Why is it called Conventional?

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Most competitive smallbore rifle shooters in the United States live in a schizophrenic world, split between National Rifle Association (NRA) and International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) styles of competition. There may be a few who only shoot one type or the other, but most end up competing in both. It is a shooting world divided by a difference in targets, equipment, and courses-of-fire: A dichotomy unique to this country.

A short history lesson is needed to understand why shooting in the United States developed as it has and not in lockstep with Europe. Although it is certain that contests of hitting an object at a distance with a rock, spear, or sling date back to prehistoric times (the story of David and Goliath, for example), competitive target shooting, as we know it, has its roots in medieval Europe.

Why is it called Conventional?
by Hap Rocketto
https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2017/2/21/why-is-it-called-conventional/

Competition Shooting History: The Longbow
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-shooting-history-the-longbow/

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Organized Shooting in the United States

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Competitive shooting events should be more popular in the US, but they are not. As a percentage of the vast number of gun owners and NRA members here in the States, organized shooting has little support. Here are the numbers.

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A History of Shooting Sports

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Source: 1995 USA Shooting Media Guide
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/olympics/longterm/shooting/shthist.htm

The History of Shooting Sports

Formal target shoots involving the bow and arrow and the spear were first used as military training activities, but Homer’s “Iliad” indicates that Greeks also held archery contests to shoot pigeons on top of tall poles in honor of the gods. Indians, Persians, Slavs, Celts, and Germans engaged in similar activities.

By the tenth century, marksmanship evolved into a social and recreational sport. Regarded as the progenitor of great shooters, Swiss hero William Tell gained honor during the 14th century after successfully shooting an apple off his son’s head. A tyrannical Austrian bailiff forced Tell to use a crossbow to perform the legendary feat.

The First Shooting Clubs

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Competition Shooting History: The Longbow

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Scottish kings didn’t look upon the game much more favourably. In 1424 James I decreed that “na man play at the Fute-ball”.

Competitive marksmanship with archery turned the bow into the successful tactical weapon it would ultimately become by increasing the skill of bowmen. Combat success with the bow encouraged more practice and competitions as kings and military planners realized its potential if skilled marksmanship was developed. Through force of law, the heads of state demanded a populace trained in its use.
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History of American Target Development

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Great article on the history of targetry. For the tactical types, check this out:


U.S. Cavalry troopers were required to shoot dismounted, single handed, at 15 and 20 yards on the Army Target "L". After they qualified on foot, they would then repeat the course of fire, this time astride a horse at the gallop.

Those complaining that competition and bullseye shooting doesn’t take real world concerns into account do so from their ignorance of what these events actually are and can be.

A Short History of American Target Development and Evolution
by Hap Rocketto

The evolution of targets continues to meet the needs of the competitor measuring his skills. Double Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman and noted shooting historian Paul Nordquist mused that, “The target is a measuring device one used to measure the abilities of a shooter. As with all measuring devices you pick the one most suitable to the task. No matter which one you pick there is an element of arbitrariness involved.”

With that in mind, and with all of what has been said about target development and evolution, there is one constant through all the years of organized competitive marksmanship in the United States. The object of the game has always been to hit the center of the circle. Dimensions of the target and aiming black, width of the rings, or the distance at which the target is engaged matters not. What is important to remember is that the target has almost always been a circle and, no matter what size the circle, the center is still the center.

Read more:
http://www.ssusa.org/articles/2015/7/5/a-short-history-of-american-target-development-and-evolution/

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