When people think of shooting sports, they tend to think of standard gun sports like trap, skeet and clay shooting. But there are so many other shooting sports out there that you can try. This post lists 10 unique options that could be worth looking into.
Crossbow shooting is a popular form of archery. The way in which you hold a crossbow is similar to a rifle, which can result in more precision and flexibility as to where you shoot from. Many archery clubs and rifle shooting clubs allow you to practise crossbow shooting. You can practice on stationary or moving targets. Crossbows can even be used for hunting (although typically at much more close quarters than a rifle). As with guns and regular bows, there are a range of different styled crossbows that you can buy.
Darts may well be the most popular shooting game – most of us have likely tried it at some point in our lives. It’s so popular because it’s so affordable and accessible compared to many other shooting games. Not only is it a popular bar game, but it’s also one of the few shooting games you can play at home with relatively little space. Darts is easy to learn and get into, but can be a challenging sport to master. Those that want to take it seriously should consider joining a darts club and practising with pro darts such as these Kyle Anderson darts. There are many different variants of darts that are worth trying.
Fukiya is a Japanese sport that involves using a blowgun. As with other shooting sports, it involves shooting at a target – in most cases using darts. Fukiya is definitely a very niche sport, however there are associations found all around the world. A few sport blowgun variants exist practised by indingenous people, which may involve using different-styled blowguns and rules, however the basic premise is still the same.
The biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The aim is to complete a cross-country trail, while shooting targets at checkpoints along the way. To get involved in this sport, you typically need to be competent in rifle shooting and Nordic skiing first. There are biathlon clubs you can join to practice this sport – often based at ski resorts. Biathlon is a winter Olympic event and those that are serious about it can train up to become athletes (although you typically have to start training quite young). Check out this Cross Country Ski Colorado post on getting into biathlon training for more details.
Cowboy action shooting
Cowboy action shooting is as fun and wild as it sounds. Players compete to complete historic western-themed trails while often dressed as cowboys. Guns are supplied by the course owners and are typically period-styled (usually 19th century rifles and pistols). It’s a fun activity for those that love shooting sports and cowboy culture. This is definitely quite a niche shooting sport – you won’t find many courses outside of the southern states of the US, although there are other themed shooting courses around the world.
Underwater target shooting
Underwater target shooting is another wonderfully wacky shooting sport that could be worth looking into. It involves shooting underwater targets with a speargun. You’ll need to be competent at diving to partake in this sport – while there are snorkelling variants, most versions involve having a scuba diving PADI licence. You’ll have to do a bit of searching to find somewhere that hosts this sport, as it is very niche. It’s mostly played in diving club swimming pools.
Paintball players who pursue it professionally, they make a good fortune out of it. Paintball games are typically hosted at specialist paintball arenas. Players are divided into teams and typically a range of different game scenarios such as capture the flag or defend the president. Guns fire paintballs that splatter on impact, making it easy to tell when a player has been hit. Those that want to take paintball seriously can join specialist clubs where you’re allowed to take your own guns and you get to play with and against other serious players. A mask is usually worn for safety when playing paintball.
Airsoft is similar to paintball, but involves firing BB pellets. As a result, you often have to rely on the integrity of players admitting to when they get hit. Airsoft is designed to be more realistic – airsoft guns are designed to look and operate like real firearms. At the same time, it’s cheaper than paintball. There are typically more team tactics as it tends to attract more serious players than paintball, although it can still be very fun. Airsoft isn’t as widely played as paintball, but has grown a lot over the decades, meaning there is likely a local arena near you if you fancy trying it.
Laser tag is another combat shooting sport that is played with laser guns. The advantage of laser tag is that when you are hit, there is no pain. It tends to attract more families with kids because of this, although it can be played and enjoyed by people of all ages. Laser tag is often played in indoor arenas, although it can also be played in outdoor arenas. Shots are digitally recorded on a computer system, so you know when someone has been hit. Like other competitive shooting games, there may be different scenarios that you can play.
First Person Shooter (FPS) esports can also be classed as a form of shooting sport. This involves playing shooter video games competitively with other players. Shooter games can be played on a variety of consoles. Most people play such video games casually, but some people play them professionally. This involves competing in paid tournaments which typically have cash prizes for the winner and runners-up. There will usually be a fee for entering these tournaments, or you may have to prove that you’re of a certain level. Of course, you can always carry out your own tournaments with friends instead of taking part in these official tournaments. To find local gaming tournaments, look online or enquire at local gaming cafes.