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Article 10 – 2018 (November)

man smiling while holding orange clay pigeon

Russell Mark

Australian Shooter Magazine, Question and Answers

Article 10 – 2018 (November)


Question: Do elite shooters have access to some type of Trap, Skeet or Sporting training aide that does not involve firing live rounds? I had in mind something along the lines of a curved screen such as that in an ‘iMax’ theatre where the shooter has projected onto that screen the various stands and stations.

I guess it would be possible to program in windy conditions, the sound of the trap and the report of the gun, but not the recoil. Your thoughts?

 Tony Morris 


Answer: It is a great question Tony and one that will become more and more relevant in the future I am sure. Pistol and Rifle competitors have had access to similar video training technology for some time, but it has really only been over the last two decades where we have seen these simulators applied to the shotgun world.

Anything device that puts a shotgun in your hand and teaches you to “point” instead of “aim” is going to be beneficial. Simple dry mounting the firearm at home is good training to teach you the muscle memory required to continuously duplicate the reputation needed to mount the gun consistently under the pressure of competition. Even the slightest of changes in your gun mount when you are competing can have disastrous effects on your final score at the range.

Without naming brands, there are several shotgun video applications available for both pleasure and training. I have seen several world-class athletes at some stage use them and by all accounts most have been happy with their success from them. Will it ever take the place of actual “live” training at the range? Not a chance, but as a form of “cross” training I would totally recommend you try it.

You correctly state in your question that recoil cannot be simulated and in my mind this is one of the greatest downfalls with video training in clay target shooting. I remember using one of these video training devices when they first appeared on the scene around twenty years ago. I spent hours on them with some decent results, but when I went back and shot some real targets I will never forget the sensation of how much the gun recoiled. It was nearly scary. I think in time there may be a way to add the sensation of recoil into these simulators and when they do it will take these games to the next level as far as training devices.

I did notice there is a company that offer the backgrounds of some of the biggest shooting ranges in the world and if you are preparing for a future competition on one of these same grounds then I guess the simulator will help prepare your mind for the target to background visualisation before the event starts. How much will that help? No idea, but it certainly can’t hurt.

One of the trends I am seeing develop from overseas is the use of these simulators at indoor Shooting Ranges. I notice in the Scandinavian countries they have a ranges where you can take actually take your .308 hunting rifle and shoot at game on the screen with your own real ammunition (don’t try that at home), but I would think in these far northern countries where you are nearly in total darkness for twenty four hours in the heart of winter then there would be some demand for this. If it turns the shooter into a more accurate and humane hunter then of course there are tremendous benefits for everyone. I wouldn’t think in the near future you will see the same applications being developed for shotguns and clay targets, but you never know. We are lucky here in Australia that we haven’t been pushed that far south by the radical left wing green movement just yet that we have to shoot clays in an “Imax” theatre.

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