North Jersey Clay Target Club
Trap Shooting Overview


Trapshooting is a specific form of clay target shooting. Trapshooting is a game of movement, action and split-second timing. It requires the accuracy and skill to repeatedly aim, fire and break the 4 1/4 inch discs which are hurled through the air at a speed of 42mph, simulating the flight path of a bird fleeing a hunter.

Trapshooting's continual growth and expanding popularity is due to the fact that people of all ages, incomes and abilities can compete. Nine year old boys shoot alongside 90 year old men. Many 70-year olds have been in the sport 55 years and some began just two years ago. Trapshooting's participants include millionaires and hourly wage earners, inventors and businessmen, former sports figures in other fields, professional men and women, farmers, truck drivers, musicians, actors, students and housewives.

The shooter is required to shoot at a target after he calls "pull." It does not matter in scoring if the shooter breaks off only a small piece of the target or whether he shatters the target. The target is considered a "dead" or "lost" bird if a single discernible chip is seen. If the target is hit it is "dead." It is the shooters responsibility to check his own score.

Registered trapshooting is competition that is regulated by the Amateur Trapshooting Association. Gun clubs hold shoots in accordance with ATA rules, but they must apply and register for each shoot. All participants of these shoots must be ATA members. The shooters scores are recorded in the ATA office where all records are kept and yearly averages computed. The records are used for handicapping and classifying shooters.

In registered trapshooting, the rules specify that targets must be thrown no less than 48 yards no more than 52 yards and should be between 8 and 12 feet high when the thrown target is 10 yards from the trap house. Shooters stand a minimum of 16 yards from the trap houses. If you are interested in learning more about Registered ATA targets Roger Cox of Amarillo Texas has prepared an eleven page document that goes into detail. You can down load the PDF version by clicking on: Intro to Trap Shooting Booklet



Singles is considered to be the easiest of the three disciplines. In singles, the shooter stands 16 yards away from the center of the "trap house" and shoots at random targets that fly at various angles in front of him/ her. Shooters are grouped into squads, usually made up of up to five people. There are five positions that each shooter shoots from, five shots per position, totaling to twenty five shots or one round. This gives participants a different view of the target flying through the air. Each position is a constant 16 yards from the trap house, each one is spaced three feet apart forming a small arc. Squads rotate between four trap fields called a "bank." When the shooter is finished shooting at targets from those four trap houses, they have completed a round of 100 targets, 25 at each bank. The premier shooting event in singles is the ATA Clay target Championship.
The photo on the left is of club members Steve Carfaro and Terry Shaffer getting their 100 Straight patches after breaking their first 100 in ATA competition out in Elysburg, PA.


Doubles was added to tournament play in 1911. It is a modified version of Singles, but it is more difficult because shooters must break two targets fired from the trap house simultaneously. One clay pigeon flies to the left while the other flies to the right. The target path remains constant, but the challenge is if the shooter can hit both targets before they hit the ground. Each target is scored individually, not as a pair. Some shooters use a shotgun with two barrels for doubles and one with a single barrel for singles and handicap.


Handicap is considered the most prestigious event in trapshooting. As in other sports, handicapping strives to make the competition equal. The is accomplished by having the more skilled competitors stand further away from the trap house. Based on a shooter's past performances, a shooter is assigned a handicap distance which he/she must shoot. A competitor with a high handicap will shoot no closer than the 18 yard line, while the most skilled shooter is placed at the 27 yard line where breaking clays is extremely difficult. 

So, how do you get to the 27 yard line? Simple. All it takes is perfect form and practice, practice, practice.
The photo on the right is of Mark shooting in competition from the 27 Yard Line. Watching people compete from the back fence is a thrill to watch and gives the rest of us something to strive for.


Wobbles is played like singles with two very important differences. The game of Wobbles was designed to come as close to wingshooting as possible. The targets can be thrown faster or slower than normal targets. They can be thrown higher or lower and at wider angles than singles. The other big difference is that although Wobbles is a single target game you are allowed to take a second shot at the target if you miss with the first shot!

This is the only game in trap where you can take a second shot at a missed target.

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