It is not exactly clear when was the first time people had an idea to organise competition on shooting. However, we know, that shooting competition has long history and tradition, beginning long before any firearm was developed. At first, beside the testing of proficiency and fighting for rewards, that was the way to cultivate many gods. For example ancient Greeks, Persians or Romans were competing to pleasure their deities.
Competitions in shooting at targets, without any religious connotations, were developed largely in America, when in 18th century it was still not the most friendly continent for any settlers that would travel there. It was basically impossible to exist there, without any proficiency in weapons as it was often the matter of life and death. To grind the abilities of shooting, people started to practice by shooting at specific targets and thus the competitions began to take place, being both attractive and important between common folk.
Nowadays, shooting is a popular sport discipline, know in the whole world. It was no coincidence, that shooting was a part of the first modern Olympic games which took place in Athens in 1896. Now there are many events in which marksman can show their skills. What are the competitions in such events? Classical shooting involves shooting using firearms or pneumatic weapon when aiming to target from a distance no greater than 300 meters. Used weapons are rifles, pistols and shotguns. Exact rules differ on every competitions and are somewhat related to the age and sex of participants.
There are also two types of finals in shooting competitions. First allows every shooter to fire the whole series of shots, with the best winning the games at the end. The second, known as Australian, is a knock-off system in which, the worst player is knocked after every shot, until there is only one man standing. There are also various types of competitions outside of classical marksmanship. For example, brotherhoods of roosters are conducting black powder events. Those competitions are often very spectacular, as there is not only historical weaponry involved, but competitors have to properly dress-up for the concourses.
Not less spectacular are events organised by International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). Practical shooting, known also as combat shooting is a discipline in which it is all about shooting in conditions resembling real endangerment. Therefore the quickness is as important as precision, competition is typically very dynamic, and attractive for audiences and interesting firearms with great firepower are being used.
Longshot competitions stand for another interesting category. There are organised for soldiers – marksmen and snipers, the very elite of any army, to compete in long-range precision. Rivalry is great, as those people are often competing for promotions and great rewards. They are also simply professionals, who can show their proficiency either for their principles or otherwise selected audience. The distances can range from 300 to even 1500 meters. Sometimes, soldiers can also compete with civilians, in the special type of events in which everyone can participate (they are known as open military competitions).