Shooting is one of the most enduring, yet often overlooked, Summer Olympic sports. Some type of shooting competition has taken place at almost every edition of the Summer Games, since the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896.
Rifles, shotguns, pistols, and airguns are used in the many varied shooting events, by men and women. Targets vary from moving clay targets in trap and skeet events, to stationary targets at ranges from 10 to 50 meters. Some events require shooters to assume different positions.
In the 2008 Summer Olympics, there are fifteen Olympic Shooting events; nine for men and six for women:
DESCRIPTION & EQUIPMENT
An air pistol is a handgun that shoots lead pellets propelled by compressed air or carbon dioxide gas. The air pistols used for Olympic events are very different-looking from most other handguns. These pistols use 4.5mm (.177 inch) pellets.
Like the air pistol, the air rifle uses compressed air or carbon dioxide (co2) gas to propel a 4.5mm (.177 inch) lead pellet at a target. The difference is that the rifle is a shoulder-mounted gun with a longer barrel, and is usually much easier to shoot accurately than a pistol.
Rapid Fire Pistol
The rules of this event have done some heavy-duty changing over the years, including some drastic changes which took place prior to World War II. The rules were again overhauled in 1989 and 2005, reducing the average attainable score and necessitating the establishment of pre- and post-2005 world records.
Five-shot strings are fired from a 22-caliber pistol in time periods of 4, 6, and 8 seconds each, and each late shot counts as a miss. Upon presentation of the targets, the shooter must raise his or her arm from a 45-degree angle and fire the string before time runs out.
In Olympic terms, this event requires the use of single-shot 22-caliber pistols, and is a slow-fire event. It obviously differs from Rapid-Fire Pistol (described above).
Rifle 3 Positions
A 22-caliber rifle is used for this Olympic event. The three positions used are prone, standing, and kneeling. Slightly different rifle requirements exist for men and women in this event, but at the heart both men and women must accomplish the same thing to win.
This, too, requires the use of a 22-caliber rifle. The only difference being that all shots are fired from a prone position (lying on one's belly).
In all of the rifle and pistol events, round targets are used. These consist of a series of concentric circles, with each successively larger circle scoring fewer points. Target size varies according to the distance from the shooter to the target. The center circle of such a target is what's usually referred to as a bullseye, and it's worth ten points. Scores are totalled to determine the winner of each event, which of course is the shooter with the highest score.
For shotgun events, clay targets are thrown into the air. The shooter's goal is to break each target. The winner is the shooter who breaks the most targets.
In double trap and skeet, the shooter is only allowed one shot per target.
For the trap event, two shots are allowed for each target.
An air pistol is a handgun that shoots lead pellets propelled by compressed air or carbon dioxide gas. The air pistols used for Olympic events are very different-looking from most other handguns. These pistols use 4.5mm (.177 inch) pellets. The gun must be loaded with only one pellet, and ported barrels/perforated barrel attachments are allowed.
Like the air pistol, the air rifle uses compressed air or carbon dioxide (co2) gas to propel a 4.5mm (.177 inch) lead pellet at a target. The difference is that the rifle is a shoulder-mounted gun with a longer barrel, and is usually much easier to shoot accurately than a pistol. For the 10M Olympic event, thumb holes, thumb rests, palm rests, heel rests, spirit levels, and bipods are prohibited.
The rapid-fire pistol event specifies that the handgun may not be single-shot, therefore semi-automatic pistols or revolvers may be used. In 2008 this event will apparently be rimfire only, meaning only 22-caliber rimfire guns will be allowed. No compensators or perforated barrel attachments may be used.
Equipment rules for pistol events differ from those for the rapid-fire event described above. 22-caliber rimfire single-shot pistols are the only type allowed.
For the "rifle 3 positions" event as well as prone, any action 22-caliber rimfire rifle may be used. Thumb holes, thumb rests, palm rests, heel rests, and spirit levels are allowed.