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Discover the World of Texas Shooting Sports

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As per a report by Southwick Associates (2020), nearly 20 million Americans spent 400 million days target shooting in 2020 alone. But where does the heart of this sport beat the loudest? In the Lone Star State. Yes, Texas outshined all other states, leading the nation with a total of 31,839,000 days spent shooting in 2020. It’s a small wonder because guns and shooting sports are deeply ingrained in Texas history and culture.

If you want to become a part of the shooting sports world, here’s a guide to Texas shooting sports. You’ll learn what Texas shooting sports are there and how to find shooting matches. In the end, you’ll find a quick list of the best affordable competition pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Read on!

Table of Contents

Types of Shooting Sports Competitions
How to Get Started in Texas Competitive Shooting
Best Affordable Guns for Texas Shooting Competitions

Types of Shooting Sports Competitions

Shooting sports are as diverse as they come, offering a broad spectrum of competition formats, but, basically, all of them can be classified as either static precision target shooting or dynamic action-based shooting that, outside precision, requires physical agility as well.

If you’re worried that your basic-built pistol, rifle, or any other type of firearm won’t qualify as a competition gun, don’t be. Most shooting sports competitions have distinct equipment divisions to ensure fair play among participants. It means firearms and accessories are categorized based on their features and modifications. In plain words, a standard pistol with stock iron sights doesn’t need to compete against a heavily customized race pistol loaded with tuned ammo and equipped with a red dot and compensator.

Practical Shooting Competitions


Practical (also dynamic) shooting competitions are characterized by their emphasis on speed and accuracy. While pistols dominate these competitions, rifles, and shotguns are also commonly used in practical shooting sports.

The stage isn’t just a flat range with targets. Dynamic shooting competitions usually feature a dynamic stage with a target field, a designated shooting area, and strategically placed barriers that force participants to move around to engage all targets.

If you own firearms for self-defense, this is your playground. What better way to prepare for real-life situations than by competing in a setting that mimics them? After all, if you can handle the pressure of a competition, you’re ​more likely to stay calm when it really counts.

Now, let’s see what types of practical shooting competitions you can take part in.

  • USPSA/IPSC practical pistol shooting: rapid shooting and movement.
  • IDPA practical pistol shooting: rapid shooting, movement, and accuracy.
  • Steel Challenge: classified as speed shooting
  • Multi-Gun / 3 Gun / 2 Gun: shooters use a rifle, pistol, and shotgun within the same competition.
  • Tactical Games: heavily emphasizes physical fitness along with shooting challenges.
  • Run and Guns: 3-7 mile runs with rifle and pistol shooting stages.

Precision Shooting Competitions


This type of shooting sport is all about discipline and accuracy. Participants stand still at a fixed distance from the target and aim to hit as close to the center as possible. The targets are usually stationary, allowing shooters to focus solely on their aim, steadiness, and trigger control. Numerous variations of precision shooting exist, determined by the equipment, firearm type, and target distance.

  • Precision Rifle Series (PRS): a ​long-range shooting competition format drawing inspiration from the practical shooting world.
  • International Benchrest Shooters: Bench rest shooting competitions represent the zenith of accuracy standards, ranging from 100 to 1,000 yards.
  • NRA High Power Rifle: a precision rifle competition that involves standing, kneeling, and prone shooting at 200-600 yards.
  • NRA Rifle Silhouette: knocking down animal silhouette targets within a fixed time.
  • NRA Conventional Pistol: bullseye pistol target shooting at 25 and 50 yards.
  • ISSF Air Rifle: an Olympic sport and an excellent way to introduce youth to shooting competitions.

Other Shooting Sports

  • Skeet Shooting: an Olympic-included classic shotgun competition format involving shooting flying clay disks.
  • Trap Shooting: similar to skeet shooting, but the disk is thrown in a randomized direction.
  • Cowboy Action: a highly stylized shooting competition format involving single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and shotguns.

How to Get Started in Texas Competitive Shooting

Now, let us walk you through all the essentials of Texas shooting sports you need to know.

Start With Local Competitions

Once you decide what gun you want to compete with and what type of shooting, dynamic or precision, you want to do, start checking the calendar at your local gun club or shooting range for upcoming matches. It’s a great way to dip your toes into the world of competitive shooting without having to travel far or adapt to a new shooting environment.


If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area in Texas, you might check out our GRITR shooting range located in North Richland Hills. At GRITR, we allow a variety of firearms – handguns up to .50 AE and rifles up to .308, to be precise. Noteworthily, our gun range is designed with both static and dynamic lanes. We also offer classes for new shooters and host regular events, such as IDPA matches or USPSA dynamic shooting competitions.

Whatever part of our country you live in, there’s always a good place to start your competitive shooting journey. Explore local gun ranges and clubs, browse their event calendars, and register for a shooting competition.

Move On to Shooting Competitions Held by Associations

Once you’re comfortable with local competitions, it’s time to level up and join association-organized shooting competitions. There are many organizations, with some of the largest being the National Rifle Association (NRA), the United States Practical Shooters Association (USPSA), the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), and the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). While these three are a great starting point, don’t limit your search just to them.

Texas shooting competitions are plentiful. Take the Texas 3-Gun Championship, for instance. This 3 gun competition, held near Burnet, TX, challenges participants to showcase their skills with three different types of firearms: a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun. It’s a high-octane event designed to determine the best 3-gun shooter in Texas. If you’re looking to test your versatility and adaptability as a shooter, this is the event for you.


For those with a taste for nostalgia and historical weapons, Texas also hosts multiple cowboy shooting competitions, like those organized by the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), for instance. These competitions are unique, requiring participants to use firearms typical of the mid-to-late 19th-century American Old West, including single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and side-by-side shotguns. These events not only test your shooting skills but also offer an immersive experience that takes you back to the days of the Wild West.

By the way, check out this comprehensive Guide to Revolvers if you’re new to this type of firearm. 

There’s also the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), the premier firearms organization in Texas that works diligently to protect the right to keep and bear arms as well as hosts and sponsors competitions in a wide range of shooting disciplines, such as High Power Rifle Long Range events and Cowboy Action Shooting events. The association also runs programs for other disciplines, such as Action Pistol, BB Gun, Lever Action Rifle, and many more.


Shotgun enthusiasts in Texas have a wealth of opportunities to participate in competitive shooting events. The Texas Sporting Clays Association (TSCA) is at the forefront of promoting and organizing these events among residents. One of the key events on their calendar is the Texas State Sporting Clays Championship. This prestigious event attracts participants from across the state and beyond, offering competitors a chance to test their skills against some of the best shotgun shooters.

Beyond sporting clays, there are also other types of shotgun shooting events to explore. The Texas Trapshooting Association organizes trap shooting competitions that provide an engaging challenge for beginners and experienced shooters alike. For skeet shooting enthusiasts, the National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) offers a range of events.

Lastly, you can also use to register for matches. It’s the go-to website for registering for everything from local matches to national championships.

Best Affordable Guns for Texas Shooting Sports Competitions

To help you get off on the right foot, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best competition gear available for beginners.

Best Beginner Pistols for Shooting Competitions

CANIK SFx Rival Dark Side

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 18+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 5″
  • Weight: 29.5 oz


  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 18+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 5.1″
  • Weight: 27.5 oz


  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 4.7″
  • Weight: 28.3 oz

CZ Shadow 2

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 4.89″
  • Weight: 46.5 oz


  • Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
  • Capacity: 10+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 5.5″
  • Weight: 35.6 oz

Taurus TX22

  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 10+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 5.25″
  • Weight: 23 oz

Best Beginner Long-Range Rifles for Shooting Competitions

MOSSBERG Patriot LR Tactical

  • Caliber: 6.5 PRC
  • Capacity: 10 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 22″
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs

RUGER Precision

  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 15 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 18″
  • Weight: 6.8 lbs


  • Caliber: 308 Win
  • Capacity: 10 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 24″
  • Weight: 8 lbs

Best Beginner Shotguns for Shooting Competitions

MOSSBERG Maverick 88

  • Gauge: 12
  • Capacity: 6 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 28″
  • Weight: 7 lbs

REMINGTON 870 Fieldmaster

  • Gauge: 12
  • Capacity: 4 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 28″
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs

MOSSBERG 500 Combo 12 Gauge

  • Gauge: 12
  • Capacity: 6 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 28 inches / 18.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs

Best Beginner AR-15 Rifles for 3 Gun Competitions

ATI AR-15 MilSport RIA P3P

  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Capacity: 30 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 16 inches
  • Weight: 7 lbs

SAVAGE MSR-15 Recon 2.0

  • Caliber: .223 Rem / 5.56 NATO
  • Capacity: 30 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 16.125 inches
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs

SIG SAUER M400 Tread Snakebite

  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Capacity: 30 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 16 inches
  • Weight: 7 lbs


  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Capacity: 30 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 16 inches
  • Weight: 6.9 lbs


What is a sport that involves weapons?

Shooting sports are a collective group of competitive and recreational sporting activities involving proficiency tests of accuracy, precision, and speed in shooting — the art of using various types of ranged weapons, mainly referring to man-portable guns (firearms and airguns, in forms such as handguns, rifles, and shotguns).

What is the difference between USPSA and IDPA?

Both the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) and the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) are organizations that host competitive shooting events. The main difference between the two lies in their focus. USPSA matches are more freestyle and focus on speed, power, and accuracy, while IDPA matches are designed to simulate real-world self-defense scenarios and everyday life.

What is a 3 Gun competition?

A 3 Gun competition is a type of multi-gun match where competitors use three different types of firearms: a rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun. The matches generally involve courses where the shooter must move through different stages and engage targets in a variety of different positions. Each stage will generally require the use of different firearms and can require the shooter to transition between them.

What is an air rifle competition?

Air rifle competitions are shooting events that use .177 caliber air rifles. These events test competitors’ accuracy and precision at various distances. The most common types of air rifle competitions are field target and benchrest competitions. Field target competitions involve shooting at metal silhouettes of animals at varying distances, while benchrest competitions involve shooting at paper targets from a seated position.

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