Dry Fire Laser Target




Introduction: Dry Fire Laser Target

About: I do a well many things, but not many things well.

This project will walk you through building a target that can be used in conjunction with a dry fire laser which is either bought, or made from another instructable. I will not go into putting the project into a case because there are many different ways to go about this. I'll give a couple of examples at the end.


For this project, you will need:

Arduino Nano (or clone)

Photo Resistor

LED ** I would suggest not using red, because of the red laser from the gun**

3v Buzzer


"bullseye diffuser" I used a white cap from a oat milk container

Optional items:

3xAA Battery Holder

on/off switch


soldering iron and solder

wire cutters

hot glue gun (recomended)

container of project

computer and cable to program the Arduino

Step 1: Wire the Arduino

Note ***I am not aware of what photoresistor I used. Most say to use a 10k Ohm pull-down resistor with it and I have only 3k Ohm listed. It worked on multiple builds, so I will stick with it. Next time, I'll try it with a 10K Ohm resistor.**

The picture shows the wiring that I used and it is also reflected in the code which you will use later on.

The (passive) Buzzer has the '+' side connected to 'D11" on the Arduino (it may just be marked as '11'

The LED has the resistor connected to the '+' side, which is the longer pin on the LED

With the Photo resistor, direction does not matter.

** Remember to make your connections with wire that will be the right length for the enclosure that you plan on using.

**Don't plan on placing the LED too close to the Photo resistor, otherwise it get stuck in a loop and continually go on/off.

If you want the target to be battery operated,and with an on/off switch, connect the battery pack's ground to the Arduino ground and the positive to the switch and from there to the 'VIN'

Step 2: Program the Arduino

Download the Arduino IDE


and follow the install instructions.

Plug the Arduino into you computer and find out which COM port it is on.

On the "Tool" menu on the IDE, choose:

Board: Arduino Nano (or match the board you are using)

And Port: to the port that your Arduino is found.

Download and open the file "Laser Target"

You can now upload the program to your Arduino by pressing the "right arrow button"


read the code first.

You can change the location of your buzzer, LED, and photo resistor pins, so if you accidentally soldered your LED to A0 instead of A1, you can just change the program and not have to re-solder.

After uploading, if you decide that you don't like the tone or length of the buzzer, you can change that as noted in the file.

Step 3: Put It Together

(missing buzzer in picture)

You will need something the diffuse the light for the photo resistor. If you don't, you will have to hit that resistor straight on, which is a pretty small target.

I used a cap from a oat milk container. I've only used white lids, but you could try other colours. I bent the wire on the photo resistor to face the center of the cap and hot glued it in place. Try and keep it towards the back of the cap and not right up against the lid.

You can now either find a box to put your target in, poke a hole through a piece of cardboard and place the bullseye inside (and another hole for the LED)

Step 4: Play and Improvement Ideas


** On the video, the cardboard target does not have a buzzer connected.

Improvements that could be made:

there is plenty of space on the Arduino to add another 1 or 2 bullseyes,

daisy-chain multiple targets together to work off of one power source.

add a LCD 'hit count"

add a potentiometer between the buzzer (+ side) and the arduino for volume control

If you find an error in my Instructable, or something needs to be clarified, please let me know.

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2 People Made This Project!


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Question 8 months ago on Introduction

Firstly this is so cool!, I'm a real novice when it comes to this, What o was hoping to do was to replace or even better add a light so that you can see you hit the target. I'm planning to mount this into a half size IPSC standard target (centered). Also could I ask you about vibration switches....linked to a laser (pointer), I'm keen to make a DIY version of laser ammo spyder...be interested in your thoughts

Screen Shot 2021-10-09 at 11.14.30 am.png

9 months ago

Skree, thank you for making this. If battery powered, can one use batteries with a smaller form factor or do arduinos require 3 AAs?


Question 1 year ago

Laser targets are FAR too expensive. I've been wanting some for quite a while, and I can afford this! I'll be making several. But I do have a question.

i would like to clarify your bill of materials. One is actually a question, the other is a nit-picky comment about terminology.

The computer drawn schematic refers to the photoresistor as A1060_09 which is 7.5kΩ when lit and 120kΩ; when dark. On the other hand, the hand drawn schematic says that it's an ~3K ohm resistor. From that, I'm assuming it doesn't really matter much.

I'm hoping that the extremely common GL5537 photoresistor which is 20 to 50 kΩ when lit and 2 or 3 MΩ when dark will work since basically everyone (including adafruit) sells it for use with Arduino. If we really need the lower resistance, the GL5516 is 5 to 10 kΩ when lit, 500 kΩ when dark, or the GL5528 which is 10-20 kΩ lit and 1 kΩ dark. All of those are available for a couple of dollars for 20 or for about $1 each in singles...

Also, you list R2 - the pull-down resistor for the photoresistor as 3 kΩ. In their info sheet for attaching photoresistors to Arduino, adafruit suggests a 10K pull down. Is the lower value because you're using a lower-resistance photocell, or just what you had?

Adafruit's info sheet: https://www.mouser.com/datasheet/2/737/photocells-...

The schematic calls out an F/CM12P which is an active buzzer. When calling out parts in a BoM it's a good idea to specify active or passive for generic small piezo buzzers.


Answer 9 months ago

rboatright, were you able to source the materials needed? If so, may I take advantage of your experience by troubling you for links to the components you went with? Thank you!


Answer 1 year ago

I can't find my invoices, so I'm not sure on the resistor, but I believe that you are correct with the 10K Ohm value. 3k works, I'll try 10 K next time. I added a note on this in the directions. I also added that I used a 3v passive buzzer. (the code had a tone value that you can change)
Thank you for your input.


Answer 1 year ago

The reason is that I had those parts and more importantly, I am not the greatest with electronics. Some of the build was pieced together by a few different projects I saw around. I put it together and it worked.
So the "greyness" in the instructable comes down to my ignorance....but I'm trying.
I'll edit that image to remove the "F/CM12p" and "A1060_09" I'll have to look up what I used. I'll add it when I find it


10 months ago on Introduction

Could you make me 5 of these and im happy to pay you for your time and materails. thank you don


Question 1 year ago

You shoot with what? You say with a 'Laser Gun' hmm... I don't own such a gun.Can I buy such a gun and does it require some sort of licence to carry it, I mean, are they lethal?


Answer 1 year ago

You have several choices about what to shoot it with:

You can buy laser dry fire cartridges that replace the normal "BANG" cartridge in any gun with a catridge that goes "BLINK" when it's hit by the firing pin. They're available in almost every caliber and allow you to practice with your normal gun in the living room, and without the cost of ammo.

There are simulated guns that are the same size and weight and trigger pull as "normal" guns but which ONLY shoot brief laser pulses. The most common are made by LaserLyte. But they're expensive -- generally around $150 each. Still, since currently common pistol ammunition is costing $0.60 to $0.75 per shot it doesn't take many trigger puils to pay for the device.

The advantage of the dedicated training gun is complex to explain to a non-shooter. With a laser cartridge in your normal gun, after pulling the trigger you have to grab the gun and cycle it by hand because there was no recoil that a normal bullet gives. Shooters are told over and over to "practice as you will live." but when shooting real bullets you don't manually cycle the gun each time. It's not a good habit. The dedicated training guns don't have that problem. Every time you pull the trigger it resets itself just like your real gun does. Of course there's no free lunch. The training guns never run out of ammo. Real guns do.

You can, of course use toy "laser tag" guns as well but you have to make certain that use visible light lasers. Most are infrared. For shooters the toy guns are bad because they don't provide real sight pictures, weight and trigger pull so they're useless for trying to practice for "real" shooting.


Answer 1 year ago

Lethal? For the one I use, yes. I use a little laser bullet that goes in my regular 'pew-pew' . You could use a laser-tag type gun, but I made this primarily as a cheap way to practice without the cost of ammo . There is also another instructable about making a laser gun from a toy.
Here's one, but I know I saw another floating around:


Tip 1 year ago

You can buy all the components Stateside for around $20 USD, or from China for about $5, but delivery might take a couple of months.