Questions about the series of sports involving shooting in which guns, such as firearms and airguns, are used.
A shooting sport is a competitive sport involving tests of proficiency (accuracy and speed) using various types of guns such as firearms and airguns. Most events involve variations of inanimate target shooting, whether moving or stationary, and are meant to be a simulation, to varying degrees, of hunting or personal defense.
Basic event types include:
Stationary target shooting - a paper target is placed a prescribed distance from the shooter, who is then required to shoot a certain number of shots from a pistol or rifle at the target, often in a prescribed stance (free-standing, seated benchrest, prone, one-handed pistol etc). The shooter is scored based on the impact point of each shot (specifically the proximity to an ideal "bulls-eye") and the highest overall score wins the round. Competitive matches have a variety of formats from single round (each shooter gets one target, best score of those present wins) to single elimination (each shooter is paired with another, and the better score advances to the next level of the tournament) to percentage elimination (after each round, the bottom half of competitors are eliminated).
Clay shooting - The primary firearm sport besides hunting involving a moving target. The shooter targets a "pigeon", which is a frangible ceramic disc of varying diameter depending on the animal the pigeon simulates. When hit with a projectile, most often a shotgun pellet, the pigeon will visibly disintegrate making a hit or miss easy to detect. These pigeons are designed to be cast into the air in a variety of ways, along flight paths of varying heights from the ground and relative tracks past the shooter. A wide variety of specific hunting scenarios can be simulated with clay pigeons, and several of these have been standardized, including trap shooting (a single pigeon is launched from a single station in a path either across the shooter's field of fire or downrange from the shooter), skeet shooting (two pigeons are launched from different stations on an intersecting course) and sporting clays (a scenario-based course of fire often described as "shotgun golf").
Cowboy Action shooting - Encompasses standardized and free-form competitions involving speed and accuracy with stereotypical American West weapons, primarily the .45 Colt Peacemaker and the Winchester lever-action carbine. Quick-draw, gallery shooting, and a variety of trick shots are typical highlights of a day at such an event.
Practical shooting - With competitions sanctioned by IPSC and IDPA, these events center on the use of semi-automatic weapons from pistols to carbines in "self-defense" calibers such as 9mm Luger, .45ACP, .223 Remington and others. Competitors engage in a variety of shooting scenarios, from basic "gallery" shooting testing the speed with which a shooter can place a satisfactory hit on each of a predefined battery of targets, to specialized hostile/friendly decision-making scenarios such as simulated room-clearing, in which shots on "innocent" targets are heavily penalized. Competitors are typically scored on a formula taking both speed and accuracy into consideration.