How Americans Came to Fall in Love with Firearm Sports

Walking into a vintage home in the US, spotting an old rifle or the head of a moose hanging off the wall in some parts of the house, would not be a surprise. This lack of secrecy in displaying firearms is because the usage of the same does not necessarily send the initial signal of violence, in the United States, as it does in other less civilized and democratized parts of the world. Part of the reason for this is because until recent years – post-industrialization years, the average American male (a times females too) grew up on farmsteads and got trained in using firearms. These pieces of training come in handy for hunting games during open season and to ward off wild animals like bears from the farm perimeters. No wonder many Americans today find fireman sports amenable.

We are going to do a historical sketch of how firearm sports got ingrained in the culture of the American people of the US.


In colonial America, early settlers mostly cultivated farms, off which they fed themselves and etched for livelihood. Once in every while, they also went hunting. With the arrival of Swiss and German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the early eighteenth century, skilled rifle makers amidst the immigrants started making Flintlock rifles.

Another popular activity during this period was for hunters to participate in turkey-shooting contests organized by local tavern keepers. These contests often involved a shooter aiming at live turkeys from a distance, with the opportunity of keeping the bird if the shooter hits.


Native Indians were the most notorious security threats encountered by settlers in colonial America. Guns gave the Scotch Irish settlers upper hands during feudal confrontations. Such faceoffs were an avenue for hunters to show off their shooting skills in times of unrest.


At around 1710, frontier settlers in the US thought it right to improve their shooting skills and were the first to start using markers for shooting activities. Knotted ropes tied to a tree and wooden slabs marked with an ‘X’ were common tags used for this purpose at the time.

Though using live pigeons and partridges as shooting markers continued in the 1700s, inanimate markers were subsequently adopted. This compromise of using inanimate markers was suggested when humanitarians observed that pigeon populations were dwindling in the nineteenth century.

In the year 1871, a couple of high-ranking military officers came together to form the National Rifle Association. The association was created to address the poor marksmanship observed in soldiers during the just ended American civil war. It would subsequently become the umbrella body to train marksmen (and women) that represent the US at the Olympics.


Europe and America are the homes of the best gunmakers in the world; a brief perusal of reviews about firearms companies will prove this claim to be valid. Due to the increase in shooting competitions, to the extent of winning enough acclaim to be included in the International Olympics and Paralympics, many American citizens have found firearm sports as a worthy hobby to pursue. American firearms companies have equally made the experience an enjoyable one by producing licensed shooting guns, particularly for games.