Precision competitions have been held for many a century. As much a means of public entertainment as a way for the shooting communities to identify their most precise members, competitive shooting keeps gathering people to this day. The introduction of firearms brought even more variety into the sphere once dominated by bows.
The trials themselves too have undergone many iterations and are now much more diverse. There are several different disciplines within precision shooting, each with its own unique set of rules and techniques. In this article, Gritr Sports will shed some light on the various types of precision shooting disciplines, their distinctive features and the skills required to excel in them.
1. Bullseye Shooting
Often considered a synonym for precision shooting but actually a separate discipline, bullseye shooting is probably the most renowned shooting sport. It is a target shooting discipline in which the shooter attempts to hit a small, round paper target from a stationary position at a set distance. The goal is to score the highest number of points by hitting the target as close to the center as possible. As accuracy is of utmost importance in this discipline, small-bore rifles and handguns are the primary weapon choices (civilian-allowed variants only, M4 rifle included).
However, as with many other shooting sports, it’s not only about being accurate. Bullseye shooting calls for a wide array of skills like controlling one’s breathing, maintaining perfect stillness and keeping a consistent grip, all while squeezing the trigger to the perfect degree.
In America, the NRA National Pistol Championship, also known as the National Matches, is one of the most famous bullseye shooting events. The two of three matches include the slow-fire and timed-fire pistol matches with an emphasis on precision. The NRA also organizes Smallbore Rifle tournaments. Furthermore, the USA Shooting National Pistol Championships is an Olympic-style event, attracting competitors from all over the US as shooters go head-to-head in pursuit of points and medals.
2. Field Shooting
Field shooting is the ultimate test for shooters who love the thrill of hitting targets on the move. It’s a discipline in which targets are engaged from varying distances while on the move, requiring the shooter to dynamically respond to changing environmental conditions.
Firearms used in field shooting vary considerably, from rifles to pistols and revolvers, as does the associated equipment like bipods, slings and scopes. Choosing the right firearm is heavily dependent on the environment and the specific shooting conditions, which can vary significantly.
Field shooting events are held across the world and attract a diverse range of participants, from amateur shooters to seasoned veterans. They are most popular in Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark. In the USA, the National Field Shooting Association (NFSA) tournaments test shooters of all levels with multiple stages and various challenges.
3. Rapid Fire
When precision alone isn’t challenging enough, the speed of shooting comes into the equation. Rapid-fire shooting involves engaging stationary targets with a set time limit to take shots. As a gun’s fire rate capabilities are extremely important, contestants use semi-automatic rifles. The shooters who want to excel in this discipline need to master recoil management, trigger control, and hand-eye coordination to maintain target acquisition and fire rapidly.
Rapid-fire shooting competitions are held across the world in various formats and categories. The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) organizes rapid-fire shooting events for Olympic competitions involving shooting at various distances and positions. The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) also organizes events that involve running through obstacle courses and engaging targets rapidly in a competitive environment.
4. Clay Target Shooting
This type of shooting involves shooting at clay targets launched into the air from a trap. Shooters must hit the two targets before they land. The targets in clay shooting can vary in size, shape, and speed, providing various challenge levels for shooters. This multi-disciplinary sport involves several techniques such as trap shooting, skeet shooting and sporting clays, each with its own set of rules and peculiarities. Shotguns are the primary firearms for clay target shooting.
The famous related events in America include the National Skeet Shooting Association World Skeet Championships, the United States Sporting Clays Association National Sporting Clays Championships, and the National Trapshooting Championships for ATA. These events attract experienced shooters from all around the world and provide a competitive and challenging environment that’s perfect for testing skills and honing techniques.
5. Long Range Shooting
Long-range shooting stands out among shooting sports, captivating enthusiasts with its emphasis on accuracy and precision over vast distances. In this adrenaline-pumping discipline, participants strive to hit targets positioned hundreds or even thousands of yards away. The allure lies in mastering the intricate details of bullet trajectory, windage, and elevation adjustments while maintaining unwavering focus and a steady hand.
To truly shine in long-range shooting, a distinctive skill set is required. Patience and concentration are essential, as shooters must remain composed and attentive for each shot. A profound understanding of ballistics, coupled with the ability to interpret environmental factors such as wind, temperature, and humidity, plays a vital role in success.
Popular long-range shooting competitions, such as the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), National Rifle League (NRL), and F-Class World Championships, showcase the immense talent and dedication of participants who have honed these skills. In summary, long-range shooting is a mesmerizing sport that artfully combines mental acuity, technical expertise, and polished marksmanship in an enthralling and rewarding experience.
Also read: A Complete Guide to How to Buy a Gun Legally