Breakdown and schedule of Olympic Shooting in the 2012 Games

During the London 2012 Games, nearly 400 competitors are shooting for gold across 15 dramatic events.

Having been practiced competitively for centuries, the tense and demanding sport of Shooting is now popular all over the world.

Did you know?

  • At Barcelona 1992, China’s Zhang Shan became the first woman to win gold in a mixed-gender Shooting event. After these Games, the ISSF stopped men and women competing against each other.
  • Between 1896 and 2004, British athletes won 43 Olympic medals in Shooting.
  • Hungarian shooter Károly Takács was a world-class shooter when, in 1938, his right hand was injured by a grenade. After teaching himself to shoot left-handed, Takács won gold in 1948 and 1952.

  • There will be around 270,000 clay targets in the Shotgun competition.

Competition dates:

Saturday 28 July – Monday 6 August

Competition venue:

Royal Artillery Barracks

Number of medal events

15 – across men’s and women’s Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun events.

Number of competitors

390: 223 men and 143 women, 24 to be confirmed
Each country is limited to 28 athletes (20 men and eight women). This equates to two athletes in all events, except for the women’s Trap and Skeet where only one athlete per country is allowed.

Field of play

Athletes shoot at stationary targets in a range in the Rifle and Pistol events, and at moving targets in the Shotgun events.

History of Shooting at the Olympic Games

With the exceptions of the St Louis1904 and Amsterdam 1928 Games, Shooting has featured on every Olympic programme since the first modern Games in 1896. Women’s events were added to the schedule at Los Angeles 1984.

Find out more about Shooting at the Olympic Games on the International Olympic Committee website.

The basics

Olympic Shooting events fall into three disciplines: Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun events. In Rifle and Pistol events, competitors aim at a 10-ring target from a set distance (10m, 25m or 50m).
Depending on the event, athletes are required to shoot from standing, kneeling or prone (lying down) positions.
In Shotgun events, competitors shoot at moving clay targets launched above and in front of them.

For a complete set of rules, please refer to the website of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), International Federation for the sport.


A range officer is responsible for the safe running of the competition. Athletes must listen to their instruction and obey their words of command at all times.

An international jury is present at all events to ensure that shooters stay within the rules and to deal with any appeals.

Keys to success

Shooting is a tense and testing sport that requires immense reserves of skill and nerve. The winning athlete must remain cool under the enormous pressure that an Olympic competition brings.

Jargon buster

Double Trap – Shooting competition in which two clay targets are launched simultaneously in front of the shooter.
Pistol – one of three firearms used in Olympic Shooting, and the only one to be shot with one hand.
Shoot-off – a tiebreaker.
Trap – the device used for launching clay targets into the air.
3 positions – Rifle events in which competitors shoot in standing, kneeling and prone positions.

Get involved

If you want to find out about shooting in your country, including clubs, facilities and coaching schemes, check the website of your National Governing Body. To find out how you can get involved in shooting in the UK, go

For more information on the Shooting competition at London 2012 and the rules, go to the website of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), the governing body for the sport.

WireShots Staff

WireShots is a news service provided by H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City. We cover all news related to the Shooting Sports including Firearms, Archery, Outdoors, as well as events at our range and retail store. You can reach us via email at . Shoot On!

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