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A new world

Shooting

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A supreme test of accuracy, shooting made its Olympic debut at Athens 1896, the first Games of the modern era. In Rio, competitors will battle to reach the podium in nine men’s and six women’s events, all individual.
Spectator's Guide - Shooting
  • Shooting

About

About

Aim of the game

Across a variety of firearm classes and positions, competitors must shoot at stationary or moving targets, scoring points for accuracy

Why should you watch this?

Shooting is a true test of accuracy and demands intellectual and psychological skill rather than physical strength, with competitions won and lost by a matter of millimetres

International Federation

Olympic debut

Athens 1896

Rules
  • Bullseye

    Bullseye

    Centre of the target, worth the maximum number of points

  • Firing line

    Firing line

    The line behind which competitors take up their positions

  • Series

    Series

    A sequence of shots, usually five or 10

Impress your friends

  • Men's shooting was part of the first modern Olympic Games, in Athens in 1896, but women's events were not added until the Los Angeles 1984 Games

    Men's shooting was part of the first modern Olympic Games, in Athens in 1896, but women's events were not added until the Los Angeles 1984 Games

  • Canada's Gerald Ouellete achieved the perfect score of 600 in the prone rifle event at the Melbourne 1956 Games, hitting 60 bullseyes in a row

    Canada's Gerald Ouellete achieved the perfect score of 600 in the prone rifle event at the Melbourne 1956 Games, hitting 60 bullseyes in a row

  • In Barcelona 1992 Games, China's Zhang Shan won the mixed trap, becoming the first woman to win a mixed shooting event

    In Barcelona 1992 Games, China's Zhang Shan won the mixed trap, becoming the first woman to win a mixed shooting event

  • At London 2012, 9 nations won 15 golds: Belarus, China, the Republic of Korea, Croatia, Cuba, USA, Great Britain, Italy and Romania

    At London 2012, 9 nations won 15 golds: Belarus, China, the Republic of Korea, Croatia, Cuba, USA, Great Britain, Italy and Romania

  • The USA's Carl Osburn holds the record for the most Olympic shooting medals with 11, including five golds

    The USA's Carl Osburn holds the record for the most Olympic shooting medals with 11, including five golds

  • A gold medallist in Seoul 1988, Latvia's Afanasijs Kuzmins has competed in nine Olympics

    A gold medallist in Seoul 1988, Latvia's Afanasijs Kuzmins has competed in nine Olympics

  • At Antwerp 1920, 72 year-old Oscar Swahn became the oldest competitor to win an Olympic medal, the Swede taking silver in the team deer shooting

    At Antwerp 1920, 72 year-old Oscar Swahn became the oldest competitor to win an Olympic medal, the Swede taking silver in the team deer shooting

  • Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the driving force behind the modern Olympic Games, was also a French pistol shooting champion and introduced the sport to the Games

    Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the driving force behind the modern Olympic Games, was also a French pistol shooting champion and introduced the sport to the Games

  • Competitors wear glasses that enhance the contrast of the target against the background, and control their breathing rate in order to shoot from a more steady position

    Competitors wear glasses that enhance the contrast of the target against the background, and control their breathing rate in order to shoot from a more steady position

Rifles and pistols

Depending on the event, the athlete’s position is either standing, kneeling or ‘prone’ (lying on their front) and either 10m, 25m or 50m from the target.

Each event has qualification rounds, in which the number of shots ranges from 40 to 120, and a final phase, in which each athlete shoots between 20 and 45 times, except for the 25m pistol, which sometimes requires more shots in the final.

Scoring

The target is divided into 10 rings, with the centre being worth the most points and the other rings decreasing in value the further they are from the middle. In the qualifying phase, there are two scoring systems, which are used in different events:

  • Shooters score between one and 10 points for each shot, depending on which ring is hit

  • Each ring is divided into 10 zones, which are worth from 1.0 to 10.9 points

In the finals, only the second system is used.

The 25m rapid fire pistol and 25m pistol events have a different scoring system, in which there is a determined hit zone and only hits and misses are counted

Shotgun

In the trap, double trap and skeet events, shooters must hit ‘clays’ (flying discs) that are flung into the air from machines on the ground. The winner is the athlete who shoots the most clays in the final.  

The clays are launched by electro-mechanical devices and can reach speeds of up to 88.5 km/h. Made of environmentally friendly material, the discs are 11cm in diameter and 2.5-2.6cm thick, weighing 100-110g.

A ‘hit’ is confirmed when any piece of a clay is seen to fall from it.

Shooting positions

In the trap and double trap events, athletes shoot from five central positions in the range at clays launched from the pit.  In the trap events, women shoot at 75 clays and men shoot at 125 in the qualification rounds, with both genders shooting at 15 clays in the finals.  In the double trap events, there are 150 clays in qualification and 15 doubles in the finals.

In the skeet events, competitors shoot from eight numbered positions in the range at clays launched from the high and low houses. In the qualification rounds, women shoot at 75 clays and men shoot at 125, with both genders shooting at 16 clays in the finals.

Equipment

Athletes can wear ear protection to minimise the noise of the shot, and tinted glasses to protect their eyes.

Stats

Top Medalists

Men
USA
Carl Osburn
5 4 2 11
SWE
Alfred Swahn
3 3 3 9
NOR
Otto Olsen
4 3 1 8
Women
USA
Kimberly Rhode
3 1 1 5
RUS
Marina Dobrancheva-Logvinenko
2 1 2 5
BUL
Maria Grozdeva
2 0 3 5