Competitors use three different firearms -- a modern sporting rifle (MSR), that is, a rifle built on an AR-platform; a pistol; and a shotgun. Matches generally involve courses where the shooter must move through different stages and engage targets in a variety of different positions. Each stage will generally require the use of different firearms and require the shooter to transition between them.
The targets might include clay pigeons, cardboard silhouettes, steel targets of varying sizes and anything else the match organizer designates as a target. Distances of the targets might vary from 1 yard to 200 yards or anything in between. The shooter who hits the most targets -- and avoids certain "no shoot" ones -- in the least amount of time is the winner.
Match rules abide closely by those set up by the International Multi-Gun Association (IMGA) or the United States Practical Shooting Association
(USPSA), which regulates some matches. Each of these organizations has guidelines and rules
, but the ability to adapt them for specific matches is what makes 3-gun competition dynamic and exciting.
Just as it is with the practical pistol matches, 3-gun simulates combat or self-defense situations. A stage provides a certain scenario for using one or more of the guns in a specific sequence. Each stage is each match will usually be different than any you've shot before.
Most serious competitors choose MSRs in .223 caliber with fairly short barrels in the 18- to 20-inch range and 10-round magazines. But any semi-auto that will handle larger magazines are normally permitted.
Any reliable autoloading or pump-action shotgun will work. For serious competition, it should have an extended magazine tube, a good set of sights and interchangeable chokes. Both shotshells and slugs are used in most 3-Gun matches.
Most shooters use 9mm semi-autos, but the .38 Super and .40 S&W are also popular in some divisions.
Each shooter needs a holster for the pistol and some sort of belt/pouch system to carry extra magazines and ammo.
- Ammo requirement will vary by match. Contact Rob Holcombe prior to the match for the current month's ammo requirement.