Shooting sports have been around for a very long time since the invention of firearms in c.1300. The earliest record of a shooting match using matchlocks occurred in Eichstäat, Bavaria in 1447! Archeologists have found artifacts related to shooting sports in the 1500s, and there is a Swiss painting dated 1504 showing a rifle shooting setup.
Over the years the types of firearms have grown into handguns, rifles and shotguns. Shooting as a sport has become a very popular hobby dating back to the 1540s in Germany. Wedding guests would shoot at wooden targets and then give them to the host as a memento of the wedding! By the 16th century target shooting had become very popular in Europe.
As the New World was expanded from the original North American colonies Westward rifles became essential for both hunting and protection. To improve shooters skills shooting matches were held on a regular basis on weekends and holidays. By the 1830s shooting clubs were formed in the East and Midwest, and in 1871 the National Rifle Association was founded by Union officers Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate. This was done to promote and encourage rifle shooting on a more safe and accurate basis.
Today there is a great deal of concern about the use of firearms in the U.S. Some guns, particularly military style weapons with large capacity magazines, have sometimes been used in murders in the United States. As a result there have been more calls for more and more restrictions on gun ownership. It has become a political issue in the United States; however, a review of the facts shows that death by firearms is not a major cause of death in the U.S.
In 2013 there were 11,208 deaths by homicide compared to 614,348 deaths due to heart disease and 591,699 due to cancer. Even when we consider suicides by guns totaling 21,175 in 2013 we can see that tragic firearm deaths are not a major cause of death in the U.S.
3 Types Of Firearms
Today sports shooting involves the use of one of the following classes of firearms:
Most shooting sports fall into two categories: hunting and target shooting. There are a lot of options for the proper training on the use of firearms ranging from shooting clubs to shooting ranges. Many facilities are provided by retailers of firearms and classes are offered by various schools and technical institutes. On the other hand much firearm training is conducted for law enforcement and military members to make sure they know the proper way to handle and use firearms.
Today more and more young people have become interested in shooting, and as a result there has been a rise in rifle shooting clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies. More than one million youth participate in shooting sport events through groups like the 4-H, Boy Scouts, American Legion and more. These groups continue to flourish despite political pressure to close them down, continuing to provide unprecedented scholastic and athletic safety records.
In 1896 there were 5 Olympic shooting events and the Olympic Games continue to offer shooting sport competitions providing a great public relations opportunity. These events are overseen by the International Shooting Sport Federation while National Governing Bodies oversee the sport within each country.
Each type of firearm has their own specialties for competition.
A rifle is a firearm with a long, rifled barrel and normally takes two hands to hold and fire with precision. Rifles are used in hunting, military engagements and sport shooting. With their longer range and excellent accuracy, rifles are very popular and there are a lot of different events for those who love to shoot rifles.
Whether it is rapid fire running target shooting, four position small bore shooting, benchrest shooting or long range shooting you are sure to find one style of shooting that will intrigue you and improve your shooting skills. Even muzzle loading and cowboy action shooting events are available for those with antique and/or replica rifles!
Handguns are are much easier to carry and hold. They normally have a shorter range than rifles and are typically less accurate than rifles. Handguns are divided into two sub types called pistols and revolvers. Revolvers have a circular cylinder that holds the bullets and rotates as each shot is fired. Pistols carry the bullets in a removable magazine and typically can carry more bullets than a revolver.
Typically handgun conventional shooting is for hitting bulls-eye targets while other competitions use metallic animal shaped silhouettes which are knocked down when hit.
In the U.S. many states now allow individuals (with proper training) to carry handguns.
A shotgun is also a long barreled firearm much like a rifle, but typically it fires projectiles that contain multiple sub-projectiles called “shot”. These firearms are more often over & under break action firearms, or semi-automatic pump action firearms.
The majority of shotgun events involve shooting clay pigeons. Within the clay shooting events are clay, skeet and trap shooting where a clay pigeon is launched into the air simulating a flying bird which is then targeted and shot at.
Shotguns are also very popular for shooting game birds like pheasants, grouse, ducks and partridge.
Gun safety can be broken down into two categories: Learn to Shoot and Protective Shooting eyewear & clothing.
There are many different clubs and organizations that you can belong to where you will be taught how to properly shoot the firearm of your choice. One of the most popular introduction courses to shooting sports is the “First Shots” classes which are offered around the country. By clicking the “First Shots” link you can enter your state and find a class near you.
Using a search engine you can also search for shooting ranges in your area who will be able to direct you to gun safety classes in your area. They also may provide you with a safe facility to shoot and usually help you choose the best firearm for your desired use.
Of course shooting eyewear is one of the things we offer on this website from various manufacturers and with varying levels of protection depending upon the type of shooting you want to do. Shooting eyewear ranges from maximum protection for military personnel to eyewear for the casual sport shooter that don’t require the maximum level of protection.
Our next post will provide some information on shooting eyewear to help you choose the right eyewear for you.