Target shooting

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Trap shooter

Target shooting , clay pigeon shooting or throwing pigeon shooting is the collective term for shooting with shotguns and shotgun ammunition at throwing pigeons . It's a precision sport .

The Trap and Skeet disciplines are held at the Olympic Games, although the two disciplines differ primarily in the shooting range. With the trap, the throwing disc is thrown from one point in varying directions, with the skeet from two different points in fixed directions.


Clay pigeon shooting range in Plaue Castle Park; the oldest preserved in the world

Clay target or clay pigeon shooting has been around since at least the 19th century. In the Schlosspark Plaue there is a historical complex of Count Hans Adolf Erwein Max von Königsmarck , which dates from around 1900 and is said to be the oldest preserved in the world. This was decorated with larger than life animal sculptures.



Trap hunting

Equipping a throwing machine with throwing discs (clay pigeons)

During the hunting trap, the shooters shoot a total of 15 clay targets (25 in Austria). In contrast to the sporty trap, the throwing disc is not called up orally, but requested by so-called waving (in Austria by request). The difference is the distance from the edge of the bunker and that in the Jagdtrap the rifle stock is positioned at the pelvic bone with the muzzle at about eye level. The throwing direction of the targets is - with the exception of the automat (turbulence automats, which describe a permanent movement of a lying figure eight so that the angle and height of the target is random for the shooter) - as with the Sporttrap ( see below ) by schemes that are set before the competition to be drawn and set.

In the hunting trap, the shooter stands 11 m (in Austria 10 m) away from the throwing machine and, as in the sporting trap, three disciplines are shot: Automat ( JFA ), five machines ( JFU ) and 15 machines ( JFO ). Competitions are shot in so-called groups , each consisting of six shooters. General guns are in the calibers 12, 16 and 20 are used, wherein both fixed rollers and cross-guns are used. The maximum shot load allowed in competition is 24 grams per shot with a shot diameter of maximum 2.5 mm. Lead shot has been used almost exclusively to this day. The use of steel shot has not caught on for safety reasons (dangerous ricochets from the hard material). The best rifles are single-trigger over and under shotguns. A hit is considered a hit if the referees can see after the shot and during the flight phase of the target that a visible piece is detaching from the target.

The term trap comes from English ( trap = trap). This originally referred to the cages from which living pigeons used to be released for shooting. A few years ago an attempt was made to shoot hunting traps without calling the pigeon (target). That means: When the rifle stood still, the clay pigeon had to be thrown within three seconds. This type has not caught on. Hunting competitions in Austria are organized by the VJWÖ according to international rules.


The term skeet was probably derived from the Old Norse word skot (shot).

Aerial photo of a clay target shooting range (2012)
1988 postage stamp

In the case of the hunting skeet, each of the stalls 1, 3, 4 and 5 fires at individual discs from each throwing machine. From stands 2, 6 and 7 a doublet is shot at and, in addition, from stand 7 a single clay target. In the case of duplicates, both machines are triggered simultaneously. The hunter can achieve a maximum of 15 hits, each rated with five points. Until mid-2018, the shooter called the clay disc silently by waving it away. The weapon had to be swiveled vertically once, clearly visible. The individual retrieval movements of the shooters differed considerably, which regularly led to irritation and discomfort. Therefore, since mid-2018, the throwing disc has been called up in hunting competitions just like in sports competitions by uttering. There is no time delay like in the sporty skeet . Teams for team competitions usually consist of three shooters.

Shotguns in calibers 12, 16, and 20 are generally used, with over and under shotguns being used. The hunting competition also includes the hunting trap and four ball disciplines . The shotgun must not be changed between the skeet and the trap in hunting competitions. Because of the often short shooting distances with the skeet, so-called scattering cartridges are usually used, in which the shot charge (usually 2.0 mm grain diameter) contains a scattering cross, which ensures a greater fanning out of the shot. The hunting competitions are organized in Germany by the German Hunting Protection Association .

Hunting course

Hunting parcours or also Sporting and Parcours de Chasse is the fine art of shotgun shooting.

In this discipline of clay target shooting is the simulation of hunting on small game . It differs from Skeet and Trap mainly in that there are no predetermined locations of the clay target machines or the flight paths.

Each shooter shoots a set number of individual targets (single pigeon) and one or more doubles. In international competitions, three single pigeons and a doublet, which is made up of these, are often shot from one point of view.

The following types of duplicates are possible:

  • On shot: when the shot hits the first target, the second is started.
  • Simultaneously: Both targets are started at the same time.
  • Raffahle: Two clay targets are started one after the other from one machine.

A clay target is considered hit if there are visible splinters detaching from it. Individual pigeons can be shot at twice by the shooter. For finding the result it is irrelevant whether the target is hit with the first or the second shot. In contrast to many other disciplines, the shooter can largely choose which target to fire on when it comes to doubles. For example, if he missed the first throwing disc with the first shot, he can shoot at it again. The pawn doubles (both throwing discs of the doublet are hit with just one shot) are also counted as hits.

In contrast to the trap, the shooter has to hold the shotgun in the so-called hunting position. The shaft is held at a certain minimum distance below the shoulder. Only when the shooter has called up the clay target and it is visible can the target be struck correctly.

After a verbal request by the shooter, one to three seconds can pass before the target is visible.

All types of clay targets ( standard , midi , mini , sailing pigeon (battue) , roll hare and rocket ) are shot at. If the throwing disc has a parabolic trajectory and is in a vertical position, it is often referred to as a parabolic or looper and a very steeply rising throwing disc is often called a teal or candle.

In general, shotguns in calibers 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410 are allowed on the hunting course.

In Germany, national competitions have been organized according to FITASC regulations since 2016 by the DSB (German Shooting Federation). Before 2016, TIRO was responsible for this nationally. International competitions, especially the continental and world championships, are organized by the Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse (FITASC) itself.


The shooting on ZZ or helices-clay targets referred to in Germany as electric pigeons, but is not very well known nor widespread. This discipline is the simulation of live pigeon shooting, which is still widespread in some countries .

In electric pigeon shooting, twelve pigeons are shot at from a distance of 21 m. After 12 pigeons shot, the ten best shooters are qualified for the final over another five pigeons. With the same number of hits, more than ten shooters can reach the final. The team, junior, senior and women's ranking also ends with the twelfth pigeon. In these evaluations, if there is a tie after the 12th pigeon, a jump-off will be decided.

The electric hood has a diameter of 104 mm and weighs a maximum of 35 grams. The two opposite wings must be 28 cm long. The total weight of the clay target must not exceed 70 g. Shotguns with a caliber of no more than twelve and a shot load of no more than 36 g are permitted.

The shooting target is called up twice by the shooter: After the shooter has finished loading his weapon, he signals his / her readiness to the machine's operating personnel by saying “ Ready” . The operator also acknowledges this with the exclamation Ready . Now the shooter calls the clay target with pull . If the target is thrown before the shooter has called it with a pull , he can request a new target by not firing the shot. If, on the other hand, he shoots the clay target, the result is scored. If the target leaves a predetermined area without the shooter having hit it, an error is noted.

Competitions are conducted in a knock-out system , with those shooters who hit the clay targets being increased from 21 m to the throwing machine in 3 m increments. The number of spreading discs in a series depends on the number of machines available:

machinery Clay targets
5 2
7th 3
9 5

In addition to the actual shooting, this discipline also includes betting .


Compak-Sporting , in the USA NSCA 5 stand , is a simplified variation of the hunting course , which was developed to be able to shoot clay targets close to the hunt on spatially limited shooting ranges.

All types of clay targets are shot at. Shotguns of caliber 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410 are permitted, whereby the shot load must not exceed 28 g . A squad consists of 4 shooters who stand next to each other in cages . As with the trap , the shooters each shoot a clay target. In positions 1 to 3, 4 individual targets and one doublet are fired at; in the 4th position there are 5 individual targets and one doublet; a series consists of 25 clay targets. The shooter can fire a maximum of two shots for each clay target, regardless of whether the target is hit with the first or the second shot. The following types of duplicates are possible:

  • On shot: when the shot hits the first target, the second is started.
  • Simultaneously: Both targets are started at the same time.
  • Raffahle: Two clay targets are started one after the other from one machine.

If all the shooters have shot at the clay targets a position change of positions is in contrast to trap counter- clockwise instead.

After the shooter has vocalized it, one to three seconds can pass before the target is visible.

In Germany , the national competitions are organized by the TIRO German Association for Hunting Parcours Shooting of FITASC eV ; the international competitions, particularly the continental and world championships, are organized by the Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse (FITASC). The competitions are usually held over 100 or 200 targets.



Trap or trap shooting has been an Olympic discipline since 1900. This involves shooting in series of 25 targets with 24 g shotgun cartridges at white, yellow, orange or black targets. The firing stands are side by side at a distance of 3 meters and are on a line that runs parallel at a distance of 15 meters behind the upper edge of a bunker in which 15 throwing machines are mounted in groups of three. The line that runs through the axis of this middle trap machine and through the middle of the shooting range behind it forms a right angle (90 °) with the edge of the bunker . From each of the five machine groups, two are thrown to the left and two to the right, as well as a straight or almost straight throwing disc. The setting of the 15 throwing machines is based on a total of nine throwing schemes, with either two or three of them being drawn beforehand for machine setting over 125 throwing discs per competition. If there are five bunkers available on large trap shooting ranges, then five of the nine schemes can of course be drawn, according to which the machines are then set up for the competition. During the training days preceding the competition (officially max. 2) the schemes used are removed before the competition schemes are selected.

The shooter whose turn it is to shoot triggers the throwing of a target by electro-acoustic calling. He then waits until the shooter standing to his right has called up "his target" and fired at him, in order to then go to the next range himself. After each shooter has fired at 25 targets (5 per range 1 to 5), this series is over. When thrown, the clay targets can reach speeds of up to 70  km / h .

The participants complete their competition in so-called ranks , each consisting of 6 shooters. Teams in team competitions consist of three shooters each.

In the case of a “sporty trap”, the targets are called verbally by the shooter; Shot is shot (in contrast to the hunting attack) in the estimate, which means that the stock of the weapon is already on the shooter's shoulder and the cheek on the back of the stock when called. The cheek is pressed firmly onto the comb to make good contact with the shotgun. Compared to hunting trap shooting, the distance between the shooter and the throwing device in Olympic trap shooting is greater (+ 5 m in Austria, in Germany + 4 m). The discs also fly further and are therefore faster. A hit is counted if the referee can see after the shot that a “visible piece” has detached itself from the target.

To this day, lead shot with a maximum diameter of 2.5 mm has been used almost exclusively. The use of steel shot has not caught on for safety reasons (dangerous ricochets from the hard material).

The term trap comes from the English trap = trap. This originally referred to the cages from which living pigeons used to be released for shooting.

Double trap

Double trap is a very young Olympic discipline that was introduced internationally in 1988 and became an Olympic discipline in 1996 .

Although 12, 16 or 20 caliber shotguns can be used to shoot targets, practically only 12 caliber over-and-under shotguns are used in this discipline. Two throwing discs (i.e. a doublet) are shot at, which are thrown by two rigid throwing machines. The machines are fixed and differ in throwing angle and height (machine 7: 0 to 5 degrees left; height: 3 m, machine 8: 0 degrees; 3.5 m, machine 9: 0 to 5 degrees right, 3 m) . The shot weight is not heavier than 24  g . After every doublet , the shooter changes his position , as in a trap . There are five positions for shooting. A competition consists of 150 clay targets, which are divided into three rounds with 25 doubles each. In each run, the duplicates are thrown by two different machines (program 1: machine 7 + 8, program 2: machine 8 + 9, program 3: machine 7 + 9). A final of the best 6 shooters will be shot at all ISSF competitions and championships.

New from January 1st, 2004: Retrieval with timer: After retrieval, the targets are dropped with a delay of 0 to 1 second (timer with random generator).

The sporting competitions are organized in Germany by the German Schützenbund .

The discipline "Double Trap Women" was removed from the competition program for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.


In the sporty skeet , a series of 25 clay targets is shot at. In contrast to the hunting skeet , the shooter may only fire one shot at the clay target, whereby the shot load may not exceed 24 g.

Since January 1st, 2013 the world association ISSF has set a new or changed program:

A target from the high-rise building and a doublet were fired at at positions 1, 2, 3. The doublet is to be shot in the following order: high-rise-low-rise. At position 4 only single panes are fired at first, first high-rise, then low-rise. It is important to ensure that the shooter loads his weapon with two cartridges, but is only allowed to fire one shot. After shelling the high-rise window, the weapon is dropped but not broken. The weapon remains in the direction of the field of fire and the shooter repositions himself so that he can now call up the Niederhaus target and shoot with the second remaining shot. At positions 5 and 6, three targets are fired at again. First a single Niederhaus disc, followed by a duplicate. The doublet must now be fired in reverse order: Niederhaus high-rise. Only one doublet is fired on at position 7, again in the order Niederhaus-Hochhaus. If stand 7 has been completed, the shooter returns to stand 4 and has to shoot two doubles there. First in the order high-rise-low-rise and then a duplicate in the order low-rise-high-rise. Finally, at booth 8, a single high-rise pane is first shot at, followed by a single low-rise pane.

  • Stand 1: high-rise + duplicate
  • Stand 2: high-rise + duplicate
  • Stand 3: high-rise + duplicate
  • Stand 4: high-rise + low-rise
  • Stand 5: Niederhaus + duplicate
  • Stand 6: Niederhaus + doublet
  • Stand 7: duplicate
  • Stand 4: Duplicate (high-rise low-rise) + reverse doublet (low-rise high-rise)
  • Stand 8: high-rise + low-rise

The shooter calls up the targets; after the call, between 0 and 3 seconds may elapse before the target is visible (random timer).

In competition, the so-called squad usually consists of six shooters. Olympic like many other national and international competitions are held for men over 125 targets (five qualifying rounds) and a final round. The six best shooters in the qualification make it to the final. The women fought international competitions over 75 targets until around 2018, and since then women and men have been shooting identical competitions again.

If there is a tie, a jump-off is shot (so-called shoot-off). Since 2005 this has only been played on station four, with the shooters shooting doubles and reverse doubles until one shooter misses a target (and his opponent hits it).

The sporting competitions are organized in Germany by the German Schützenbund (DSB).

Plant and equipment

On Sagittarius

The shotgun shooter uses a shotgun to fire his shotgun.

In the Compak-Sporting and Hunting Parcours disciplines, glasses and hearing protection are mandatory. However, it is generally recommended to wear these protective measures as well as a head covering.

Throwing machine

Clay disc machine

The throwing machines are spring-loaded machines that are specially designed to throw the various types of throwing discs up to 100 m.

They can be of the simple, hand-cocked, and hand-released types. In most cases, however, they are fully automatic, electrically operated systems that are triggered at the push of a button, also radio-controlled or acoustically triggered by the shooter's voice. The magazines can load up to 400 targets.

Throwing disc


According to the regulations of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), it has a diameter of 110 mm, a height of 25 mm and a weight of 105 g in all disciplines. The color of the domed disc or the painting of the top can be black, white, yellow or orange. In special cases, such as B. a semi-finals and finals and / or television broadcasts, the throwing discs are provided with colored powder, so-called flash pigeons , which creates a visible cloud of color in the air when a hit.

In the Skeet and Trap disciplines , the throwing angles and throwing distances are standardized.

Midi and Mini

These two variants are proportionally the same as the standard throwing disc. However, the Midi only has a diameter of 90 mm, the Mini even only 60 mm. These pigeons are used in indoor facilities and in the various disciplines of the hunting course.

Rollhase, Rocket

A clay target that is intended for use in a roller hare machine has a particularly reinforced outer edge. At 110 mm, its diameter corresponds to that of a standard throwing disc. The target is not catapulted into the air like in target shooting, but rolled over the "field" so that the movement of a fleeing hare is imitated for the budding hunter.

The Rocket version does not roll, but is thrown horizontally like a standard throwing disc.

Sail (battue)

A so-called sailing or battue pigeon has a diameter of 100 mm, but only a height of 10 mm. The trajectory is generally radial and characterized by high speed.

Shooting range



The hunting trap stand consists of a bunker that is about one meter below and eleven meters in front of the five shooting positions arranged in a slight semicircle. The shooters change from stand to stand three times after each clay pigeon shot. In this bunker there are three so-called turbulence machines, i.e. throwing machines that are moved horizontally and vertically by a mechanism so that the direction of flight of the throwing disc cannot be foreseen.


In contrast to the hunting trapstand , the five positions of the shooters are next to each other at a distance of 15 meters behind the bunker. Each stand is assigned three throwing machines , which is why the systems are often referred to as the 15-machine stand , 15-machine or Olympic trench .

As a rule, the systems have acoustic call systems.

In Germany there are 15 machine stands at the following locations :

  • Olympic shooting range Munich- Hochbrück (5 stands)
  • Suhl - Friedberg (3 stands)
  • Wiesbaden (3 booths)
  • Frankfurt / Oder (2 stands)
  • Bad Abbach - Bockenberg
  • Hörabach
  • Selbitz juniper bush
  • Herrieden
  • Drgendorf
  • Neumarkt - Grünberg
  • Thannhausen
  • Sindelfingen
  • Arolsen
  • Heiligendamm
  • Grim
  • Großdobritz (near Meissen)


Schematic structure of a skeet stand

A shooting range for the skeet discipline has the schematic structure shown in the adjacent illustration. A shooter shoots clay targets on stands 1 to 8 (athletic) or 1 to 7 (hunting). The clay targets are thrown by two separate machines.

The machine on the left from the shooter's point of view is in a house. This house is called a skyscraper because the throwing machine inside is about 3 meters above the ground. The house on the right from the point of view of the shooter, however, is called Niederhaus. The throwing machine is arranged there at a height of about 1 m. The terms pull for the high-rise and mark for the low- rise are out of date and are rarely used. In the above figure, A denotes the high-rise building and B the low- rise building .

The throwing directions of the targets are fixed and cross at one point, the target crossing point (ZP). The stands 1 to 7 are arranged at equal intervals along a section of a circle. The center of this circle is at point ZP and its radius is r . The line between stands 1 and 7 is called the baseline . The length of this baseline is d . The center of station 8 is located in the middle of the line. This center is at a distance h from the target intersection point ZP .

Stands 1 to 7 are square with a side h s . Stand 8 consists of a series of two normal stands. Stand 8 is therefore rectangular with a side height of h s and a side width of 2 * h s . The distance between the two houses on the baseline is d + 2 * h s , as the high or low house must be seamlessly connected to stands 1 and 7 on the left or right.

The flying range of the clay targets is mandatory and is between 65 m and 67 m. Depending on the discipline or terrain, so-called boundary marks are optionally set up for visual control. These marks are located at certain intervals on the imaginary trajectory on the ground. The distances are measured from the discharge hatch of the high or low-rise building. The shot mark is set up at a distance δ s and shows how far the target can sensibly be shot at. The target marker shows how far the clay target must fly. The distance between this mark and the discharge hatches is δ t .

Not shown in the above figure is the further requirement that the trajectories must cross perpendicularly above the target intersection point ZP. For this purpose, a ring with a radius r g is stretched vertically over the ZP. The center of this ring is at height h g . Extend both trajectories through this ring, the condition of is self-crossing met.

The following table gives an overview of the international dimensions

Identifier Anglo-American Metric Identifier Anglo-American Metric
r 21 yd 19.2024 m h A 10 3,0480 m
d 120 9 36,8046 m h B 3 ½ 1.0668 m
δ s 44yd 40.2336 m h 1 30 ″ 0.7620 m
δ t 60yd 54.8640 m H 18 5.4864 m
Δ w 26 8 3/8 ″ 8.1375 m h s 1 yd 0.9144 m
r g 3 1.4016 ″ 0.475 m h g 14,764 4,5000 m

Hunting course

The spatial requirements for a shooting range for a hunting course are very large. Due to the non-standardized trajectories of the clay targets, large safety areas are required for the individual positions of the shooters. The number of existing shooting ranges that are also suitable for larger competitions is therefore very limited in Europe .

According to international rules, each target should be shootable by the shooter at a maximum distance of 40 m; However, if the target is approaching, the location of the machine can be 70 or more meters away from the shooter.


Compak-Sporting was developed in order to be able to exercise a type of hunting course on shooting ranges that cannot meet the spatial requirements of a hunting course stand. Instead, the possibilities of existing skeet and trap stands, combined as far as possible, are used. In addition, special machines such as a rabbit or teal machine are installed.

The shooters stand in five protective cages set up side by side, which means that, for reasons of safety, the shotgun can only be moved to the right, left and up to a limited extent.


The demands on a shooting range for helices are high. The stand must always be oriented to the north or northeast. One of the 22 clay target machines must be set up in the extension of this axis. There are also detailed regulations for the installation of the other 21 machines. The stand must be limited in the firing direction by a wall 60 to 80 cm high, with a maximum distance of 21 m between the wall and the machines.

Further meaning of the term

Clay pigeon shooting is also used as a cynical term to describe a one-sided battle in which one side inflicts enormous losses on the opponent due to technical and / or numerical superiority without suffering any significant losses itself. In particular, this term is used in aerial combat , but is also applied to ground combat in which vehicles are primarily involved. In ball sports , too , extreme defeats with an exceptionally high hit difference are occasionally ridiculed as clay pigeon shooting .



  • Robert Churchill: The shotgun shooting. A practical shooting guide for game shooters. 7th, revised edition. Parey, Hamburg et al. 1988, ISBN 3-490-03712-X .
  • Heinz Oppermann: technique of hunting shooting. 2nd Edition. Kosmos, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-440-10429-X .
  • Klaus Reinhard: Target shooting methodology. 5th completely revised edition. Self-published, s, n. 2010, ISBN 978-3-000-14454-7 (for sport and hunting shooters).

Web links

Commons : Targets  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Clay Pigeon Shooting  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wiktionary: clay pigeon shooting  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Target shooting  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Rules & information






Individual evidence

  1. Description of the castle park. Förderverein Schlosspark Plaue eV, accessed on February 7, 2019 .
  3. International rules for the 2020 Hunting Course PDF file
  4. Regulations 2008 page 3 of 27  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  5. Data taken from the rule book of the National Skeet Shooting Association ,  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: Der Link was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /