So, at the end of last year I decided I wanted to try 3 Gun Competition. I borrowed some equipment and a shotgun and off I went to the Midwest 3 Gun Amateur Nationals. Practice? Nah – so not me. ūüôā

As expected, it was a complete disaster! The first day it rained buckets and since I was also a volunteer scorekeeper – I got¬†soaked. To add insult to injury, my pistol’s extractor broke and my borrowed shotgun started jamming. Nevertheless, I had the best time ever and was completely hooked.

This year, I’m starting fresh – this time with all my own equipment and ready to have so much fun it would make Keith Richards blush. I just shot my second ever (first with my own stuff in open division) 3 gun match and while I still did shitty (too much new gear to learn to operate in one day) – I had a blast and learned a few things. Here is a video of my “good” stage that day:

There are many blog posts out there ¬†– I will list a few at the bottom – that tell you what guns you may need for the different divisions. I want to share with you some of the not-so-obvious things you’ll be happy you prepared for:

1. Bring extra ammo. Just because you were told the minimum round count is XXX, that doesn’t mean that’s how many YOU will need. Trust me, you will miss a lot so bring about 100 rounds more than the minimum for each gun (for good measure).

2. Get a cart/stroller/four wheeler. I know they look silly but you’ll be glad you have one. I have a great shooting bag – Safariland Model 4556 3 Gun Case – which fits all my guns and can be carried as a backpack. Still – that sucked! Whether you weigh 115 lbs like me or 250 – you don’t want to be carrying that sh** from stage to stage.

3. Double up on ear protection. I love my custom molded earplugs, I just love them. I think earmuffs are ugly, get in your way, and altogether make you look like a dork. But I am looking at getting some because 3 Gun is way louder than any other discipline I’ve shot and I’m already deaf in my left ear (don’t ask)…

4. If you are a lady shooter: Bring toilet paper/paper towel. Not all shooting ranges have a bathroom or porta potty. Also, look out for the random guy that comes over just “to make sure you’re all right.” Ok, that last one was a joke. No really, keep an eye out while you tinkle over some fresh spring grass!

5. Practice your shotgun reloads. Yeah, I know I should listen to my own advise but just because I lack motivation doesn’t mean you should too. People kept telling me shotgun reloads eat up a lot of your time and they were¬†right. Even with my speed-loaders (which I really need to learn to use better), messing with equipment took me much more time than the actual shooting!

6. For God’s sake, move faster in between shooting positions so you have more time for the actual shooting. I just about cried when I saw¬†my brisk walk in my videos – what was I thinking!? Why am I strolling by like a confused hippie and then rushing through my shots?

7. Breathe. I have a major problem with breathing on the long rifle shots and not just because I’m a smoker (boo, I know). My scope only magnifies 1-4 so for anything past 200-250 yards I have to really watch my breathing. What happens to me, though, is that I keep holding my breath after the first shot for “just one more”. Next thing you know, I’m seconds from being blue in the face and dizzy as hell. Yep, don’t do what I do!

8. Don’t forget to turn off your scope(s). Unless you’re in Tac Iron or Heavy Metal Divisions. I’m in Open so I have 4 scopes to worry about – my pistol, shotgun & 2 on my AR-15. It’s a mess but I try to remember. Also – always have extra batteries & a screwdriver.

9. Always have a few tools handy. Some lube, allen wrenches, screwdrivers, extra bolts & screws… Stuff always seems to break at the wrong time and it can completely ruin your experience. This last time I had my scope mount on my gun get loose (LockTight didn’t hold) and it stinks shooting at something 10 yards away and not hitting it! Second to having a backup gun, some tools may save the day.

10. Remember to have fun! I personally have no problem with that as my give-a-damn is broke. Has been for years. But many shooters get so wrapped up in performance and winning that they forget the reason they joined this sport to begin with – to have fun. So, take a breath, smile and ride the wave – what a great way to spend your weekend!

Here are some useful links for weapon requirements:

3 Gun Divisions

Common Equipment

Good Video Advise from our friend Mark at Hawkeye Ordnance

My Belt & Holster

Hope this helps you. If not, at least I hope it made you laugh!

Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,