Firearms originated as military weapons, used along with stone throwing machines, bows and crossbows. The booming sound of early firearms compensated for their lack of precision and power.
Many changes in firearms history occurred in the early 16th century when the rifle was created. A slug was put in the bore to stabilise the bullet in the air and accuracy improved significantly.
As the muzzle-loading rifle was slow to reload, rifles were mainly used for elite sports and hunting.
In the 19th century, shooting began to evolve as a sport. One of its champions, Pierre de Coubertin, the French pistol champion, was the founder of the modern Olympic Games.
Shooting was featured in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Nine different sports were placed on the programme and shooting sports had the highest number of participants in these first Olympic Games.
The first World Shooting Championships were held one year later in 1897.
Shooting has been contested in most Olympic Games with the exception of 1904 and 1928. Women were first allowed to compete in 1968.
In 1984, the International Shooting Union (now called the ISSF - International Shooting Sport Federation) introduced separate events for women. Between 1984 and 1992, the number of women's events gradually increased.
The current Olympic programme includes 15 different shooting events: nine for men and six for women. There are three shooting disciplines presented in the Olympic programme: rifle, pistol and shotgun (clay target).
Shooting joined as an official sport in the 2nd Asian Games held in Manila, the Philippines in 1954.