What special equipment do I need to shoot trap?

Not a lot.

A couple of boxes of shells of course. Each round of trap requires 1 box (25 shells). Try to avoid buying game loads. Ideally, look for a light target load. You won’t have a lot of fun if you get a black and blue shoulder or face from heavy loads.

You should also need some eye protection like a good pair of shooting glasses, and ear protection. Both are required.

You want to have a way to hold your shells too. You can wear a light hunting vest such as one used for dove or small game hunting. You can use a jacket with big pockets. You can also buy a shooting vest or shooting pouch. Vest’s typically have additional padding built into the shoulders and plenty of pocket space for shells, glasses, and hearing protection. A shell pouch is just a little pouch that attaches to your belt and holds enough shells for one or two rounds. (if you are just starting out, you can use the box that the shells are held in)

If you have none of these things including a gun, come on out to the club and tell the person running the shoot you’d like to try trap but have no equipment. We do have rental guns to use for a small fee to cover the cleaning and maintenance.

Do I need a special gun to shoot trap?

No, a special gun is not required. Most hunting shotguns will work just fine. It is recommended that you use a 12 gauge shotgun as it is the standard and the easiest to learn with.

Trapshooters are notorious gun traders and buyers and you will see everything on the shooting line from $200.00 Mossbergs to $20,000 custom trap guns with a wide range in between. The targets really don’t care and any 12 gauge gun is quite capable of breaking targets.

If you try the sport, and enjoy it, you may want to invest in a trap gun in the future, but you certainly don’t need one just to try the sport out or to shoot it casually. A word of advice would be to make sure your gun is in good, safe, clean, operating condition when you come to the club. Most hunters never shoot their guns very much compared to a gun used for trap. Several hundred rounds in a week is not uncommon for a trap gun. If your gun is dirty or has mechanical problems they will show up in a hurry on the trap line and you will have a humiliating and frustrating experience. Also, if you plan on shooting Dad’s old Sear SxS, by all means do so, but first take the gun to a gunsmith and make sure it is in sound operating condition and can withstand the rigors of trap.

How does the game work (singles)?

Five shooters stand at five different positions along a marked semi-circle 16 yards behind the a cement structure called a trap house. The “trap” or target throwing machine is located inside the trap house and the house serves to protect the machine, the target loader, and to hide the direction the target will be launched.

Each shooter, starting with the person on post 1 (the left most post when looking at the back of the trap house) takes a turn. He calls for and shoots at one target. Each shooter through station 5 does the same. The target is thrown anywhere in the trap field at a prescribed range of speed and angles. When all five shooters have shot one target the rotation comes around again to the post 1 shooter.

This is repeated five times (sometimes 10, depending on the club). When the shooter on post 1 calls for and shoots at his fifth target at Post 1, the scorekeeper will call the result (dead or lost) and then declare END loud enough for all to hear. This is the signal that that is the last target to be shot on this post. When shooter #5 shoots his target, all shooters move to the next post to his or her right with the shooter on post 5 walking to post 1.

The shooting then starts anew with the squad leader (the person who shot at Post 1 the first time) always leading off. So the round continues until the all shooters have completed all five posts and shot 25 shells. (Again, by new rule changes, it may be 50 targets a round instead of 25).

** A round is 25 attempts at 25 targets from the 16 yard line.

What is Handicap?

Shooting a handicap round works the same as described above, but the shooter stands further away from the trap based on known ability. This known ability is generally established by participating in ATA Registered Handicap events but may be assigned by local clubs for non-registered shooters.

The shortest handicap is 19 yards and the longest is 27 yards. In other words, an inexperienced shooter may be shooting at 20 yards, and an experienced one at 27 yards. This helps shooters to compete at an even level.

*If shooting handicap you can only be 1.5 yards closer or further from the trap house as the shooters to the left or right of you for safety.

A round is 25 attempts at 25 targets from a distance over 18 yards.

What are Doubles?

Doubles is shot at 16 yards. The obvious difference here is that 2 targets emerge from the trap house at once upon the shooter’s call. The main difference otherwise is that, unlike singles, the doubles targets fly at unchanging angles (the machine does not oscillate as it does in singles).

The shooters shoot one shot at each target attempting to break both. It is permissible within the rules to shoot at the same target twice though this is not good practice for becoming a smooth and effective doubles trap shooter.

A round is 25 attempts at 50 targets from the 16 yard line. (you will need 50 shells per round)

Is trapshooting safe?

Gun clubs operate under strict, self-defined rules of gun safety. There are very few gun related injuries reported during organized trap shoots. All safe gun handling techniques apply to trapshooting but see the trapshooting gun safety page for a few additions.

What is trap shooting?

Trapshooting is one of the oldest of the shooting sports and the oldest of the shotgun sports. The game has it’s roots in live bird shooting. The name trapshooting probably originates from the devices used to hold the birds until the shooter made his call for the target.