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Old December 18, 2005, 04:38 PM   #1
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Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 922
3-gun gear

can anybody fill me in on equipment for 3-gun? What are the divisions, what is legal/illegal, recommended guns, etc. I'd kind of like a shotgun that's versatile enough for me to hunt deer and/or pheasant with in addition to competition. All i've really looked at with interest is a winchester practical defender or SX2. I shoot USPSA handgun with a Glock 35, so I'm generally familiar with that sort of competiton, are there any other organizations that do practical/tactical shotgun or rifle competition?
I've only got two hands, but I've been known to carry three Glocks.
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Old December 19, 2005, 09:45 PM   #2
Christopher II
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Join Date: November 22, 1999
Location: Germantown, MD
Posts: 2,349
I put together a little blurb about starting out in 3gun a while back. Lemme see if I can dig it up...

Nope. Damn.

Okay, first and most important thing to remember about multi-gun is that there is no offical governing body. There are at least two sets of multi-gun rules in large-scale use (USPSA and IMG), along with countless regional variations and "outlaw" matches. So anything I say here about rules, take it with a grain of salt.

You can find the offical rules here:
USPSA Multi-Gun -
IMG Multi-Gun -
Start by reading those.

The following is my personal advice only, and is likely to be prejudiced in one way or another.

- It's generally a bad idea to try and force one gun to fill too many roles. Get a shotgun for competition, and don't worry about using it as a phesant gun.
- A Limited/Tactical class shotgun should have a barrel length of around 21", should be able to hold nine shells with an empty chamber, and should have sights sufficent to let you hit an IPSC target at 50 yards, every time. It also must be a semi-auto. Do not buy a pump gun for multigun unless you plan to shoot Heavy Metal class.
- If you shoot USPSA or IDPA, you've probably already got a good idea of what a multi-gun match is like. Your Glock 35 will do very nicely in Limited/Tactical class; in fact, that's what I myself shoot.
- If you already have a magazine-fed self-loading rifle that you're comfortable with, then go ahead and bring it. If you're actually shopping for a practical competition rifle, don't even look at anything other than an 5.56mm AR-15 flattop.
- Things to spend money on in a rifle: Good optics (I like the Trijicon ACOG TA-11), good trigger (JP), good barrel/float tube. In that order. Oh, have a variety of magazines. I take two 20s, five 30s, two 45s, and a Beta to a typical match.
- Most important skills: multigun tends to be accuracy-intensive. Don't miss. Make sure that your rifle is sighted in. Check your zero frequently, and know your holdovers and wind adjustments out to 300 yards. Practice getting into and out of unusual shooting positions fast. Get some dummy shotgun rounds and practice speedloading that shotgun until your thumbs bleed.

If you don't mind my asking, what's your location?

- Chris
"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." – Robert Heinlein

"Contrary to popular belief, your vote does not matter, and you cannot make a difference." - Bob Murphy, "Picking Neither of Two Evils"

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Old December 21, 2005, 02:29 AM   #3
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Join Date: December 5, 2004
Posts: 435
870. As much as you tried to convert me to the dark(mossberg)side a few months back, an 870 is still soooo versitile! Get a tube extender and a tac barrel. The swap takes minutes, if not seconds. If you want to get real tacticool(you shoot glocks so of course you do), get a colapsible stock with a pistol grip. It can also be swapped out in a few minutes.
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Old December 21, 2005, 02:31 PM   #4
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Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Western WA
Posts: 6,074
You can do "entry-level" 3-gun with just about any reasonable gear. I shoot only 3-4 matches a year, so I haven't invested in much, beyond my guns and an ammo belt for the shotgun.
Different matches favor different gear. I shot a match with long rifle shots over 300 yards, and close shotgun shots of ten. I shot another one with long shotgun shots of 80 yards, and a rifle house-clearing stage, with narrow halls and 5' shots. Fun to see those scoped, bipodded, 22"-barreled ARs maneuvered in a narrow hallway.
For rifle shooting, accuracy is king. Just about everyone is shooting a .223, and since peripheral hits are penalized fairly heavily, you have to get your hits. Having 30-round capacity is nice.
For shotgun, reloading is king. Unless the target is a plate rack, where quick recovery between shots is a big advantage, there isn't a lot to choose between an auto and a pump. Reloading the shotgun is what burns up the time, so you can win shotgun stages by being quick to reload. I watched a guy with a technique that allowed him to load four rounds in about two seconds, and he could beat everyone on his reloading alone.
Use what you want for a pistol, but note that most matches have a "Limited" division that allows hi-cap pistols, so if you favor a single stack, you'll be at a disadvantage there.
Rules can be confusing and contradictory, depending who's sanctioning the match, but you will always be able to shoot if you have iron sights. Some rules allow optics on the rifle, or one optic sight on the gun of your choice, etc.
I've shot many matches with a 1911, M1 Carbine, and Mossy 590 pump, and as long as the range on rifle shots wasn't over 200 yards, I felt at no real disadvantage compared to the guys with hi-cap pistols, auto shotguns and black rifles.
The last match I shot featured 350yd rifle shots, so I was glad to have a 20" AR for that one.
There are all kinds of holsters, pouches, etc. I use a shell belt for my shotgun ammo, and it is theoretically slow, but I do OK with it.
G.I. belts and pouches are fine for rifle mags. True multigun stages, requiring both pistol and long-gun may require packing reloads for all three. Finding room on the belt for holster, shells, mags, etc., can be tricky, if you don't want to buy specialized gear.
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Old December 23, 2005, 01:50 AM   #5
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Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 922
I'm located in Cedar Rapids, IA. I'm told that the nearest 3-gun match is in western Illinois, if anyone knows of any closer matches, please let me know. And CraZkid, I wasn't singing the praises of mossberg, I have one and don't particularly like it, I was talking about winchester 1300. check out the parctical defender, from the factory tac-ed out. My dad has a 20ga 1300 and speed pump is lightning fast.
I've only got two hands, but I've been known to carry three Glocks.
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