(spacer)EdGate Gateway to the Summer Games torch image(spacer)
(placeholder) (placeholder) (placeholder) (placeholder) (placeholder)
(placeholder) Brought to you by EdGate and Griffin Publishing Athens 2004


Target shooting with firearms dates back to the fourteenth century, but the weapons of that time were undependable and inaccurate. Over the centuries, weapons and ammunition have steadily improved, resulting in higher standards of accuracy and reliability. Target shooting was so popular in the nineteenth century that a shooting competition was included in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Click a link to
read more about

Seventeen events in shooting were scheduled for Games—six for shotguns, five with pistols, and six with rifles. Three relatively new events were the men’s 10-meter running target and the men’s and women’s double trap.

Men’s Events
Rapid-fire Pistol, 25 meters. This two-day event involves three phases. In the first phase, the shooter, using a .22-caliber pistol, has 8 seconds to fire at the 5 targets placed 25 meters away. He is allowed one shot per target. In the second phase, he has 6 seconds to fire at the same 5 targets. In the third phase, he has only 4 seconds in which to fire.

Free Pistol, 50 meters. The .22-caliber free pistol event allows shooters 2 hours to fire 60 shots at a target 50 meters away. The 10 ring, or bull’s-eye, is only 5 cm (2 in) in diameter. Points for hits range from 10 in the center to 1 point on the outermost ring. The highest point total wins.

Smallbore Rifle, Prone Position, 50 meters. Competitors have 1 1/2 hours to take 60 shots using a .22-caliber rifle weighing up to 8 kg (17.6 lb). The shooter is lying flat on his stomach, one leg straight, the other bent, with his wrist at least 15 cm (6 in) above the ground. His 10-ring target has a bull’s-eye which is a mere 10.4 mm in diameter.

Smallbore Rifle, Three Position, 50 meters. This most difficult event requires each competitor to shoot from 3 different positions: prone, kneeling, and standing. Shooters fire at a 10-ring target with a 10.4 mm bull’s-eye, 50 meters away, using a .22-caliber rifle which can weigh up to, but not exceed, 8 kg (17.6 lb).

Air Rifle, 10 meters. Aiming at a bull’s-eye only 0.5 millimeter in diameter 10 meters away, shooters fire one shot per target from the standing position. Both men and women use air- or gaspowered .177-caliber rifles, weighing up to 5.5 kg (12.1 lb).

Air Pistol, 10 meters. Men have 1 3/4 hours to take 60 shots at 10 meters. The bull’s eye of the small 10-ring target is a scant 1 millimeter in diameter. Shooters use an air- or a gas-powered .177-caliber pistol, taking only one shot per target.

Running Game Target, 50 meters. This moving target event uses a life-size paper image of a wild boar as its target. The “boar,” marked with a series of scoring rings ranging in point value from 1 to 10, runs along a 10-meter track at two speeds, normal and rapid. The shooter, using a .177-caliber air rifle with telescopic sights, is permitted 30 shots at each speed.

Men’s Running Target, 10 meters. Sixty shots are fired at a target 10 meters away with a center ring of 5.5mm (.22 in) in diameter. Thirty shots are in a slow round and 30 in a rapid round. For the slow round, the target—pulled across an aisle that is 2 meters wide —is visible for five seconds. For the rapid round, the target is visible for two and one-half seconds.

Men’s Double Trap. This event was contested for the second time in an Olympic Summer Games, having appeared first at Atlanta in 1996. Shotguns are fired from five adjacent shooting stations, each of which throws two targets from an underground bunker at speeds up to 50 mph. Competitors fire one shot per target, which weighs 105 g (3.7 oz), measures 11cm (4 in) in diameter, and is 25-26mm (less than 1 inch) thick.

Women’s Events
Air Rifle, 10 meters. Shooters have 75 minutes to fire 40 shots from a standing position at a stationary target 10 meters away. The bull’s eye is 0.5 millimeter in diameter. Women use air- or gas-powered .177-caliber rifles, weighing up to 5.5 kg (12.1 lb).

Smallbore Rifles, Three Positions, 50 meters. Women fire .22-caliber rifles, not exceeding 5.5 kg (12.1 lb). They shoot 40 rounds from each of three positions: prone, kneeling, and standing at a stationary target.

Sport Pistol, 25 meters. This event, using a .22-caliber standard pistol, is divided into two 30-shot stages. The “precision” stage uses a target with a 5 cm (2 in) bull’s-eye. In 6 rounds, shooters have 6 minutes to fire 5 shots. In the “rapid-fire” stage the target has a 10 cm (4 in) bull’s-eye which faces the shooter for 3 seconds, then mechanically turns away for 7 seconds.

Air Pistol, 10 meters. This event was added at the 1988 Games. Using an air- or gas-powered pistol, shots are taken at a small 10-ring stationary target. Shooters take one shot per target and have 75 minutes to complete 40 shots.

Women’s Double Trap. This event was contested for the second time in an Olympic Summer Games, having made its debut at the Atlanta Games in 1996. Shotguns are shot from five adjacent shooting stations, each of which throws two targets from an underground bunker at speeds up to 50 mph. Competitors fire one shot per target, which is shot from one of three trap machines at each station. The combined score from the preliminary round and the finals determines the order of finish.

Mixed Events
Trap Shooting. Shooters use a 12-gauge shotgun. In competition, 10 cm (4 in) clay saucers, known as “clay pigeons,” are dispatched mechanically at heights ranging from 1 to 4 meters above ground level. Each shooter has two shots. The clay pigeons are mechanically flung into the air, one to a shooter, at slightly different angles. Over three days, each shooter has 200 pigeons.

Skeet shooting. This event also uses the 12-gauge shotgun and clay pigeons; however, sometimes two pigeons are released at a time, and the shooter is required to break both clays before either falls to the ground. Competitors move around to eight different stations.

The pigeon is released from one of two skeet towers located on either side of the shooting station and placed approximately 46 meters away. One tower is high, the other low, and a shooter never knows the angle or exact height of the next pigeon.

News, History, and Fast Facts

More sports






Canoeing & Kayaking





Field Hockey











Synchronized Swimming

Table Tennis


Team Handball


Track & Field



Water Polo



General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this summer. Even though Gateway to the Summer Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and every one by visiting the sites listed below.

Portions of the above text were excerpted from Share the Olympic Dream--Volume II.
© 2001 by Griffin Publishing Group/United States Olympic Committee.

For information on purchasing Griffin materials, please visit the Griffin Publishing Group Web site at http://www.griffinpublishing.com.


Griffin Publishing

Coaches Notes

International Paralympic Committee
International Paralympic Committee

US Paralympics
US Paralympics

Canadian Paralympic Committee
Canadian Paralympic Committee



Help | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy
© Copyright 2004 EdGate All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Produced in partnership with Griffin Publishing Group.