The founder of the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was a shooting enthusiast and so it comes as no surprise that the sport has appeared at all but two of the Games since the inaugural event in 1896.
Initially staged mainly in England, the United States, Ireland and South Africa, it has only been dropped from the Olympic schedule in 1904 and 1928, and has since become popular throughout the world.
Women were allowed to compete in Olympic shooting competitions from 1968 onwards as part of mixed classes, with separate events for men and women not being standardised until Atlanta 1996.
Shooting events fall into one of three categories depending on the type of gun that is used - namely rifle, pistol and shotgun.
In the rifle and pistol categories, competitors shoot at targets on a range from a distance of 10, 25 and 50 metres. Depending on the event, shots are fired either standing, kneeling or lying down (prone).
The shotgun category, meanwhile, sees competitors shoot at clay targets launched from different directions and different positions on the range.
There are 15 shooting events at the Olympics, with six for women and nine for men. In each one, competitors take part in a qualifying round, with the top shooters progressing to the final.
In the final, an individual's scores from both rounds are added together to determine the medal placings.
The Royal Artillery Barracks, which dates back to the 18th century, is the historic setting for the shooting competition at London 2012.
Temporary indoor ranges have been constructed for the pistol and rifle events, and outdoor shotgun ranges for the skeet and trap competitions.
China led the way on home soil as the most successful shooting nation at Beijing 2008 with five gold medals, although the USA has won the most across all summer Games, with 103 prior to London 2012.
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