One of the interesting things about 3 Gun, is the fact that you can’t just be a fast/accurate shooter to win…you also have to be fast at everything else involved. What else is involved? Well, there are an endless number of things to analyze, from the fastest way to clear a flight of stairs to choosing the right footwear for the terrain. However, if there is one simple thing I see new and even weekend shooters losing time on, it is weapon transitions.
Before I tell you the way I transition weapons, lets get one thing straight; When I dump a gun, it is ALWAYS on safe or empty. Just because we are going to go a little faster, doesn’t mean you get a free pass on safety. Also, occasionally stuff does get broken. This is my disclaimer informing you that I never said it won’t break.
As I mentioned above, I see people preparing to transition from one gun to another, and it is like they think the gun they are dumping is some ancient artifact. News flash: That thing is made of metal and plastic. Yea, I know your rifle has some high end glass on top of it, but so does mine. In fact, I run one of the more delicate optics, as far as variable power optics go, but that doesn’t slow me down when I need to ditch my rifle.
When I dump my rifle, other than putting it on safe, the only thing I am concerned with, is making sure about 3/4 of the handguard makes it into the barrel before I let it go. Often times, I am several steps ahead of the dump barrel, before the gun even hits the bottom. Another point to clarify, is that I’m not throwing the gun into the barrel from 10 feet away. I am simply guiding the front half of the gun where I want it to go, and letting it free fall from there. In doing this, I have never once DQ’ed, missed a barrel, or lost zero on my rifle optic.
Shotgun is very similar, with a little more care. In 3 Gun, Shotguns tend to be a lot longer than our rifles. When I dump a shotgun, I put it on safe and turn it almost perpendicular to the ground. As I approach the dump barrel, I guide the magazine tube straight down into the barrel and let it go about a foot from the bottom. It is important with a shotgun to make sure the gun doesn’t have too much force going down into the barrel, or it might bounce out. Empty shotguns also tend to be a little butt heavy. This, combined with their length, makes it easy for them to tumble out of a barrel or even knock the barrel over, if it isn’t secured to the ground.
Pistol is the easiest of all, especially if you shoot a striker fired pistol. Step 1: Insert pistol into box/bucket. Step 2: Let said pistol go. No need to take the time to gently set the gun down. As long as your gun is safe and reliable, it shouldn’t go bang when it is dropped from a couple of inches.
As with anything firearms related, practice the techniques described with empty firearms until you are comfortable with them. The last thing anyone wants to do is have a loaded gun come flying out of a barrel and go home early….or worse. As far as equipment being damaged from being a little harder on it than the average user, for me, it doesn’t happen often and I have yet to break something that the manufacturer hasn’t replaced, or repaired at no cost.
There will be plenty of people who disagree with this article, stating that it isn’t worth the risk to be a couple of seconds faster. If you ask me, there is no risk as far as safety goes, as long as you practice and are methodical when you execute the maneuver. There may be a slight risk as far as damage to equipment goes, but no one ever wins without pushing their gear to the limit.