Learning to shoot clays under the watchful eye of a qualified instructor

For many shooters, getting started means a trip to your local clayshooting ground where you’ll be taught to break English Sporting targets.

How clayshooting began

  • The first clay pigeon shoots started around 1885 as an affordable alternative to competitions using live pigeons as targets.
  • Shooting schools – particularly those owned by London gunmakers – set up courses to simulate the flight of live birds. The new sport quickly became a hit with Victorian and Edwardian game shooters as a form of practice during the closed season.

How to start clayshooting

  • Several of these schools are still going strong, but such was the rapid rise in popularity of “Sporting Shooting” that clubs soon sprang up all around the country. The first British Open Sporting Championship was held in 1927 and today it is still the biggest and most prestigious competition of them all.

Clayshooting tips for beginners 

  • Also going strong is the company that invented the first spring-powered hand trap more than a century ago – Laporte of France. Its automatic traps and clay targets enjoy worldwide sales.
  • Your first taste of clayshooting will almost certainly be on a Sporting range where targets are thrown to simulate the flight of game birds.
  • In Sporting you will shoot from a number of different “stands” each offering a different target. These targets vary greatly in terms of trajectory, angle, elevation, distance and speed and it’s that variety that makes Sporting so popular with clay shooters
  • Clay pigeon shooting has evolved into 20 or more different disciplines over the years, but Sporting is still the most popular with around 90 per cent of all shooters taking part regularly.

The different types of clayshooting

  • In spite of the PC world we live in, shooting continues to grow. There are now several hundred gun clubs and shooting schools – most affiliated to the sport’s governing body the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association . The clubs are widespread across the UK so chances are there are one or more within just a few miles of where you live.
  • In spite of its massive popularity, Sporting is not recognised as an Olympic Sport – that accolade goes to Olympic Trap, Olympic Skeet and Double Trap. Great Britain has won three gold medals in the trap disciplines since 1966.

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