In the shooting world, the sport of clay shooting consists of over 20 different disciplines, one of which is trap shooting. In this type of shooting, shooters compete by shooting targets, or “clay pigeons” launched up in the air.

Trap shooting is a popular sport in the United States and elsewhere, where people get together and compete at all different levels of skill and experience. Trap shooting started in 18th century when they shot at live birds as targets. In 1921, they outlawed the practice. Since then, clay targets have gained wide acceptance.

Some Facts About Trap Shooting

man trap shooting

Trap shooting is one of the three main disciplines of the sport known as clay shooting or clay pigeon shooting. The three main disciplines include sporting clays, skeet shooting, and trap shooting. Although similar, there are key differences in the action of all three disciplines that set them apart from each other.

Trap shooting has a number of features that are used only for this discipline of clay shooting. It requires a certain type of gun, and a regulated clay target (or clay pigeon) used for international and American versions of the sport.

Sportsmen and sportswomen all over the world pursue trap shooting. In this area of the sport, the clay targets launch from a machine (a single machine called a “house”) on a flight path traveling away from the shooter. There are also other variations within this discipline.

You will find that it is a real game and is even present within the Olympics in different forms. One form is the Olympic trap. In the Olympic games, there is also another form of trap found in the “double-trap” events.

There are also other forms of trap shooting, such as International Trap, Trench, Bunker, ISSF Trap, DTL (or down-the-line) Trap, as well as Nordic Trap. If you compared Trap vs. Skeet, you’ll see they are similar, except trap only uses one point to launch from.

shotgun stance

American trap

In the United States and Canada, the version most popular is American Trap. Overseeing American trap are two independent bodies: the ATA (Amateur Trapshooting Association) and the PITA (Pacific International Trapshooting Association), which provides a sanctioning function for shooting events spanning all of North America.

Trap shooting depends on machines that launch clay targets in different configurations. In trap shooting, the shooter fires five shots from a total of five different positions each round. American Trap requires that the clay targets all fly at the same height but from varying angles. Five different stations are present where each shooter takes their shots, and then the next shooter takes theirs, each at different stations. Shooters travel between round stations with unloaded guns for safety.

Olympic trap

In Olympic trap shooting, launches are conducted much more rapidly from a bank of 15 machines placed below grade and hidden from view. In each round, each shooter performs 25 launches, who all shoot the same targets. A computer scores them for accurate and fair scoring. In this version, trapshooters are also allowed to take two shots per target during their round. Many times, shooters will continue to shoot at large portions of broken targets, to practice the art of “staying in the gun,” a shooting skill.

The Different Types of Trap Guns

In trap shooting, you can use a double-barreled shotgun or single shot shotgun. There are certain types of shotguns that you can use for most trap shooting.

Single shot

You only get one shot at each target in the single shot version of trap shooting. In basic singles trap, you can use almost any shotgun, although there are also many specialized trap guns that are the single shot variety.

Over and under

This double-barreled shotgun features barrels placed on top of each other, arranged vertically and horizontally, with a top barrel and a bottom barrel. In some models, there is one trigger, which is typical, but in others, there are two triggers. One for each barrel.

Looking for More Information?

There are plenty of resources available through simple research that will give you more information about trap shooting, where to compete, instructions, and where to get guns and supplies. Some websites focus on trap shooting sports.

You can read up on the sport and what you have to do to prepare for following and engaging in the fun yourself. Another good idea is to talk with trap shooters at the Trapshooters forum online as well.

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