Review: Hornady’s Affordable HIT Target Indicators

Hornady’s cost-effective HIT Target Indicators are a solid tool to confirm impacts at long range.

posted on May 14, 2024
Hornady HIT 1
At about $20 per pair, Hornady’s rechargeable target impact indicator lights are affordable.
Photo by Art Merrill

Shooting steel targets in long-range competition requires a “spotter” manning a spotting scope to call out impacts and, even then, some hits may not be visible. The same applies when shooting lightweight, low-velocity .22 Long Rifle bullets at steel 200, 300 and more yards downrange. Hornady’s new bright LED HIT Target Impact Indicator can eliminate doubt by visually confirming hits to 1,000 yards and beyond.

HIT Target LEDs
Sixteen bright LEDs inside each unit are naked-eye visible at 1,000 yards. (Photo courtesy Hornady)


Measuring only 1x1x1⅜ inches, Hornady’s HIT Target Impact Indicator is a cube about the size of a ping-pong ball. The larger dimension is the side facing the shooter and containing 16 bright red LEDs. Attached to the post of a target stand via an included elastic strap (or a zip tie), a tiny accelerometer inside the unit detects the vibration of the bullet striking the steel target and signals the LED to blink the dot-dash Morse code for the word, “Hit” (which, in case you’re curious, is •••• •• − ).

Hornady says the bright LED is naked-eye visible at 1,000 yards and, of course, even farther with a riflescope, spotting scope or binoculars. Rechargeable batteries are protected inside the “weather resistant” units, which sell two to a blister pack (and a five-pack is available at Optics Planet), and Hornady includes USB cables to recharge the batteries. Note that batteries can be recharged in the field from a portable battery pack such as that for charging smartphones or jumpstarting a vehicle. Fresh from the package, fully charging from a laptop for this evaluation took about an hour. The units turn on and off by depressing the flush-mounted on-off switches for five seconds.


HIT Target Impact Indicator kit
Hornady’s HIT Target Impact Indicator kits come with USB cables for recharging and elastic straps for target mounting. The lights are also mountable with zip ties.


For a real-world evaluation of Hornady’s HIT Target Impact Indicator, I mounted units to steel target stand poles 130 and 300 yards away during a recent club .22 Long Rifle tactical/long-range style match. It seems logical that, if the indicators work with the light strike of a .22 Long Rifle bullet, they will also respond to the hit of a heavier, faster centerfire bullet at longer range. Both indicators worked as advertised, and even at 300 yards the blinking red light was absolutely brilliant in the bright Arizona sunshine.

USB charge cable
Recharging can be accomplished in the field with any ordinary battery pack/jump starter.


To test Hornady’s 1,000-yard claim, I posted my wife with her cellphone and a HIT Target Impact Indicator in our back yard on the hill, drove about that distance across Lonesome Valley, and we flashed the units in each others’ direction. Again, in bright sunshine, the flash was visible without magnification, though in practice a spotting scope or rifle scope would be advisable at that distance. Battery charges lasted throughout the entire evaluation, and the units are now still operating days later on that single charge.

Beyond competition, Hornady’s HIT Target Impact Indicator is also useful for solo sighting-in and practice on steel. Flashing the dot-dash sequence of letters takes long enough—about three seconds—that if a shooter loses the target during centerfire recoil, the LEDs are likely still flashing when the shooter recovers the sight picture. Note that if a second bullet strike occurs during the flashing sequence, the unit does not continue flashing H-I-T to indicate it detected that second bullet strike, so rapid firing must await that three-second interval.


Indicator lights
Indicator lights show charge levels.


Hornady’s is not the only LED hit indicator on the market, but it is significantly smaller than many others, and those others attach to the steel target plate itself. The difference is important in that mounting the larger indicator directly on the steel target plate (off to one side) ups the chances of a bullet strike or splatter damaging or destroying the indicator light that hangs to one edge of the plate. Of course, there’s a chance in a wayward bullet or splatter striking and destroying the Hornady unit, too, but given the small size of the unit and mounting it on the target stand rather than the target, the hazard is more remote. And if it should happen, at $18 to $20 per pair, a replacement is not a bank-breaker—unless you’re a consistently unlucky, really bad shot.

Availability is a bit spotty already, as the indicators are enjoying instant popularity. To find a retailer that has them in stock, type “Hornady HIT Target Impact Indicator” in your browser bar, or visit


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