Why Shoot 3 Gun? A Perspective from a Newbie and Expert
Shooting sports, of any format, are a way to get out to the range, shoot your firearms in ways you can't normally shoot them, hangout with likeminded individuals, improve your skills, and have lots of fun. Everyone who is interested in shooting should give a shooting sport a try.
3 Gun is a quickly growing shooting sport involving, you guessed it, three guns. Each and every stage in a 3 Gun competition is different, but involves all or one of the three guns in your arsenal, be it pistol, rifle, or shotgun. It is a very fast paced adrenaline inducing sport that pushes your shooting skills and equipment to the limit.
Shooting sports, of any format, are a way to get out to the range, shoot your firearms in ways you can’t normally shoot them, hangout with likeminded individuals, improve your skills, and have lots of fun.
Everyone who is interested in shooting should give a shooting sport a try.
Do I need to be an expert shooter?
No! This is the most common thing I hear when I try and get someone involved in any shooting sport. “Well, I’ll join you when I practice more and get better.” No! Just come out and shoot. A shooting competition will improve your skills faster than standing in a shooting bay will, and it will help you identify areas you need to improve on.
Bring the equipment you already own, and just shoot a low key, local event. Monthly shooting competitions are laid back, newbie friendly events. The firearms community is an amazing one, tell the people there this is your first time and they will be eager to teach your the rules and critique your skills. We’ve all been a newbie to shooting sports, and we all want you to get better and come back and shoot more with us.
Seriously, just get out and shoot.
How do I get started in 3 gun?
To start, you’ll need a rifle (.223cal or higher), a shotgun, a handgun (9mmm or higher), spare magazines, a way to put the spare magazines on your belt, and some sort of dump pouch to put your shotgun shells on your belt. You probably already have everything except the dump pouch and mag holders, and those can be quite cheap. If you contact the organization hosting the shooting event, they will probably even have loaner equipment for you to borrow.
And that’s it. Grab some ammo, and show up at the range. You don’t need to over think it or dump a bunch of money into expensive equipment. Just go shoot an event and ask questions of all the nearby competitors. See a gun or piece of equipment that interests you? Ask the person about it, I guarantee you he/she would love to talk to you about their guns and gear.
To find a local 3 Gun event, a quick Google search often works, or check out the 3 Gun Nation Directory for local clubs.
What are some other shooting formats?
There are many other shooting competition formats, so I’m sure one will meet your fancy. (in no particular order)
- USPSA – for fast action pistol and pistol caliber carbine shooting
- IDPA – for fast pistol shooting with a self defense twist
- Benchrest shooting – for rifle shooters who love pursuing extreme accuracy
- Cowboy Action – for your inner John Wayne
- Steel Challenge – for lightning quick pistol shooting
- Precision Rifle Series – for the long distance shooter
- And the NRA has a wide variety of competition formats available as well
And there’s no way I’ve listed them all. Google around for shooting competitions in your area, find one that interests you, and get out and shoot.
Written by Brian Purkiss - always a student, sometimes a teacher.
I don't consider myself a competition shooter - I think of myself as a performance pistol shooter. I am all about performing at as high of a level as possible. Towards that end, I am obsessive about learning how to perform. I spend a lot of my life learning from the best across the entire firearms world and even into other areas of performance and other sports. I am a USPSA Carry Optics Grandmaster, currently working towards my second GM title in the Open division.