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Shooting Disciplines

You have probably noticed there are different types of shooting disciplines and most of them have different guns built for purpose.

The differences in the guns are generally the way they are choked or they are dimensionally different to suit the different types of target.

The principles are clearly the same lol see your target and shoot it, but the targets themselves vary in terms of distance and trajectory.

You will find also that there are different types of clay, varying in size such as the midi and mini, and shape, altering flight behaviour and your perception of the target like a battue or chondel.

On sporting grounds the way the targets are thrown are often referred to as 'rabbit', 'crow', 'teal' 'driven pheasant' etc, don't worry they are not really lol but - it's worth getting acquainted with these so you have a good idea what to expect on a particular stand.

There are also different layouts enabling several shooters to take part in a limited space.

All these things are designed to make the targets more challenging for the shooter .... have you ever noticed its called shooting not hitting lol. Learning to shoot a shotgun

Anyway here is a brief guide to the various types of shooting disciplines to help you understand the basics and what is involved.

CPSA Technical rules for Down the Line, English Skeet, English Sporting and Automatic Ball Trap and their derivatives.
FITASC International Sporting Rules

English Sporting

English Sporting is generally a fixed number of varying targets shot over several stands in competition, but these are generally open for straightforward practice otherwise.  Most types of target will be encountered, going away, crossing, incoming, rabbits, risng or falling, fast or slow.

The targets may be simultaneous pairs (both at once) or pairs on report (the second being released as soon as your first shot is fired)

In comptetition the quantities shot are fixed per stand over a predetermined number of stands, there will be a referee pressing the buttons and scoring for you.

There are no hard a fast rules about how the layout is arranged - this is entirely dependent on the limitations of the ground itself, so the terrain could be flat, hilly, in woodland or open with the background consiting of trees or wooded hillsides and open skies.


Compak is a sporting layout designed to fit an a limited space and usually shot in squads over 5 stands. Varying targets again from several fixed traps, shot in a specific order from each stand in turn. In competition a round consists of 25 targets, 5 per stand, 4 rounds/100 targets (shooters swap positions throughout the round in a specific sequence to ensure fairness) There is a similar discipline called Sportrap, the only difference I believe is the order / combination of the targets.

Trap shooting

Trap shooting is made up of several different types such as Down the Line, Ball Trap and Double Trap but they are all going away targets and are all delivered from a trap house in full sight around 16 yards in front of you.

The most common trap shooting layout is Down The Line where 5 shooters will take it in turns to shoot a single target which will come out of the trap house at a random angle but a fixed height off the ground, your score will vary depending on whether you kill the target with the first or second barrel attempt (you can stop at the first barrel if you choose).  The shooters swap positions throughout the round in a specific sequence to ensure fairness.

English Skeet

English Skeet is a fixed layout with 2 trap houses with set angles and speeds, one high and one low 40 metres apart, usually shot in squads. There are normally 7 stands around a semicircular arc layout and the clays are thrown in a specific sequence from each stand to a total of 25 clays per shooter. Singles and/or doubles for each squad member in turn per stand, until all have completed, they then move to the next stand. There are other skeet disciplines with varying rules, Olympic Skeet and American (NSSA) Skeet.

FITASC Sporting

FITASC Sporting is usually shot in squads over a fixed number of targets. It is similar to English Sporting with a wide variety of targets. The main difference is, it is shot from a 'gun down' positon and this is strictly monitored.

The heel of the stock must be touching the body below a horizontal line, 25cm down from the top of the shoulder. A line is marked on the shooters vest to aid the referee.

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