Is Shooting Steel or Metal Targets Safe?

Sport shooting is a favorite pastime of many gun enthusiasts, and there are many different types of shooting activities that a person can participate in. However, all shooting sports are potentially dangerous. There are always risks to using a firearm, and things can always go wrong even when every safety precaution has been taken. Shooting steel is a very popular form of target shooting, but is it safe?

> What is shooting steel? 
Shooting steel commonly refers to using steel plates for target practice. It can also refer to a competitive event that features various steel plate shooting challenges. The plates are usually several inches in diameter, but they range greatly in size depending on competition type or user need. Most people use free-standing steel plates or those that are fixed into the ground, but steel shooting set-ups can involve revolving plates, those that fall flat when hit, those that switch sides when hit and more.




> Shooting steel is safe under normal circumstances 
When abiding by all firearm safety rules, shooting steel is a low risk sport. It is no different from firing at shooting boards or paper targets. However, the aspect about shooting at metal plates that makes it potentially dangerous is the ricochet effect. Since steel is a harder metal than the lead and copper that most bullets are crated from, they will not penetrate the plates. Instead, the bullets fragment on impact. Some of those fragments will ricochet back towards the shooter, and in rare circumstances, they actually connect with a body part to cause injury or even death.

> How to stay safe when shooting metal targets 
The best way to keep out of harm’s way while shooting steel is to wear protective clothing and gear. Earplugs, shooting glasses, and non-revealing clothing should always be worn to any shooting range. Shooting targets that are too close can be very dangerous since that close proximity greatly increases the chances of being hit by a fragment that has bounced back. Never fire a shot at a metal plate within ten feet of it. Proper set-up of the plates can also make a huge difference in the amount of risk a shooter faces. The plates should always be angled so that any fragments are deflected away from the direction of the shooter. Remember that bullets hitting plates at strange angles and deflecting off of hard surfaces can also cause bounce right back at the shooter. Some ammunition manufacturers make specially-designed bullets that disintegrate on impact to reduce the risk of deflection.

Hazards Of Shooting Steel Targets

When shooting steel, wear the appropriate attire and keep a distance away from the plates. Some people prefer not to take the risk of shooting steel, so they only practice on other materials that don’t cause deflection such as paper, wood, or plastic. Check out for a nice selection of plastics that could be made into targets.

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