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Can you tell me about 3 gun matches?

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Big Arm Hannigan, Mar 27, 2003.

  1. Title says pretty much all. What are these competitions like, guns used, etc?
  2. Mr. Chitlin

    Mr. Chitlin Well-Known Member

    Our club shoot 3 gun matches several times a year. They are lots of fun. We shoot paper and steel for pistol, paper for rifle and steel, and sometimes maybe clay pigeons for the shotgun stages. I shoot a Remington 1100, 26" barrel, side saddle and 10 round mag, Glock 35, and 16 inch Bushie.

    Try it, you'll like it!!

  3. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

    3 gunning is super fun.

    I started out in competition shooting about a year and a half ago. IDPA was fun and all, but then I tried 3 gunning and I became an addict. :D

    Guns vary greatly depending on the individual shooter. Most common rifle is some AR type. Good accuracy, light recoil. However some of us don't like ARs and shoot AKs, FALs, M1as, etc. Depends on what floats your personal boat.

    Optics depend mostly on the rules of the competition you are shooting in. Some matches are very loose on optics rules while others are very strict. Remember, big magnification may be great on 300 yard shots, but it sure sucks in the CQB and under 100 stages. :) Some of us prefer iron sights. You will see everything from big money ACOGs and Leopolds to Tasco Walmart specials.

    Most common shotguns are 1100s and Benellies, with a smattering of everything else. Most people starting out use a pump because they are cheaper, and some of us super die hards use pumps because we prefer them. Most common pump is probably the 870 or the 500/590.

    Pistols are all over the board. Most common guns are 1911 derivitives or Glocks. Use what ever you shoot best. Race guns are allowed in some matches but disallowed in most.

    Equipment also depends on the match. Some matches allow a lot of IPSC style stuff and other matches try to keep the gear more realistic.

    So I guess it all boils down to whose competition you are going to be shooting in and what their rules are. Most local clubs have their own set of rules, and almost all of the big national level matches have their own rules as well.

    The only equipment I absolutely hate and think it has no place in 3 gunning is super duper speed holsters that are wide open and barely hold your gun. That is great and all for IPSC matches where the purpose of the holster is to hold your gun as you walk into the shoot box, however in 3 gunning you must wear your pistol while you go through all manner of physical exertions shooting your other guns. Having your gun fall out of your holster while you are running makes you look like a real dork. :)
  4. Navy joe

    Navy joe Well-Known Member

    Basic guns covered. As said, all clubs vary. Go see your local one in action and then decided what you need. Get a good bag fotr all your gear and a little wagon.. to pull all your money in down to the guns and gear store. Sport sinks more money than owning a boat I think.
  5. TheLastBoyScout

    TheLastBoyScout Well-Known Member

    Would a 20" AR, a Glock 36 with Pearce extensions (6+1+1), and a Mossberg 590 be acceptable guns? Mainly, would the AR be too big or the Glock too small?
  6. Navy joe

    Navy joe Well-Known Member

    20" AR would be fine, Mossberg the same as long as you are good keeping it loaded, probably a bigger pistol needed. I've seen people shoot their smaller carry gns, some well but the capacity issue gets old in a hurry.
  7. yankytrash

    yankytrash Well-Known Member

    I have 8 gizzilion questions, but let's start here:

    What kinda ranges are we talking here, broke down in rifle/pistol/shotgun ranges?

    Are there power factors like in IPSC?

    I notice keepin the shotgun loaded seems to be the biggest issue. How many rounds are we talkin? 10? 40? 3?

    What shotgun loads? All slugs? If it's buckshot, is that just a hit or miss deal, or do they actually point the individual pellets somehow?

    Is 3 gun more of an IDPA thing, more of an IPSC thing, or is it all by itself?

    Run me through a course you've recently done please, using all three guns. Gimme your gear setup too, like mag pouches, bandoleers, whatever.


    PS - I warn you, by answering these questions you agree to answer more questions, and perhaps even some questions within questions. :uhoh: :D
  8. Navy joe

    Navy joe Well-Known Member

    Some IPSC clubs run 3 gun matches and go IPSC style on it. Some IDPA do the same in their style. Then some folks get together, say "let's be tactical" and do their own thing entirely. I think in terms of IPSC 3 gun which should be standardized more soon.

    Yes there are power factors, in the USPSA rule book. Short is pistol is the same, 12ga major, 20ga minor, 5.56 minor, 7.62 major is a basic wrap-up of Pf.

    If you are open class with one gun it puts you in open for the whole match. Not a good place to be. Limited shotgun is a max of 9+1, no optical sights, no comps, no speedloaders. Rifle limited can have stock style comps, iron sights and such.

    Ranges are driven by what the club has, ours gets a few 75-100 yd rifle shots on steel, but a lot of 5-30 yard fast and furious on paper with the rifle. Sometimes a club will re-shoot a pistol match stage as a rifle stage. On the other hand World 3-gun had 300 yd targets mixed in with the 10 yd ones. If you don't have a big steel gong or a self-re-setting target some poor yahoo will have to jog out there and fix the target, a big stage design issue.

    Pistol range is typical IPSC stuff. Shotgun is much the same. We do lots of our shotgunning on steel targets and I use #4 buck mostly, I want the thing to fall over now. Some clubs have cheap steel or range fall zone restrictions and say birdshot only. A good shotgun match will force selective loading. Paper targets can be set up to be engaged with slugs, some steel targets activate a flipper that launches a clay bird, which is when you don't want to have a slug next up.

    Haven't done a 3 gun in almost a year. Any course over nine rounds seems to seperate those who can and cannot load their guns smoothly. I watched one diehard run a 13 rd steel stage with a stock 3rd tube 870. He finished fourth of about 45, beating alot of 8 shot autoshuckers. I missed twice (how??) and finished 13th with a 6+1 870. This is with me having had the shotgun 3 weeks(my first Sg) and my first competition too. Everyone practices their pistol, I practiced loading my shotgun since I didn't know any better.
  9. kotengu

    kotengu Well-Known Member

    >What kinda ranges are we talking here, broke down in >rifle/pistol/shotgun ranges?

    As said above - it varies quite a bit. I think the shortest range I've shot at was about 3 yds (with all three guns), and the longest so far has been: rifle = 200yds, shotgun = 110yds, pistol = 40yds. Most common is somewhere in between. What's been the hardest to get used to is the up close rifle shots and the long shotgun (slug) shots.

    >Are there power factors like in IPSC?

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I attended a match in which guys shooting .308 (like me!) only had to hit a target once to neutralize wheras guys shooting .223 (everybody else) had to hit it twice. It seems like pistols are always "power factored", but rifles only sometimes.

    >I notice keepin the shotgun loaded seems to be the biggest >issue. How many rounds are we talkin?

    Again - it depends. The most I've had to shoot on one stage was about 25, the least I think 3. Whatever you setup for "tactical" shell holding capability (side-saddles, butt cuffs, bandoliers, etc) you can pretty much guarantee somebody will come up with a stage in which you need more than you can carry, and you're reduced to fumbling around in your pockets for extra shells :D

    >What shotgun loads?

    Usually bird shot (4's and 6's are common) to preserve the targets. Buckshot is not allowed. As said above, clays and steel are common targets for shot. I've only been to a few matches that required slug shooting and selection, and they used steel and paper for targets. No pellet counts that I've ever seen.

    >Is 3 gun more of an IDPA thing, more of an IPSC thing, or is it all >by itself?

    I would say it's more of an IDPA thing. Most 3-gun matches are designed with an effort to stay "real." In fact - I make it a point to shoot "as I would carry" to reinforce that fact. My pistol is a G27 in an IWB holster (concealed, if it's cold). My rifle and shotgun are as stripped down as I can have them and still function well (no unneccessary bells and whistles) - the only exception is I'm a walking ammo-storage-unit at a match - cramming spare mags and shells everywhere I can fit them.

    >Run me through a course you've recently done please, using all three guns. Gimme your gear setup too, like mag pouches, bandoleers, whatever.

    Here's a "long range rifle" course of fire with some shotgun thrown in at the beginning:

    We started behind a barricade with the shotgun (only 3 in the gun), had to hit 4 clays that were on stakes around 15 yds out, but the kicker was that a clay was thrown across the course as soon as you made your first shot, so you have to engage the flying target as well, all while reloading at the same time. Switch to slugs and make two hits each on two IDPA steel targets (maybe 50 and 75 yds), and hit a "bonus target" at around 110yds with slug if you have any left. Move to another barricade, retrieve rifle and hit each of the remaining eight targets twice each (all targets steel, scattered on the hillside from about 80 to 200yds) A few of them were 6-8" circles mounted on car springs, so they bounced when you hit them the first time (especially with a FAL) so your 2nd hit was on a moving target again. There were also IDPA-type, and some reduced IDPA-type. Any position is allowed, reload as necessary.

    HOWEVER, that's only one example - they can vary quite a bit -

    I've shot on the move, dropping, crawling through tunnels, from a car (through the driver's side window!), through ports, from a MOVING PLATFORM with a pistol, rifle, and shotgun.

    You'll do reloads on the move, long shots (up to 200 yds), short shots, fast shots, slower shots, changing weapons with retention, leaving weapons empty, and on, and on.

    I wear two rifle mags on my left hip, three pistol mags right in front of that (left hip also), pistol holstered on the right hip (pretty far back). For when it's necessary I'll slip two shotgun shell "butt cuffs" on my forearms to hold an extra 10 shells at the ready. That's part of the fun of these matches - figuring out what works and what doesn't as far as your gear goes. Think about what makes sense, try it, then don't be afraid to ditch it if it doesn't work out (you'll probably feel like throwing it!).

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

  10. yankytrash

    yankytrash Well-Known Member

    Oof, sounds brutal....

    I LOVE IT!!:D Sign me up boys.

    They allow milspec-looking webgear don't they (specifically just the Y or H strap and pistol belt, with necessary mag pouches)? I know the IPSC club I shoot at doesn't like camo and IPSC rules say no duty gear unless you're law enforcement.
  11. kotengu

    kotengu Well-Known Member

    Yeah - any gear is OK, as long as it stays with the spirit of the game (no speedloaders for shotguns, race rigs for holsters, etc.). I've seen several guys wearing "tactical" vests, and at least half of the guys are wearing BDU's.

    Remeber - we're "homeland defense" forces! :D
  12. lmccrock

    lmccrock Well-Known Member

    If you find a 3-gun match, contact the club to check for their own rules. Sometimes I shoot at a club which is closer to IDPA (but not affiliated), in that they want to be very practical or carry-oriented for the handgun portion. The shotgun courses are short, and tend to be 4+1 friendly, and short range. Buck or birdshot are ok, slugs never to be used unless so designated. They had bowling balls as a designated slug target, once. How practical is that? ;) Rifle courses vary, and are pre-announced, whether they will be long range (100-200 yards on small targets so a scope is generally required) or short range (25-50 yd hosers). That way, people know what to bring, and so everybody is pleased, at least once in a while.

    An IPSC-oriented club might have longer shotgun shots, so an 18.5" cylinder bore shotgun might have problems keeping the pattern tight enough to knock down steel.

    Find a match, check with the club. Have fun. I do!

  13. Sven

    Sven Senior Member

    This sounds fun!
  14. kotengu

    kotengu Well-Known Member

    Here's some pics to get a better idea as well - sorry for the blur but I was running pretty much straight toward the camera, and I guess the autofocus coudn't keep up. I was just about to drop to prone and have to shoot through the very bottom port on the "barricade" you see in the lower right hand corner of the picture.
  15. kotengu

    kotengu Well-Known Member

    And one more - same stage as above, but during the shotgun portion. Any time we engaged around the left side of a barricade we had to shoot left handed to make better use of cover.
  16. another okie

    another okie Well-Known Member

    "12ga major, 20ga minor"
    Maybe the rules have changed, but my 14th edition book says there is no minor in shotgun. 20 gauge is the minimum, and is scored major. Page 73, U.S. rules
  17. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Well-Known Member

    it depends on the place. the swat magazine match www.wc3gun.com requires 12 gauge and buckshot or slugs, depending on the stage.

    my rifle gear (tactical tailor MAV) is set up to carry 9 mini-14 magazines or 6 m-14 magazines, a set of binoculars, a compass, and also has a 12 round shotgun pouch (which has ten rounds of .308 and ten rounds of 30-06 because my dad is likely to shoot those calibers when we work in teams) and a MOLLE medical pouch for use as a dump pouch.

    my shotgun gear is a bandolier.

    my pistol gear is a blackhawk duty belt with two single stack magazine carriers on it, my pistol holster (eagle special operations flap holster with kydex insert),kukri, and MOLLE medical pouch with first aid kit on it.

    the SWAT match doesn't really care about what you use, web gear wise, but they do have rules that encourage combat worthy equipment.
  18. Denny Hansen

    Denny Hansen Well-Known Member

    Yo Andrew! You shootin' the match this year or will you be acting as an RO again? Look forward to seeing you in Laughlin.

  19. John G

    John G Well-Known Member

    I'm getting excited reading this thread. It sounds very cool. Here's some questions:

    1. The rifle has to be semi-auto? Can I use a bolt gun?

    2. What are the caliber requirements?
  20. kotengu

    kotengu Well-Known Member

    I've never seen anybody use a bolt gun, but I don't see why you couldn't. You'd better be fast at manipulating that bolt, though - and practice loading via stripper clips.

    You'll probably put yourself at a disadvantage to the semi's, but if that's what you'd "use" you should practice with it in the same way. I'd respect a man for trying with the bolt gun. :D

    As for the caliber - I'd guess 9mm minumum for the pistol, and .223 minimum for the rifle (I'd say .308, but I'd offend some mousegunners here!). I've never seen anything but 12ga for the shotguns. I don't know that there are any "formal" requirements - but some require you make a certain power factor here and there.

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