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Trap Shooting Fundamentals Handbook


Learn the basic principles and techniques for Trap Shooting.

16 yard Singles Gun hold points

16 yd singles.PNG


The gunpoint on each position is a necessary compromise which prepares you for whatever target angle is presented to you. On each position you favor the left angle target with foot and body position; and take a gunpoint that favors the right angle target. This is because a right handed shooter finds it easier to swing to the left from the gunpoint, without any muscle restrictions. Suggested gunpoints for each position are indicated for the five positions in the graphics above.

Foot Position

On each station, your toes should be placed on an imaginary line which would parallel the line of flight of the extreme left angle target from position #5. See "Singles" target graphic.



Proper gun fit is an absolute must at trap. You have about one second, after calling for your target, to identify its angle and break it--which makes trap-shooting like rifle-shooting with a shotgun. At the distances trap targets are broken, being off a quarter inch in your gunpoint can mean a lost target. So your gun must be pointing exactly where you are looking. To see if your gun fits, close your eyes, raise the UNLOADED gun to your face and shoulder, then open your eyes. If you see the two beads directly in line on your ventilated rib, the gun fits. But if they are off, or you see some of the rib in between,  the gun doesn't fit and you should have a good gunsmith adjust the stock accordingly.

Note: "Raise the gun to your face and shoulder". Don't place the gun to your shoulder and then go down on the stock with your face. This causes tension in the neck muscles.

Don't "muscle" the gun. Instead, hold it lightly with the fore-end just resting across the palm of your hand. This will enable you to point it smoothly and easily.



The primary concern of every shooter...even over shooting excellence...must be safe gun handling.

Always keep the action open and the muzzle pointed toward the ground. Never load until you are on your position and ready to call for your target.

See: Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety


A profile view of a normal target path shows the distances at which targets are shot in singles, doubles and handicap. In singles, targets are usually broken about 20 yards from the house, or 36 yards from the shooter. The first doubles target is broken at shorter range, the second about 25 yards out. At handicap, you're a long way from your work.

arc of target flight.PNG


A 12 gauge gun muzzle is approximately one inch in diameter, and when your gun is mounted, is about 36 inches from your eye. When you are standing on the 16 yard line, and therefore 35 or 36 yards from the average target breaking point, the gun muzzle covers a space of 12 inches at that distance.




When a 24 inch lead is called for, your sight picture would be two gun muzzles ahead of the target.

sight picture.PNG


A stopped gun is probably a lost target. Keep your swing smooth and follow through after the trigger is pulled on every target.



Shooting Positions and Angles of Flight

Above, the five shooting positions are indicated at the 16 yard line. Handicap yardage extends back to the 27 yard line. Also indicated are the five angles of normal target flight, spaced an equal distance of 11° apart. Flight paths indicate straightaway targets from each shooting position, and are numbered opposite the shooter according to that position. Average breaking point is approximately 20 yards from the trap house, or 36 yards from the shooter standing at the 16 yard line.

Note that the line of flight of the left angle target from position #5 represents the imaginary parallel line on which your toes should be placed for proper alignment on all five positions.


Straightaway First

For doubles, the trap is locked to throw known angles, with a right angle straightaway from position #1, and a left angle straightaway from position #5. Each target is 22° right or left of center.

Plan to take the first target several yards ahead of where you would normally break a single target, since the angle is known, and you can prepare for it. Then, swing to the second target while it is still within effective range. You should break your first target at about 17 yards; the send at 25 yards from the trap house.

doubles s.PNG

Right Target First

Most trapshooters prefer to shoot the straightaway target first on each position, because it's an easy target to get out of the way. But on positions #4 and #5, this makes for a difficult right angle second shot. Some shooters continue to shoot all right-angle targets first. Shoot both methods to determine which is best for you.


doubles rt.PNG


16yard singles.PNG


27 yard handicap.PNG


doubles straightaway.PNG



doubles right target.PNG



To download this brochure, please go to the following link: Trap Shooting Fundamentals

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