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A new series on starting shooting

Over the next few days we're going to be publishing a number of articles on starting shooting. Here Robin Scott explains why shooting is safely enjoyed by so many people …

Robin Scott

Funny old world, isn’t it? In spite of society throwing its hands up in horror at the mere mention of guns, shooting as a sport has never been more popular.

Almost 700,000 people own shotguns in Britain, and the number is growing across all age groups, and both sexes. Add rifle shooters to the equation (and more than one million air rifle users) and it’s a far bigger participant sport than fishing by miles. And safer too.

The sport’s safety record is second to none

Takes some believing, doesn’t it? But the official statistics prove it: in case you, or any parent reading were wondering, gun accidents in the field are as rare as hens’ teeth. The sport’s safety record is second to none.

In the following days on Shooting UK you’ll find great advice on how to apply for a shotgun certificate through the police, tips on buying your all important first gun, clear explanations of how it works and, most important of all, how to use it safely.

“Good Shooting is no accident” might be a neat play on words but it’s a rule seared into the heart and soul of everyone who shoots for sport. it’s a maxim that will be drummed into you by a coach from the moment you take your first lesson. and it’s one you will never forget.

You’ll also be able to read a Q and A piece  dealing in plain English with the law as it relates to the use of guns, who is barred from using them, why, and what sort of questions will be asked by the police after they receive your application form for a certificate.


It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or an active 80 year-old, shooting is a recreational activity everyone can enjoy. Disabled? No problem: most shooting schools and clubs today have facilities and layouts geared to your needs to make every visit a lasting pleasure.

Just maybe I have managed to whet a smidgin’ of your interest in a sport that can lead all the way the Olympics, or the solitude of wildfowling, game shooting with friends, or shooting woodpigeons over decoys to protect farm crops. What it will certainly do is widen your circle of friends and lead to friendships that last a lifetime.


But before you sign on the dotted line and fill out a cheque payable to the local constabulary, try a few shots under supervision at a clay club.

I guarantee that the thrill of smashing those first clay pigeons will have you running to the nearest post box with the completed paperwork in next to no time at all! Welcome to shooting!

Did you know?

  • You can shoot under supervision at an approved club or school with one of their guns without having your own shotgun certificate.
  • There is no lower age limit on firing a gun – only on using it unsupervised, and buying one.
  • Don’t have a friend who shoots? Don’t worry! Clubs, schools and shooters are always happy to welcome new people so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask if you can come to their next shoot to watch, and have a chat with the organisers. You will find contact numbers on the Clay Pigeon Shooting Associations website.

Photographer: Richard Faulks