IMSSU is the international body governing the interests of the Metallic Silhouette. IMSSU is responsible for maintaining the rules and safety standards, as well as running international competitions, such as the bi-annual IMSSU World Championships.


Metallic silhouette is descended from an old Mexican sport called “siluetas metalicas“, dating back to the early 1900s, where live game animals were staked out at varying distances as targets. By 1948, start using metal cutouts of the animals, and the first metallic silhouette match was held in Mexico City. Because of the sport’s Mexican roots, in the United States the silhouettes are often referred to by terms from several varieties of American Spanish, namely gallina (chicken), jabali (pig), guajalote (turkey), and borrego (ram).

The first silhouette range constructed in the United States was in 1967 at Nogales, Arizona. Growth was steady until 1973 when the NRA become involved in the sport. By the mid-1980s it was the fastest growing gun sport in the United States. It is a sport that appeals to hunters, plinkers, and serious target shooters without the financial barriers of some other competitive shooting sports. Jim Carmichel called it the “common ground on which to unite”.

The International Metallic Silhouette Shooting Union (IMSSU) is the international federation controlling metallic silhouette competitions for both rifle and pistol. There are also two major US-based bodies; the National Rifle Association covers all types of silhouette shooting in the United States, and the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA), founded in 1976. There are some minor differences between the international federation’s IMSSU rules and those of the NRA and IHMSA, but it is generally possible to compete in all with the same equipment.

Silhouette shooting is growing in popularity in Canada. Silhouette Canada (S.R.A.C.) is the governing body for rifle metallic silhouette target shooting in Canada. S.R.A.C. sanctions the Canadian National Rifle Silhouette Championships hosted each year by one of the participating provincial silhouette associations. The Canadian Nationals adhere to NRA silhouette rules and regulations.

Silhouette shooting is a very fun and inexpensive way to improve  your accuracy

Rifle silhouette shooters generally shoot from an unsupported standing position, though black-powder rifles may use shooting sticks in some competitions.

Handgunners may be required to shoot from an unsupported standing position (two hands may be used), or from a “freestyle” position. Freestyle includes some unusual positions, such as the Creedmoor position, which is shot lying on the back, legs bent and feet flat on the ground, with the pistol resting on the shooter’s right leg. In a freestyle position the pistol may only contact the shooter’s body, no rests may be used (not even, in the case of the Creedmore position, the top of a boot).

There are informal matches for special classes, like cowboy rifles and pistols and vintage military surplus rifles.