20+ Differences Between Skeet And Trap

As one of the oldest sports of the modern era, clay shooting is quite a popular sport, especially in the West, where it originated. Today, it is a popular Olympic sport with two main variations – skeet shooting and trap shooting. 

Both skeet and trap involve shooting flying targets. However, the way in which both of them are played creates the difference between the two subcategories. 

differences between skeet and trap

Comparison between Skeet Shooting and Trap Shooting

ParametersSkeet ShootingTrap Shooting
Number of housesThere are two static machines in skeet shooting – a high one and a low one.In trap shooting, there is only one machine that turns in different directions.
Placement of housesThe houses for skeet shooting are located on either side of the field and face each other.The trap machine is fixed in front, facing away.
Number of stationsThere are eight stations for skeet shooting.There are five stations behind the house for trap shooting.
Distance between machine and shooterThe distance from both houses will vary with the station on which the skeet shooter stands.The distance between the machine and the trap shooter remains the same.
Launch height of targetsThe high house trap machine launches from 10 feet from the ground, and the low house throws from 3 feet from the ground.The targets are launched from almost ground level.
The trajectory of targetsThe targets can move towards the shooter, away from the shooter, and even cross in case of a double. The targets only move away from the shooters.
Double shootingIn skeet shooting, double shooting is performed in four stations.There is no double shooting in trap shooting except in a doubles event, where the machine releases clay targets in pairs of two.
Speed of targetsThe targets fly at about 72 kilometers per hour.Trap targets fly at 65 kilometers per hour.
Number of shotsTwo shots are taken for each station. If a double is to be shot, then the number increases.Each player is given five targets to shoot at every station.
Ability to predictBecause of consistent speed, height, and angle, targets are easier to predict.The targets in trap shooting are launched in varying directions; therefore predicting is more difficult. 
HistorySkeet shooting is younger, being originated in the twentieth century.Trap shooting is quite older, being in existence since the eighteenth century.
Place of originSkeet shooting has its origins in Massachusetts, United States.Trap shooting has its earliest origins in England.

Differences Between Skeet Shooting and Trap Shooting

What is Skeet Shooting?

Skeet shooting came into existence in 1920 in Massachusetts by Charles Davis and Bill Foster. Initially more of a clock-style game, the game took its current form a few years later. 

Skeet shooting has two machines that launch targets, and the player has to shoot them from eight preset positions, called stations. Because the target launching houses stay fixed, the shooter’s position changes the angle of the targets. 

In a round of Olympic skeet shooting, 25 targets are launched in total from all stations. In the American skeet shooting, 24 targets are launched. Here, the player gets to retake his missed shot or shoot another target at the final station.

What is Trap Shooting?

Trap shooting is one of the oldest shooting sports. However, the earliest signs known date back to eighteenth-century England, where the sport was already popular among the hunters. Back then, live birds were used for target practice. 

The live birds were soon replaced with glass balls, and later, clay pigeons became mainstream. Today, clay targets are launched using a trap machine, and the shooters take shots from five stations, each at an equal distance from the trap machine.

In the American trap, 25 targets are launched by a single trap machine. In singles or a handicap event, the player takes five shots from each station. In the case of a doubles event, five pairs of two targets each are launched from each station. 

In the Olympic version, 125 targets are launched, meaning 25 shots from a single station.

all you need to know about skeet shooting and trap shooting

Contrast Between Skeet Shooting and Trap Shooting

Number of Houses

  • Skeet ShootingIn skeet shooting, the targets are released from two houses.
  • Trap ShootingIn trap shooting, only one house launches the targets. The machine rotates at specific intervals.

Placement of Houses

  • Skeet ShootingThe houses that launch the target are located on either side in such a way that they face each other.
  • Trap ShootingThe one house that launches the target is located in front of the shooters.

Number of Stations

  • Skeet ShootingThere are eight stations located at different positions where the shooter must stand and take the shot.
  • Trap ShootingThere are five stations located behind the house at different angles.

Distance between the Shooter and the House

  • Skeet ShootingDepending on the station the shooter is standing, the distance between the shooter and both houses will vary.
  • Trap ShootingAll five stations are located at an equal distance from the trap machine, allowing the shooter to take shots from all five stations from the same distance. The angle does vary with every station.
difference between skeet shooting and trap shooting

The Initial Height of Targets

  • Skeet ShootingIn skeet shooting, one house throws the targets from a height of 3 feet from the ground. The other house launches from 10 feet above the ground. Because of this, they are known as ‘low house’ and ‘high house,’ respectively.
  • Trap Shooting In trap shooting, the house or a trap machine launches from the ground level.

The Trajectory of Targets

  • Skeet ShootingAt every station, the targets launch at varying angles and hence, can move towards the shooter or away from him.
  • Trap ShootingThe targets launch at multiple angles. However, they all move away from the shooters.

Double Shooting

  • Skeet ShootingDouble shooting is done in skeet shooting, where two targets are released together from both houses. The targets cross each other.
  • Trap ShootingDouble shooting is not done in trap shooting because there is only one house launching the targets. However, in a doubles event, the same machine releases two targets at one time.

Approximate Speed of Targets

  • Skeet ShootingIn skeet shooting, the targets fly at a speed of 72 kilometers per hour.
  • Trap ShootingIn the case of trap shooting, the houses launch the targets at an approximate speed of 65 kilometers per hour.
targets used in skeet shooting and trap shooting

Number of Shots Taken

  • Skeet ShootingA shooter takes two shots from each station. The number of shots can increase if the player has to shoot a double.
  • Trap ShootingA shooter takes five shots from all five stations.

Predictability

  • Skeet ShootingFor every station, the angle of the target is the same, along with its speed and height. This allows the shooter to anticipate better.
  • Trap ShootingBecause the trap machine oscillates, it is difficult to predict the direction of the flying targets. This makes judging the trajectory difficult despite all targets launching from the same spot.

History

  • Skeet ShootingSkeet shooting was invented in the twentieth century and was introduced in the Olympics in the 1960s.
  • Trap ShootingTrap shooting has been in play since the eighteenth century. It became an Olympic sport officially in the early 1900s.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is sporting clays shooting?

Sporting clays is an entirely different but perhaps the most realistic form of clay shooting, where the shooters walk through a course like in golf and shoot targets released by the trap machines.

Because of the varying sizes, speeds, and angles of targets, combined with the changing environment, anticipating the targets is the hardest here.

Q2. What is a handicap event in trap shooting?

Just like a singles event, shooters aim at a single target. However, in a handicap event, the shooter has to move away from the trap machine(also called earning yardage) after hitting the target successfully.

Q3. How is the Olympic trap different from the American trap?

Olympic trap does not use a single rotating trap machine. It uses 15 machines placed at set angles, launching ten left, then right, and five straight targets in random order.

Q4. What is double shooting in skeet shooting?

Double shooting means both houses will launch targets at the same time. However, which target to shoot first from the two depends on what station the shooter is standing at. 

Q5. How is the Olympic skeet different from the traditional American skeet?

The Olympic skeet is pretty much the same as its American counterpart. However, the shooter has to perform a double at the first seven stations.


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