Rifle Sports

Bench Rest

Bench rest shooting is a form of precision marksmanship. Bench rest matches are fired from a sturdy shooting bench with the rifle supported by a front and rear rest. A course of fire consists of either five or 10 rounds, shot at a single target to produce a measurable group. The size of the group is what counts; there are no scoring rings on the target. The goal is to put five consecutive shots into a single hole no larger than the diameter of the bullet itself.

Once the shooter settles into position and the “commence fire” command is given, the shooter is allowed up to seven minutes to fire a five-round group, or 12 minutes for a 10-round string. Groups are measured in thousandths of an inch at their largest outside diameter. From this measurement, the actual caliber of the bullet used (in thousandths of an inch) is subtracted from the measurement to produce the actual group size.

Find out more from the National Bench Rest Shooters Association 


Silhouette shooting involves firing at metallic targets of different shapes from various distances up to 500 meters. Unlike most conventional target games that utilize paper targets and numerical scoring rings, almost every shot fired at a metallic silhouette produces an immediate and clearly visible result. Even misses produce a cloud of dust. For each five-round stage (one shot, left to right, at each target in a bank of five) a shooter is allowed a maximum of 2 1/2 minutes.


Position shooting requires competitors to shoot from various positions during different match stages. A typical match will consist of several stages fired at different distances from each position. The target is a round bull’s eye with numerical scoring rings radiating outward from center 10-ring or X-ring. Time limits vary with the stage and yardage. For example, high-power shooters firing at 600 yards are allotted 20 minutes for 20 shots, and the rapid-fire stage, fired at 200 yards, allows 60 seconds for 10 shots.

Two governing bodies regulate this sport. International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF), the governing body for international and Olympic competition, specifies three positions: standing (off hand), kneeling, and prone (lying down). The National Rifle Association (NRA), governing body for U.S. match shooting, uses the same positions, plus a sitting position.

Find out more about Position shooting from:

International Shooting Sports Federation

Additional Resources

Modern Sporting Rifle – The modern sporting rifle, based on the AR-15 platform, is widely misunderstood.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation asks you to be an informed gun owner and to use the following facts to correct misconceptions about these rifles.

Minute of Angle – A detailed video and explanation including tips, formulas and examples of “minute of angle” (MOA) and how to use MOA adjustments on your scope for sighting in and to compensate for bullet drop at varying distances.