Projectile sports
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • These sports divide into two main types, shooting with guns, and archery using bows and arrows.  

  • Within each of these categories there are different types of weapons (e.g. rifles and pistols, longbows and crossbows) and targets.  The most important distinction is within shooting, between competitive target shooting (including e.g. clay pigeon shooting) and field sports (that is shooting game birds, deer and other live targets).  

  • More detailed information on these different activities can be obtained from the specialist organisations listed below.  Many activities take place outdoors, though some archery and shooting is done inside, often in special long galleries.  

  • These are potentially dangerous sports and a degree of skill in weapon use is essential;  gun ownership and use is particularly tightly controlled.  

Find out more


Clay Pigeon Shooting Association 
Great Britain Target Shooting Federation  01702 219395
National Rifle Association 
National Small-Bore Rifle Association 

Grand National Archery Association 


Air Gunner 
Clay Shooting 
National Rifle Association Journal 
Shooting Sports 
Shooting Times and Country Magazine 
Sporting Gun 
Target Sports 
The Shooting Gazette 

Getting started

  • Find a local shooting or archery group or club (see organisations above).

  • See if there are introductory sessions at your local club sports centre.

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of projectile sports.

  • Check in your local library/paper or sports centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • These activities can be done by people of all ages and both sexes, and they involve skill and concentration rather than great physical effort. 

  • Both shooting and archery can be practiced on your own providing you have access to a suitable safe area.  

  • Many people belong to groups or clubs in order to get such access and to be part of the competitive activities.  

  • You can do the more informal types of activity, including most field sports, with people of all ages and both sexes, but, in competitions, you will need to be with people of roughly the same level of skill as yourself.

Equipment or clothing
  • Suitable weapons and targets are obvious essentials in terms of equipment.  In the competitive activities using static targets, these are often provided by the clubs.  

  • In field sports, people will normally have their own weapons and ammunition, which requires a gun licence.  

  • Ordinary sports or country clothing is normally worn, depending on the activity.

A place or facilities
  • There are facilities for archery and target shooting in or attached to many sports centres.  Local clubs may have their own premises or grounds.  

  • Schools sometimes have archery fields, while military ranges are often used for outdoor shooting .  Clay pigeon shooting is often organised on an ad hoc basis in the countryside. 

  • Field sports rights are closely controlled and access is usually by invitation or purchase of the right to take part at specific times.

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