Shooting sports is a group of competitive and recreational sporting activities involving proficiency tests of accuracy, precision and speed in shooting — the art of using ranged weapons, mainly small arms (firearms and airguns, in forms such as handguns,[1] rifles[2] and shotguns[3]) and bows/crossbows.[4][5]

Shooting sports
From the final shoot-off at the men's skeet competition during the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Highest governing bodySeveral organizations, see list
First playedSwitzerland in the second half of the 15th century[citation needed]
Team membersYes or no, depending on competition
Mixed-sexYes or no, depending on discipline
TypeIndoor or outdoor
VenueShooting range
World ChampionshipsYes

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[6] of shooting and the high (and often lethal) impact energy of the projectiles, shooting sports are typically conducted at either designated permanent shooting ranges[7] or temporary shooting fields in the area away from settlements.



Great Britain


The National Rifle Association (NRA) was founded in 1859 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".[8]

United States


Target shooting was a favorite sport in colonial America, with the New England Puritans regularly testing their shooting skills for recreation and at militia training days. The Scotch Irish settlers on the frontier favored shooting matches sponsored by Tavern keepers. Turkey shoots were popular after harvest time. Contestants would pay an entry fee, and everyone who killed a tethered turkey at 110 yards for muskets or 165 yards for rifles could keep the bird. German gunsmiths in Pennsylvania began to manufacture Flintlock rifles in the 1720s, which became especially popular among hunters because of its long-range accuracy. It could be accurate to 200 yards. Along about 1820, percussion caps, and the locks that ignited them, became available, and nearly all new firearms began to be constructed using this ignition system. Many flintlock firearms were also subsequently converted to the percussion system, which was a relatively simple procedure that could be accomplished by local gunsmiths. Although percussion ignition did not add to the accuracy of the firearm, the time between when the firearm firing mechanism (or "lock") started the sequence that lead to the ignition of the propellant in the barrel, was shortened drastically. This made getting smaller shot groups on the target more attainable as the possibility of the firearm moving off the aiming point after the shooter pressed the trigger was lessened. This shortened ignition time, which is referred to as "lock time" was (and still is) a very important factor in target shooting. The closed design of the percussion system materially improved reliability of the firearm, especially in rainy or damp conditions.[relevant?] The faster "lock time" also made hitting fast-moving aerial targets with a cloud of tiny lead pellets ("shot") fired from a smooth-bore firearm a real possibility. Practicing for game hunting by shooting at artificial aerial targets launched from spring-powered launching devices ("traps") became highly popular and led to the development of the modern Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays shooting sports.

In 1831 a sportsman club in Cincinnati Ohio held a competitive shoot at pigeons and quail released from ground traps. German ethnic communities set up athletic clubs and shooting clubs, especially in the Midwestern states In the 1850–1917. period[9] Breach loading shotguns introduced in the 1860s, and the knowledge of rifles by Civil War soldiers, made trap shooting popular. However, there was human humanitarian opposition to killing live birds—and the passenger pigeon was dying out—so glass or clay targets were used instead.[10][11]

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.[12] 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 NRAoA 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 NRAoA. The NBPRP (now known as the Civilian Marksmanship Program) also participates in the National Matches at Camp Perry.[13][14][15]

Girls' rifle team at Central High, Washington, DC, November 1922

In 1903, the NRA of America 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.[16]

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.

Competition disciplines


Shooting at the Summer Olympics (at last edition Tokyo 2020) includes fifteen medal events, covering seven disciplines. Medal events are evenly distributed between rifle, pistol and shotgun with five events each. Three Mixed Pairs events were introduced to ensure gender equity between men's and women's events. They replaced 50M Prone Rifle, 50M Free Pistol and Double Trap which were all men-only events.[17]

  • 50 meter rifle three positions (individual - men and women)
  • 10 meter air rifle (individual - men and women)
  • 10 meter air rifle (mixed pairs)
  • 25 meter rapid fire pistol (individual - men)
  • 25 meter sport pistol (individual - women)
  • 10 meter air pistol (individual - men and women)
  • 10 meter air pistol (mixed pairs)
  • Trap (men and women)
  • Skeet (individual - men and women)
  • Skeet (mixed pairs)

Gun shooting sports

High-speed photography of the smoke of burnt gunpowder and a .38 Special bullet fired out of a Smith & Wesson Model 686 revolver.

Gun shooting sports are shot with either firearms or air guns, which can be handguns, rifles 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. In shooting sports, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols are the most commonly used.

A rifle is a long gun with a rifled barrel, 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 or semi-automatic rifles are the most commonly used.

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

A round shooting target with several hits in the center, which is called "bullseye".

Bullseye shooting is a category of 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.[citation needed] 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 as bullseye shooting. The shooting distances are typically given in round numbers, such as 10, 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.[citation needed] Bullseye shooting is part of the Summer Olympic Games, and a considerable amount of training is needed to become proficient.

Bullseye shooting with handguns

  • There are six ISSF shooting events with pistols. These include three Olympic events, plus three events not included in the Olympic program but contested at World Championships. Their roots date back to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, consisting of both precision slow-fire and rapid-fire target shooting from distances of 10, 25, and 50 meters. The specialised pistols offer anatomic grips, with competitors shooting one-handed. 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 meter rapid fire pistol event.
  • NRA Precision Pistol is a bullseye shooting event 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 of America.[18]

Bullseye shooting with rifles

  • The six rifle ISSF shooting events (including two Olympic events: 10 meter air rifle and 50 meter rifle three positions) consist of slow-fire target shooting from distances of 10 or 50 or 300 metres (33 or 164 or 984 ft).[19]
  • Fullbore target rifle involves prone shooting with single-shot rifles at distances of 300yds to 1200yds. It is particularly popular in Britain and within the Commonwealth of Nations (mostly former constituents of the British Empire).
  • Gallery rifle shooting is popular in the UK, using carbine rifles chambered in pistol calibres. Gallery Rifle 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. Under NRA of America 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.
  • Four position small bore is a popular sport in the U.S, which adds Sitting to the Three positions used internationally.

Field shooting


Field-Shooting or Terrain-Shooting [20][21] refer to a set of pistol and rifle shooting disciplines that usually are shot from temporary shooting ranges in outdoor terrain at varying (and sometimes unknown) distances, rather than at permanent shooting ranges at fixed distances.

Field shooting with handguns


Field shooting with rifles


Rapid fire


Rapid fire with handguns

  • The ISSF 25 meter pistol and ISSF 25 meter rapid fire pistol events are contested at the Olympic Games.
  • 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 target


Clay pigeon shooting are shotgun disciplines shot at flying clay pigeon targets.

Running target


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:

Moving target


Shooting at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's moving target small-bore rifle

Disappearing target


Shooting at the 1908 Summer Olympics – Men's disappearing target small-bore rifle

Practical shooting


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.
  • Multigun 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[27] 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.[28]
  • 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.

Long range


Long range shooting is shooting 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, US, Germany and Commonwealth countries. Similar disciplines called bullseye and field shooting are popular in Scandinavia, although fired at shorter distances.
    • "Target Rifle" (also known as Palma rifle) 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 Palma 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. Regulations stipulate bolt-action rifles chambered in 7.62mm NATO caliber (Winchester .308) and firing Match Grade ammunition using a 155 grain bullet using micrometer aperture (iron) sights, or a 5.56mm NATO (.223 Remington) with a max bullet weight of 90 grains, and iron sights. Due to developments in modern bullet technology, an 85.5 grain bullet out of a .223 can out shoot a .308, with the right load.[29] 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.[30]
    • 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.
    • National Rifle League (NRL) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the growth and education of precision rifle shooting in the United States. Their match format allows any caliber between .224 to .308 and not to exceed 3,200 feet per second (980 m/s), involving at least 50 shooters with each firing minimum 140 rounds in at least 12 individual stages, over the course of at least two days. Since its debut in 2017, currently 11 clubs from eight states are involved in the league.[31]
    • National Rifle League 22 (NRL22) is a sub-league under the National Rifle League dedicated to .22 Long Rifle rimfire rifles. It was established to address the fact that most localities do not have access to 1000 yard ranges, but nearly all localities have 100-yard ranges and most shooters own .22 rifles. Their championship match consist of minimum 170 rounds fired in at least 15 individual stages. Currently 68 clubs from 31 states in the US participate in NRL22 matches, with addition to two overseas clubs from UK and Australia.[32]
  • 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.

Metallic silhouette


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).


  • 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.[33]



Muzzleloading are concerned with shooting replica (or antique) guns.

Para shooting


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 is in place for the Paralympic Games.[34]

The events mirror to some extent the shooting events at the Olympic Games. Air Pistol is typically shot from a seated position with the pistol unsupported. The amount of back-support permitted is determined by the athlete's level of disability. The Air Rifle events include Rifle "Standing", which is shot seated like Air Pistol, with variable levels of back support. "Prone" Rifle uses the basic prone shooting position utilising a sling for the supporting arm, but is shot rested on a table with the athlete seated either in a chair or 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 and few aftermarket modifications are permitted. Thus the terms refer to permitted equipment and modifications rather than the type of shooting format itself. The names Service Rifle and Service Pistol stem from that the equipment permitted for these types of competitions traditionally were based on standard issue firearms used by one or several armed forces and civilian versions of these, while the terms Production, Factory and Stock often are applied to more modern disciplines with similar restrictions on equipment classes. Factory and service classes are often restrictive in nature, and the types of firearms permitted are usually rugged, versatile and affordable. In comparison, more expensive custom competition equipment are popular in more permissive equipment classes. Both types of equipment classes can be found within many disciplines, such as bullseye, field, practical and long range shooting.



Plinking refers to informal target shooting done for pleasure or practice typically at non-standard targets such as tin cans, logs, cartons, fruits, or any other homemade or naturally occurring objects like rocks (however, it is unsafe to shoot at rocks) or tree branches. The primary appeals of plinking as a sport are the broad variety of easily available locations, minimal costs, freedom in practice styles, and more relaxing and less restrictive shooting experience.

The flexibility of target choice is also why plinking is popular. A small, three-dimensional target in an outdoors setting is much more akin to a real-world hunting and varminting scenario, presenting a better simulated opportunity to practice shooting skills. A plinking target will also often react much more positively to a hit than a paper target used in formal competitions, either audibly with a sharp impact sound (hence the name "plink") or visually by bouncing, splattering or falling over. Steel targets used for formal action and long range shooting competitions are also popular for plinking due to the ease of setting up and confirming good hits.

Athletic shooting sports


Athletic shooting sports are hybrid events of normally stationary shooting sport competitions and the sport of athletics or other physically demanding non-shooting sports. Many were borne from military exercises and emphasize physical endurance.

Bow shooting sports




Modern competitive archery involves shooting arrows at a target for accuracy from a set distance or distances. A person who participates in archery is typically called an archer or a bowman, and a person who is fond of or an expert at archery is sometimes called a toxophilite. The most popular competitions worldwide are called target archery. Another form, particularly popular in Europe and America, is field archery, which generally is shot at targets set at various distances in a wooded setting. 3D archery, which differs from field archery in that the targets are animal models, is also quite popular in the same regions. There are also several other lesser-known and historical forms, as well as archery novelty games. The tournament rules vary from organization to organization. World Archery Federation rules are often considered normative, but large non-WA-affiliated archery organizations do exist with different rules. Competitive archery in the United States is governed by USA Archery and National Field Archery Association (NFAA), which also certifies instructors. Run archery is a shooting discipline connecting archery with running.



The International Crossbow Shooting Union (Internationale Armbrustschützen Union or IAU) was founded in Landshut, Germany on June 24, 1956, as the world governing body for crossbow target shooting. The IAU supervises World, Continental and International crossbow shooting championships in 3 disciplines; 30 m Match-crossbow, 10 m Match-crossbow and Field-crossbow shooting. IAU World Championships take place every two years with Continental Championships on intervening years. Other International and IAU-Cup events take place annually.[13] World Crossbow Shooting Association (WCSA) organises competitions in 7 disciplines: Target, Target match play, Forest, Forest match play, 3D, Bench & prone target and Indoor target.[39]

Dart shooting sports


Sport blowgun


There are several competition styles of sport blowgun practised around the world. A standardization of competition style is based upon fukiya, and governed by the International Fukiyado Association. It is a 10-metre target shooting, using a standardized barrel caliber and length, and a standardized dart length and weight as outlined by IFA. There are two more styles, both based upon the Cherokee Annual Gathering Blowgun Competition. The Field Style competition is similar to the winter Biathlon, where the shooter runs from a starting line to a target lane, shoots and retrieves the darts, and continues to the next station. The course length varies from 400 to 800 m with from 9 to 16 targets at various heights and shooting distances. The final style is the Long Distance target shoot. The target is a circle of 24 cm diameter, and the firing line is 20 m away. Three darts are fired by each shooter, at least one of which must stick in the target. All successful shooters move to the next round, moving back 2 m each time.

Confrontational shooting sports


Confrontational shooting sports is a set of relatively new team sports using non-lethal ranged weapons that are safe enough to shoot at other people. Previously such games were not possible due to safety concerns since bows and guns are generally too lethal and dangerous for human targets, but the development of newer airgun and infrared technologies allowed for the development of safe confrontational disciplines. While initially only for sport and recreations, professional sport competitions are now held. These type of games are also used for tactical gunfight training by military and law enforcement agencies to some extent.[40]

Olympic dueling


Olympic dueling is an archaic individual sport that sought to safely emulate the deadly practice of pistol duelling, akin to fencing emulating sword fighting. It involved the use of specially built primer-fired pistols to propel wax bullets.[41] Two versions of the sport were demonstration events at the 1906 Olympics and 1908 Olympics. It was also a popular sport in France.[42]



Paintball is a competitive sport in which players from opposing teams eliminate opponents out of play by hitting them with round, breakable, dye-filled oil and gelatin pellets ("paintballs"), shot from HPA/CO2-powered air guns called paintball markers. It can be played on indoor or outdoor fields scattered with natural or artificial terrain, which players use for tactical cover. Paintball game types vary, but can include capture the flag, elimination, ammunition limits, defending or attacking a particular point or area, or capturing objects of interest hidden in the playing area. Depending on the variant played, games can last from seconds to hours, or even days in scenario play. The game was developed in the 1980s and is now regularly played at a formal sporting level with organized competition involving major tournaments, professional teams and players.

  • National Xball League is the United States' professional paintball circuit. The league consists of a Professional Division, consisting of the best players the sport has to offer, that extends down to the beginner ranks of "Division 5" for those newer to the tournament atmosphere. The league hosts five national events across the country in places such as Las Vegas, Dallas, Nashville, Cleveland, Chicago, Atlantic City and Orlando throughout the year, starting in March and ending their season in early November. The league's largest event each year is the season finale known as the World Cup, with the 2016 World Cup hosted 3,554 players from 35 countries.
  • National Collegiate Paintball Association is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization created by United States college players. The goal of the NCPA is to promote the positive aspects of the sport in an intercollegiate manner. The NCPA consists of two distinct classes which competes separately — Class AA is an open-class division where any college may enter and compete in regional and national tournaments. Class A is a closed-class division where only certain colleges may compete after securing a bid in the previous season, and represents the best talent of college paintball and includes universities such as Drexel University, University of Maryland, Illinois State University, Purdue University, University of Connecticut, Penn State University and 10 other teams across three conferences all fighting for a national title. The association's 2007 playoff tournament was aired on Fox Sports Net's digital cable college sports network, Fox College Sports.



Airsoft is a competitive sport similar in concept to paintball, in which participants from opposing teams eliminate opponents by hitting each other with solid round plastic pellets launched from low-powered smoothbore air guns called airsoft guns. It is different from paintball in that airsoft pellets do not visibly mark the targets like paintballs, and thus the sport relies heavily on an honor system where a hit player has the ethical duty to call himself out of play, regardless of whether anyone else sees it happen. Most airsoft guns are also magazine-fed (unlike the commonly top-mounting pellet loader of paintball markers) with mounting platforms compatible with real firearm accessories, and tend to more closely resemble real guns in appearance, making them more popular for military simulation and historical reenactments. The greater toughness of airsoft pellets also allows the use of better powerplants and apparatus such as hop-up device for improved external ballistics, making the gameplay more accurately resemble real gunfights. They are also much cheaper for casual players to participate than paintball.

Airsoft gameplay varies in style and composition just like paintball and is played in both indoor and outdoor courses. Situations on the field frequently involve the use of real-life military tactics to achieve objectives, and it is not uncommon for participants to emulate the uniforms and equipment of real military and police organizations for a sense of realism. Games are normally supervised (and sometimes umpired) by trained on-site administrators, and players' airsoft guns are usually checked through a chronograph to enforce power output restrictions.

There are currently no formal national or international governing bodies for the airsoft sport. Competitive tournaments are usually organized by private clubs or among enthusiasts and professional/semi-professional teams (often referred to as "clans"), with rules and restrictions varying from event to event.

Laser tag


Laser tag (despite the name, laser is actually not used due to safety concerns) is a tag game played with infrared light guns and sensors worn on the body of the players. Since its birth in 1979, laser tag has evolved in both indoor and outdoor games, each with gameplay styles such as annihilation, capture the flag, domination, VIP protection, (usually sci-fi) role playing, etc. When compared to paintball and airsoft, laser tag is painless and very safe because it involves no projectile impacts, and indoor games may be considered less physically demanding because most indoor venues prohibit running or roughhousing.

  • Zone Laser Tag World Championships were international tournaments among professional/semi-professional teams from North American, Europe and Australia, hosted every few years since 2003.
  • Bi-lateral international championships have included USA vs. Australia and Australia vs. South Africa.
  • National tournaments in various countries including Australia, US, Sweden, Finland, UK, etc.
  • Private club-level events such as TagCon (annual in UK and US), Tagfest (annual in US), Dropzone (annual in UK), LaserStorm (annual in Australia), etc.

More sophisticated forms of laser tag, such as MILES, are used (in conjunction with blanks) by militaries to allow for non-lethal combat training.

Archery Tag


Archery Tag is a form of combat archery sport where participants shoot one another using a bow with arrows with large foam tips. The game's rules closely resemble dodgeball. The game begins with a number of arrows in the center of the arena. At the whistle, players race to collect them, before firing them at one another across the playing field. A player is eliminated if struck by an arrow, and a player can bring an eliminated teammate back into play by catching an arrow. To avoid injury, participants wear protective facemasks and use bows with less than 30 pounds (14 kg) draw weight. It was invented in 2011 by John Jackson of Ashley, Indiana, and experienced a boost in popularity from the Hunger Games books and film series, which feature a bow-wielding protagonist Katniss Everdeen. Jackson staged Archery Tag games at local premieres of the films. By 2014, Jackson had licensed the game to 170 locations, mostly in the United States, but also in Russia, Peru and Saudi Arabia.

Battle gaming variants of Archery Tag also exist, such as Dagorhir, Amtgard, Belegarth and Darkon, where archers are pitted among melee players welding foam weapons to simulate medieval battles.



Esports is the competitive playing of video games, often referring to play at the professional level. While the term esports includes many types of video games unrelated to shooting sports, a major subset of esports are the shooters, namely first-person shooters and third-person shooters. Matches of these games can take a variety of forms but traditionally take formats similar to paintball, involving teams of players whose objective is to eliminate the opposing team in simulated combat, often while also focusing other key objectives. Major games of these styles currently in professional play include (among others) Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Team Fortress 2, and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Organized play is done both online or in-person. While there has been serious interest to include esports in the Olympics and similar events, the inclusion of shooters has been less welcomed due to their often violent visual content.

See also



  1. ^ "Handgun Sports • NSSF | National Shooting Sports Foundation".
  2. ^ "Rifle Sports • NSSF | National Shooting Sports Foundation".
  3. ^ "Shotgun Sports • NSSF | National Shooting Sports Foundation".
  4. ^ "Archery 101 by Archery 360". February 22, 2023.
  5. ^ "Archery | World Archery". August 16, 2023.
  6. ^ Kardous, C. A.; Willson, R. D.; Hayden, C. S.; Szlapa, P.; Murphy, W. J.; Reeves, E. R. (2003). "Noise exposure assessment and abatement strategies at an indoor firing range". Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. 18 (8): 629–36. doi:10.1080/10473220301409. PMID 12851012.
  7. ^ "Noise levels at shooting range -". June 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Minshall, David (2005). "Wimbledon & the Volunteers". Archived from the original on April 23, 2012.
  9. ^ Richard L. Hummel, and Gary S. Foster, "Germanic/American shooting societies: continuity and change of schuetzenvereins." International Journal of the History of Sport 15.2 (1998): 186-193.
  10. ^ "Pottery Pigeons" Timeline (March/April 1994) 11#2 pp. 22-27 identifies George Ligowsky of Cincinnati as an inventor of clay pigeons.
  11. ^ Steven A. Riess, ed. Sports in America from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century: An Encyclopedia (Sharpe, 2011), 3:828.
  12. ^ Russell Gilmore, "'The New Courage': Rifles And Soldier Individualism, 1876-1918." Journal of Military History 40.3 (1976): 97+
  13. ^ a b c "Shooting Equipment and history - Olympic Sport History". May 15, 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  14. ^ Marlin, Marlin, Jeffrey A. "The National Guard, the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice, and the National Rifle Association: Public Institutions and the Rise of a Lobby for Private Gun Ownership." (Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2013). online
  15. ^ James B. Trefethen, Americans and their guns: The National Rifle Association story through nearly a century (1967)
  16. ^ Australia, Sporting Shooter's Association of. "| Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia (SSAA)". Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  17. ^ "Double trap, rifle prone and 50m pistol dropped from Olympics". The Times of India. February 24, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  18. ^ "NRA Law Enforcement Division: Police Pistol Combat Competition". National Rifle Association of America. 2015.
  19. ^ Scott McDonald (April 15, 2016). "Your Comprehensive Guide To The 15 Olympic Shooting Events". Team USA. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  20. ^ "Danish: Aalborg Skyttekreds af 1862 - Terrænskydning".
  21. ^ "Norwegian: feltskyting – Store norske leksikon". November 17, 2016.
  22. ^ "Swedish: Svenska Pistolskytteförbundet-Om pistolskytte-Fältskjutning". June 2017.
  23. ^ "Norwegian: Litt om feltskyting – Haugesund Pistolklubb (English: A little about field shooting - Haugesund Pistol Club)".
  24. ^ "Swedish: Fältskytte gevär förklarat | Sandvikens Skyttegille".
  25. ^ a b "Topend Sports | About Shooting Sports".
  26. ^ """".
  27. ^ DeJesus, Ivey (January 8, 2015). "A pistol, rifle and shotgun sport part of the lineup at NRA's Great American Outdoor Show". PA Media Group.
  28. ^ "ICORE History and Information".
  29. ^ "Palma USA". Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  30. ^ "PALMA TEAM TROPHY" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 26, 2014.
  31. ^ "Participating Clubs/Matches". National Rifle League.
  32. ^ "Clubs". NRL 22.
  33. ^ Taffin, John (September 28, 2005). Single Action Sixguns. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. pp. 299–300. ISBN 978-1-4402-2694-6.
  34. ^ "Shooting Para Sport Classification Rules and Regulations". International Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on February 7, 2022. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  35. ^ "Biathlon goes for spin in Bike-n-Shoot event – The Denver Post". April 23, 2007.
  36. ^ "Velo Biathlon Combines Cycling and Rifles | Complex". Complex Networks.
  37. ^ "UIPM Laser Run". Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM). July 15, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  38. ^ "Orienteringsskyting – enda en orienteringsgren? – Knut Edvard Helland".
  39. ^ stephen sommers (January 3, 2014). "World Crossbow Shooting Association Inc". Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  40. ^ "Police and US Military Using Airsoft Guns for Training Missions". Police1. December 12, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  41. ^ "Forgotten Weapons - "Lepage Wax-Bullet Dueling Pistols" (YouTube)". YouTube.
  42. ^ "Duel With Wax Bullets" (PDF). The New York Times. February 26, 1909. Retrieved December 24, 2014.

Further reading

  • Axford, Ray. Archery Anatomy: An introduction to techniques for improved performance (Souvenir Press, 2017).
  • Björklund, Glenn. "Shooting efficiency for winners of World Cup and World Championship races in men's and women's biathlon: where is the cut-off?" International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport 18.4 (2018): 545-553.
  • Chen, Yin-Ting, and Derick Mordus. "Shooting sports (archery, air rifle, trapshooting)." in Adaptive Sports Medicine (Springer, Cham, 2018) pp. 313–322.
  • George, Judith Jenkins. "Women's Riflery Teams: A Collegiate Anomaly of the Post World War I Period." Sport History Review 23.1 (1992): 32-45.
  • Goldschmied, Nadav, and Jason Kowalczyk. "Gender performance in the NCAA rifle championships: where is the gap?" Sex Roles 74.7 (2016): 310-322. online
  • Ihalainen, Simo, et al. "Relation of elite rifle shooters' technique-test measures to competition performance." International journal of sports physiology and performance 11.5 (2016): 671-677.
  • Ihalainen, Simo, et al. "Which technical factors explain competition performance in air rifle shooting?" International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching 13.1 (2018): 78-85.
  • Reeves, W. P. "The Adoption of Military Rifle Shooting as an Intercollegiate Sport." American Physical Education Review 23.3 (1918): 157-159.
  • Spancken, Sina, Hannah Steingrebe, and Thorsten Stein. "Factors that influence performance in Olympic air-rifle and small-bore shooting: A systematic review" PLOS ONE 16.3 (2021): e0247353 online.
  • Wadge, Richard. Archery in Medieval England: Who Were the Bowmen of Crecy? (The History Press, 2012).
  • Wallace, Lacey N. "College Student Involvement in Hunting and Shooting Sports: What Drives Participation?" Recreational Sports Journal 44.2 (2020): 126-138.