View Full Version : Competitive Shooting Competition types/styles

January 31, 2010, 11:49 AM
I keep running across posts referring to different types of competitive shooting.

Bulls eye
Cowboy Action
Sporting Clays
Bowling Pins

Can someone provide a brief description of of these.
What is their purpose?
How do they differ and how are they similar?
What kind of firearms and ammo do they use? etc?


January 31, 2010, 03:00 PM
Basically they fall under a bigger umbrella on how and why the shoots are:

Skeet - two trap houses facing each other (gives the shooter more of a profile shooting

Trap - one trap house (clays are thrown away from the shooter at different angles)

Sporting Clays - all different distances and angles, some are high some are low and most are fast - trying to resemble real flight of birds and rabbits)

-Action Shooting
IDPA - more focused on conceal carry shooting competition
USPSA (aka IPSC) USPSA is the US version of the International competition you see on TV. Action shooting competition, guns are typically decked out for competition

GSSP - Glocks version of an action / fun shoot
Cowboy - all firearms are era appropriate to 1800's
Bowling Pins - Action shoot where you are competiting to shoot down bowling pins for time/against other shooters.

Bullseye - long distance pistol shooting 25 - 50 yards, slow and some rapid fire under timed condition, typically one handed shooting.

Silhouette - most likely .22 rifle shooting at 50 - 100 yards at very small steel targets.

So, you have a lot of different shooting types. From rifles, shotguns to pistols. They all offer different things to different people. Just have to first find out are you more into rifles, shotgun or pistols and then do you like more accuracy versus action shooting (timed - fast shooting). Don't get me wrong in the action shoots accuracy is key but it's a factor of time and accuracy. For the accuracy side you have more time to shoot more accurately, in action shooting you want to shoot as fast as you can accurately hit the targets as the final score is dictated by it.

Others are local shoots and can vary with the group shooting it. Most are steel plates shoots. Other forms of competition shooting will fall under either some type of NRA match or CMP rifle shoots.

You can look each of these up in google or wikipedia.

January 31, 2010, 04:39 PM
oldkim's break down is excellent. To continue the thought.
Shotgun sports tend to mimic bird hunting scenarios. Shooting at moving targets in sometimes unknown directions.
IPSC USPSA AND IDPA are action pistol quasi self-defense type plots. Bullseye pistol is the classic one handed shooting game. In Cowboy Action the shooter plays the part of the good guy defending the town from the bad guys with western style guns. They assume alias names and wear period clothing of the old west.
The rifle shooting games take into account the increased range of the rifle. Silhouette rifles are essentially hunting guns. Shooters try to knock down steel cutouts of animals. Some rifle events, like NRA Highpower, offer targets out to 1000 yards. Heavy target rifles built with precision in mind with crafted ammunition are needed.
Each game offers challenges that the shooter needs to address. These are great teachers of discipline,focus, self control. Plus they a lot of fun.

February 1, 2010, 07:23 AM
Bullseye, also known as Conventional Pistol, as stated above, is one handed shooting. It allows for open sights as well as optics - red dot sights are very popular. Compared to other shooting events, Bullseye is leisurely. A 2700 match (270 shots using three guns @90 each) can take all day, depending on how the match is run.
It is very precise shooting. The 50 yard slowfire target has a ten ring that is about three inches in diameter with a 1.6" Xring (and, yes, shooters have shot ten X targets). Slow fire is shot at 10 rounds in 10 minutes. Even the timed and rapid stages are slower than most practical shooting. Rapid fire, for instance, allows ten seconds for five rounds. Of course, that shooting is done one handed and the target is 25 yards away. Clean targets are common among the Masters.
The other form of Bullseye shooting is known as International Pistol. This is also one handed shooting. No optics; iron sights only.
Two of the events - Free Pistol and Rapid fire pistol - are Olympic events, along with Air Pistol.
Free Pistol shooting is , no doubt, the most precise of all shooting events. Very leisurely, the shooter has two hours to shoot 60 shots at an international bullseye that is 50 meters away. The 10 ring is only 1.78 inches wide. The 9 ring is 3.5. If the shooter is not shooting more 10s than nines, they are out of the game. (At the Olympic level. OR = 581).
The same target is used for two 25 meter events - the Standard pistol (.22) and Centerfire pistol (usually a .32).
NRA Highpower - not all HP shooting requires specialized "match" rifles. "Service Rifle" is a popular and VERY competitive HP event that requires only a rifle type that has been issued for military service . Nowadays the most common rifle is, probably, the AR15. Garands are used,as are M1As/M14, even Springfield 1903s are eligible.

February 2, 2010, 10:36 PM
Don't forget PPC. Stands for Practical Police Combat or Police Pistol Combat, depending on who you ask. Utilizes stock to barely recognizeable versions of duty weapons, both revolvers and semi-autos. Precision is key but speed has a role as well. Distances from 7-50 yards. In most cases open only to police and security officers. Patrol rifles and shotguns fired in side matches at nationals.

Dave Bone
February 3, 2010, 05:02 PM
There are several different classes in USPSA. For example, I shoot production class. I must use a production gun that will fit into a box measuring 8 15/16" X 6" X 1 5/8". There is no mininum trigger pull but, high vis sights are not permitted . . . . notch and post only. Also, mags can not contain more than 10 rounds. Well, your first mag can have 11 rounds. Don't misunderstand me, you can use a 16 round magazine.

Then there is limited and unlimited classes. I don't fit there, if you get my meaning. Ha!

Google USPSA and check it out. You do no have to be a member to view the rule book.


February 3, 2010, 05:46 PM
This linked pdf covers all kinds of shooting sports in some detail:

February 28, 2010, 11:33 PM
This linked pdf covers all kinds of shooting sports in some detail:

Wow. thanks for the good info.


Jake Thesnake
April 18, 2010, 12:35 PM
For more info on Conventional/Bullseye go to http://www.bullseyepistol.com

April 18, 2010, 07:53 PM
ICORE = International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts

This is for Revolver shooters,

Check it out if you like Revolvers, speed loaders and duty gear.


April 28, 2010, 03:03 AM
Steel Challenge is one I didn't see mentioned.