Types of Shooting Sports

Types of Shooting Sports - Article Image

There are many different types of shooting sports to try out. From hunting to competition to recreational, the choices and games are many and span all types of firearms and athletic abilities. We’ve put together a list and brief description of some of the most popular types of shooting sports organized by firearm.


Fullbore Target Shooting

Targets range between 300-1200 yards and is judged by the accuracy of the shooter. Typically bench rested.

Hunter Field Target Shooting

Typically consists of 30-40 targets placed in varying distances between 8-42m. Each target lane consists of a peg and a metal knock-down target placed to simulate hunting. The peg marks the point of fire and while firing and the shooter must have a part of their body or rifle touching the peg. Time starts as soon as the shooter touches the peg.

Running Target

The target moves sideways to simulate a running target.

Precision Long Range (PRS)

Women shooting PRS
PRS event

Outdoor long-range discipline with a balance between speed and precision. Shooting distances vary from between 10m to 1,000m.

Typically consists of several courses of fire with a set maximum time (par time).

The shooter is awarded points according to haw many targets are hit. Targets are typically cardboard and steel.

Small Bore/Rimfire

Different types of shooting sports using .22 rifles.


Action Shooting

Practical shooting events where the shooter will move through a stage or course-of-fire. Often involves drawing from a holster and magazine changes while shooting at targets from different positions and locations.

Scoring is based on accuracy and speed. Rules are determined based on what association is hosting the competition.

​Associations include: International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), United States Practical Shooting Association (USPCA), International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), Western Action Shootists Association (WASA) and Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA).

Action Shooting - IPSC course
IPSC course of fire

Precision Pistol

Also known as conventional pistol shooting where shooters fire one-handed at 6” and 8” bullseye targets placed 25 and 50 yards downrange.

Quick Draw

A form of action shooting based on the Wild West gunslingers using single action revolvers. Uses blanks or wax bullets and is judged by the fastest draw winning.

Cowboy Mounted Shooting

A competitive equestrian sport where the shooter rides a horse through a pattern while shooting at balloons placed throughout the course. Uses blank ammunition.



Clay targets (pigeons or birds) are thrown in singles or doubles from two towers on either side of the field (high and low houses) with shooters rotating through 7 positions in a cemi-circle and 1 in the middle. The targets cross from side to side with the order determined by which station the shooter is currently standing in. The game ends after the shooter has shot at 25 targets.


Types of Shooting Sports - Trap shooting
Trap shooting

Clay targets are thrown away from the shooter in singles or doubles from a bunker 15m in front of the shooter.

Shooters stand at 5 stations set up in a line facing the bunker and shoot 5 shells at each station with the round ending after the shooter has shot at 25 targets.

Sporting Clays

We usually call this “golf with shotguns”. A typical course can be 10-15 shooting stations laid out over natural terrain. Sporting clays is meant to simulate the unpredictability of hunting with varying trajectories, speeds, elevations, distances and target sizes. Each station will have a minimum of two presentations with 4-8 targets to shot at. Clays are thrown as either singles, true pairs (both clays thrown at the same time) or report pairs (1 clay is launched, then the second is launched at the report of the gun). There are never more than 2 shells in the gun at any time.

FITASC (Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse)

A competition similar to Sporting Clays were each stand or “parcour” will give the shooter a different presentation of 2 clays at each. The shooter begins in the “gun-down” position where the stock of the gun must not move above a certain line before the clay target is seen.


Action Shooting

Practical shooting events where there are multiple stages or courses-of-fire which require the shooter to transition between a combination of rifles, handguns and/or shotguns as they progress through the stage. Shooters are scored based on accuracy and speed. Examples of this are 3-Gun and Cowboy Action.

Air Guns

Multiple types of shooting competitions where a gun that operates by compressed air or gas is used including several Olympic competitions.

Types of Shooting Sports - Air Rifle
Young air rifle competitor
Types of Shooting Sports - Biathlon
Biathlon competition