What’s the Difference Between a Report Pair and True Pair in Clays Shooting?

Clay pigeon shooting is a thrilling sport that demands precision, quick reflexes, and an understanding of the game’s various rules and terminologies. Two such terminologies that often puzzle new entrants to the sport are ‘report pair’ and ‘true pair.’ These terms, critical in the sport, refer to different formats of bird release in clay shooting. While they may sound similar, they have distinct definitions and can significantly impact a shooter’s score and strategy. This article aims to shed light on the differences between a report pair and a true pair in clay shooting.

Understanding Clay Shooting: Report Pair vs. True Pair

In clay pigeon shooting, machines known as ‘traps’ are used to launch clay targets, commonly referred to as ‘birds,’ into the air. These birds are launched in pairs, either as a report pair or a true pair. A report pair refers to a format where the second bird is released immediately after the shooter’s first shot. The report here refers to the sound of the first shot, which triggers the release of the second bird. On the other hand, a true pair refers to a format where both birds are launched simultaneously from the trap.

The concept of these pair types originates from the hunting practice, where game birds would often take off in pairs. In a true pair, both birds might be sighted at the same time, similar to a covey of quail breaking from cover. In a report pair, the sound of the shot might prompt a second bird to take flight, mimicking the behavior of ducks or geese.

Key Differences: Report Pair and True Pair in Clay Shooting


While the fundamental difference between a report pair and a true pair lies in the release timing of the birds, this variation significantly impacts a shooter’s strategy. In a report pair, though the shooter technically knows the trajectory of the second bird, they must divide their attention between shooting the first bird and preparing for the launch of the second. Therefore, patience and timing become key in a report pair.

In contrast, a true pair requires quicker reflexes as both birds are in the air simultaneously, and the shooter has to quickly decide which bird to aim for first. This decision can vary based on factors like the birds’ trajectory, speed, and distance from the shooter. Hence, in a true pair, speed and decision-making ability are crucial.

Deciphering the Terminology: Report Pair and True Pair

Another aspect to keep in mind is how these terms are used in different shooting disciplines. In American Trap and Skeet shooting, only report pairs are used. The shooter knows the sequence of the targets and can prepare for the second bird’s release after firing the first shot.

On the other hand, in Sporting Clays, both report pairs and true pairs are used, adding an element of unpredictability as the sequence of the targets can vary. In this discipline, the shooter must be equipped to handle both types of pairs, which demand different skills and strategies.

The Impact of Report Pair and True Pair on Shooting Score

The type of pair used in a round of clay pigeon shooting can significantly impact your overall score. For beginners, report pairs might be easier as they allow more time to prepare for each shot. However, mastering true pairs can significantly elevate a shooter’s skill level and score.

The ability to quickly assess and hit two moving targets in a true pair portrays a shooter’s skill, agility, and sharp decision-making. On the other hand, the patience and precision required in a report pair can help a shooter perfect their technique and accuracy. Therefore, being adept at both report pairs and true pairs can give a shooter a competitive edge in the sport.

In conclusion, understanding the difference between a report pair and a true pair is crucial for any clay pigeon shooter. While a report pair tests a shooter’s patience and precision, a true pair judges their speed and decision-making ability. Both types of pairs have distinct requirements and can significantly impact a shooter’s score and strategy. Whether you are a novice or an experienced shooter, mastering both report pair and true pair shooting can significantly improve your performance in the thrilling sport of clay shooting.

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