As described by the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), the main body governing American Trap, trapshooting is a form of clay target shooting. Trapshooting is a game of movement, action and split-second timing. It requires the accuracy and skill to repeatedly point (not aim), fire and break the 4 1/4 inch clay disc which is hurled through the air at a speed of 41 mph, simulating the flight path of a bird fleeing a hunter.
The shooter is required to shoot at a target after he calls "pull." It does not matter in scoring if the shooter hits only a small piece of the target or whether he shatters the target. The target is considered a "dead" or "lost" bird. If the target is hit it is "dead." It is the shooters responsibility to check his/her own score.
Registered trapshooting is a competition that is regulated by the Amateur Trapshooting Association. Gun clubs hold shoots in accordance with ATA rules, but they must apply and register for each shoot. All participants of these shoots must be ATA members. The shooters scores are recorded in the ATA office where all records are kept and yearly averages computed. The records are used for handicapping and classifying shooters.
In registered trapshooting, the rules specify that targets must be thrown no less than 48 yards and no more than 52 yards, and should be between 8 and 12 feet high and 10 yards from the trap. Shooters stand a minimum of 16 yards from the trap houses.