As one of the fastest growing shooting sports in the country, if they aren’t already, 3 gun matches will appear at a shooting club near you shortly. We all agree that shooting one firearm is a great feeling, but using 3 is more fun than a woodpecker in a lumber yard.
As for many of us, firearms have been a part of my life since childhood. I grew up hunting and plinking, with my dad and brothers. Shooting guns from my first Red Rider, 30-30 rifle, and a 3.5″ 12 gauge shotgun. I always enjoyed going to the range or field with the one firearm built for the task at hand. I had not considered shooting competitively until receiving an email from my best friend titled Dude, we’re doing this with a YouTube link included. Until last year, I had never heard of a 3 gun match. To this day, that is one of the greatest emails I have opened. After an hour of watching match footage I knew I wanted to get into the game. Through a quick internet search I found a few shooting clubs in my area that hold monthly 3 gun matches.
Since I had no prior experience in competitive shooting sports, I choose to attend the first match as a spectator. By doing this I was able to learn the range officer commands, safety rules, and general flow of a competitive match without having to focus on shooting at the same time. It felt as if I was asking a million questions, but the shooters, ROs and Match Director were all willing to answer and explain every one. For anyone entering a new shooting discipline, I suggest taking an approach like this for the first time out. After watching this match from the sidelines, I could not wait until next month to come back and put some shots downrange.
There are many gear setups for this fast-action shooting sport and can be overwhelming for those trying to choose which is the best option within their budget. When I shot my first match, I showed up with a stock XDM 9mm, Remington 870 pump, and borrowed an AR-15 from a friend. I loaded shotgun shells from a sporting clays pouch and stored pistol magazines in my back jeans pocket. Almost all the shooters in my squad for the first few matches offered their gear for me to try before buying stuff I didn’t like. This is very likely to occur at your first few matches as well. In the beginning, it’s more important to learn the range commands and the flow of a match than having equipment that you aren’t sure you need/want.
If you are wanting to get into 3 gun but haven’t fully committed for some reason, find a local club, bring the equipment you already own, and ask questions politely! As long as you listen to the ROs, MD, and are safe on the range, you will find your new addiction in the shooting sports.