All About Silhouette Competition Shooting, Part 1:

The sport of silhouette competition shooting is exciting, challenging, relatively inexpensive and a fun way to develop your shooting skills. In this 2-part blog, we’ll discuss the history of the sport, the rules, and how you can get started.


Silhouette shooting has been around since its origin in Mexico in the 1940’s. Today, it is shot all over the world with everything from air pistols to black powder rifles. Commands to load, fire and cease fire are generally given in Spanish to honor the sport’s heritage.

The Rules of the Game

The object is to knock as many silhouettes as possible off their pedestals. It’s a simple competition with simple scoring: You receive 1 point for knocking a silhouette animal off its stand, 0 for anything else.

A match can consist of 40, 60 or 80 shots at the same number of animals. For example, in a 60-shot match, you would shoot 15 rounds at 15 chickens and the same for pigs, rams and turkeys. Distances vary depending on the animal at which you’re shooting.

You shoot at silhouettes in sets, also known as banks. Each bank consists of 5 shots which you have 2-1/2 minutes to complete.

Mastering the Game

Although the rules are simple, becoming an expert at silhouette shooting is not easy. The small, silhouette animals are placed between 40 and 100 yards, you must shooting standing, and a moderate breeze can throw off your shot. Concentration is of the utmost importance especially as the game goes on.

In a 60-shot match, novice shooters may score in the 20’s, most in the 30’s and 40’s, and a few will break 50. A perfect score of 60 is very rare. If you’re interested in getting involved competitively, don’t worry – shooters are classified into handicap groups based on talent level.

Regardless of your score, toppling a silhouette is a satisfying and exciting experience that will leave you wanting more! You can look into the NRA’s Silhouette Programs here and look through Magnum Target’s Silhouette Knock-Overs here. Stay tuned for part 2 where we will go into more detail on what it takes to get started in the world of silhouette competition shooting.

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