Shooting, the sport of firing at targets of various kinds with rifles, handguns (pistols and revolvers), and shotguns as an exercise in marksmanship.
Shooting at a mark as a test of skill began with archery, long before the advent of firearms (c. 1300). Firearms were first used in warfare and later in sport shooting (hunting), and because of the shadowy early history of firearms, it is not known when target shooting began. The early history of the sport is largely that of shooting with rifles. The earliest recorded shooting match is one held in Eichstäat, Bavaria, in 1477; the shooters, probably using matchlocks, competed at 200 metres (220 yards).
A Swiss painting from 1504 shows a rifle shooting setup that is quite modern. Contestants fire from enclosed and covered shooting booths at targets in the background. Each target is flanked by a small hut in which a target marker would be concealed during shooting and would later signal by a staff or pole to the shooter and the judges the value of the hit. The judges and scorekeepers are in the right foreground at a table under a roof. Several wind flags are flying, and spectators are shown.