Home Blog  
Education / Training What is Field Target?

What is Field Target?

by B.B. Pelletier

This question comes up a lot these days, so I thought I would cover the sport in today’s post.

Field Target is a sport with specific rules
A lot of dealers who don’t know what field target is, have been calling it “field shooting,” as though it was a form of plinking. It isn’t. This is an organized sport with formal rules. The rules are simple. Targets are placed anywhere from 10 to 55 yards downrange of a designated firing line. The shooter, who must shoot from a designated firing line, has to completely knock over the target to win a point. The place where the target is located, along with its designated firing line, is called a lane.

A Field Target match consists of many targets in several lanes. There are usually two or three targets per lane and many lanes per match. Shooters shoot one or more shots at each target, and the total number of shots that may be fired constitutes the match. For example, a match might consist of 15 lanes with two targets per lane and two shots per target. That would be a 60-shot match, which is fairly standard, though nothing says a match has to be a certain size.

AAFTA is the governing body
The American Airgun Field Target Association governs all official matches in the U.S. Local clubs often make up special rules that their members want to follow, but AAFTA rules prevail in all regional and national matches.

Guns are not restricted
The AAFTA rules don’t limit the guns very much, but the sport itself is very limiting. A competitor quickly learns that PCPs dominate, which is why spring rifles are put in a separate piston class. There was an equipment race in the late 1990s, but today’s rifles are so accurate that you can’t really get much better. Ergonomics are very important, and the top competitors have rifles that fit their shooting styles very well.

All calibers may compete, but with the small kill zones on some targets, .177 has the best chance of winning. There was a race for power in the late 1990s, but it died out when the top competitors realized they didn’t need it. Shooters in the UK are restricted to 12 foot-pounds, which is an 8-grain .177 pellet moving under 825 f.p.s., yet they kick butt when they compete against Americans. So, knowing your rifle and pellet is more important than the pedigree of your outfit.

Where to shoot?
The main problem most shooters have is being too far from a club to compete. The solution to this is to grow a club of your own. Read the rules, buy a target or two and find somebody to shoot with you. I have seen several clubs start up with a half-dozen members. They first made their own targets and bought targets out of the match fees collected at every match. Usually, a club will charge $5 to $10 for match entry, and that money is plowed back unto more and better targets.

To make or buy targets, check the Organization link on the above AAFTA website. To find the location of AAFTA clubs near you, check the Resources link on AAFTA’s site. There are more targets available today than ever before, plus several sites list the detailed plans for building targets from common hardware.

You’ll learn more about Field Target by actually doing it than by reading the forums. One match is about as good a trainer as a year of forum reading. What you need is a safe place to shoot and some other shooters who are interested in seeing how good they can shoot.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

8 thoughts on “What is Field Target?”

  1. The AAFTA site has a list of clubs offering FT and a partial schedule of matches (AAFTA only posts “national” or regional matches, not the complete list). My club, DIFTA, has matches about once-per-month from April through November. Our schedule is posted at http:www.damascusiwla.org.

    All clubs welcome novices — bring most any gun (although most limit the power to 20fpe or less) and you will be paired with someone to help you get started. At DIFTA we have often shared or loaned guns for people to get started.

    Be warned: FT can be very addictive. I went from a Beeman GS950 to a Steyr LG100ZM in less than a year and am still learning how to shoot better.



  2. Yes, Long Tom is alive and well (metaphorically, at least). Everyone holds their breath both because of the usual difficulty and the long trigger that takes a few seconds to drop the face.

    I have even started painting it a bit more realistically — the practice for several years was to paint everything black.

    Another innovation I created was to not paint the paddle at all — the back of the target is painted with day-glo and that reflects on the paddle. That way, everyone is shooting at the same target and the first one or two people don’t get the advantage of a painted target paddle.



  3. BB,

    I Want to buy a general prupose rifle, but specially for field target and passible some small game. I really like RWS guns, could you recomend me one.


  4. Fred,

    I like a variable because on days when the sun is in your eyes it pays to turn the power down. I was using a Tasco 10-40 but it was muddy past 30, so that’s where it stayed.

    Leapers’ new 8-32 is much brighter and I believe I would run it all the way up all the time with a long sunshade on it.


Leave a Comment

Buy With Confidence

  • Free Shipping

    Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

    Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

    View Shipping Info

  • Shipping Time Frame

    We work hard to get all orders placed by 12 pm EST out the door within 24 hours on weekdays because we know how excited you are to receive your order. Weekends and holiday shipping times will vary.

    During busy holidays, we step our efforts to ship all orders as fast as possible, but you may experience an additional 1-2 day delay before your order ships. This may also happen if you change your order during processing.

    View Shipping Times

  • Shipping Restrictions

    It's important to know that due to state and local laws, there are certain restrictions for various products. It's up to you to research and comply with the laws in your state, county, and city. If you live in a state or city where air guns are treated as firearms you may be able to take advantage of our FFL special program.

    U.S. federal law requires that all airsoft guns are sold with a 1/4-inch blaze orange muzzle or an orange flash hider to avoid the guns being mistaken for firearms.

    View Shipping Restrictions

  • Expert Service and Repair

    Get the most out of your equipment when you work with the expert technicians at Pyramyd AIR. With over 25 years of combined experience, we offer a range of comprehensive in-house services tailored to kickstart your next adventure.

    If you're picking up a new air gun, our team can test and tune the equipment before it leaves the warehouse. We can even set up an optic or other equipment so you can get out shooting without the hassle. For bowhunters, our certified master bow technicians provide services such as assembly, optics zeroing, and full equipment setup, which can maximize the potential of your purchase.

    By leveraging our expertise and precision, we ensure that your equipment is finely tuned to meet your specific needs and get you ready for your outdoor pursuits. So look out for our services when shopping for something new, and let our experts help you get the most from your outdoor adventures.

    View Service Info

  • Warranty Info

    Shop and purchase with confidence knowing that all of our air guns (except airsoft) are protected by a minimum 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the product page.

    A warranty is provided by each manufacturer to ensure that your product is free of defect in both materials and workmanship.

    View Warranty Details

  • Exchanges / Refunds

    Didn't get what you wanted or have a problem? We understand that sometimes things aren't right and our team is serious about resolving these issues quickly. We can often help you fix small to medium issues over the phone or email.

    If you need to return an item please read our return policy.

    Learn About Returns

Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

View Shipping Info

Text JOIN to 91256 and get $10 OFF Your Next $50+ Order!

* By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g. cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from Pyramyd AIR on 91256. Reply with birthday MM/DD/YYYY to verify legal age of 18+ in order to receive texts. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.