From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The shooting sports include those competitive sports involving tests of proficiency (accuracy and speed) using various types of guns such as firearms and airguns (see Archery for more information on shooting sports that make use of bows and arrows). Hunting is also a shooting sport, and indeed shooting live pigeons was an Olympic event (albeit only once, in 1900). The shooting sports are categorized by the type of firearm or target used.
Bothered by poor marksmanship during the American Civil War, veteran Union officers Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association 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 Scholastic Clay Target Program, National Guard Bureau, ROTC and JROTC. These programs have all continued to thrive despite political pressures to disband. The success of these programs is often attributed to an emphasis on safety and education that has resulted in an unprecedented scholastic and collegiate athletic safety record.
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 ten 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. For example, 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 39 medals in 10 men's and 7 women's events -- slightly fewer than the previous Olympic schedule.
The Olympic Games continue to provide the shooting sports with its greatest public relations opportunity. The 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 Body's (NGB) administer the sport within each country.
Having originally established shooting as an organized sport, 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 (ie, National Matches) for over 100 years until the formation of USA Shooting.
Because of its long heritage and broad appeal, the shooting sports are enjoyed by a large number of participants around the world. In recent years, however, the shooting sports have become increasingly threatened by social and political reforms. In some countries, voters have declared their disapproval toward the private ownership and possession of handguns. This is generally motivated by the perception that handguns are associated with violent crime instead of sportsmanship. Some governments, such as the British, have enacted restrictive gun control legislation that directly effects the shooting sports. For example, even when sanctioned, the shooting sports may not be televised or publicized in the UK.
More recently, a rise in the number of concealed carry permit-holders in the US has led to a surge in interest in various handgun competitions that foster defensive skills, accuracy drills, and personal protection tactics.
Rifle shooting sports
- The four Rifle ISSF shooting events (including two Olympic events) consist of long-time target shooting from distances of 10, 50 and 300 m.
- The two Running Target ISSF shooting events consist of rapid shooting at a target that moves sideways from distances of 10 and 50 m.
- Biathlon is an Olympic sport combining shooting and cross-country skiing.
- The CISM Rapid Fire match is a speeded version of the ISSF 300 m Standard Rifle event.
- Muzzle loading and Cowboy Action Shooting are concerned with shooting antique (or replica) guns.
- Gallery Rifle shooting is popular in the UK and was inroduced as a substitute for many pistol shooting disciplines following the 1997 handgun ban.
- Benchrest shooting is concerned with shooting small groups, i.e. firing a series of bullets to the exact same spot on a target.
- There are a vast number of nationally recognized sports, including:
- Three position airgun competitions, popular in the United States.
- Field shooting, often at very long distances, popular in Scandinavia.
- Running target shooting at 80 m, on a target depicting an elk, popular in Sweden as a hunting exercise.
- Summer biathlon, with skiing replaced by running, popular in Germany.
- Military Service Rifle 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.
Highpower Rifle competition often is held at the same events as Service Rifle, such as the U.S. national championships each year at Camp Perry. Highpower 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.
- Palma competition 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. and Ireland, and continues in various nations today.
Handgun shooting sports
- The six Pistol ISSF shooting events (including four Olympic events) consist of both precision and rapid-fire target shooting from distances of 10, 25, and 50 metres.
- Modern pentathlon includes timed shooting with an air pistol as the first of its five parts.
- The CISM Rapid Fire match is similar to the ISSF 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol event.
- Practical shooting, developed by civilian marksmen and later used as a basis for military and police exercises, is a variation where the shooter often moves during shooting, and hit scores and shooting time are equally important.
- PPC 1500, also developed into police exercises, is standard precision shooting, as opposed to practical shooting, but somewhat imitating real-life conditions.
- Muzzle loading and Cowboy Action Shooting, as above, also use revolvers.
- Metallic silhouette shooting, developed to loosely simulate hunting, is shooting at heavy animal-shaped steel silhouettes that must be knocked down to score, typically at long range using very powerful pistols.
- Here also there are a vast number of nationally recognized sports, including:
- The National Rifle Association (NRA) Conventional Pistol, shot with up to three different handguns, popular in the United States and Canada and also some other countries. This is sometimes termed Bullseye (shooting competition).
- Field shooting, a type of variable rapid-fire competition, popular in Scandinavia.
- Other, less formally organized shooting sports include:
- Knocking bowling pins off a table top,
- Steel "reactive" targets,
- and general "plinking" at miscellaneous objects.
Shotgun shooting sports
- The three Shotgun ISSF shooting events (presently all Olympic) are based on quick reaction to clay targets thrown by a machine.
- Other shotgun sports with (at least partial) international recognition include Sporting Clays, providing more variation than the standard ISSF events, and Down the Line.
- Cowboy Action Shooting also may involve shotguns.
Action shooting sports
Action Shooting is a generic term applicable to non-traditional shooting sports, generally characterized by rapid movement within each shooting stage. Examples include practical pistol (International Practical Shooting Confederation(IPSC)/United States Practical Shooting Association(USPSA) and IDPA), cowboy action shooting, and three-gun events noted below. The latter two involve use of rifles, handguns, and shotguns within the same event.
However, fast, accurate shooting (mainly with handguns) requiring little or no movement also belongs to the Action category owing to the rapidity of firing. Events such as the Bianchi Cup are examples.
3-gun shooting sports
3-gun shooting events (not to be confused with NRA 3-gun "conventional pistol" events fired with a rim-fire, center-fire and .45 caliber pistol) are quickly becoming more popular among local shooting clubs. They involve competitions where the stages are shot with a combination of a rifle, handgun, and/or shotgun. Although 3-gun competitions take place in most local areas, the largest national annual events are the USPSA Nationals and the MGM Ironman .
Submachine gun shooting sports
Submachine Gun competition have been around for over 20 years and are growing.
- Exhibition shooting
- Shooting ranges
International governing bodies
- International Shooting Sport Federation
- ESC - European Shooting Confederation
- Muzzle Loaders Associations International Committee
- The International Benchrest Shooters Association
- International Practical Shooting Confederation
- International Defensive Pistol Association
- World Association PPC 1500
- International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association
- National Shooting Sports Foundation
- UK Small Bore Rifle Shooting (0.22" Rim Fire and Air Guns)
- UK Clay Pigeon Shooting Association
- National Rifle Association UK
- Airsoft Sports Equipment Reviews
- Collection of targets to print and use in archery and shooting
- United Kingdom Association for Hunter Field Target