Skeletarget Review – Innovative Shooting Training Targets

  Skeletarget Review – Innovative Shooting Training Targets Most of the shooting I see at the range is what I would call “plinking”, or worse yet, “expensive noise”. Simply put, […]
skeletarget used at Bear Creek Arsenal test

skeletarget used at Bear Creek Arsenal test


Skeletarget Review – Innovative Shooting Training Targets

Most of the shooting I see at the range is what I would call “plinking”, or worse yet, “expensive noise”. Simply put, the guns are being used in a purely recreational manner with no tie to any sort of realistic training for defensive use of the weapon. Ok, I guess I don’t really have a problem with safe recreational shooting for fun. However, anyone who might some day need to use their gun defensively should train so they are ready and able to use is appropriately.

“Practice makes perfect” is a lie

My high school wrestling coach was rumored to have been a Navy Frogman, predecessor to today’s Navy Seals. He gave up Professor gig at NC State University to teach high school biology and, more importantly, coach the wrestling team. He made serious sacrifices in his life to teach us how to win in one on one combat on the wrestling mat and he expected a very high level of commitment from his wrestlers. He once asked the team “why do we practice so much?”, to which someone answered “Practice makes perfect!” I thought Dr. Falter’s head was going to explode. He sharply snapped back “No it doesn’t! PERFECT practice makes perfect!”

When it comes to defensive use of a gun “plinking” is unlikely to have instilled the right attitude, muscle memory or tactics. For this we need Perfect Practice… or at least more perfect than randomly shooting at cans.

skeletargets combat ready challenge jj shootingTargets designed as integral parts of a practical training routine

Sure, Skeletargets (link) look cool. For some, that might be enough to warrant ordering a pack.
However, the real genius of the Skeletarget is the “The Combat Ready Challenge – Realistic pistol drills & realistic rifle drills on realistic targets.”

Yeah. They said “realistic” three times. It should be obvious that the goal is to help the shooter become better prepared for real world situations where they may have to employ their pistol or rifle in an offensive or defensive manner. Skeletarget is offered by Extended Gun, and this is how they describe the Combat Ready Challenge:

“The Combat Ready Challenge will test your abilities on both the rifle and the pistol with our custom realistic drills. The Challenge is not easy or for the faint of heart. How will you rate?

  • Operator
  • Gunman
  • Average Joe”

Anatomy of a better - skeletargets

How would anyone go about making such a thing? Well the folks at extended gun have done it. They took the standard silhouette target and made a graphic imprint of all the vitals as they are found in the human body. They created a color coded arrangement that enhances the perception of how effective your shots would be at incapacitating the opponent.

  • Red represents areas where one shot should incapacitate a threat
  • Blue are area where 2 to 3 shots are likely needed
  • Green are areas where 4 or more shots would likely be required to stop the threat

While there is a clear reason for each of the colors, it might still be described as a colorful version of a torso x-ray.

Now I’ll hand the keyboard to Josejuan, who ran through the Combat Ready Challenge drills (link) with me for his perspective. -Jeff

As Jeff described above, my analysis is very related. It is as follows :

50 pack of Skeletargets provided for review

50 pack of Skeletargets provided for review

Perform like you practice… Practice to perform… If you ever wonder how effective your shooting might be , then Skeletargets provide more realistic feedback on the effectiveness of your bullet placement. In fact the Skeletargets are only a portion of the offering by the company Extended Gun. They also offer the popular R.A.T.S (Rapid Application Tourniquet System) tourniquet (link) (you have one in your shooting gear, right?!)

Many shooting enthusiasts struggle with how to practice and determine how effective ones shooting is. Skeletargets expose the insides of the body or vitals as one would see in an x-ray or CTscan. The targets are colored to include zones which equate to the likeliness of the shots to be effective at stopping a target. The best part of Skeletargets is the availability of Combat Ready Challenge drills for proven practices.

So, what about these Combat Ready Challenge drills?

The drills vary in difficulty and test your skills with the pistol, rifle, or both pistol and rifle. Check out the Combat Ready Challenge drills online and I bet you will get a feeling for how they work. However, for us, it wasn’t until we printed the drills and actually ran one for real that we really wrapped our heads around how effective the Combat Ready Challenge drills could be.


Josejuan with his Skeletarget

skeletargets combat ready challenge jj runningThe first drill we ran as part of the evaluation was a modified version of The Lone Wolf (video link… YES! They have videos!), which included two 15 yard sprints . Yes, running!!! This made our heart rate jump and effected our fine motor skills to mimic a stressful situation. After running we had to unholster the weapon (we chose to pick the gun from the table since we brought the wrong holsters) and engage two targets while advancing. To make it more difficult the rounds had to alternate between the two targets. The directions were to start from the 15 yard line on the shot timer and put at least  three shots in each Skeletarget within the allotted 4.5 seconds… while advancing. Then you do it all again… run two more 15 yard sprints, shoot at least 3 shots at each target while advancing and in 4.5 sec or less.  After each round we wrote down the results. We made a small competition from it and regardless of who won, we realized how complete of a system this is. Due to the “stress” induction, having to calm your breathing and focus after the run, engaging the targets and accurately shoot them is not an easy task.
*Editor’s note: Josejuan was being gracious. He didn’t just beat me, he embarrassed me in the process. 🙂 And we ran out of daylight, so that is the only drill we ran. But trust me, we will do ALL of the drills soon!

To get the full list of drills go to Combat Ready Challenge drills and enter your information in order to access a .pdf file with all the drills and a coupon code.
Oh… and we have a bit of video of Jeff and Josejuan running the drills. We will run a few more drills, then post some video.

In conclusion:

Having the skeletargets is a great way of realizing how that the difference between immediately incapacitating an attacker and “not even close” can be as little as a couple of inches in different shot placement. Combining the Skeletargets with the Combat Ready Challenge drills provides a very compelling system to increase proficiency with the weapon(s) being used. It has been a great eye-opening experience to utilize the Skeletargets and the available drills. I highly recommend it.


Gear Score
Skeletargets are a great product that is fairly priced and includes access to fun and challenging drills that will make you better.

Defender Ammunition CompanyThanks

Without the support of our ammo suppliers we would not be able to do nearly the amount of gun reviews that we today.

Big thanks go to our Ammo Sponsor Defender Ammunition Company for supplying ammo for our tests and reviews on an ongoing basis. For this review we shot more than a few magazines of Defender’s 185 gr .40 S&W rounds.

More images of shooting Skeletargets and the Combat Ready Challenge:

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.