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This paper presents a new approach of improving automatic target recognition (ATR) performance by tuning adaptively the Gabor filter. The Gabor filter adopts the network structure of two layers, and its input layer constitutes the adaptive nonlinear feature extraction part, whereas the weights between output layer and input layer constitute the linear classifier. From the statistic property of high-resolution range profile (HRRP), its extracted nonstationarity degree of features is tracked to extract the discriminative features of Gabor atoms. Two experimental examples show that the Gabor filter approach with simple structure has higher recognition rate in radar target recognition from HRRP as compared with several existing methods.