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  • What is the best paint for AR500 steel targets?

    February 24, 2018

    Rust-Oleum Inverted Striping paint

    How’s that for refreshing? An immediate answer to your question without 10 pages of click bait garbage! If you’d care to know the why of it… read on.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t tried every paint out there so it’s possible that there is something better. I have however tried quite a few in the search for the holy grail of steel target paint and thanks to a suggestion from a friend, I found Rust-Oleum inverted striping paint. Take note that I am not referring to the inverted marking paint which is the paint used to mark utilities and the like on grass and doesn’t work nearly as well for steel targets.

    What makes it work so well for steel targets?

    The reason the inverted striping paint works so well is for a few reasons. 

    1. It has a high solids content meaning that more of what’s in the can is actual pigment instead of solvents to deliver it. Instead of having to cover the target multiple times to get them nice and white, you only need to go over it once.
    2. Instead of the laser focused stream of paint that quickly disperses to nothing from a regular can of paint, the inverted striping paint sprays out in a flat fan 3”-4” wide (depending on how close you are) which is ideal for painting the broad flat surfaces of your steel target.
    3. It dries fast… really fast. This may not seem like a big deal because it’s not like you’re going for a great finish, you’re just going to shoot it right away anyhow, right? WRONG. Having a paint that dries fast on your target means that you won’t come back up in 10 minutes to re-position or re-paint your targets only to realize they’re still wet and now you’ve got white sticky paint all over your hands, and now your gun, and now your pants! Thanks to the high solids to solvent ratio, the inverted striping paint dries so quickly that the next time you paint targets, they’ll already be nice and dry! This also means that if your targets end up on the ground you won’t pick them up to find they’ve got 5 lbs of dirt and grass stuck to them and requiring more paint.

    steel target paint nozzle

    Like anything, it’s not perfect. The nozzle is not meant to be depressed by hand as the cans are meant to be put into a device that rolls on the ground to apply parking lot stripes. I personally don’t have a problem with it and instances of getting paint all over my fingers are no higher than when using a regular can of spray paint (seriously, those nozzles are garbage!). Another downfall is that it’s a little more expensive. At my local Menards they are $5 but I believe the cost is offset by the fact that more solids in the paint = more coverage. Although I do still have issues with the nozzles clogging, it’s much less frequent than the junk nozzles they put on cheap cans of spray paint. I can’t even begin to count how many cans of paint I’ve had stop working when still half full because I can’t get them to unclog.

    To sum up this foray into the wonderful world of steel target painting…The paint I recommend is Rust-Oleum Inverted Striping Paint


    • High solids content means better coverage in a shorter time
    • Wide fan spray pattern is ideal for painting the broad flat surfaces on steel targets
    • It’s extremely fast drying


    • The nozzle isn’t as ergonomic to depress by hand
    • A fair bit more expensive (though I think it more than makes up for it)

    Check out or premium AR500 steel targets at

    or the AR500 coyote target featured in the video here.