Sharp Shooter

Members of the Cal-Diego PVA chapter take aim during a recent trap shoot event. Photo Christopher DiVirgilio

Get started in trapshooting with this helpful guide

Trapshooting is a sport that many people would not immediately associate as a sport “normally” participated in by people with disabilities. Trapshooting actually lends itself unusually well to wheelchair users as a sport where you can compete on a level playing field with the able-bodied community.  

If trapshooting sounds like something you’d like to try, here a few suggestions to get started. You say you’ve never shot a gun before? Don’t worry. It doesn’t make a significant difference in the ease or difficulty of what you need to do to shoot trap for the first time. 


Since this sport does require the handling of a loaded firearm, safety is the top priority. Please don’t let that scare you away, with this in mind and a healthy dose of respect combined with training from a certified instructor you’ll be on your way to enjoying one of the fastest-growing sports in America. Most gun clubs offer firearms safety classes taught by certified instructors.

Many of the Paralyzed Veterans of America chapters have trapshooting programs and are an excellent first contact for information on the sport in general, and give advice and pointers in regards to shooting from a wheelchair.

There are gun clubs in or near virtually every city and town in the country.  Gun clubs welcome new shooters and can provide the equipment and training to help you decide if this is the sport for you. The Amateur Trapshooting Association is the official governing body for the sport and as such has a wealth of information on its website Their website also contains a great tool to locate gun clubs near you, give this link a try and I guarantee you’ll be surprised with the number of clubs in your area,Clubs,StatesZones.aspx .

Once you’ve located a shooting facility in your area, a simple phone call will put you on the path to breaking your first targets.  For example, if you check the results from the link above for Phoenix, the returns include the Ben Avery Clay Target Center with a link to their website which welcomes new shooters: “Shooters of all ages and abilities are welcome. New shooters will find rental shotguns and a courteous staff eager to offer informal coaching.” I’ve found this to be typical of nearly every gun club site I’ve visited, and from personal experience can tell you I’ve never found nicer people who are truly eager to share their sport than those you will meet at your local gun club. 


The basic equipment needed to participate in the sport is a shotgun, eye and ear protection and ammunition. Most clubs have a variety of guns available for rental, this will give you the chance to try different types of guns prior to making what can be a significant purchase.


Classified by many as a “Gentleman’s Game,” etiquette has an important role in trapshooting and is practiced at all organized events. Commands are given from both the scorer/puller and shooters and are as important to squad timing as the behaviors of the shooters on the squad. To start a round of trap the shooter on the first station will ask if the squad and puller are ready (usually by calling "Shooters ready?" then "Puller ready?"), followed by asking to see one free target, traditionally saying, "Let's see one."  If this all seems confusing, have no fear, after a couple of rounds you’ll speak the language and enjoy the safe organized environment it provides.

Trapshooting is an opportunity to get out of the house and participate along-side your children, grandchildren in an activity that will shame the best of their video games. Trapshooting can be highly addictive and never seems to lose its initial exciting appeal. 

PVA’s Shooting Sports circuit is in full swing and a list of events can be found on the PNOnline Events Calendar



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