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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I finally got to try my hand at 3-gun for the first time. I've been meaning to for the last year at least but two young kiddos have made range time difficult, let alone competitive matches.

Sorry for the length. Hopefully it's helpful to anyone interested in 3-gun matches.

Anyway, ran the four stages out at Rio Salado today. I ran it with my 18.5 M1A in the Wolfe mod-fib stock with SWFA 1-6, Rem 870 pump action, and 1911 SA TRP in the heavy metal scope division.

First stage was rifle only. 13 targets, two rounds each, so mag change was required for me. Furthest target was maybe 15 yards. Maybe. To say the M1A was a bit much for this stage is an understatement.

The first stage went pretty well (relatively anyway). I didn't practice quick-acquisition shots (see comment on limited range time above) so I completely missed two shots on one target and had to shoot at it again. No biggie. My biggest downfall was my rifle stove piped four, maybe five, times. Brass was getting hung up on the arms mount/rings (yes, the qd levers are on left side).

Lesson Learned: Know the weapon you plan to shoot with. If I wasn't familiar with my rifle, dealing with the stove piping would've been a nightmare.

The second stage was a shotgun/rifle stage. You start out with the shotgun shooting steel plates about 15 yards out (with one plate activating a "friendly" swinging back and forth in front of the rifle positions) and then move back to two rifle positions with five steel plates at ~50 yards.

I didn't miss any at the shotgun stage (thank god because I would've had to reload if I missed one). Ran back to the rifle and the first rifle position was at the right height to make any stance feel unnatural. Took me forever to get comfortable and start ringing steel. It took so long that the swinging "friendly" obstruction slowed to a stop and I had to abandon a target because it was completely obscured.

The second rifle position went fine even though the swinging obstruction was slowing to a halt (the shooting angles worked in my favor).

Lesson Learned: Don't be afraid to spend more time practicing your firing position/stances before your turn.

The third stage was the option of ringing steel with a shotgun or pistol. While the shotgun would've netted me a better score, I chose the 1911 because I wanted to let it participate in the fun too. The steel plates were probable 10-12 yards away. The stage had a short 20s time limit. I used a holster I'd never used before and the pistol got hung up for a second. The first mag was beautiful. I was ringing steel like a champ. However, I didn't count shots and I fired until empty then reloaded. The RO recommended to do the mag change with one in the chamber to prevent the need to release slide on the next mag. Seconds count (well, for others anyway). He also mentioned that I had a slight case of happy feet versus just setting my feet and firing. That was because my field of view was unfamiliar and I was unsure of how I was going to progress through my targets (see stage 2 Lessons Learned).

Lesson Learned: Practice (not right before your match either) with the gear you have. I practiced some afterwards and figured out that I seated my pistol too far and it made it that much more difficult to draw.

Stage four was on the high power range with 8" reactive targets at just under 200 yards. There were five firing positions (five targets each) behind varying types of cover. I was pretty excited about this one since I could stretch the M1A's legs some. Well, that excitement quickly faded when I failed to get steady aim at my first firing position. I think it took six or seven shots to get my first target. Things improved for the last four targets. When I got to prone for the second firing position, I had a difficult time getting a good sight picture. I only got two targets at this position before my time ran out. Talk about the walk of shame. Man, I was sick. I'm not going to claim sharpshooter capabilities by any means but I'm better than that.

Lesson Learned: Practice varying positions/holds with your intended rifle setup during those precious minutes you get at the range. I practice shooting offhand, etc, but I realized I'd never done it with this particular rifle setup. I also realize that I don't practice the varying positions enough versus the bench.

Overall Takeaways:
  • Practice as much as possible. If you're like me, and range time is difficult to come by, at least practice pistol draws. Practice with the equipment you do have. Every bit will help.
  • Get familiar with the pros/cons of your weapon setups. Do I really need a 1-6 or would a simple red dot be better, etc? Obviously, knowing the shooting range setups (target distances etc) will help with this. For instance, I didn't know three of my four stages would be in pistol bays. Just paying attention to that detail would've helped me figure out what setup to roll out with.
  • Practice clearing/make-safe procedures for each weapon. Yes, you should know them already but timed scenarios do add a level of stress.
  • Practice different shooting positions
  • You can agree or disagree with me, but if possible, I'd run my first few 3-gun matches with an AR. Combining new shooting scenarios (especially at the close-quarter ranges I dealt with) with a heavy rifle made it more difficult. Get comfortable moving, shooting at odd angles in close quarters, and quick target acquisition with something more accommodating.
  • It's not as scary as it may seem.
  • Be open to feedback and learning. Everyone there is willing to help. You just have to be willing to let them.
  • Don't buy gear (yet)! Yes, you'll need a holster but your run-of-the-mill holster will work. Your first times out are to learn and get familiar, not for your score. Mags can go in pockets.
  • Have fun. If you've been thinking about doing a match, you should definitely give it a go.
 

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Problem with 3 gun shoots is the course is normally designed for certain guns & set up a certain way.
What about adapt and overcome?

Three gun course got this shooter outside of his comfort zone, caused him to objectively evaluate both his skills and equipment. Fortunately, (it sounds like) he accepted the humble pie handed to him by the three gun in the proper vein, that he needs additional thought process and weapons/gear familiarization to increase his effectiveness at the game.

My congrats to the original poster for posting the results of his learning curve, for accepting the constructive criticism and recognizing that just because his rifle is stamped M1a doesn't mean the targets will fall over by shear intimidation. Lead still needs to be properly applied, even at 15 yards. It's all good.

Speaking from the point of view of a firearms instructor the original poster participated in a course of fire that severely challenged his personal skill set, caused him to re-think the manipulation skills of his weapon system and did so in a manner that he can comprehend what is needed to personally improve his skills for the next time he participates. That sounds like a fine training opportunity, not a need to cry foul that, "Problem with 3 gun shoots is the course is normally designed for certain guns & set up a certain way."
 

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Thanks for posting, I'm planning my first 3 gun in the heavy metal division the weekend after next, this post helps for sure, thanks again, keep at it.
 

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This is my second season shooting 3-gun and I've learned several things.

Ammo seems to jump out of your hand so be direct in your actions.
Just because you can hit targets with your rifle, pistol or shotgun when the clock doesn't matter does not mean that the clock should make you do it rushed.
Don't take it serious , it's just a chance to have a good time with like-minded people.
When you get your gear setup right , do not change it !
I run my Poly 18.5 convert with/without a Leupold patrol or a POF P308 14.5" with Leupold Patrol (tried this twice) for rifle.
My shotty is a Mossberg 930 worked over by me for HTO or I use my Benelli M4 upgraded for HM.
I run a PARA GI Expert for HM and HTO but have also used my Sig P226 MK25 also for HTO.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What about adapt and overcome?
I agree with that sentiment but I would agree with HH from what I saw yesterday. It's just something to take note of and runs along the line of "pick the right tool for the job" mantra - especially when you're learning a new discipline. Obviously, with John Crusher and others running their M1A in matches, it's just a matter of practice and familiarity.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for posting, I'm planning my first 3 gun in the heavy metal division the weekend after next, this post helps for sure, thanks again, keep at it.
What kind of Heavy Metal? Limited or scoped? If I were going to do it over again, I'd run the limited (irons). That's just me, considering that I'm probably better with irons than glass.

Have fun!
 

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I'm unsure if my first 3 gun would be heavy metal or tactical. I have a set up that will work for each but I am unsure. All my military experience and combat experience tells me I would be good at such an event.
 

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heavy metal div is a matter of talent


it takes talent to run an m1a on coirses designed for ar15s.


didnt get huntings hawks statements?

ask revolver ans single stack competitors.

if our march director didnt constantly rimd stage builders to dedign so revolver and single stack competitors can play it wouldnt get done.
 
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