Shooting, also known as sport shooting has been a competitive sport in a variety of forms since the mid-1800s. Competitions that involved pursuits such big game hunting, target shooting, and the hunting of a wide variety of birds were all contested in various parts of the world. The first prominent organization created to advance the interest of serious sport shooters and marksmen was the National Rifle Association, formed in the United States in 1871.
Throughout its history as a competitive sport, shooting has encompassed many different types of firearms. "Gun" is a term used interchangeably with firearm. At its most basic, a firearm is any barreled device capable of discharging a projectile. By the time of the first modern Olympics in 1896, competitive shooting was conducted in separate divisions for three types of firearms; rifles, pistols, and shotguns. A rifle is a long barreled firearm that has spiral grooves machined along the interior of the barrel; the spiral grooves, or rifling, create a rotary motion when the bullet is fired. The spin imparted to the bullet by the rifling tends to produce a more accurate shot. A rifle is typically discharged from the shoulder position of the shooter. A pistol is small firearm designed to be held and discharged from a single hand of the shooter. Both pistols and rifles may be powered by the force of conventional gunpowder contained in the cartridge that contains the bullet to be fired. The explosive force of the gunpowder is initiated when the trigger on the firearm is pulled by the shooter. Other types of both pistols and rifles are powered by systems that employ either compressed air mechanisms or pressurized gases.
A shotgun has a long barrel, one typically shorter and thicker than that of a rifle. The inside of the shotgun barrel is smooth, as the projectiles discharged are not a single object, as with a rifle bullet, but are numerous tiny projectiles, referred to as "shot". Shotguns are not as accurate as either rifles or pistols, but are an effective device in covering a wider area with the discharged ammunition.
The International Sport Shooting Federation, ISSF, is the governing body for shooting competitions through out the world. There are 17 different categories of shooting recognized at the Olympic games, seven open to women and 10 restricted to male competitors. Until 1996, a number of shooting categories at the Olympics were designated as mixed events, open to competitors of either gender. In addition to the various types of rifle and pistol shooting where the marksman attempts to shoot at a distant target, there are two general classes of moving target competitions involving trap and skeet. The trap is a device that propels specially constructed clay targets into the air at a specified distance from the shooter. In Olympic competition, the shooter must attempt to shoot 125 of the targets, from a total of five different shooting positions. In the event called double trap, two clay targets are released simultaneously at differing angles, requiring the shooter to make successive shots on the targets.
Skeet is also an event involving shot guns. The shooters assume a series of positions during the competitions, attempting to strike the targets, sometime referred to as "clay pigeons" after they are propelled into the air.
Shooting also is an important element of a winter sports discipline, the biathlon, where the competitors complete a series of laps on a cross country ski course, with intervals in which the athletes are required to shoot at set targets with a rifle from both prone and standing positions. The combination of endurance, strength, and precise marksmanship, accomplished while the athlete attempts to steady their body from the rigors of skiing, make the biathlon one of the most difficult Winter Olympic sports.
As with many sports where muscle power is not a prerequisite, shooting appears deceptively simple. The ability to steady hand and mind to deliver a sequence of shots requires well-developed powers of concentration and emotional control. Elite shooters spend considerable training time developing skills in visualization, where they direct their mental powers to the entire sequence of a successful shot, as an aid in coordinating their physical and mental efforts.
The greater the level of physical fitness possessed by a competitive shooter, the more likely they are to achieve competitive success. Many shooters attempt to fire at a target between heartbeats, when the body is at its most stable. The more fit the athlete, generally, the lower the heart rate. A lower heart rate will provide the shooter with a greater window within which to deliver the shot. The breathing exercises that are often performed by shooters during competition to relax the body have a more pronounced effect on a body that has both a fit cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory system.
Shooting has known its share of performance enhancing drug concerns. The best known of the drugs used by shooters to relax themselves and potentially slow their heart rate are alcohol and beta blockers, both banned substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. Beta block-ers are drugs used to treat a number of cardiovascular conditions; they have the effect of slowing heart rate and reducing blood pressure, an advantage in shooting.
shooting, firing with rifle, shotgun, pistol, or revolver at stationary or moving targets. The term shooting is also used in Great Britain to mean small-game hunting.
In the 19th cent. the sport of rifle shooting became increasingly popular in England and in the United States, where the National Rifle Association (NRA) was formed (1871) to standardize the rules for rifle marksmanship. Matches were arranged and trophies offered. Pistol and revolver events were added in 1900. Shooting events have been included in the Olympic games since 1896; separate men's and women's events were established in 1984.
Among the Olympic events are pistol shooting at 50 m (164 ft), rifle shooting at 300 m (984 ft), trapshooting and skeet, and small-bore rifle shooting. NRA-sponsored tournaments are divided into sections for small-bore rifles, high-power rifles, pistols, and revolvers. In small-bore rifle shooting the targets range in distance from 50 ft to 200 yd (15.24–182.88 m), and in pistol and revolver shooting from 50 ft to 50 yd (15.24–45.72 m). For long-range rifle marksmanship, targets from 200 to 1,000 yd (182.88–914.4 m) are used. A shooting target is made of black-on-white cardboard and is composed of a bullseye (black) and several concentric circles. Competitors shoot from four positions with the rifle—prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing. Matches in which competing teams exchange scores by telegraphic and postal facilities are common.
Trapshooting with shotguns began in England in the 19th cent. To simulate the flight of game birds, "clay pigeons" (originally made of clay but now molded of silt and pitch in the shape of saucers) are hurled from a mechanical contrivance (the trap). The distance between the shooter and the target varies from 16 to 25 yd (14.63–22.86 m); a 12-gauge gun is preferred. Trapshooting was adopted in the United States in the late 19th cent., and in 1900 the American Trapshooting Association was organized. Annual championship matches are held at Vandalia, Ohio.
Skeet, in its early years called "round the clock" shooting, was devised (1910) by C. E. Davies of Andover, Mass. The name, chosen in a magazine contest, is an old Scandinavian form of the word shoot. Two trapshooting devices hurl "pigeons" at and over each other from 40 yd (36.58 m) apart. The marksman shoots at the moving target from different stations on the perimeter of a semicircle connecting the traps. Guns used are 12-, 16-, 20-, and 28-gauge and .410 bore. In skeet matches 25 "pigeons" are thrown, of which 8 are hurled in pairs.
See J. Lugs, A History of Shooting (1968); S. Slahor et al., Shooting Guide for Beginners (1986); W. S. Jarrett, ed., Shooter's Bible (1989).
shoot·ing / ˈshoōting/ • n. the action or practice of shooting: the unprovoked shooting of civilians by soldiers | 20,000 fatal shootings a year. ∎ the sport or pastime of shooting with a gun. ∎ the right of shooting game over an area of land. ∎ an estate or other area rented to shoot over. • adj. moving or growing quickly: shooting beams of light played over the sea. ∎ (of a pain) sudden and piercing. PHRASES: the whole shooting match inf. everything: the whole shooting match is being computerized.
J. A. Cannon
the whole shooting match everything.