I’ve done three multi/3gun matches in the past month and I figured I’d kinda write a little about what I learned and somethings I’ll be working on to get better. Being completely new to firearms competitions, no USPA, IDPA…anything… i had no idea what the matches were going to be like.
The first thing i learned is… its pretty hard. The events are not just shooting, there is running, obstacles, weird rules for certain stages (such as target sequences, firing positions, etc.) and some times you have to carry heavy objects (I’ve already eaten dirt a few times.. not pretty). The point is it can be as intense as you want it to be, but the club I’ve shot with loves to have people come that aren’t potential badasses, so don’t be discouraged if you’re just out to test yourself, have fun or just shoot for the hell of it. I personally am trying to improve enough to actually compete ( I cant play a sport just to play, I want to be good, but that’s just me)
The second thing I learned was that this is going to cost a lot of money if i really want to take on the sport. Already having a pistol and rifle my first addition to my rig would be a shotgun (ill get more into that later), after watching a few matches before i started to play the game I’d decided to get semi-auto. I bought the shotgun, then a side shell holder, then a jimmy clip for shells on my belt, I needed a good retention pistol mag holster, an AR mag holster… See where Im going with this? (granted you can get by using pockets if you just want to play, but this post isn’t really for those guys). On top of equipment most round counts in clubs are 150 for pistol, 150 rifle, 75 target shells and 10 slugs… you’ll also be shooting steel a bunch, so bi metal ammo and steel core are off limits (this means no tul ammo or red army). So in my area that cost about 150 bucks if I’m buying that ammo new, I personally only train with reloads, I’d rather be super sure about my ammo at a match. So yeah, its a lot of money, though there are ways to keep it cheaper, I’m sure.
On my equipment.
For my rifle I used one I built. 16 inch barrel, standard BCG, magpul stock, Milspec pistol grip, Vltor rail, SOTA upper, Bushnell drop zone 1x4 223 optic, and an Elftmann tactical 3gun trigger. Besides the rail and trigger its pretty standard. Worked fine but I did get some light primer strikes on the Elftmann trigger so I ended up changing it to a CMC trigger, I really like Elft’s triggers but I would rather have them in my MPX than my competition rifle because my CMC is just more dependable in my lil ole opinion.
My Bushnell optic works well for the $120 i spent on it, though I rarely train with magnified optics so I’ve had a lot to learn about them. I’m more of an irons/red dot kinda chick. The optic does get me through about 500 rounds without the zero getting off, but it needs to be checked before each match in my opinion ( my last match i suffered quite a bit because i thought it was “good to go”).
My pistol is a Sig P226, though, Ive recently been thinking about changing this platform to a Sig P320 full size RX, (This will put me in the open division instead of the tactical division) or a CZ P-09 for a few reasons, the first being the weight of my 226. The p226 has a metal frame and is considerably heavier than a polymer gun. While this is my favorite pistol in my personal collection, I think ill be getting a polymer CZ P-09… but only because its more available than the Sig P320 RX full size model, plus from what I understand there are more aftermarket parts for the P-09. All that said, my P226 performs pretty well, and its a pretty accurate gun so replacing it isn’t a super big priority right now.
On to my shotgun: I chose a CZ 712 Semi Auto 12 gauge. For the price of $485-ish I thought it would be a good start for 3 gunning. The only thing I did to this gun was buy an extended magazine tube to increase my guns capacity from 4+1 to 11+1. The magazine tube extends past the end about 7 inches from a 20 inch barrel, its kinda ostentatious if I’m being real here. I did end up cerakoting it bazooka green because I’m a tad did ostentatious myself.
The shotgun ran through about 600-ish rounds perfectly but now I’m having a few issues with it, maybe once I get it performing well again ill expand on that.
My first match
The match started around 930 with a shooters safety and stage brief, they even had a shorter one right before for new shooters. During the brief they discussed the importances of safety and the “180 rule”. The 180 rule is about the angle of where your muzzle can be pointed at all times. There is a zero tolerance policy with this, so even an accident puts you out for the day. I haven’t found it really difficult to maintain this rule, but I also saw a few people get close and having a range office yell “muzzle,muzzle!”, and i can see how if you’re not paying attention it could be an easy thing to do… which is why they spent 15 minutes talking about how its not only very unsafe and the most common DQ for new shooters. No one from my squad got a DQ that day.
Some other things that could get you disqualified were flagging anyone, including yourself and dropping a fire arm. There are some other violations like running with your finger in a trigger guard, but I’m not sure if that disqualifies you for the entire event or not.
My first stage was a rifle/pistol stage. The rules were that you started with an empty magazine in your rifle with the bolt forward and a magazine of 15 rounds holstered, from there you would reload the rifle and chamber it, and engage targets. The first two targets were paper silhouettes that needed to be engaged twice in the “B” zone or once in the “A” zone, after those targets were neutralized there were three steel silhouettes at 120,150, and 200 yards that needed one hit each. Once all of the rifle targets were hit (or you ran out of ammo I guess) you had to ditch the rifle on safe in a full barrel and move on to the pistol targets. First there was a steel target tree were you “send and receive” the round steel from side to side on six targets. The next ones were four sets of two, ten inch steel yellow targets set about 20 yards apart from each other that you would double tap each before moving on/running to the next. End stage. I did ok on that stage besides a few light primer strikes, finishing that stage with 144.85 seconds on the timer, nothing to write home about.
I posted the rest of the stages from that day on youtube so thats really the only stage I’m going describe in detail.
Moving on to the problems and more difficult aspects I’ve experienced.
1. Shot gun reloads are the toughest part for me. Before I bought my CZ i can count the times Ive ever shot a shotgun on two hands, so this part of 3gun has been the most challenging. My goal is to spend the least amount of time reloading a shotgun as possible, the first match I did I had no way to hold shells and was picking them out of my pocket… this took up an insane amount of time and from them on out i made it a priority to get shell holders and practice shot guns a lot more.
2. Finding a good holster for my pistol is now more of a priority. I’m running a drop leg serpa right now but i might be getting a safari land one after this season. During the first match I ran this serpa on my belt, but i didnt like reaching that far up my body to draw when I’m in a timed event.
3. Planning out your stage more than just listening to the stage brief really is important. Visualizing your run a few times has helped me, if I dont do this I tend to move ahead of myself and have to repeat a target or literally take a step back.
4. Failing to check or properly tune my equipment has been the worst of my issues lately. I’m getting far more anal about things that I used to not get upset over, after all, I’ve basically just been a plinker or an ammo waster for about two years now. When something happens on the range like a small equipment problem or a jam, its no big deal when you only get one shot at a stage thats timed… being a little competitive it’s harder to just brush it off and not beat myself up about it.
Over all I’ve had a fantastic time even when I’m sucking really bad. No one is rude or snobby about me asking lots of annoying noob questions, even if you have a bad run they always say “good job” and its a very good way to spend an afternoon and make new friends. There were 70-something competitors at my first match and roughly 60 each at the others. for the record, I’m playing in mostly “outlaw” matches which are not a part of 3gun nation, but from what I hear the rules are basically the same.
To anyone thinking about starting up 3gun: be prepared to have a fun time being humbled… and bring sunscreen
If you need at TL:DR its probably not interesting to you anyway.
This might be the only time I would consider the “chainsaw” grip from the Mossberg 500 Chainsaw to be somewhat useful. On the Mossberg it was there to help actuate the pump-action but at least on a semi-auto shotgun like the Saiga 12, it could be a stable grip option. That is if you’re just shooting from the hip and emptying a 20 or 30 round drum. (GRH)
Several photos of long barreled Vepr 12 shotguns. Some European countries that allow for semi-auto shotgun ownership often require that the barrel be a certain length, which I think in this case is 27" or 28" long. For example, from what I was told by some UK gun owners, a shotgun with a barrel shorter than 24" would not be allowed on a shotgun permit/certificate and thus be prohibited. (GRH)
A licensed copy of the Browning A5, the Remington Model 11 is a semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun. It employs a long recoil means of operation where the bolt and barrel both move rearward in the receiver. This gives it a bit rougher recoil than what most people would expect if they’ve fired more modern semi-auto shotguns. The one in the photos has been modified; normally you have a full length barrel, often times with a compensator installed. You can still find Model 11′s for around $300~ or so. (GRH)
.50 cal glock AR-15 semi-auto shotgun with dual grip, extended magazine, house keys. Tactical light, laser, and Swiss knife included. Fire 40 bullets a second, keep track of time, check your pulse, attract potential mates.
The Italian made dual-action (both pump and semi-auto) shotgun that is probably one of the most recognizable firearms due to its constant use in movies and video games. Note the old style “paddle” safety that was recalled due to reports of the gun firing off a round when flipping from Safe to Fire or vice versa. (GRH)
A rather heavily accessorized example of the Russian semi-auto shotgun that got banned from import. Although it has some ergonomic superiority over the standard parts (better pistol grip, stock, handguard, muzzle attachment) it really looks cluttered. For some people this is entering into the “tacticool mall ninja” look that many gun owners try to avoid. (GRH)
The Striker’s continuing re-appearance in video games and movies owes more to its intimidating looks than actual utility.
First, the shotgun has a painfully slow rate of fire. Each long and heavy trigger pull rotates the drum and drops the hammer. You can shoot faster with any modern semi-auto shotgun like the Benelli M4, or even a good pump, with enough practice.
Second, reloading the gun is agonizingly slow. It goes like this: manually rotate the drum - manually eject one spent shell - rotate - eject - rotate - eject and so on until empty. Then, insert fresh cartridge - manually rotate - insert another cartridge - rotate - insert - rotate -insert and so on until you’ve got all 12 in.
I always laugh when I see the gun featured in video games like it’s some kind of super-weapon. The fact that the shotgun was actually classified as a “Destructive Device” by ignorant lawmakers is also comedic.