Pea Shooting

Pea shooting involves firing dried green peas by blowing out rapidly through a pipe or tube at some sort of target. The sport of pea shooting involves firing peas at a target, which is formed out of (or coated with) putty.

As a toy, pea shooters have long been popular in the UK: the “pea shooter”, the weapon of choice of many a short-trousered schoolboy, was likely conceived as less lethal spin-off of the blowpipes known to have been used by many indigenous peoples around the world

World Pea Shooting Championships

The World Pea Shooting Championships have been held yearly at Witcham, near Ely in Cambridgeshire, England for over 40 years, and draws participants from all over the world.

The competition was the brainchild of John I. Tyson (1925–2002), the headmaster of the local village school in 1971 to raise funds for the construction of a new village hall.

The world championships have taken place in the UK every year since 1971, however the COVID-19 epidemic forced the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 tournaments.

Rules of Pea Shooting

Anyone can enter the world championships, however only the top 16 scorers go through to the final.

  • Length: peashooters may be no longer than 12in (30cm) in length
  • Ammunition: only peas provided by the official organisers may be used
  • Range: competitors must stand 12ft (3.5m) away from the putty target
  • Method: the pea must be propelled by blowing with the mouth …
The only technical restrictions on how the pea shooter works is that the pea must be propelled by the breath of the participant, however besides that, creativity is encouraged: even laser sights may be used to aid accuracy!

Thanks to the growing popularity of this sport, in 2014 the first US National Pea Shooting Championship were held in a mall in Roanoke, Virginia.

Perfect Pea Technique

Contestants need to factor in wind, worry about sun (which makes it harder to see the laser sights), and also deal with heckling from excited crowds and also occasionally from other contestants.

Peas should be chosen to fit snugly inside the plastic or metal tube to ensure maximum velocity when firing.

The World’s Biggest “Pea Shooter”

On account of the fact that is has no visible weaponry, the P-26 fighter aircraft was humourously dubbed “the shooter of peas”.

The P-26 “Pea Shooter” fighter aircraft

It did, however, have two machine guns on the floor of the cockpit shooting through the propeller and a long tube gunsight at the front of the windscreen, and hence definitely wouldn’t have been permitted to participate in the world championships 🙂