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Sport Overview

The greatest athletes in this sport are the most still and controlled. There are three disciplines in shooting; pistol, rifle and shotgun.

Canada first competed in shooting at the London 1908 Olympic Games and at the Mexico City 1955 Pan Am Games. Canada has won dozens of Pan Am medals in shooting over the years, including 10 individual gold and several team gold.


Shooting as a sport has its roots in Europe and dates back more than 500 years to German shooting clubs. The sport’s local popularly grew with the formation of the National Rifle Association in 1871.

From just five shooting events at the inaugural Athens 1896 Olympic Games to 15 today (nine men and six women), the sport has grown steadily alongside the advance in firearms technology.

Women made their shooting debut at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games, competing in mixed events. The first purely women’s events appeared in 1984, and it was only in 1996 that the men’s and women’s programs were completely separated.

How it works

Shooting involves three disciplines: pistol, rifle and shotgun. In pistol and rifle, competitors shoot at a ringed target from 10, 25 or 50 metres away, and depending on the event, in either a standing, kneeling or prone position. In shotgun events, athletes shoot at clay targets launched in front of and above the shooters. Medal winners in each event are decided after adding up the scores after a number of rounds of shooting.


Air pistol
A pistol that uses compressed air or carbon dioxide to discharge lead pellets.

Air rifle
A rifle that uses compressed air or carbon dioxide to discharge lead pellets.

Air gun
A rifle or pistol that uses compressed air or carbon dioxide to discharge lead pellets.

A long concrete structure in front of a firing line from which machines throw clay targets in trap shooting: also known as a trench.

Clay target
A saucer-shaped target of clay.

Double trap
A trapshooting event where two targets are released at the same time and the athlete must fire a shot at each.

A short firearm intended to be held and fired with one hand.

A shoulder firearm with spiral grooves cut in the inner surface of the gun barrel to give the bullet a rotating motion and render its flight more accurate.

A smooth bore firearm for firing round shot.

A tie-breaker in a shooting competition.

A practice shot fired at the beginning of a match to check sight adjustments.

In this event, athletes only take one shot at a target.

A device for suddenly releasing or tossing clay targets into the air in trapshooting.

Additional Information

Additional Information