How Long Will Your Archery Target Last?

How Long Will Your Archery Target Last?

Many experienced archers buy their own targets and set up their own small range to practice archery. These can be expensive, so they expect them to last a long time. But how long do archery targets really last?

As a general rule, archery targets last around 2000 arrows.  Straw and linen targets usually last longer than foam targets. To increase the lifespan of your target, aim at different locations on the target and avoid using broadheads.

Archery has greatly evolved into the complex sport and activity you know today through the ages. While there are a lot of modern technological inclusions in archery, this hasn’t always been the case. For instance, today, archery targets are synonymous with the activity. However, in the past, archers would shoot at just about anything as the target, from bags of sand, dirt, animal skulls, and tree stumps.

Fortunately, archery targets level the playing field as you can gauge everyone’s shot equally. Archery targets come in all forms and sizes. Ideally, you want to get a target that will last the test of time and serve you for long.

In this post we’ll discuss how long do archery targets last, and what can you do to keep your target for longer? Read on to learn more about archery targets and their proper maintenance tips.

How long do archery targets last?

If you’ve been looking to buy an archery target, you’ve likely come across claims from manufacturers that their targets last a lifetime. However, that is nothing more than ambitious advertising. An effective and truthful way to analyze how long a target lasts is with the number of arrows it can withstand.

Sure, if you only use your archery a couple of times a year, it will last longer than when you constantly use it. Generally, most targets can withstand about 2000 arrows. However, numerous factors can influence the lifespan of your archery target. These include the build quality, material strength, and even the weather.

Before buying your next archery target, you need to factor in various considerations. Like many other archery aspects, the cheapest option is not necessarily cost-effective. However, that doesn’t mean the most expensive option is the best. Below are some considerations you should think about when purchasing an archery target.

How well do different target materials last?


Targets made from foam are arguably the most commonly available today. There are countless variations of foam archery targets, with most of them being relatively affordable. The variations differ significantly, and you can find foam targets that only withstand a few hundred arrows while others can last through several thousands of arrow shots.

Before buying foam targets, research the quality and manufacturer. Some foam targets are too thin and can only stop arrows from a youth bow. Ideally, you want to get a foam target with at least 7 cm (3 in) thickness to stand a chance at stopping a typical arrow.


Straw is another common material used in manufacturing archery targets. In comparison, straw targets are a bit pricier than foam ones. However, they account for this by being more durable and typically last longer than most foam targets.

One of the key advantages of using straw targets over foam targets is that the former doesn’t get pierced like the latter. Straws get compressed, which then slows down the arrow. This is why straw targets can outlast foam targets. Moreover, some straw targets can be tightened when loose, so they are greatly favored in archery clubs.


Linen targets are also called bag targets since they closely resemble a bag. Both the abovementioned targets stop arrows through friction. However, linen targets stop the arrow through mass. After the arrow pierces the bag, it is caught by small pieces of linen which slightly compress. When the pressure is too much for the arrow to continue, it comes to a halt.

Linen targets are very durable, and, in most cases, it’s the exterior bag that degrades with time. While the bag will fall apart, the more arrows it stops, you can purchase a new bag and replace it as the linen inside is still intact.

These targets are highly preferred by both compound archers and crossbow shooters since they can easily stop arrows shot from bows with the heavy draw weight. The only downside with using linen targets is they don’t have pins to attach to your target face. Instead, you’ll have to use duct tape.

How can you increase your target’s lifespan?

As seen above, the material used to manufacture an archery target greatly influences how long it will last. Nonetheless, the way you use the target also influences its durability. Here are a few practical tips that will help you increase your target’s lifespan.

1. Don’t just shoot the center of the target.

If you think back to the number of targets you’ve worn down, you’ll notice most of the damage is at the center. This is somewhat understandable as you likely aim for bullseye at the center of the target. However, if you can recount your first few targets, you’ll realize they likely lasted longer. This is simply because your shots were less accurate and therefore spread evenly on the target.

A simple solution to increase your target’s durability is by aiming at different spots. You can place a pin at different points and then aim there, then move the point to cover more space on the target. This way, your shots will be evenly spread on the target, and so will the wear and tear.

2. Turn your target

If you’re anything like most archers, you likely have a shot pattern. For instance, many archers will aim slightly lower when using a recurve bow. When this happens, you’ll develop two hotspots on your target – one of the yellow and another just below it. With this shot pattern, you’ll use up one side of the target more.

You can easily remedy this by simply flipping the target 90 degrees. Even with your shot pattern, you’ll have a new area that is unused, hence spreading your shots. Moreover, some targets allow you to turn and use both sides. Turn the target regularly to even out the wear and tear.

3. Move the layers around.

If your target consists of various layers, you can increase its lifespan by moving the layers around between shooting sessions. Regardless of the arrangement of your target layers, moving them around will make them more durable.

4. Use different arrows

Broadhead arrows cause the most damage to your target. The cutting edges lead to a lot more damage, and in a relatively short time, the target will literally start falling apart. Moreover, some targets grab the breadheads tightly, which will only cause more harm when you retrieve the arrow.

Some target archers use fat arrows to score more points. However, these arrows cause larger holes which significantly reduce the target’s structural integrity. Generally, the larger your arrows are, the faster they’ll tear down your target. Ultimately, if you’ve been asking how long archery targets last, you now have an idea. It’s easy to say most will last till about 2000 arrows. However, as seen above, this can greatly change depending on the material and how you use the target. Hopefully, you now know which type of target to get and how to make it last even longer. Happy shooting!