Trying my hand at 3 gun

Any advice for my first 3 gun match

For rifle and handgun, make sure your hits are good, slow down and go 1:1 on plates, have a good plan to avoid any FTE’s, plan out reloads, have backup plans for reloads should you need to make up shots. The temptation is to smoke through rifle/handgun stages because the shotgun portion is so time consuming with reloads, but you cant miss fast enough to win! With shotgun, its all about how fast you can reload. To be honest its why I don’t care for 3 gun really, because its more of a test to see how fast you can reload a shotgun, the rest is pretty easy. But yeah, if youre running a traditional tube mag, learn dual/quad reloads. Not easy! If youre running a bottom feeder like a Saiga, keep in mind that you’ll need to have sufficient mag pouch real estate for those giant mags in addition to your pistol and rifle mags.


The more info you provide about you, the better our advice can be.

Have you ever shot an match before? Like USPSA or IDPA?

Do you already have your gear or are you looking for advice on your gear? If you have gear, what gear do you have?

What experience or skill level do you have with firearms?

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I have never competed in a shooting sport but I have shot alot at home and have taken defensive pistol classes I bought a 3gun rig from weber tactical and a 8 round shotgun caddy along with a mossberg 930 Jm pro

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Primary focus should be safety. Any safe match is a good match, no matter what your standings are. Pay very close attention to keeping your finger off of the trigger until you’re on target and the 180 - it’s so easy to break both of those and that’s how you go home early.

Tell your squad safety officer that you’re new, and your squadmates. The shooting sports community is amazing and they will be super happy to help you out. Also, ask people about the gear they have - firearms owners love to talk about their guns and gear, you’ll learn tons.

For each stage, ask people how they’re approaching it. Watch people do their walk through and figure out what order they’re going through things.

Practice loading your shotgun a bunch - don’t get frustrated when you time out. If your 3 gun matches are like my 3 gun matches, you will time out on shotgun heavy stages unless you practice loading the shotgun a lot. That’s normal - you’ve got a lot of learning to do before you can complete all of the stages. For my first 3 gun match, I went with a 5 round pump shotgun and a dump pouch with loose shotgun shells. I did that because I wanted to shoot a match before going out and buying stuff. No one made fun of me at all and everyone was super nice - everyone’s been at the “first match” stage. I timed out on every single stage that involved a shotgun, which was all but one stage. I had an amazing time, learned a ton. I went out and bought gear based on that learning experience, trained a bunch, and then only timed out on one stage for my next match, and then didn’t time out on any for the match after that.

Make sure your firearms, particularly your rifle, are zeroed. You’d be surprised how many people show up to matches not knowing what their rifle is zeroed at. Similarly, know your dope. Many 3 gun matches go out to 500 yards. You’re never gonna get those hits unless you know how high to aim above the target.

Prioritize accuracy over speed. Too many people go to a match for the first time and just spray and pray, hitting not much of anything. That’s how you create bad habits and don’t score well, or even get DQed.

Pay close attention to the RO. Don’t do anything with your firearms until he tells you to. If you handle it or load it before he tells you, then you’re going home. If he yells “Stop!” during a state - freeze. Don’t unload, don’t change the direction of the gun, freeze and stay exactly where you are until you’re told to do something further. Maybe you broke the 180, maybe someone walked down range, maybe a stage prop fell over. Wait until the RO tells you to do something.

Get into a dry fire training schedule. 80% of my non-class firearms training is dry fire - it’s the key to getting better.

Consider getting active in other shooting sports, such as USPSA. Great way to get more training in.

Hope that helps! Happy to answer additional questions. I think I need to turn this into a video…


Thanks,I appreciate the help,I’ve watched a bunch of videos and have been slowly buying gear for the past year and going to a uspca match this Saturday and a 3 fun on sunday

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Lastly, do your best not to scare the range officers.
That’s generally frowned on.
One more lastly,
Above all remind yourself to have fun.
Don’t get aggravated when you screw up, as long as you’re safe, nobody cares how you score.
Most folks will spend so much time critiquing themselves they won’t even notice your performance.


Did you go to your match this weekend?

How was it?!

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No,I broke my elbow at work last week so I’m out of commission for a few months, being its almost winter here probably won’t have a chance to use your guy’s advice till next year


oh no! That sucks! Talk about bad timing… Well, it’ll still be there next year.


For sure, I’ll just keep practicing in the mean time with my weak hand,I appreciate all the advice and I’ll keep you posted


Very very good plan.

I met someone who was in a similar situation. Don’t remember the injury, but it knocked out his primary hand for almost a year.

He didn’t change his training schedule at all, he just went 100% weak hand for almost a year. After getting fully back into the sport, he was practically an ambidextrous shooter. I remember one stage he switched to his weak hand simply because the stage design catered to left handed shooters due to the angles and he shot it as well as if he was using his strong side.

This is an opportunity to become a ridiculously well rounded shooter.

Always a bright side!


That’s true,as it stands I’m left handed but the bone fragment from my elbow damaged the nerve that runs my hand so I’ll be a while till it’s back to 100%,till then I’ll be doing weak hand one handed pistol manipulation drill for concealed carry,and buying a few right handed holsters


Back when I was one of the match directors for our local club, one of the regulars shows up with his right arm in a sling.
He was going to sit it out and just help with scoring or something.
I went around and asked who wanted to form up a “single wing” squad.
About a half dozen folks did and we all had a blast, including the poor fellow with the injury.
There’s probably an indoor range with pistol matches around somewhere.
Just a thought.

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