Saturday, April 6, 2013

PJL Targets Review - More Practical Practice

Last weekend I had the chance to try out some new PJL targets from TRIGGERHAPPYGEAR.COM  Dave Crockett, the Owner of Trigger Happy Gear, sent me a small assortment of targets along with some details about the targets and how they were developed.

"Our unique PJL targets were created by Belgium policeman Francis Dorao.  He created them to appear realistic and almost 3D.  The highly detailed illustrations make the weapons stand out.  These 25 life size targets are 25" x 35" and reflect what you may meet in your real world.  Bad guys come in all shapes, sizes, and variations.  So do these targets!"

The pictures to the left and below show a few of the targets and the video shows a few more targets out on the range.

There are a few things I really liked about the targets that may help my skills improve over time.  The first thing was the lack of immediate visual feedback after every shot.  The bullet holes don't jump out at you like they do when shooting the traditional buff colored paper targets.  In the video you can see that I had to really search to see when my shots landed on the target.  When standing back 7 to 10 yards away from the targets, it's almost impossible to see where the shots land.  Not seeing immediate feedback on where the shots land seems a bit more "realistic" to me.

The second thing I liked was that the targets were drawn at various angles.  With my target stands and my usual IDPA paper practice targets, the target and I square up chest to chest and the target offers me the perfect angle for hits in the center of mass.  If I want to increase the challenge, I can always turn my target stands at an angle, but then I risk shooting through one of the target stand supports.  Check out the dude on the right showing more booty than chest.

The variety, quality, and detail of the targets is really outstanding.  Not that it makes a huge difference at the range, but look at the reflection in the sunglasses and the business end of the revolver in the target to the left.  Presented in life size 25" x 35" format, this again adds a bit more realism to my practice time.

Scoring hits and misses is facilitated by a very faint white chalk outline around the center of mass that's not really visible until you are standing right next to the target.  Even Mr. Booty Butt, in the brown pants and blue shirt above, has a well defined white outline around the "hit" area if you look at the target really closely.

Along with the targets, you can also order some of the overlay sheets for target customization and re-use.  There are 6 different sets of target overlays available, and when combined with the 25 different PJL base targets there are over 5000 possible target variations just waiting for you to create them.  I've included two of my favorite sample customizations on the left.  I also show how I used the overlays to recycle a target for reuse in the review video.

You can see the targets in use at the range in the video below. 

Targets are available a la carte for $1.99 each and the overlay sheets are $3.99 each.  The overlay sheets have between 13 and 22 customization elements per sheet.

The best value buys are the Free Target Bonus Packages.  Dave has assembled target assortments that include extra free targets.

Buy 12 get 2 free
Buy 25 get 6 free
Buy 50 get 15 free
Buy 100 get 32 free

If you are interested in the targets, there is an ad link in the top left column that will take you to the TRIGGERHAPPYGEAR.COM website.    

In the end it all comes down to what you want to invest in your training.  Some folks use paper plates, others use standard silhouettes or bullseye targets.  I like this new option and you will be seeing more of these targets in my future gun review and practical practice videos.  I can definitely see the value in the more realistic target on the left vs. the target on the right.



  1. These look great - one of those ideas that is so simple but no body ever thought of - I've asked my range to carry them. They are much more practical that the normal front view with numbers!

  2. Trigger Happy may not be in business. The link goes to a blank page and "Trigger Happy Gear" produced no info on Bing.

    1. I received an email many months ago about a change with the distribution of these targets. The new website is up at

  3. I live in Massachusetts, I bought some realistic targets, had to cut the heads off of them to use them at the range. Turns out they're not allowed, unless you are LE, I guess.

    1. I've heard similar stories about ranges being particular about the targets you can use. Some only allow you to use targets purchased at the range. As a consumer, vote with your dollars and visit a different range if you don't like their rules. That's what I do if I see sketchy safety practices or indoor ranges with poor ventilation.