Shooting sports is a collective group of competitive and recreationalsporting activities involving proficiency tests of accuracy, precision and speed in using various types of ranged weapons, mainly referring to man-portableguns (firearms and airguns, in forms such as handguns,rifles and shotguns) and bows/crossbows.
Different disciplines of shooting sports can be categorized by equipment, shooting distances, targets, time limits and degrees of athleticism involved. Shooting sports may involve both team and individual competition, and team performance is usually assessed by summing the scores of the individual team members. Due to the noise of shooting and the high (and often lethal) impact energy of the projectiles, shooting sports are typically conducted at either designated permanent shooting ranges or temporary shooting fields in the area away from settlements.
The National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom (NRA) was founded in 1860 to raise the funds for an annual national rifle meeting "for the encouragement of Volunteer Rifle Corps and the promotion of Rifle-shooting throughout Great Britain".
For similar reasons, concerned over poor marksmanship during the American Civil War, veteran Union officers Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association of America in 1871 for the purpose of promoting and encouraging rifle shooting on a "scientific" basis. In 1872, with financial help from New York state, a site on Long Island, the Creed Farm, was purchased for the purpose of building a rifle range. Named Creedmoor, the range opened in 1872, and became the site of the first National Matches until New York politics forced the NRA to move the matches to Sea Girt, New Jersey. The popularity of the National Matches soon forced the event to be moved to its present, much larger location: Camp Perry. In 1903, the U.S. Congress created the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP), an advisory board to the Secretary of the Army, with a nearly identical charter to the NRA. The NBPRP (now known as the Civilian Marksmanship Program) also participates in the National Matches at Camp Perry.
In 1903, the NRA began to establish rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities, and military academies. By 1906, youth programs were in full swing with more than 200 boys competing in the National Matches. Today, more than one million youth participate in shooting sports events and affiliated programs through groups such as 4-H, the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion, U.S. Jaycees, NCAA, The USA High School Clay Target League, the Scholastic Clay Target Program, National Guard Bureau, ROTC, and JROTC.
French pistol champion and founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, participated in many of these early competitions. This fact certainly contributed to the inclusion of five shooting events in the 1896 Olympics. Over the years, the events have been changed a number of times in order to keep up with technology and social standards. the targets that formerly resembled humans or animals in their shape and size have are now a circular shape in order to avoid associating the sport with any form of violence. At the same time, some events have been dropped and new ones have been added. The 2004 Olympics featured three shooting disciplines (rifle, pistol, and shotgun) where athletes competed for 51 medals in 10 men's and 7 women's events—slightly fewer than the previous Olympic schedule.
In the Olympic Games, the shooting sport has always enjoyed the distinction of awarding the first medals of the Games. Internationally, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has oversight of all Olympic shooting events worldwide, while National Governing Bodies (NGBs) administer the sport within each country.
Having originally established shooting as an organized sport in the USA, the NRA was the obvious choice to administer the United States participation in the Olympic games. The NRA dutifully managed and financially supported international and conventional shooting sports (i.e., National Matches) for over 100 years until the formation of USA Shooting.
Gun shooting sports
Gun shooting sports are shot with either firearms or air guns, which can be either handguns, rifles and/or shotguns.
Handguns are handheld small arms designed to be shot off-hand without needing a shoulder stock. The two main subtypes of handguns are pistols and revolvers. They are much more convenient to carry in general, but usually have a shorter effective range and less accuracy compared to long guns such as rifles.
A rifle is a long gun with a rifledbarrel, and requires the use of both hands to hold and brace against the shoulder via a stock in order to shoot steadily. They generally have a longer range and greater accuracy than handguns, and are popular for hunting. In shooting sports, bolt action rifles are the most commonly used, and semi-automatic rifles are generally not allowed with the exception of a few small-caliber and practical shooting disciplines.
A shotgun is similar to a rifle but often smoothbore and larger in caliber, and typically fires either a shell containing many smaller scattering sub-projectiles called shots, or a single large projectile called a slug. In shooting sports, shotguns are more often over/under-type break action or semi-automatic shotguns, and the majority of shotgun events are included in clay pigeon shooting.
Bullseye shooting is a term used to describe several pistol and rifle shooting disciplines where the objective is to achieve as many points as possible by hitting a round shooting target as close to the middle as possible with slow precision fire. These disciplines place a large emphasis on precision and accuracy through sight picture, breath and trigger control. Fixed and relatively long time limits give the competitors time to concentrate for a perfect shot. An example of bullseye shooting is the ISSF pistol and rifle disciplines, but there are also many other national and international disciplines which can be classified at bullseye shooting. The shooting distances are typically given in round numbers, such as 10 15, 25, 50, 100, 200 or 300 meters depending on firearm type and discipline. Competitions are usually shot from permanent shooting ranges and with the same target arrangement and distance from match to match. Usually the competitors each have their own shooting target and shoot beside each other simultaneously. Because of the relatively simple match format, beginners are often recommended bullseye shooting in order to learn the fundamentals of marksmanship. Bullseye shooting is part of the Summer Olympic Games, and a considerable amount of training is needed to become proficient.
Bullseye shooting with handguns
- The six ISSF shooting events with pistols (four Olympic events plus two events not included in the Olympics program but are contested in World Cups and World Championships), its roots date back to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, consist of both precision slow-fire and rapid-fire target shooting from distances of 10, 25, and 50 meters. The pistols are unique in appearance compared to normal guns and each events has its own pistols designed specifically for the job. Shooters must use one hand only to shoot at small "bullseye" target downrange. In the UK (except for Northern Ireland), it is no longer possible to practice for some of the Olympic events following the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, legislation brought in after the Dunblane Massacre.
- The CISM Rapid Fire match is similar to the ISSF 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol event.
- NRA Precision Pistol, also called conventional pistol shooting, is a bullseye shooting where up to 3 handguns of differing calibers are used. Its history is almost as old as ISSF events. Shooters must fire the pistol one-handed at 6- and 8-inch bullseye targets placed 25 and 50 yards downrange respectively.
- Precision Pistol Competition (PPC), was originally a police shooting program started in 1960 by the National Rifle Association.
Bullseye shooting with rifles
- Four position small bore is a popular sport in the U.S.
- The six rifle ISSF shooting events (including three Olympic events) consist of long-time target shooting from distances of 10 or 50 or 300 metres (33 or 164 or 984 ft).
- Gallery rifle shooting is popular in the UK and was introduced as a substitute for many pistol shooting disciplines following the 1997 handgun ban.
- High Power Rifle (also known as "Across the Course" or 'traditional' High power) in the United States is a format that shoots 3-position (standing, kneeling, or sitting, and prone) at 200, 300, and 600 yards. The term "Across the Course" is used because the match format requires the competitors to shoot at different distances to complete the course of fire.
- Military Service Rifle shooting is a shooting discipline that involves the use of rifles that are used by military forces and law-enforcement agencies, both past and present use. Ex-military rifles, sniper rifles (both past and present) and civilian versions of current use service rifles are commonly used in the Military Service Rifle shooting competitions. It is popular in the United States and culminates each year with the National Matches being held at Camp Perry, Ohio. Some countries have outlawed civilian shooting at human-silhouette targets; silhouette targets are not used in the National Match Course of Fire. Bullseye targets are used. High Power Rifle competition often is held at the same events as Service Rifle, such as the U.S. national championships each year at Camp Perry. High Power competitors generally are civilians using whatever rifles they prefer within the rules, whereas Service Rifle entrants are limited to current or previous U.S. armed forces weapons. Although according to NRA rules only certain matches allow optical sights, normally those conducted at ranges over 600 yards.
- Project Appleseed is a rifle marksmanship program by The Revolutionary War Veterans Association that teaches both rifle marksmanship and oral history regarding the American Revolutionary War. It shoots 3-position (standing, sitting, and prone) at 25 meters at reduced scale targets, simulating shooting at 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards. The techniques taught easily apply to transitioning to High Power Rifle.
- Full bore and small bore rifle shooting in the United Kingdom.
- Three position airgun competitions, popular in the United States.
Field-Shooting or Terrain-Shooting  refer to a set of pistol and rifle shooting disciplines that usually are shot from temporary shooting ranges in the terrain at varying (and sometimes unknown) distances, rather than at permanent shooting ranges at fixed distances.
Field shooting with handguns
Field shooting with rifles
Nordic Rifle Field Shooting in Sweden during the winter in 2012.
Field target shooting in Germany
Rapid fire with handguns
- The Bianchi Cup, a fusion of IPSC (without the "run and gun" element) and bullseye shooting (except shot with two hands and going prone whenever rules allow it) where accuracy under tight time limits in four simulated scenarios, known as the "Event(s)", is the basis of this competition. Shooters must start with gun in the holster on every strings of fire and distances range from 10 to 50 yards.
- Fast draw, also known as quick draw, a form of pistol action shooting from North America, based on the romanticized art of the gunslingers in the American Old West, using traditional single action revolvers. But unlike Cowboy action shooting, Fast Draw is done with special blanks or wax bullets. While some competitions are strictly against the clock, with the fastest time winning, many are set up as head to head single or double elimination matches.
Rapid fire with rifles
Clay pigeon shooting are shotgun disciplines shot at flying clay pigeon targets.
Clay targets being placed in an automatic throwing machine.
Trap shooting at the 2015 World Police and Fire Games in USA.
Running target shooting refers to a number of disciplines involving a shooting target—sometimes called a boar, moose, or deer—that is made to move as if it is a running animal. Events of this type include:
Practical shooting, also known as action shooting or dynamic shooting, is a generic term applicable to shooting sports where speed is of equal importance as precision. Many of the disciplines involve movement, and when using handguns they are often drawn from a holster.
- The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) is the oldest and largest sanctioning body within practical shooting. IPSC is sometimes considered the "Formula One" of shooting sports, and is shot with handguns, rifles and shotguns. While the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) is the U.S. regional affiliate of IPSC, many of USPSA's rules differ slightly from those used internationally. IPSC was developed by former police and civilian marksmen and later used as a basis for modern military and police exercises. It is a variation where the shooter often moves during shooting, and hits scored and shooting time are equally important. Stage procedure is generally not dictated (freestyle) and the shooter is allowed to determine the order and manner in which he or she engages the targets.
- International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is an action shooting sport that uses semi-automatic handguns and revolvers with a strong emphasis on concealed shooting. Many aspects of stage engagement are dictated to competitors and penalties are given to competitors whom the safety officer determines attempted to gain a competitive advantage or engaged in a forbidden action with a "guilty mind" - that he knowingly failed to do right.
- 3-Gun (3G) or Multi-Gun (MG) are practical shooting events where each of the stages generally require the competitor to use and transition between a combination of rifles, handguns, and/ or shotguns or other types of firearms. 3-Gun has a lot in common with ordinary IPSC/ USPSA matches, having courses of fire where the shooter must move through different stages and engage targets in a variety of different positions.
- Steel Challenge is a speed shooting championship solely about shooting steel targets as fast as possible, and is governed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA). There are eight standardized courses of fire, and a special "stop plate" must be shot last to stop the timer.
- International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts (ICORE) is an international community which promotes action shooting competitions with revolvers. Founded in 1991, the sport has elements from the Bianchi Cup, IPSC, and the Steel Challenge.
- IPSC Action Air follows the same principle of IPSC, using airsoft instead of real firearms. The ranges, paper targets and poppers are scaled down to suit airsoft, and the sport enjoys popularity in countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan where civilian ownership of real firearms are either illegal or extremely difficult to obtain.
- Bowling pin shooting (primarily shot with handguns) has the competitors race against one another to knock standard bowling pins from a table in the shortest elapsed time.
- ActionAirgun is an indoor action shooting sport using semi-automatic airsoft pistols and courses of fire downloaded from a central hub. Shooters upload shooting times to a website to resolve competitions.
Long range shooting is a term used to describe shooting disciplines held at such distances that sight adjustment based from judging atmospherical conditions become critical.
- Fullbore target shooting is concerned with shooting at targets at ranges of 300–1200 yards. The sport is internationally governed by ICFRA, and is popular in the UK, USA, Germany and Commonwealth countries. Similar disciplines called bullseye and field shooting are popular in Scandinavia, although fired at shorter distances.
- Palma is an ICFRA fullbore competition format that dates from 1876, featuring long-range rifle shooting, out to 1,000 yards. The first Palma match was contested by teams from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Scotland and Ireland (with muzzle loaded rifles at that time). The matches continued to the late 1920s, and the trophy was eventually lost in Washington DC around the outbreak of WW2. The match was revived in the modern era in 1966 in Canada, and continues between teams from around the world. The PALMA bolt action rifles are 7.62mm NATO caliber (Winchester .308) and fire Match Grade ammunition using a 155 grain bullet using micrometer aperature (iron) sights. The last two International Long-range Target Rifle Matches were held in Australia in 2011 and the U.S. in 2015, were won by Great Britain.
- F-Class is another ICFRA fullbore competition format shot with Fullbore Target Rifles at ranges up to 1000 yards, the rifles being fitted with telescopic sights and the use of fore-end and butt rests being permitted. This is a fast-growing variant of Fullbore Target Rifle. The 'F' honours George Farquharson, the Canadian inventor of F-Class.
- Precision Rifle Competitions, a relatively new long range competition format which seeks to find a balance between speed and precision, often involving movement and shooting from unusual positions with a time limit, at both known and unknown distances.
- T-Class Shooting Sport Competitions. Practical sniping with precision rifle systems is a shooting sport, which gains tremendous popularity worldwide over a short period of time. It concentrates on shooting onto static or dynamic targets of various distances (known and unknown), from different positions, under artificially created, but realistic stressful circumstances. It proves to be extremely interesting both for implementation and observation, due to its demanding level of difficulty. The International T-Class Confederation (ITCC) is a non-profit organization, which is founded in 2014 for the purpose of promotion of the T-Class shooting sport internationally, with headquarters residing in Bulgaria. It offers a Set of Rules for designing and managing T-Class Competitions.
Benchrest shooting is concerned with shooting small groups with the rifleman sitting on a chair (bench) and the rifle supported from a table. Of all shooting disciplines, this is the most demanding equipment-wise. Depending on equipment class, international benchrest competitions are governed by either the World Benchrest Shooting Federation or World Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Federation.
An Anschütz 1903 rifle in caliber .22 LR used for benchrest shooting at 50 meters.
A BCM Europearms single shot benchrest rifle.
Metallic silhouette competitors shoot at animal-shaped steel silhouettes (chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams) that must be knocked down to score. Banks of 5 targets are placed at up to 500 meters, with distance and size of target determined by firearm class. Classes include Handguns, Small Bore Rifle (Hunter, Silhouette), High Power Rifle (Hunter, Silhouette), air rifle and black powder rifle. Handguns used in the Unlimited Categories are rifle-like in appearance; Thompson Contender, Remington XP-100, and other pistols are chambered in rifle calibers with the power, aerodynamic efficiency, and external ballistics required for precise shooting at 200 meters. There are silhouette categories appropriate for virtually all types of adjustable sight pistols and rifles, only excluding high-velocity armor-piercing rounds that would damage targets. Targets for open sighted guns are placed between 25 and 200 meters, and are designed to provide a usable size of the hit zone of about 1.5 milliradians (or 5 minutes of arc).
Chicken, pig, turkey, and ram. The different targets are placed at different distances, and in this image the targets are scaled to how they would appear to the shooter in angular sizes (mil or moa).
- Cowboy action shooting (CAS), almost identical to USPSA and IDPA stage design but with Western cowboy themed props, shot with long guns and revolvers of the same era. Mere act of shooting itself is not enough. Competitors must choose and go by a cowboy nickname or alias and are required to look the part by donning authentic cowboy and cowgirl garments.
- Cowboy mounted shooting, also called Western Mounted Shooting or simply Mounted Shooting, is a competitive equestrian sport involving the riding of a horse to negotiate a shooting pattern. Rule sets vary between shooting sport organizations, it can be based on the historical reenactment of historic shooting events held at Wild West Shows in the late 19th century. Modern events use blank ammunition instead of live rounds, certified to break a target balloon within twenty feet.
The shooter uses different firearms during a stage. In this stage revolvers were used at the close range blue targets and a lever action at the red targets furthest away.
Cowboy mounted shooting at the 2012 AQHA Mounted Shooting World Championship.
Muzzleloading are concerned with shooting replica (or antique) guns.
Competitor shooting at 1000 yards (914.4 meters) laying on back
Competitor from Team Norway shooting at 1000 yards (914.4 meters)
Replica Rigby rifle used at the 2015 MLAIC Muzzleloading Long Range Championship
A member of Team USA loading his blackpowder rifle
Paralympic shooting, also known as "shooting Para sport", is an adaptation of shooting sports for competitors with disabilities. Paralympic shooting first appeared in the Summer Paralympics at the 1976 Toronto Games. Para shooting is internationally governed by the International Paralympic Committee. To help establish fair competition, a shooting classification called Para-shooting classification in place for the Paralympic Games.
Para shooting with a rifle sitting in a wheelchair.
Competitions using factory and service firearms
Shooting competitions for factory and service firearms, usually called Service Rifle, Service Pistol, Production, Factory or Stock, describe a set of disciplines or equipment classes where the types of permitted firearms are subject to type approval
In 2011, the network placed a camera on the front of a boat called the MS Nordnorge and ran live footage for 134 hours of nothing but nature, quietly passing by. Half of the country tuned in.
The love for nature and skiing has given rise to some 1,000 ski clubs. Informal and low budget, many of them are driven by volunteers and overseen by parents. But they give the sport a vast and fertile grass-roots base.
At this Olympics, one of Norway’s breakout stars has been the 21-year-old Johannes Klaebo, who emerged from Byasen Idrettslag, a club in the city of Trondheim, and won three cross-country gold medals. Nobody had heard of him a year and a half ago.
“He could have been a great soccer player, he could have been great at any sport he chose,” said Aukland, the sports commentator for NRK. “He chose cross-country skiing because it’s the most popular.”
Which is why, at the highest levels, the sport has sponsors like banks, oil companies and insurers. These deep-pocketed benefactors help fund research and development as well as expensive equipment. This includes a two-story, 1,100-square-foot waxing truck with a state-of-the art ventilation system. It cost $1 million.
The combination of tradition, training and support is nearly impossible for other countries to match, which is why, here in Pyeongchang, when other countries won, Norwegian athletes occasionally sounded relieved to give up at least some of the spotlight. Marit Bjorgen became the winningest athlete in Winter Olympics history when she nabbed her 14th medal at the team sprint race. She took bronze. Gold went to the United States, and silver to Sweden.
In an interview after the race, Bjorgen seemed sincerely pleased with the outcome.
“Of course we were fighting for gold,” she said. “But it’s great to see the U.S. on the podium. It’s important for the sport.”Continue reading the main story