Get Inspired: How to get into shooting

Croatian Anton Glasnovic shooting at the 2012 Olympics
Fast Answers
Why get into shooting?If strength and fitness aren't your forte, shooting requires composure and enormous skill - a real test of your self-control.
Who is it for?Anybody! As long as you can pull a trigger, shooting could be for you.
Is there a cheap option?Shooting can be expensive, but your local club may offer taster days where you can borrow equipment.
What if I want a proper workout?Target sprintexternal-link combines rifle shooting with running - check it out!
Can I take it to another level?British Shooting have worked hard in recent years to put in place a clear talent pathway.
Is there a disability option?Shooting is among the most easily adaptable sports, with alterations to equipment easily made.
Is there a family option?What could be more fun than an afternoon of firing pistols alongside your loved ones?

Shooting has been an Olympic sport since the first modern games in 1896 and has a history of providing intrigue and drama.

And with a vast array of disciplines, encompassing various guns, targets and distances, maybe you should pull the trigger and give shooting a try?

Aspire to be like: Amber Hill

Aspire to be like teenage Commonwealth Games champion Amber Hill.

Amber Hill won gold for England at the Commonwealth Games aged just 16, and followed that with European Championships success in 2015.


Elena Allen gunning for gold at Rio Olympics

Shooting is a tense sport that requires immense reserves of skill, concentration and nerve. Strength, stamina, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are all improved by taking part.

As shooting events rely on mental power, people of all ages can compete against each other on equal terms - the oldest Olympic champion was Sweden's Oscar Swahn, who won gold in Stockholm, 1912, aged 64!

British Shooting's find a clubexternal-link section is the best place to start, while you can also find guidance to help you decide between pistol, rifle and shotgunexternal-link - the three Olympic disciplines.

A gun for everybody

An Olympic-style air pistol
An Olympic-style air pistol
  • In the shotgun event, competitors are required to shoot at moving clay pigeons with, you guessed it, a shotgun!
  • With rifles, competitors shoot at a set target from either 10, 25 or 50 metres, with points awarded for a shot's proximity to the centre, much like archery.
  • The pistol event follows the same format as the rifle one... except with pistols.

Girls with guns

Hill's Rio dream boosted by Neville

British Shooting supports the This Girl Can campaignexternal-link, and a number of all-girl clubs throughout Britain.

Femme Fatalesexternal-link calls for women to not "use being a girl as an excuse, use it as ammunition", while The Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Clubexternal-link combine the twin principles of shooting and cake to appeal to beginners!

Disability shooting

Disability athletes competing at the 2012 Paralympics
Paralympians can compete in rifle and pistol events

According to British Shooting, disabled people currently make up 25% of recreational shooters - a number that they are committed to increasing further.

Target shooting is incredibly accessible, and requires minimal modification. For more information read here.external-link

Youth shooting

Athletes competing at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing
Athletes competing at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing

The Great Britain Academy Programmeexternal-link was developed in 2014 to ensure that the there was a clear talent pathway for skilled young shooters. But first you need to pick up a gun!

Due to the wide range of guns available for use, there is no real age limit on when people can start shooting.

And, as strength isn't important, if you're good enough you'll be able to compete at whatever level your skill warrants!

Coaching and volunteering

Ian Coley MBE former GB shooting coach
Ian Coley was awarded an MBE in 2012 after contributing towards team GB's efforts in six Olympics, as an athlete, coach and team manager

British Shooting describe volunteers as "critical" to the sport, and have an abundance of information on how to get involved on their website.external-link

The pathway into coaching may lead through volunteering, although you can apply for work experience with the governing body here.external-link Contact your local clubexternal-link to find out about any coaching roles they have available.

What's next?

1. Search for your local club using the British Shooting club finderexternal-link.

2. Share your storyexternal-link and inspire others!

Are you inspired to try shooting? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your story by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired,external-link visiting us on Facebookexternal-link or email us on

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.