Three-Gun Shooting Competition: Heaven or Hell?

Three-Gun Shooting Competition: Heaven or Hell?
The slide. Targets are engaged from the top in any position you can get comfy in and again from the ground.
The Zip Line
The Zip line. Just lift your feet and go. Once you are out on the line the targets give you enough to do to forget about being up and moving along on a wire.

If there was a good thing about the spinner it was that I was on the ground while shooting at it. That cannot be said for all stages of the Iron Man. One stage had a sniper hide that I had to climb into.  I could fire either prone, shooting out of the end or in a sitting position shooting out of a hole in the top.  Both ways were just shy of comfortable, but it got worse.

After engaging the long-range targets I had to climb down on a wooden ramp/ladder-like thing, with rifle in hand, in order to engage the ground targets.  The rifle targets were challenging on all of the stages as they were not only far away, but skinny.  The 4-inch popper is a skinny target at 150 yards.

While bonus stages will have longer shots, you can expect to shoot 400 yards with your rifle during the regular stages. One series of 400-yard targets had to be engaged and struck twice for score and each also had center flags that would record a center mass hit for a bonus.  I shot at these targets from the top of a 30-foot platform. That stage also included some 100-, 200-, and 300-yard steel and paper targets.

Once I finished on top of the platform, I had to slide down a slide to engage them all over again on the ground. I tried the slide out the night before I shot it and was glad I did.  I picked up a good bit of speed coming down the slide and had to slow myself by pressing my feet outward against the edges.

During the match, I had to slide down with a cleared and empty rifle, another reason to avoid planting my nose in the ground at the bottom.  I actually did pretty well on the stage, squeaking a bonus out of each of the longer targets.  It was also the stage that my shotgun pooped out on me.

Combat Shooting with Massad Ayoob
Massad Ayoob pioneered the concept of “stress fire.” His techniques are used by both competitive and combat shooters. Learn them in this book, available for 35% off retail. Click the image.

Wisely, I chose to bring a spare of each type. But my spare shotgun is a Remington 870 pump.  It was much slower than the 1100 and I did not know where the thing shot its slugs, which was a problem on the 60-yard spinner targets. With good hits the slugs will turn the spinner in three or four hits.  But the key is hits.  Pumping the gun wasn’t inconvenient but the pump held fewer rounds than my semi-auto and only had one side saddle.  I wasn’t as prepared as I would should have been with a quick way to load the shotgun adhering to the Scoped Tactical division rule.

The Iron Man follows nearly the same 3-Gun rules and categories as other 3-Gun competitions, allowing one open gun in the Scoped Tactical Division.  With my rifle being scoped, I couldn’t use my Saiga shotgun with magazines as it is an open gun.  Loading the tube magazine shotguns is much more difficult, so plan ahead. One good option I saw for toting shotgun shells is the TWinS SSL from Carbon Arms.  This is a chest rig with individual shell assemblies that hold four shells.  They can be taken off the holder two at a time and stuffed right into the tube. The vest holds 32 rounds if I remember correctly and I will be looking more closely at this in the future.  Their website is

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One of the more interesting stages was probably 150 to 200 yards from start to finish. It all started with shooters firing the shotgun and about halfway through there was a vehicle on blocks with five small paper targets to engage, but you had to shoot under the car.  It was only about 8 inches off of the ground.  This was a test of your urban prone and your goggles.  The dust and debris from the muzzle blast was less than enjoyable.

After that dusty mess we had to jog to a rooftop hide to engage rifle targets out to 150 yards from the slanted perch.  I actually remembered to put a 20-round magazine in my holster pouch for this stage.  The 30-rounder is a little long for this position.

Again, thinking ahead and knowing the limitations of your gear is important.


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