Recreational shooting includes target shooting and shooting sports, and refers to the use of firearms for practice and skill development rather than hunting. A common place for target shooting is sporting clays courses, which provide a very close experience to actual field shooting. Sporting clays has been nicknamed "golf with a shotgun," and it is done in rounds on courses of 10-15 shooting stations, which involve the natural terrain and simulates the hunting of different birds. Clay targets are thrown from various positions, and the shooter attempts to hit as many as possible.
Skeet is a shooting sport which uses clay targets shaped like Frisbees that are thrown from fixed positions while the shooter takes different positions, which changes the shooter's perspective and makes some shots more difficult than others. Skeet is generally shot by groups of five shooters, and a round consists of 25 targets being thrown, some singly and some in doubles.
Trap shooting, which is the oldest shooting sport in the U.S., uses the same targets as skeet. The targets are thrown by a device called a trap, which rotates at random, providing the shooter with several varieties of shots to make.
Target shooting is classified into three types: shotgun, rifle and handgun; trap shooting, skeet and sporting clays fall into the shotgun category. Each of these types can be practiced at target ranges, which may require safety courses. Target ranges can be a great place to find out which of the types you like best and to begin developing knowledge in that discipline.
Another growing style of recreational shooting is cowboy action shooting, in which participants use revolvers, lever-action rifles, and turn-of-the-century style handguns , to engage in target shooting. Part of cowboy action shooting is dressing in Western clothing--cowboy hats, cowboy boots, and Western-style dress shirts.
One of the most important things to understand when participating in shooting sports is gun safety, which includes knowledge of firearms and ammunition as well as for the specific rules for operating them in the context of the event or place. . Although firearms are inherently dangerous, an estimated 19 million Americans safely participate in shooting sports and target shooting.