Archery Basics – The Most Important Things You Need To Know

[Updated 1 January 2024] Archery targets are a necessary part of improving archery skills. They are needed in practice and competitions to determine and improve accuracy. However, a lot of people neglect the basic facts about them, like “what are archery targets made of”, and “how you should pick one for your own use”. For those who have just got into the hobby, here are the basic facts about archery targets.

Target Types: Archery Target Basics

One of the first things you need to understand is that all commercial targets nowadays are divided into four types. Knowing the basic types of archery targets are the most essentials.

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Paper Targets

First, there are paper targets. These targets are essentially just sheets of archery paper that have target shapes on them. You place them on the wall or over a solid backing to shoot at. These targets are usually for more than archers. They work for marksmen of all types. Note that these tend to be very fragile and are generally used in conjunction with other targets.

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Bag Targets

Second, there are bag targets. Bag targets are mainly bags filled with synthetic fiber or other porous materials. When an arrow hits it, it punches through the external covering to hit the internal material. The kinetic force of the arrow is then absorbed by the material so that the arrow won’t penetrate too much. The result is a target that allows people to easily get arrows out.

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Foam Block Targets

Third, there are foam block targets. These targets are literally that: huge blocks of foam. Depending on the manufacturer, they can be solid foam or the softer type. The solid foam type is popular because of the solidity it delivers.

When an arrow hits a foam block target, it generates friction as it passes through the material. This melts it and slows it down until it stops. They are not as effective at stopping arrows as bag targets, but the great thing about them is that there is less damage to the target.

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3D Targets

Finally, there are 3D targets. Made from the same foam core material as block targets, 3D targets add a layer of fun to the target shooting practice. This is done by having them in the shape of various animals.

This can range from simple turkeys or wolves to something fantastic like a dinosaur. These targets work in the same way as foam block targets, so there’s not much difference mechanically.

A Simple Buying Guide

Now that you know the basic types out there, you’ll want to know how to buy the right set of targets for yourself. Here are the simple criteria that you should look at.

archery target buyers guide


The first thing that you should look at is how big the target is going to be. This affects a couple of factors. The larger a target, the heavier it is. The size also affects the visibility of the target. If you plan to be shooting from many yards away, you do not want a target that you have to squint at.


The next thing to consider is price. Some targets like the paper targets are very cheap and inexpensive. However, some of them can be expensive. Foam core blocks tend to have a higher price tag thanks to the material that they are made of.


The next thing to consider is how easy it is to set-up. Archery targets often need stands or something similar, to enable you to shoot at them comfortably. Weight also comes into the equation since you will have to carry the target around. You want a target that you can set-up easily since you want to focus on target shooting instead of wasting time on setting it up perfectly.


The toughness of the archery target should also be considered. To become really good at archery, you are going to need to shoot thousands of arrows at a target. A lot of bag and foam targets can handle thousands of shots but they are not all made equally. Some targets can handle the damage better than others.

Arrow Removal

Additionally, since you will be shooting thousands of times over and over, you’ll want a target that allows for easy arrow removal. Struggling to take out an arrow can result in damaged arrows. Though arrows can be cheap individually, once you shoot them thousands of times, the price piles up. You want a target that allows your arrows to be removed easily so that they can be used again.

These main factors should be at the top of your mind when making your purchase.

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A Bull’s Eye

The right set of archery targets can make target shooting a whole lot easier for you. That’s why you need to know more about them and know how to pick the right one. Hopefully, this guide points you in the right direction.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What type of archery bow is best for beginners?

A recurve bow is the ideal bow for a beginner. If you are looking to learn the basics of archery with the most versatile and cost-effective kind of bow before investing in a more expensive compound, this is the best bow to start.

Is learning archery hard?

Archery is simple to learn but difficult to master. While you can become a good archer relatively quickly, achieving excellence takes much longer. If you learn archery with an instructor, it might take only six weeks for you to be competent with a recurve bow if you practice many hours.

What does a beginner archer need?

We’ve put up a list of equipment that a beginner may require if they are considering archery:

  • Bow
  • Arrows
  • Bow Release
  • Glove and Arm Guard
  • Quiver
  • Bow stringer



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