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If you’re new to the world of clay shooting, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed and/or baffled by all the different modalities this sport offers so that you can start shooting today.

Of all these modalities, today we want to go deeper into Universal Trench, a shooting discipline internationally regulated by the FITASC.

Many say that Universal Trench is how shooting got started in Spain; practically every village across the country had its own shooting range.

Any Spaniard, after learning how to shoot clay targets at traditional village ranges, would go to the Universal Trench shooting range back home to have a permanent place to practise this sport.

Want to learn a little more about it?


Universal Trench is a type of shooting sport similar to Olympic Trap since both disciplines have 5 shooting positions.

Targets are thrown from one of a group of five traps installed in a trench and are set to release the clays at different angles, elevations and speeds, although each shooter will receive the same 5 trajectories in random order.

That means that the shooter never really knows where the next clay is coming from and has to stay alert and respond quickly. It’s a modality that requires both excellent composure and technique, making it one of the favourites of the most experienced shooters.


The layout of all the traps on a Universal Trench range are based on one of 10 official schemes established by FITASC and are controlled by a computer.

This means that although the sequence of the targets will vary between each competitor, they will all receive the same targets by the end of the round.

The Universal Trench championships usually consist of 200 targets/8 heats. Each round consists of 25 targets and the shooter must shoot 5 targets at each of the 5 shooting positions according to the following basic rules:

  • Two shots are allowed at each target.
  • At the start of the shooting, 5 competitors will be ready, one to each shooting stand and a sixth must be ready to take the place of the 1st competitor when they leave stand no. 1, etc.
  • The clay shot is declared “KILLED” when it is launched and shot according to the rules and if at least one visible piece is broken.
  • The clay is considered “LOST”:
    • If the clay is shot at and it is not hit during its flight.
    • If the shooter does not shoot at a clay that has been called and thrown properly
    • If the shooter cannot shoot because he has not released the safety catch or forgotten to load.
    • If the shooter misses the clay on the first shot and cannot fire the second shot.
  • The clay is considered “NO BIRD”:
    • If the clay breaks before being released.
    • If the trajectory is irregular.
    • If two clays or more are launched at the same time from the same trench.
    • If the clay is launched before the shooter has given the command.

Remember that you can find the complete rules and regulations here.


At Corsivia, we can’t recommend any other clay target more than our much-loved Olympic to practice Universal Trench. This is a very popular clay target for this discipline in France and offers a host of advantages:

  • It is designed with enough consistency to withstand being launched and break with minimal impact from the pellets.
  • Provides a consistent and stable flight path.
  • Offers less than 1% null birds.
  • Features high visibility.

And we have it in permanent stock for immediate delivery to any country in the world.


All shotguns may be used, including semi-automatic models, as long as the ejection of the empty cartridge does not disturb other shooters, and on the condition that the calibre does not exceed 12 gauge. No weapon with a barrel length less than 66 cm is allowed.

Whatever shotgun you use, always respect the rules of use for each of clay shooting discipline.

Basic rules for Universal Trench

Like all other shooting disciplines, Universal Trench has its own set of basic rules.

We’ve already mentioned that this discipline is governed the FITASC rules, but we want to share the most basic ones with you here so that you can always keep them in mind:

  • Guns must be carried open and unloaded.
  • Shooters may not leave their stand until instructed to do so by the referee or until the last shooter has fired their last shot.
  • The gun may only be loaded whilst at the shooting stand in the ready position.
  • The shooter places his feet within the limits of the shooting stand, except when changing stands. Failure to comply will result in the loss of a target or disqualification.
  • Chokes cannot be changed once the round has started. Failure to comply will result in the forfeiture of all targets shot in that round after the change.


Although we’ve focused on Universal Trench in this article, remembering the basic safety rules for all shooting disciplines never hurts.

Write them down and you’ll always have them with you:

  • Whether you are on or off the range, following basic firearms safety rules is an absolute must. Wielding a shotgun carries a great deal of responsibility, and proper handling etiquette should always be followed.
  • When participating in any sport shooting event it is imperative not to be rushed. This is extremely important both to ensure a good pace and for the safety of all participants. When shooting, always load cartridges one at a time and keep the gun unloaded until it is your turn.
  • When it’s not your turn to shoot, try to make as little noise as possible. Always avoid being any kind of distraction.
  • Knowing the rules of the club you’re shooting at is essential. For example, every club has its own rules on the right attire for safe shooting at its facilities.

Basic clothing to get you started in Universal Trench

Every club has its own rules about the proper clothing for clay shooting at its facilities.

But if you’re looking to get started in any of these disciplines, here is a list of the basics so that you can enjoy this sport without spending a fortune (don’t forget to check out our “In defence of a fair economy” blog article, where we explain why you don’t have to break the bank, even less in the current economic climate).

To start, keep in mind the clothes that are forbidden when practicing target shooting:

  • Shorts although knee-length shorts (of the Bermuda type cut off 5 cm at most above the knee) are allowed.
  • Sleeveless shirts.
  • Having an uncovered back underneath the vest.
  • Sandals.

After that, the basics for clay target shooting are as follows:

Ear protection

Either very simple disposable foam earplugs or highly technical hearing protectors that block out the most damaging noise.

Just make sure your protection has a comfortable fit that doesn’t impede your shotgun-holding technique.

Eye protection

You don’t need to buy the most expensive shooting glasses on the market, but you do need to keep them with you at all times. They are vital for protecting you, among other things, from some of the flash that is produced by your shot.

Shooting vest

This is without a doubt the most essential piece of equipment for most shooters.


Because they usually come with large front pockets for storing cartridges, loops for shooting goggles and straps for ear protection.

An all-in-one solution that keeps all your equipment close at hand at all times.

Hat or cap

Especially on very sunny days. Again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money. A simple flat cap will be one of your best tools to protect you from the sun.


Ideally, a good pair of wellies, especially on rainy days. Although, if you prefer, you can use the boots you use when you go hiking, with waterproof fabric, if possible, in case it rains.

Waterproof jacket

A jacket that fits well and doesn’t restrict movement. If you practise clay shooting in winter, a waterproof jacket that is a little warmer is a good idea.

And that’s all for today…

All that’s left is for us to remind you that, if you need more information about our Olympic target, we’re just a click away at

And, of course, to tell us about your adventures practicing Universal Trench. Do tell…