Neater than kitten toes

Like most gunnies, when it comes to paper targets I have been using the old standbys of staples and tape — usually staples — to hold the targets to the cardboard or plywood backing.

Unfortunately, I do all of my shooting outdoors, and if the least little breeze gets between the paper target and the backing, it tears the paper off of a staple or two and you wind up with half of your target flapping merrily over the other half.

Plus, the plywood I usually use for backing gets shot to hell (pun intended) and there towards the end of the useful life of the backing — cheap bugger that I am — it can be a wee bit difficult to find enough intact backing to put a staple through.

Masking tape has all of the faults of staples, and a few of its own.

Namely, it doesn’t stick real well in dusty conditions — I’m in North Texas. We know all about dusty conditions.

I was giving the department Rangemaster a bit of a helping paw at Qualification, when he tossed me a can of 3M #77 Spray-On Adhesive and a stack of fresh targets.

Folks, this stuff is Freyja’s own gift to gunny folk.

Three or four quick spritzes across the front of the used target — still attached to the backing — and you slap the new target up over the old one, smooth it, and move on out.

No muss, no fuss, and no blowing targets.


The 3M stuff is a bit costly at ten dollars or so a can, but you can find it on special at various hardware stores, and Duro makes something just as good for somewhat less.

Is it worth it? Oh, hell, yes. There’s two cans of it in my range bag as we speak.


Memorial Day

26 thoughts on “Neater than kitten toes”

  1. I used that stuff to attach lables in a shipping receiving job I had years ago…it works very well indeed.

  2. How’s it do for wet. Up in the PNW wet is the equivalent of your dusty. I end up shooting the rain for 6 months out of the year. Something other than tape would be nice.

  3. How’s it do for wet.It becomes a gelatinous, gooey, sticky mess. That dries like rubber cement but won’t ball up like rubber cement does.

    Funny LawDog should suggest this. We’ve a friend visiting from a state where it’s not as easy to shoot in your backyard, and we’ve aerated the backboard nicely. This will help. Thanks!

  4. I use large binder clips to hold the cardboard and the target. Beats the heck out of staples in windy conditions.

  5. We use garden stakes and cardboard as backers. Cheap as hell, works better than plywood, easier to transport, and easier to set up.

  6. If you can find that “plastic cardboard” stuff, it’s great for target backers. I don’t know the correct terminology for it, but it’s plastic, and corrugated similar to cardboard. Sometimes you see temporary signs made of the stuff, you know the stick-in-the-ground kinda signs. Last several times longer than cardboard, and bullet holes self-seal to a small degree. And very weather resistant, so if you have your own range, you can leave this material up without worry about rain disentegrating it.

  7. Nice tip! Use that stuff at sea all the time, didn’t think about using it at the range… talk about a Doh! moment…

  8. How many years ago did ranges stop using flour paste?
    Used to be just about the standard way to stick paper to backing.

  9. That is quite possibly the greatest suggestion I’ve ever heard…

    (makes mental note to add to Home Despot list…)

  10. “The street finds its own uses for things.”
    — William Gibson

    [Verification word: “burnons”. Seems appropriate, but I can’t quite figure out why or how.]

  11. A much cheaper, but only slightly less user-friendly alternative, is the common “glue-stick” available at any office-supply store for under $2.00 – I got much use out of one last year, when I was sharpening my trigger control with 2 boxes of .22LR daily at my local indoor range. Rather than pay for the range’s printed paper bull’s-eye targets, I simply pasted cheap paper plates or 3X5″ index cards onto a spare slab of corrugated cardboard with said glue-stick and ran ’em out to 60-75 feet on the pulley.

    If you’re dealing with full-size silhouettes or long-range bull’s-eye targets, the spray adhesive would be much easier and more secure, but for typical “sight-in” targets no bigger than, say, a “legal-pad” sized piece of paper, the glue-stick gets the job done cheap…

  12. I’m partial to the signs politicians litter the landscape with every couple of years. Just use the ones from the critter I did not support at first, by the time they run out, the one I supported will have pissed me off. By the time they are used up the cycle starts again.
    The corrugated plastic hold staples better than cardboard also.

  13. I’ve been scrounging the little lawn signs to use as target backing. The ones with the little metal holder that you jam in the ground. I usually find several after a local election and they find their way home in my pickup truck.

    Apropos of nothing whatsoever, the little signs from Coldwell Banker seem to be particularly durable.

  14. I’d be careful with spray-mount. The print shop I work in has banned it because it has a tendency to migrate. It gets in EVERYTHING and then dirt sticks to IT. I can picture horror stories with that stuff getting to the action of the weapons you’re shooting. Glue sticks strike me as a much safer alternative.

    I believe the plastic-cardboard stuff is called gator board. Seems as though it ought to work fine until it reaches a certain point of degradation (from hits), at which point it would just fall apart. Nothing different about that.


  15. Nuttin’ worse than a cease-fire when you’re in the middle of shooting high-speed because the wind is stronger than staples.

    Duly noted. Spray-on adhesive when in the field next time!

  16. Every one of you has it all and completey wrong!To hell with all the glue, staples and such.

    Just round up some hippies or liberal politicians (but, am I redundant?) to use as target holders.

    Sheesh, do I have to ‘splain everything!?/snarkasm

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  17. Here in Thailand that plastic corrugated board is referred to as “Future Board”.

  18. Check your local NAPA store. They carry a variety of adhesives that will work, including the 3m versions.

  19. While I was a DA’s Investigator, I used a LOT of cans of the 3-M spray in preparing court exhibits: Photos and charts onto foam-core board.

    For some reason, it never occurred to me to take some of it to the range.

    And, in a showing of how great minds tend to . . . ., yesterday, Matt and I went to a monthly match put on by Denton PD – – They were using both the 3-M and some other band. Either they read your post immediately it was put up, or it’s an example of parallel evolution 😉 One of the ROs said, “Oh, we’ve been using it for a while now.” Really, I hadn’t taken notice during the April match.


  20. I use poly foam for my target backing, bullets just pass thru, and i stick targets on with roofing nails, which press in like big thumbtacks


  21. You can also use the 3m adhesive on the back of a sheet of wet or dry sand paper, slap it on a piece of window glass and have an instant sharpening stone… Especialy useful for big flat blades such as large chisels, hand plane blades- Try finishing at 3000 grit. Scary sharpness.

  22. Just so you know, when you apply your fantastic spray adhesive. remember to do it in a WELL ventilated area. a friend of mine is a graphic designer and thru years of using this stuff indoors wound up with all the little bags that make your lungs work, full of glue.
    the stuff is a wicked carcinogen.
    yes, it is good stuff but don't repeat my mates mistake.

  23. too much good info, I just got a 3000 grit sheet of sandpaper. I'll have a Swiss Bayonet that I can shave with…..

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