How to Make an Archery Target from an Old Suitcase

Are you an archer, crossbow hunter, or enthusiast of shooting arrows in some manner or another, but just can't swallow spending $25 or more on a solid target that will handle high velocity arrows? Well, here is some news for you! With a free or inexpensive old suitcase, you can make a durable target in mere minutes.


  1. 1
    Go to your local thrift store or a garage sale and find a suitcase that is firm, but not a hard-shell, which is in poor enough condition that no one really wants to buy it. Avoid cases with significant metal buttons or clasps which may damage arrows.
  2. 2
    Buy it! You should be able to get it for about $2 or possibly free if it has a problem like a broken handle or it looks bad.
  3. 3
    Ask if the store or garage sale person has clothing or bedding that is simply unsuitable for sale and will be heading for the dumpster. Otherwise, acquire a stack of junk clothing or bedding material. If you have to pay for this part, you need to look around you harder!
  4. 4
    Stuff the suitcase with said material as tightly as you possibly can and zip it shut.
  5. 5
    Cover at least one side of the suitcase in a single solid layer of heavy duty tape like Gorilla Tape or Duct Tape. This is the key to making sure of the stopping power of your target. Over time, you can patch excessively shot locations with additional tape.
  6. 6
    Find a can of spray paint, colored tape, stickers, or whatever else suits your fancy, and mark target points on the suitcase. Especially as you improve your shooting skills, you'll find it doesn't do to have a single target in the center because you'll start to damage arrows with following shots.
  7. 7
    Set up your target in a safe place where a wildly missed shot will not result in risk of injury to person or property.
  8. 8
    If you have packed your suitcase firmly and backed it up with a solid tape layer, even razor broadheads shouldn't pass through up to the arrow fletches. Grip the arrow shaft firmly (not the fletches!) and it should pull right back out.


  • Try setting up multiple suitcases at various yardages and elevations.
  • To practice gauging yardage quickly, have a partner go out when the range is clear and arbitrarily set up 3 cases at distances known to them and return to your side. They can tell you when to turn around and simultaneously call out a color or number of suitcase for you to range and fire upon as quickly as possible. Take turns honing your skills!
  • If practicing with a razor broadhead set for hunting, it may be wise to unscrew the heads after shooting a set if full penetration occurs rather than fight the target to back them all the way out. Use a broadhead wrench to protect your fingers!
  • Even if your suitcase is made of weatherproof material, it is better to keep it sheltered when not in use. UV damage alone will shorten the life of your handiwork, to say nothing of moisture and creature damage.


  • Location, location, location! Just like real estate, your target's location is everything when it comes to safety. Be safe, smart, and sensible in locating it.
  • Always check visually and audibly confirm that all persons are behind the firing line before shooting.
  • Know what is beyond your target and never fire uphill when you do not know without doubt what lies beyond the horizon line within range.

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Categories: Archery