Wow, holy mackerel, and tornado targets Batman !!!!!! This is a lot of responses.
If you know me I am about customer satisfaction, customer retention, and the math behind it. Remember, I am the guy who analyzed 40,000 scores to propose we change to total time.
So where are we at?
1. Most targets from a steel plate with minimal cutting.
1.a. 18 out of a 4x8 sheet if 16" squares, 8 if 24" squares
1.b. Everything else is more torch/plasma cutter time and has more scrap steel
2. It doesn't make any difference. Everybody shoots at the same thing.
2.a. Agreed, except for the whole marketing thing about wanting happy shooters (aka customers) who come back.
2.b. Older and novice shooters tend to have a larger group size. They want to feel like, although not as fast, they can at least hit the same targets our semi-pros do.
3. Targets that do not lend themselves to success aren't such a good idea.
3.a. Diamonds where 75% of the target will not be part the group coverage if you pull the trigger when you first have steel (i.e. the left or right corners) under your sight.
3.b. Triangles (and the notorious peppers at EoT) where the target gets narrower as you go down. Most new shooters shoot low. (My 25+ years of observation)
3.c. Any target that is wide and narrow. low and high shots are misses. too much and too little sight.
3.d. Any target that has holes in it. (i.e. arm holes).
3.e. Card suits are terrible. Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades all have very little contiguous target area.
4. Target that seem to be good are:
4.a. Large (not huge)
4.b. Without protrusions (that cause a new shooter to pull the trigger to soon)
4.c. Without holes (arm holes,...) the bullet can go through
4.d. Squares, Large solid... buffalos, bears, cowboys, are good.
4.e. Tombstones are good
4.f. Circles are OK but not great (for the same reason as diamonds).
4.g. One time I made a train. 5 targets; locomotive, coal car, 2 passenger coaches, and a caboose. They were 16 in tall and 32 in wide. No holes in them and everybody liked them.
5. Simple shapes are boring
5.a. One time I cut out 24 bears, vultures, pigs, etc. (all from 16x24 rectangles). A lot of work and looked great. Eventually the club quit using them for reason 4.c.
5.b. Spend your time and money on stage decorations might be better
6. Variety is good
6.a. Don't make all the targets exactly the same.
6.b. For example; mix up some 16x16 squares with one large solid cowboy.
7. Great idea I heard... Paint a border on the target in a contrasting color with the center (i.e. black border and white center)
7.a. Increases the probability of a hit for new shooters coached to aim at the center color (i.e. white).
Now I didn't talk about target placement, the 100 different sweeps, stage design. Just the target itself.
This was awesome response
I hope those who make targets, write stages, create matches find this useful.