Get Involved: SHOOTING

Shooting has been an Olympic sport since the first modern Games in 1896 and has a history of providing intrigue and drama.

And ahead of London 2012, there is the curious case of Britain's top medal hope, double trap specialist Peter Wilson, being coached by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai's ruling family and the 2004 Olympic champion in the event.

Wilson's double trap team-mate Richard Faulds is Britain's last gold medallist in shooting, having won in 2000; London will be his fifth consecutive Games.

There were just three shooting events at the inaugural modern Olympics, but this has grown to 15 disciplines, with 390 athletes from more than 100 countries expected to take part in 2012.

Shooting's venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks will ensure its place close to the centre of the action in London.

Why is it good for you?

Shooting is a tense sport that requires immense reserves of skill, concentration and nerve.

Strength, stamina, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are all improved by taking part.

As shooting events rely on mental power, people of all ages can compete against each other on equal terms.

The oldest gold medal winner in Olympic history remains Sweden's Oscar Swahn.

He was part of the single shot running deer team at the 1912 Games in Stockholm when aged 64.

Get involved

To learn the techniques involved in pistol and rifle events, beginners are advised to try out the National Rifle Association of Great Britain's probationary coursesexternal-link for membership.

The three-month long programme provides a good grounding in all the NRA shooting disciplines including Target Rifle, F-Class rifle, Gallery Rifle and Muzzle-Loading revolver. You will also learn how to safely handle the guns.

You can find your nearest club on the National Rifle Association of Great Britain's club finder.external-link

If you are interested in trying out small-bore rifle shooting visit the National Small-bore Rifle Association's website.external-link For those interested in clay pigeon shooting, you can find your nearest local club on the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association website.external-link

For those interested in shotgun events outside of England, the Scottish Clay Target Association,external-linkUlster Clay Pigeon Associationexternal-link and Welsh Clay Target Shooting Associationexternal-link websites all contain information on training sessions and competitions.

To ensure safety, it is vital all sessions are overseen by qualified trainers.

Many clubs offer free taster sessions. As gun ownership is strictly licensed in the United Kingdom, you can rent equipment from clubs, with members often hiring guns at concessionary rates.

Want to get involved with sport in your local community? Why not Join In ?

'Join In Local Sport'external-link aims to get as many people as possible to turn up and take part in activities at their local sports facilities on 18/19 August, 2012 - the first weekend between the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The aim of the initiative is for every sports club and community group in the UK to put on a special event in a bid to encourage more people to get involved as members, supporters or volunteers.

More than 4,000 local sports clubs will be opening their doors to host events and show people just how they can get involved.

As well as tips on playing sport there will be information on coaching, supporting and how to help out.

The competition format at London 2012

  • From Saturday 28 July to Monday 6 August 390 athletes will compete at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
  • Shooting is divided into three different groups: rifle, pistol and shotgun.
  • In the five pistol events and the five rifle events, shooters take part in two rounds, the qualification and the final.
  • In the five shotgun events, shooters take part in a qualification round and the final.
  • The athlete with the highest points tally wins the gold medal in each of the 15 events.

More on the London 2012 websiteexternal-link

The rules at London 2012

In the rifle and pistol competitions, marksmen aim at targets ranging from 10 to 50 metres away. In the shotgun event, competitors shoot at clay targets propelled at a series of different directions and angles.

In the events with a stationary target, there are 10 scoring rings on the target board.

In qualification, the centre of the target is worth a maximum 10 points. In the finals, the scoring system changes and the 10 rings are subdivided into 10 'decimal' score zones from 10.0 up to a maximum of 10.9.

In shotgun events, by contrast, athletes shoot at moving targets, with scoring done on a simple hit-or-miss basis.

In all but one of the Olympic shooting events, the scores from the qualification and final phases are added together to determine the overall rankings. The exception is the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, for which only the scores in the final round will be used to determine the rankings.

Eight athletes progress from the qualification round to the final in all five rifle events and every pistol event except the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol.

In the five shotgun events, six athletes progress from the qualification round to the final.

The rules in each event vary according to the discipline, distance, and types of target and arm, firing position, number of shots and the time within which the shots have to be fired.

More on the Team GB websiteexternal-link

Ones to watch

Any British medal is most likely to come in the men's double trap: Richard Faulds is a former Olympic champion, while recent world number one and world record holder Peter Wilson is coached by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist.

Pistol shooter Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan is a double world champion who ran for his life to escape the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Leading the Chinese charge will be double Olympic rifle champion Du Li, who returned in 2011 after a two-and-a-half year absence.


Shooting as a sport has been practised for hundreds of years in European countries, with some German shooting clubs dating back more than 500 years.

With the exceptions of the 1904 and 1928 Games, shooting has featured on every Olympic programme since the first modern Games in 1896. Women's events were added to the schedule in 1984.

There was live pigeon shooting in Paris in 1900, pistol duelling at the unofficial Games six years later - when participants shot at mannequins in frock coats - and when London first hosted the Olympics, competitors shot at cardboard cut-outs in the running deer competition.

The live pigeon shooting event at the 1900 Games in Paris marked the only time in Olympic history when animals were deliberately killed in the name of sport.

Leon de Lunden of Belgium bagged 21 birds to clinch the gold medal.

More recently, China's Wang Yifu fired his last shot at the 1996 Olympics while collapsing to the floor due to low blood sugar levels. When he came round, he was told that he had managed to win silver.

The 2008 Olympics was memorable for the story of another Chinese competitor, Du Li. She had been expected to become the host nation's first winner on the opening morning of the Games, but she finished out of the medals in the 10m air rifle and broke down in tears.

Her emotional redemption came five days later with gold in the 50m rifle 3 position.

Shooting also endured its first major doping case in Beijing, when Kim Jong-su of North Korea was stripped of his medals in the 50m pistol and 10m air pistol after testing positive for banned beta blocker propranolol.

More on the IOC websiteexternal-link