Trap 2017-11-09T20:16:25+00:00



American Trap is broken down into three categories: singles, doubles, handicap. The targets are thrown by a machine located at approximately ground level and covered by a “trap house.” For singles and doubles, there are five “stations”, each 16 yards (15.6 m) behind the trap house.

In singles, each competitor shoots at five targets from each station. The trap machine oscillates left to right within a 54 degree arc (up to 27 degrees right and left of center), and at least a 34 degree arc (up to 17 degrees right and left of center), and the competitor does not know where in that arc the target will emerge.

In doubles, the machine does not oscillate, but throws two targets simultaneously with each competitor shooting at five (5) pairs (10 targets) from each station. In the handicap events, the machine operates the same as in singles, but the shooters stand farther away from the trap house.


Trap shooting is one of the three major forms of competitive clay pigeon shooting (shotgun shooting at clay targets). The others are skeet shooting and sporting clays. There are many versions including Olympic trap, Double trap (which is also an Olympic event), Down-The-Line, and Nordic trap. American trap is most popular in the United States and Canada. American trap has two independent governing bodies: the Amateur Trapshooting Association, which sanctions shoots throughout the United States and Canada, and the Pacific International Trapshooting Association, which sanctions shoots on the West Coast.The sport is in some ways a replacement for a game where the targets were live pigeons. Indeed, one of the names for the clay targets used in shooting games is clay pigeons. The layout of modern trap shooting is different from skeet shooting in that there is only one house that releases targets and the shooters only move through five different positions.

Trap shooting has been a sport since at least 1793 when it used real birds, usually the Passenger Pigeon, which was extremely abundant at the time. Fake birds were introduced around the time of the American Civil War as the Passenger Pigeon was nearing extinction and sufficient numbers were not reliably available. Clay targets were introduced in the 1880s, and gained wide acceptance, but trap shooting of live birds is still practiced in some parts of the United States.


  • 25 Target Round


  • 25 Target Round



The Amateur Trapshooting Association serves as the governing body for the sport of American style trapshooting. The ATA’s mission is to promote and govern the sport throughout the world.

As the faithful protector of trapshooting, the ATA not only governs the sport’s rules and regulations but also seeks ways to enhance the sport and stimulate participation. The ATA provides trophies, financial assistance, and event management support to the state and provincial associations. The ATA has also been instrumental in developing programs to increase interest in the sport with its creation of National Trapshooting Day, Satellite Grand Americans, Achievement Recognition and other valuable programs.

The ATA was founded in 1900 as the American Trapshooting Association and later changed to the Amateur Trapshooting Association in 1923. The ATA is composed of individual members, with two classifications of membership – life and annual. Only life members may hold office within this organization.

The governing body of the ATA is its Board of Directors, composed of one delegate from each state and province. The delegate is elected by all ATA members at their respective state and provincial championship tournaments. (State officers are elected either by individuals or club delegates, depending upon the particular constitution of the state or province).

All delegates meet once a year, during the Grand American tournament. At this time, delegates from each zone elect a zone vice president. From these five men, one is selected to serve in the dual role of Vice President and as President of the ATA. The Executive Committee appoints a secretary, treasurer, auditor and Executive Director. They also appoint a Central Handicap Committee of five men, who review shooters’ records throughout the year. The Chairman of the CHC assigns yardage to new shooters as they qualify for permanent handicap cards. The delegate of each state and province acts as chairman of that state or provincial handicap committee, making recommendations to the national committee for yardage assignments or changes.

Annually, ATA members participate in 6,000 plus registered tournaments and shoot at more than 55 million targets. With nearly 1000 gun clubs affiliated with the ATA, you can find registered shooting just about anywhere.

The ATA administrative offices and national headquarters are located in Sparta, IL. The Grand American World Trapshooting Tournament is held at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex located in Sparta Illinois each August. The annual trapshooting championships have been hosted each year at various locations since 1899.