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Shooting Sports

More than 19 million Americans safely participate in target shooting. Learn more about handgun, rifle and shotgun sports. There are a lot of different ways to get started in the handgun shooting sports. From Precision Bullseye to Action Shooting "Run and Gun" type sports -- you are sure to find something you'll love. So c'mon out and give them a try!

Action Shooting

Action shooting is a game measuring the speed at which a competitor can hit one or more targets, starting from a position in which the handgun is securely holstered. Targets may be stationary or moving. Action courses vary, often including both scored targets and falling targets within the same match. Find out more about action shooting from one of our partners below: United States Practical Shooting Association International Defense Pistol Association


Silhouette shooting is a bit different. Think of the old time shooting gallery at the county fair....but on a MUCH grander scale. You'll be shooting at steel targets shaped like pigs, chickens, name it! All different sizes and distances. Scoring is simple: shoot to hit the target off off its stand. If it falls- success! If not.... Find out more about handgun silhouette from: International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association


In this demanding sport, shooters are permitted to use only one hand while engaging targets at ranges varying from 10 to 50 meters. Scoring is completed using official targets calibrated for point value. Because it is so easy to get started with simple rules and it inherently challenging nature Precision shooting ranks as one of the most popular recreational uses of the handgun to this day. Find out more about precision shooting from: International Shooting Sports Federation

Bench Rest

Bench rest shooting is a form of precision marksmanship. Bench rest matches are fired from a sturdy shooting bench with the rifle supported by a front and rear rest. A course of fire consists of either five or 10 rounds, shot at a single target to produce a measurable group. The size of the group is what counts; there are no scoring rings on the target. The goal is to put five consecutive shots into a single hole no larger than the diameter of the bullet itself. Once the shooter settles into position and the "commence fire" command is given, the shooter is allowed up to seven minutes to fire a five-round group, or 12 minutes for a 10-round string. Groups are measured in thousandths of an inch at their largest outside diameter. From this measurement, the actual caliber of the bullet used (in thousandths of an inch) is subtracted from the measurement to produce the actual group size. Find out more from the National Bench Rest Shooters Association 


Silhouette shooting involves firing at metallic targets of different shapes from various distances up to 500 meters. Unlike most conventional target games that utilize paper targets and numerical scoring rings, almost every shot fired at a metallic silhouette produces an immediate and clearly visible result. Even misses produce a cloud of dust. For each five-round stage (one shot, left to right, at each target in a bank of five) a shooter is allowed a maximum of 2 1/2 minutes.


Position shooting requires competitors to shoot from various positions during different match stages. A typical match will consist of several stages fired at different distances from each position. The target is a round bull's eye with numerical scoring rings radiating outward from center 10-ring or X-ring. Time limits vary with the stage and yardage. For example, high-power shooters firing at 600 yards are allotted 20 minutes for 20 shots, and the rapid-fire stage, fired at 200 yards, allows 60 seconds for 10 shots. Two governing bodies regulate this sport. International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF), the governing body for international and Olympic competition, specifies three positions: standing (off hand), kneeling, and prone (lying down). The National Rifle Association (NRA), governing body for U.S. match shooting, uses the same positions, plus a sitting position. Find out more about Position shooting from: International Shooting Sports Federation

Additional Resources

Minute of Angle - A detailed video and explanation including tips, formulas and examples of "minute of angle" (MOA) and how to use MOA adjustments on your scope for sighting in and to compensate for bullet drop at varying distances. The shotgun sports are some of the most exhilarating and exciting of all the shooting sports. Designed to simulate taking a "bird on the wing", Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays have something for everyone from the newest beginner to the seasoned pro. You can shoot targets that come from a predetermined location and angle....or you can choose to be totally surprised!


Trap is the oldest shotgun shooting sport in America. Trapshooting derives its name from the device, called a trap, which throws clay targets into the air. Participants shoot at the clay targets thrown from a trap house located in front of the shooter. The trap rotates in a random sequence, presenting the shooter with a variety of going away shots, angling to the right, left and flying straightaway. Trap is usually shot in squads of five shooters. A round of trap consists of 25 targets per shooter. A trap field has five positions, or stations, numbered consecutively from left to right. Five clay targets, sometimes referred to as "birds," are thrown for each shooter at each position, with one shot being fired at each bird. After firing five rounds in rotation, each squad member moves one station to his right, with the shooter on station five moving over to station one. Find out more about the game of trap from the Amateur Trapshooting Association

Youth Clay Target Programs

The Scholastic Clay Target Program and the ATA's AIM program provide competition opportunities for young trap shooters.


Skeet uses the same clay targets as trap. Two trap houses are required in skeet-a "high house" at the left of the field and a "low house" at the right. Both traps throw targets at fixed angles. High-house targets start at a point about 10 feet above the ground, moving to the shooter's right. Low-house targets move in the opposite direction starting from a point about three feet off the ground. Skeet is usually shot in squads of five shooters. A skeet field has eight positions, or stations, seven of which are numbered consecutively from left to right in a semi-circle around the field. Station eight is located in the center, almost directly between the trap houses, offering very challenging-and very exciting-targets. A round of skeet consists of 25 targets. Some stations offer single targets, others doubles. There are 16 single targets, two from each station. A round also includes eight shots at four double-targets from stations 1, 2, 6 and 7. The first target missed is repeated; the repeat target is called "the optional." If no miss occurs in the round of 24 shots, the optional is taken as a single target; usually shot from station eight. Find out more about the game of skeet from the National Skeet Shooting Association. The Scholastic Clay Target Program provides competition opportunities for young skeet shooters.

Sporting Clays

Sporting clays is a challenging clay target game designed to simulate a variety of field-shooting situations. On a sporting clays course, shooters are presented with a wide variety of targets that duplicate the flight path of game birds, such as flushing, crossing, incoming and other angling shots. Courses are laid out in natural surroundings and typically include five or more shooting stations. Like golf, shooters move from one station to the next to complete the course. At any station, targets may be thrown as singles, simultaneous pairs, following pairs (one target right after the other) or report pairs (the second target launched at the sound of the gun being fired at the first). To further challenge shooters, target size may vary from the standard trap/skeet clay bird to the smaller "midi" and "mini" targets, or a flat disc-shaped "battue" target. There are also "rabbit" targets, special clay disks that are thrown on edge to roll and skitter unpredictably across the ground. Sporting clays allows for either a pre-mounted or low gun approach, and a full round usually consists of 50 or 100 targets (depending on the number of stations), with several targets normally thrown at each station. Find out more about sporting clays from the National Sporting Clays Association. The Scholastic Clay Target Program provides competition opportunities for young sporting clays shooters.