We are often asked, “what is the best paint to use on a steel target?” We won’t try to pull the wool over your eyes by selling a “special” steel target paint like our competitors. We’ll shoot it to you straight: Quite simply, cheap enamel paint in the color of your choice will work fine, especially on powder-coated AR550 & AR500 targets like ours.
Why are Rangetime’s steel targets powder-coated?
You will notice our targets are powder-coated in white. This was an intentional choice for the following reasons:
- Powder-coating adds longevity to your targets and prevents the metal from rusting.
- White powder-coating provides a great base color and saves you the hassle of applying your own solid base coat, which could take an entire can of paint and a bunch of time you could be using on the range.
- If you prefer not to paint your targets, they are ready to shoot right out of the box as white targets are visible for most range setups.
- Bullet strikes are easy to see on a white base coat and easy to touch up after use.
What paint works best?
As I said, cheap enamel paint will work just fine on a powder-coated target. There is no need to invest in overpriced steel target paint. If you are intent on getting the best coverage possible, consider cans that have higher solids content. Spray cans with more solids are less diluted and provide heavier coverage. As a bonus, they tend to dry faster, too, which may be important to you if you plan to reapply coverage to your targets throughout your range time.
Many shooters swear by Rustoleum striping or marking paints. Ultimately, it comes down to your preferences for cost, color, ease of application and drying time. Find a can that works for you and your range, and don’t be afraid to start with the cheaper options.