An Introduction to International Skeet | NSSF Let's Go Shooting
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An Introduction to International Skeet

The world of shotgun sports, including everything from American trap and skeet to International trap, skeet and double trap, is broad but enjoyed by many. Whether you are a competitive shooter or just enjoying any of the disciplines for fun with friends and family, it’s always a great feeling to watch those orange clay birds disintegrate before your eyes.

International skeet — the same game shot in the Olympic Games — consists of two towers on opposite sides of a shooting field. The one on the left is known as the “high house,” while the one on the right is called the “low house”; the target trajectories are left to right and right to left, respectively.

A skeet field has eight stations laid out in a semicircle with a squad starting at the one closest to the high house, then working their way around the stations. The object is to shoot a given sequence of targets at each station, going around all eight stations for a round of 25 targets. Like the American game, in the international game, there are specific shooting sequences for each station, in which targets are launched across the field as singles (one target) or doubles (two targets). Unlike American skeet, though, you are not given an option or a “mulligan” target if you have a miss during your round.

The finals in the international game have changed recently from shooting a full round using all eight stations and 25 targets to shooting just 16 targets from the three centermost stations (station numbers three, four and five), again where each station has a specific sequence of targets thrown from each of the houses. Final rounds are made up of the top six shooters from earlier qualification rounds. After the first round in the finals, the top two shooters face off in a gold-medal match, while the third- and fourth-place shooters face off in a bronze-medal match.

Here are a few more interesting things to know about international skeet:

  • Shooters must wear an official International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF, the international governing body for shooting) yellow marker that is set to a specific height on a shooter’s vest when its pockets are empty. The entire stock of the gun must be held below this marker when the shooter calls for the target, which is launched at a random zero- to three-second delay.
  • Targets are thrown faster and farther than in the American game, 67 meters at 65 miles per hour in the international game.
  • Skeet has been an Olympic sport since 1968.
  • The 2012 Olympic gold medalists in men’s and women’s skeet are both from the United States: Vincent Hancock and Kim Rhode. The current women’s skeet world champion is also an American, Brandy Drozd.

In this video, NSSF’s Bill Brassard discusses Olympic-style shotgun shooting with USA Shooting Team member BJ Blanchard. BJ explains international skeet and provides us with tips on improving our shooting.

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