Get shooting

Rifle clubs began to form in the 19th Century, with the National Rifle Association holding their annual rifle meeting on Wimbledon Common between 1860 and 1889. Shooting was included in the Summer Olympics for the first time in 1896, and has become popular in the UK in the form of game shooting, clay pigeon shooting, hunting, culling and combat-style ‘practical shooting'.

Whether it's bows or crossbows, rifles or air rifles, pistols or shotguns, shooting is a fun and rewarding sport that can take a lifetime to master. This section covers some of the different disciplines of marksmanship as well as where to shoot, what to aim for, as well as some essential health and safety tips.


Getting Started:

Here are a few links to some great UK shooting websites containing a wealth of info about the sport:

  • British Shooting - "The home of British Shooting" with news, competitions, a 'find a club' page and information on how to get involved in shooting.
  • Archery GB - The governing body for the sport of archery in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • British Association of Shooting and Conservation - A membership organisation who fight for fair firearms laws in the UK and Europe. With local events, media and conservation information pages.
  • International Paralympic Committee Shooting - Videos, biographies, news and features on IPC Shooting, demonstrating accuracy and control at the highest level.

Sport shooting

Shooting sports test the marksman's proficiency using various different types of firearms. Accuracy and speed are the name of the game here, and each sport is categorised according to the type of firearm, target, and the distance at which they are shot from.

Rifles, pistols, shotguns and "3-gun" events with stages featuring all three have a variety of different disciplines associated with them.


Archery, from the Latin arcus, refers to the art of propelling arrows from a bow, usually at a predesignated target. Originally used for hunting and combat, today bows and arrows are far more commonly used for recreation and for sport, with many clubs and societies active throughout the UK.

In fact, archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK with 34,000 members of Archery GB and many more participants who 'have a go' at recreational centres, events, holiday parks, outdoor shows etc.

Archery is very accessible and attracts participants of all ages and abilities. It is popular for family recreation, but for those who like to challenge themselves there are competitions from county through national to world levels.


Archery equipment

Before investing in your own equipment, it is highly recommended that you visit your local club and use their knowledge, know-how and instruction to get acquainted with the equipment and the basics of archery and to prevent yourself from buying completely the wrong thing. Most clubs will have coaching services and a selection of equipment that they can lend to you.

Types of bows

  • Composite bow - A bow made from multiple materials
  • Compound bow - A type of bow featuring mechanical aids (usually found in the form of pulleys and cams) to help with pulling of the drawstring, making for a more efficient bow.
  • Crossbow - Consists of a horizontal limb assembly mounted to a stock that fires projectiles known as bolts. (Basically a bow mounted on a stick).
  • Longbow - A comparatively long type of bow, usually over five feet long. Traditionally made from Yew.
  • Recurve bow - A bow fashioned with tips that curve away from the archer. This adds extra velocity to the arrow upon its release.
  • Reflex bow - A bow that, when unstrung, curves in completely the opposite direction. This allows a bow that is one half of the length of a recurve bow, or one third of the length of a longbow to fire at the same or greater velocity.