As athletes take their posts on the line and look out over the shooting field, they often focus on the concrete box in front of them—the ‘trap house’—as a point of reference when they set their stance, and where they aim prior to calling pull! But what is a trap house? And what’s in it? From the outside they may look simple, but there is a considerable amount of engineering and thought that goes into your typical ‘concrete box.’

When athletes look out over the shooting field, the trap house doesn’t look that big. In fact, trap houses usually sit about 2 feet above the ground in order to not interfere with the shooter’s sight. But the trap house is far larger than it appears. Most trap houses are about 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall—which means that most of the house is set into the ground, hidden from view. Trap machines throw thousands of targets each day, so along with space for the trap machine itself, there needs to be a lot of room to store case upon case of targets, as well as enough room for range staff to climb into the house and reload the machines from time to time.

Trap machines and the targets need to be protected from the elements. Snow, wind, rain, and even blowing sand can all wreak havoc on the gears, electronics, and moving parts of a trap machine, so it’s important that trap houses are built with these things in mind. While trap houses have a roof to keep the elements out, water usually finds a way. In order to keep the machines dry and protected, trap machines are placed on an elevated shelf inside the house. Sometimes made out of wood, but more often made out of concrete, this shelf both keeps the equipment out of the water, and is
set at the right height from which to throw targets. Trap houses also feature waterproof wiring to provide electricity for the machines, and for the electronics—such as voice-release systems— that release the target each time an athlete calls pull! While the trap houses mentioned here are the standard designs, not every shooting range has trap houses built exactly this way. In fact, some teams shoot on fields that don’t have trap houses at all. The next time you visit your shooting range, ask the staff if they’ll show you inside the trap house so you can see where the fun starts!