Shooting halls

Around 1835 the first famous shooting galleries or salons were opened and soon became popular places for both men and women to shoot recreationally at targets.

                  Fig. Outdoor schooting gallery (Germany, 1860’s)


At these shooting galleries several kind of competitions were held and bets where made to see who was the winner. Often a round of beers was the price: the loser paid of coarse! Similar things are still seen in bars today (so I’m told!), but now darts are used. These shooting competitions are still held today at various events called Schützenfests. A Schützenfest (marksmen’s festival) is a traditional festival or fair featuring a target shooting competition in the cultures of both Germany and Switzerland.



Most pistol ranges originated outside in the open air, sometimes the shooting booths were covered by a simple roof. However, the need to practise also led some clubs to have indoor pistol ranges. Some were public others, stricly private.

     Fig. Shooting gallery Gastinne-Renette (Paris, France 1890’s)


One of the most luxurious 19th century shooting galleries was that of Gastinne – Renette in Paris (France) where scores were held and for the privileged few, specialist private loaders would load the pistols and advise their clients on their shooting positions. Marble walls, good dining and drinks and even central heating allowed the shooters to practise their target- and duelling shootng at their own leisure.

Nowadays, indoor shooting galleries have evolved into modern ranges with electronic scoring devices and automated target retrieval systems.