. When you are trying to determine the maximum range of your rangefinder, you will find that using a quality, commercial target tends to be the best option. They are made specifically to create a reflection.

Non-reflective targets are important for hunters, so they can get accustomed to shooting at various distances and finding the targets through their scope. This is because deer and other animals that you might be hunting are not going to be reflective. They are going to blend into the environment, so you will want to get accustomed to spotting and shooting non-reflective targets.

You can and should practice looking at targets through your rangefinder, binoculars, scope, or another spotting device to improve your speed at ranging and acquiring a target.

When Should You Use Reflective Targets?

Now that you have a better understanding of why and how you may need to use different types of targets when using a rangefinder and other spotting equipment, it’s time to learn why you might want to use reflective shooting targets for practice.

When you have a high-quality reflective target, you will be able to see that target at much further distances whether you are shooting with a pistol, rifle, or a pellet gun. Many of the reflective targets are made from a material that will show where the bullet impacted, as well, making it easy to get an idea of how you are shooting without needing an up-close look at the target.

You can find many designs and styles available today from a range of manufacturers. These targets are often affordable, and they are easy to use. When you are choosing between the various types of reflective targets, always make sure you are opting for quality over price. Even though targets might seem like they are the same from company to company, the quality can vary.

Why Do You Need Good Targets for Shooting Practice?

If you haven’t been shooting for long, or if you haven’t used commercial targets for practice, you might be wondering why the quality even matters. After all, aren’t you essentially just shooting at a piece of paper with these targets? While that might be true, not all targets are created the same.

It’s important to find high-quality targets, whether they are reflective or not, to help you improve your shooting skills. Some of the best targets today, for example, has technology that will create a splatter effect on the location where your bullet hit. These are easy to see visually when you are at normal handgun distances, and you will be able to note them through a scope when you are at further distances.

While this technology might not always be necessary when you are just out plinking with a .22 or a pellet gun and you aren’t as concerned with checking your accuracy, it is helpful. Good quality targets that can take a lot of shots and that can show you where you are hitting will help you improve your aim. You can make adjustments between shots until you can hit near the same mark consistently.

The visual feedback from the targets can help you improve faster than you would otherwise. Naturally, this is something that all shooters and hunters should strive for.

Good quality targets also tend to hold up better when they are used outdoors. The last thing you need is for the wind to come along and blow your target away. Instead, you want a target that can be affixed to a piece of wood or other material and stay in place. Those that have adhesive backs are helpful in this regard.

Finding the right targets doesn’t have to be difficult. You will find that there are plenty of quality options available today, including those that we’ve listed below. They are affordable, they are easy to use, and they are of good quality. Whether you are using a target with your rangefinder, so you are using a target to help zero your scope, never settle for less than the best.

Reflective vs. Non-Reflective Targets: Options to Consider

There are many targets on the market today that are used for shooting, as well as other purposes, such as surveying. With all of the options for reflective and non-reflective targets, it’s important to have a few quality choices available for your different purposes. We’ve collected two examples of reflective targets and two examples of non-reflective targets.

60x60mm Reflective Tape Survey Targets from Reflective Target Canada

One of the first things you will want to note about these targets is that they are not typically used for target practice at a standard range, although they could be. These are instead survey targets, which surveyors will often use with their laser rangefinders. They are also found on construction sites.

How might they be helpful to you as a hunter or target shooter? If you have places that you enjoy hunting and shooting, you can use these targets to help you set up a shooting volley. You can use the reflective surface of the target to get the range that you need along with a series of locations at further and further distances.

Once you calculate the distances, you can remove the targets and use nearby landmarks as reminders for each of those distances, so it will be faster to dial in your scope. You will likely want to write down these numbers so you can remember them. If you are always hunting different areas, they might not be as useful to you.

It’s also important to note that these are relatively small, but they do come in a pack of 20. The 3M Diamond Grade Reflective Tape is high-quality, and you will find that the self-adhesive sheets will stick to nearly any surface.

The survey range for the reflective targets is 150m, but you can likely use them for finding out ranges for hunting and target shooting at longer distances. They are durable and easy to use items.

EZ-Aim Reflective Adhesive Splash Shooting Target

Made by the Allen Company, the targets are a very affordable foray into reflective targets that were designed specifically for shooting spots.

The targets feature a black background with a bright orange sight grid and several target locations. These measure 9” x 9” and they come in a pack of four, but there are other options through the company for different sizes and quantities.

The target features an adhesive back, so you can affix it to a range of different surfaces. It can work well for a range of different types of firearms, but it works particularly well for those who are using the target for handgun practice.

One of the other nice features of these reflective targets is the “Splash Technology” it offers. This allows you to easily see where your shots have hit, which can help you to improve on your accuracy. Although these targets will not be an ideal option for those who are trying to use their rangefinder for various distances, it could still be possible to use them.

However, these targets were made for shooting. They work well, they are easy to use, and they are a very affordable option for those looking for some quality targets.

Splatterburst Targets 8” Stick and Splatter Reaction

The 8” targets from Splatterburst Targets could be a solid solution for those who do not need a reflective target, but who still want to have something that is bright enough to shoot at and see downrange. The adhesive backing will let you place the target on a range of different surfaces.

These targets also have a splatter technology that will make your shots easy to see. The targets themselves have a neon yellow backing with black rings and red bullseyes. When you hit the target with a bullet, it will create a small splatter effect, which makes it easy to see exactly where your bullets are going. You will appreciate the high visibility of the targets.

You will also find that the targets can work well with all calibers of firearms including handguns, rifles, shotguns, and even pellet guns. They could be a good solution whether you are target shooting indoors or outdoors.

You can choose from several different pack sizes when choosing these targets. They have an option for a 25-pack, a 50-pack, and a 100-pack. This provides you with a substantial number of targets for your shooting needs.

Splatterburst Targets 12”x18” Silhouette Reactive Shooting Target

Splatterburst Targets is on the list again with this silhouette target. As with the 8” target above, you can choose from different pack sizes. You could opt for a 10-pack, 25-pack, or a 50-pack. They also have the same splatter technology, which makes it easy to see where your shots land without needing to walk downrange or grab a pair of binoculars.

This works well for all firearms and calibers and can be used with pellet guns, shotguns, rifles, or pistols with ease. Whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors, these could be a good target to consider thanks to their easy visibility.

However, if you have a bullet land outside of the black or red, it will be difficult to see just where it landed until you get a closer look at the target. For most, though, this will not be a problem.

While these aren’t an option that most hunters will want to use, they can work well for self-defense and concealed carry training. This makes them particularly popular for handgun training.

Conclusion: Should You Get Reflective or Non-Reflective Targets?

After learning about the different types of targets and how they are often used, which one seems right for your needs? If you are like many shooters, you will want to have an array of targets that you can use. You might want to have some of the smaller reflective targets that could be used for rangefinders and that could allow you to test your shots at extremely long distances.

You might also like to have targets that are better for closer distances or for practicing your skill with your handgun. Since the targets tend to be affordable, you may want to buy several options to try and then determine which ones you like the best and whether you prefer the reflective or non-reflective target options.