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Shooting combines precision, concentration and technical skill. The sport offers a variety of disciplines and is practiced both recreationally and competitively. However, because it’s not exactly a popular sport, there are many doubts about it. If you’re one of those people, you’ve come to the right place: a guide to everything about shooting sports.

Here we’ve gathered information on everything from the origins of the sport to what you need to start practicing, including the main categories and fundamentals.

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What is sport shooting?

mental control and technical skills;

In competitions, shooters are divided into different categories and disciplines, each with specific rules and equipment.

How does shooting work?

Sport shooting works by assessing the accuracy of the shots made by athletes. In general, the rules include an evaluation that considers a specific number of shots in a given time and distance. The score is given based on how close the shot is to the center of the target.

However, the rules also vary according to the competition and the sport being played;

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As we briefly mentioned above, shooting sports are divided into several disciplines or categories, each with its own set of rules and specific equipment;

Among the shooting sports that are most popular are:

  • Target shooting: involves shooting at paper targets or an electronic target at varying distances. The closer to the center the athlete hits the shot, the more points they receive and accumulate;
  • Skeet and Trap shooting: in this format, competitors shoot at clay plates thrown into the air.
  • Practical shooting (IPSC): Combines precision, power and speed, with courses that simulate real shooting situations.

It’s worth mentioning that shooting is part of the pentathlon, an Olympic discipline in which shooting takes place along a running circuit;

To find out more about this sport, read our special article:All about Modern Pentathlon: how it works and what its disciplines are.

Pistol shooting

The category involves the use of pistols and revolvers at various distances and modalities. Competitions include shooting at fixed and moving targets, with an emphasis on precision and control.

The main disciplines in pistol shooting include:

  • Speed Shooting: involves rapid firing at fixed or moving targets, with limited time for each series of shots.
  • Bullseye Shooting: with precise shooting at paper targets at different distances and categories, including compressed air pistol and center fire pistol.
  • Practical Shooting (IPSC): combines speed, precision and skill on courses that simulate real defense or hunting situations.

Shooting with a rifle

Rifle shooting is a type of sport shooting, and can be either air or fire, and stands out for its precision at varying distances;

Competitions can take place in a lying, sitting or standing position.

  • Target Shooting (Compressed Air Rifle and Center Fire): Shooting at fixed targets at varying distances, with different rules for each type of weapon.
  • Long Range Shooting: Firing at targets at long distances, requiring extreme precision and control.
  • Benchrest Shooting: Shooting from a bench, focusing on the stability and accuracy of the rifle and the shooter.


In this competition, shooters have to knock down plates thrown in the air. The disciplines vary in terms of distance, speed and number of plates to be hit.

  • Skeet: Shooters fire at plates launched from two different launchers, one on the left and one on the right, in crossed trajectories.
  • Trap: The plates are launched from a single position, at a standard distance, on trajectories that can vary in direction and height.
  • Double Trap: Similar to Trap, but with two cymbals thrown simultaneously, requiring greater speed and precision.

These three categories form the basis for understanding everything about shooting sports, considering that each discipline has its own unique characteristics and particular challenges;

Read also: Glossary of shooting sports: target, ballistics, scope and more

All about shooting sports: what are the basics?

Regardless of the sport, to understand everything about shooting sports, it’s important to know the fundamentals of the sport:

  • Grip: the fundamental aspect of holding the weapon firmly and correctly.
  • Empunhadura: é o fundamental relacionado a segurar a arma de maneira firme e correta.
  • Breathing: the athlete learns to control their breathing to minimize unwanted movements during the shot.
  • Aiming: here the athlete learns to correctly align the gun’s aim with the target.
  • Firing: press the trigger gently to avoid sudden movements.

Once you know the fundamentals of shooting, it becomes clear that the sport involves much more than just shooting, doesn’t it?

As with all other sports, it is essential that athletes master the techniques so that they can advance in competitions and become professionals.

What is the origin of shooting sports?

The origins of sport shooting date back to the 19th century, when it began to become popular in Europe as an exclusively male sport;

The first official shooting event took place at the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, which helped solidify the sport as an international competition;

Since then, shooting sports have evolved and expanded to include a variety of disciplines and categories that attract thousands of practitioners around the world.

In addition, the sport is no longer exclusively for men, but is also practiced by women and includes other sports such as the pentathlon, which we mentioned above;

Now that you know all about shooting sports, it’s clear that we’re talking about a challenging and exciting activity that attracts practitioners of all ages and abilities;

With a long history and a wide variety of disciplines, shooting sports offer opportunities for competition and personal development, with special focus and care given to safety and precision.

Whether you’re a curious beginner or an experienced shooter, shooting sports can be an excellent way to hone your skills and enjoy a sport that combines technique, concentration and precision.

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