Olympics Shooting: What is the difference between pistol, rifle and shotgun?

The rifle is one of the three weapons used in the Olympics
The rifle is one of the three weapons used in the Olympics

Shooting is one of the most popular sports at the Olympics. It has been a part of all editions except the 1928 Amsterdam and 1904 St. Louis Olympics. Initially the sport had just five events at the Games, but eventually more categories were added.

Presently, the sport governed by the International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) is contested in 15 different categories at the Olympics. These events use different types of guns - Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun.

In this article we take a look at the different types of guns that are used at the Olympics.

The types of guns used in Olympics shooting

#1 Pistol

Pistol shooting in progress at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics
Pistol shooting in progress at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics

The pistol is the lightest of the three types of weapons. They are usually good for shooting targets from a closer distance. The pistol used in shooting events in the Olympics is a single loaded pistol with a 4.5mm calibre.

Some events use a different rapid fire pistol with a 5.6mm calibre. The events that involve pistol shooting in the Olympics are 10m air pistol, 25m pistol and the 25m rapid fire pistol. While the 10m air pistol has men's, women's and mixed team events, the 25m pistol is a women-only event and the 25m rapid fire pistol is a men's event.

#2 Rifle

Rifles are bigger in size and offer greater accuracy. They are capable of shooting targets placed at a greater distance and require both hands to operate. The Olympics use a standard rifle throughout all events, which is the 5.6mm calibre rifle.

The rifle is used for only two events during the Olympics - the 10m air rifle, contested in the men's, women's and mixed team categories, and the 50m rifle 3 positions event.

#3 Shotgun

This third type of gun used for sport shooting is the most powerful one. It has traditionally also been used for sport hunting. The Olympics use a shotgun with a 12 gauge that has an 18.5mm calibre.

While the first two weapons are wielded in an indoor shooting range, the shotgun is used for events in an open shooting range. The events that involve the use of a shotgun are the Skeet and Trap. In both these events, the shooters fire at clay disks that are 10cm in diameter.

The shooting events at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 start on the 24th of July and get over on the 2nd of August.

Also read - Tokyo Olympics 2020 broadcast schedule India: where to watch, timings, and more details

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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