As one of the recognized forms of archery, target archery is popular worldwide. It is the basic form of archery, so many beginners often begin from here. It is very versatile in formats, including indoor targets placed around 20 yards with outdoor archery targets spread around at different distances.

If you are new to target archery, just getting into archery, and want to sign in for the Olympics or other forms, this guide will come in handy. There are numerous international-level events, including World Archery Championships, World Archery Indoor Championships, World Archery Youth Championships, and many more that feature target archery. Therefore, learning it can prove significant for future endeavors.

Here is everything you may want to know about target archery!

What is Target Archery?


man shooting archery target


The name says it all. It is the type of archery in which an archer has to hit an archery target placed at a distance. The size and distance of the target depend on the kind of bow and the format of the sport. Read our guide on How to Make The Perfect Archery Targets.

What are the Different Types of Bows used in Target Archery?

Two different types of bows are commonly used in the target archery. These are compound and recurve bows. However, in the archery Olympics, we only use the recurve bow. Here are some key-take ways for both of them for international archery competitions are:

Recurve Bow


Woman holding recurve bow


There are different types of archery targets for archers using different bows. When using a recurve, bow archers shoot over a distance of 70 meters, with the face of the target measuring 122 centimeters in diameter and a 10-ring measuring 12.2 centimeters in diameter (outdoor format).

Compound Bow


man shooting compound bow forest


When shooting with a compound bow, archers shoot over a distance of 50 meters, the face of the target measuring 80 centimeters in diameter and a 10-ring with a diameter of around 8 centimeters. The outer four rings of the target face are usually removed, leaving only the yellow, red and blue circles (outdoor format).

What are the Different Formats of the Target Archery?

Indoor Archery


indoor archery kid shooting target


During indoor events, the target is placed at 18 meters. The color of the targets is red, blue, black, white, and yellow. The scoring criteria are that the inner ring scores ten and the outer ring scores 1. For the compound archers, the inner circle is 2 centimeters in diameter, while it is 4 centimeters in diameter for recurve archers.

There are only red, blue, and yellow rings in the targets during international competitions, which are arranged in a vertical group of three. Ach archer has three arrow points and 2 minutes to shoot.

The different whistle signals during the turn indicate the various shooting phases. Two consecutive whistles signal the players to approach the shooting line. A single is the signal to begin. Lastly, three whistles signal archers to go down range and collect arrows. Read the Rules of Indoor Archery.

Outdoor Archery


girl shooting bow outdoor


It can get a little tricky for the outdoors based on various external hindrances. The troubles may include wind, rain, the scorching heat of the sun, and sunlight. In addition, archers have to shoot more arrows in this format, and the target is placed farther.

Recurve archers shoot at targets 70 meters away, while compound archers shoot at targets 50 meters away. The outdoor format is more common in international competitions. The standards in terms of scoring and target for recurve and compound athletes are mentioned in the section above.

How do you Score in Target Archery?


archery scoring


The color of your target rings where you hit determines your score. On the target face, you may see colors split into two values. The inner-circle (closest to the middle) scores higher. Beginning from the center, we have;

  • Gold – 10, 9
  • Red – 8, 7
  • Blue – 6, 5
  • Black – 4, 3
  • White – 2, 1

If you miss the target, it will be counted as missed, and you will be rewarded no score.

How Far is the Archery Target?


archery target far


The most common question every archer asks before getting into target archery is “how far the target is”. In target archery, the target is set at different distances based on the format and the type of bow.

Recurve and longbow archers shoot around up to 90 meters. Compound and barebow archers shoot at a smaller target placed at up to 50 meters.

Secondly, you can see how-to guides or archery targets to make your target.

The Bottom Line

Target archery is fun and can keep you in shape if you practice it as a hobby sport. But learning it may also be very helpful if you aim for the Olympics and international competitions. Enroll yourself in a nearby club or hire a personal trainer. The local archery store may be an ideal spot to get answers regarding equipment.