How to Shoot Trap

Learning how to shoot trap includes learning how trap shooting is different from other target sports.


The Differences between Trapshooting and Skeet

Trapshooting is often compared to "skeet" shooting. They both use shotguns and clay targets. The big difference is, in skeet, the targets cross in front of a shooter. In trapshooting, the targets go away from the shooter. However, both sports ultimately simulate the flight patterns of small birds.


Skeet and trapshooting share other aspects as well. They both use traps. Traps are spring loaded devices that launch the targets. In trapshooting, the original traps were actually cages that housed live pigeons. The pigeons were released and became instant targets. It wasn't until sometime in the late 19th century, during the great pigeon shortage, when platter shaped clay pigeons were developed. Everyone was happy, including the pigeons.


Trapshooting: the Sport

Throughout the U.S and Canada many competitions are held each year. Trapshooting competitions are challenging, fun and include three different categories. They are singles, handicap and double-target shooting. In all categories, a target is launched from a single trap and a 12 gauge shotgun is used.


In singles, participants shoot from five different stations located 16 yards behind the trap. When the participant says, "Pull!", the clay pigeon is hurled into the air at a height no more than ten feet and travels at a distance approximately 150 feet from the trap. To really get a sense of the unpredictable flight pattern of birds, the targets are released at different angles that go into different directions. The object for the shooter is to hit the target before it hits the ground. In double-target shooting, two targets are released at the same time.


Handicap trapshooting makes it possible for the average trap-shooter to compete against a superior one. Participants that are expert marksmen will shoot at shooting stations located up to 27 yards behind the trap. The added distance makes for more of an even playing field.

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