Sport Shooting: Main Types of Competition Shooting


Sport shooting is a recreational and competitive sporting activity that tests the precision, speed, and accuracy of the shooter on a shooting range. We now have the Olympic Games where there are many shooting events. But the sport goes back a long time. Many believe it goes back 500 years to the time when the first shooting club was established in Germany. Only men could become members of the club.

In the beginning, wheel-lock muskets and bows were shot from a standing position. Firearms having rifled barrels started to be used in the 16th century. With time, club competitions also started to be organized, which has evolved to the competition shooting we now have.

Shooting sports really started to become popular in the USA and other western countries only after 1859 when the National Rifle Association was set up. Its first meeting was held at Wimbledon in London. It is now estimated that there are thousands of sports shooters in the world.

Sport Shooting Variety

Sport shooting has many varieties, depending on the gun and also the competition’s format. Usually, in the competitions, three major types of guns can be used – shotguns, pistols, and rifles.

Rifle Shooting Sports

Rifles have long barrels. You will have to hold one with two hands. Shooters sports where they are used are gallery shooting, four position, high power, benchrest shooting, fullbore target shooting, biathlon, and field target among others. The shooting range will often differ.

  • In benchrest shooting, the shooter uses a rifle to shoot at a bench.
  • In fullbore target shooting, shooters will hit paper targets.
  • Service rifles are used in high power shooting competitions.
  • Popinjay is a sport that uses either rifles or bows. Here, targets are suspended from poles.
  • Silhouette shooting uses small gauge rifles like the .22. Small targets are kept at different distances. The angles and height also varies.

Benchrest is the most precise competition. The rifle here is kept on a rear and front rest. It sits on a table or a gun shooting stand, which gives it the name. A shooter will have to aim for a paper target. The rifles here are customized or modified to achieve shot stability. The shooter must focus on the bullet’s trajectory because wind may change its path. The competition can be stiff, which is why many shooters will use Olympic air rifle guns.

Shotgun Shooting Sports


Shotguns are double barreled shoulder weapons and a bit like rifles. Shotguns are single-shot-and-reload or pump-action.

There are usually three types of competition shotgun events. They all involve clay targets and require the best ammo supply. The difference is in how they are thrown.

  • In skeet shooting, targets are fired in doubles and singles in opposite directions from traps that are placed 40 meters apart. The skeet shoot gun will have to hit them perfectly.
  • In trap shooting, clay targets are fired in the same direction that shooter is facing. The trajectory, however, varies, which means, the targets will be more difficult for the shooter. Target shotguns need to be in perfect condition. The sports shooter must also have the ability to make instant decisions.
  • Sporting clay shooting can be total mayhem. The shooter will move in the course and try to hot different targets that are fired at different elevation, speed, distance, and angles. The target shooting has to be precise because they move fast. It is much like what a hunter faces in the wild.

Pistol Shooting Sports

Pistols are smaller in size and are used in a shorter range. The accuracy is also less. Pistols need to be used with one hand. Modern pentathlon is a popular shooting game with these guns.

  • Bulls eye shooting is a long-distance event where it is usually more than 50 yards. The competitions usually mix both rapid and slow firing. Sometimes, a timer is used to make it more difficult.  Participants may also have to use just one hand instead of a double-hand grip.
  • In metallic silhouette shooting, the targets are of silhouette metal.
  • In practical shooting, the shooting will have to be done over obstacles.

General and Other Shooting Sports

There are many sporting activities that involve shooting like cowboy mounted shooting, the performer must shoot from the top of a horse. They must use old western style revolvers. There is also target shooting where any type of gun can be used to aim at the target. There are also various skirmish events, such as laser tag, airsoft, and paintball. Some events even mix both shooting and archery.

Sports Involving Shooting

There are various sports that involve shooting like the modern pentathlon. This Olympic event combines freestyle swimming, fencing, show jumping, cross country running, and pistol shooting. The military version of pentathlon also includes grenade throwing. If you want a less intense sport, then there is biathlon for you, where there is rifle shooting and skiing.

There are many shooting schools for women and men that can train you on target shooting to make you an expert in the sport. Your precision shooting skills are sure to improve.


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