A method for target classification in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images is proposed. The samples are first mapped into a high-dimensional feature space in which samples from the same class are assumed to span a linear subspace. Then, any new sample can be uniquely represented by the training samples within given constraint. The conventional methods suggest searching the sparest representations with ℓ1-norm (or ℓ0) minimization constraint. However, these methods are computationally expensive due to optimizing nondifferential objective function. To improve the performance while reducing the computational consumption, a simple yet effective classification scheme called kernel linear representation (KLR) is presented. Different from the previous works, KLR limits the feasible set of representations with a much weaker constraint, ℓ2-norm minimization. Since, KLR can be solved in closed form there is no need to perform the ℓ1-minimization, and hence the calculation burden has been lessened. Meanwhile, the classification accuracy has been improved due to the relaxation of the constraint. Extensive experiments on a real SAR dataset demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms the kernel sparse models as well as the previous works performed on SAR target recognition.