Had the pleasure of participating in the first public 3 gun match at AGC Baltimore’s new action bays! This was my first 3 gun match ever, and let’ say… it showed. I didn’t come in last place, but 22/27 isn’t exactly a stunning finish.
This was a fairly easy match as they go; no long shots (50yds max), pistol shots weren’t overly difficult (lots of dueling racks, though), and the shotgun portion wasn’t overly focused on loading. I gave up a lot of points in penalties; a fair bit of that was from not really having the right gear to shoot 3 gun and then skipping targets. Also had some equipment failures, including a really catastrophic holster failure – it was basically a miracle that I wasn’t DQ’d.
Here’s me running on the first stage:
This wasn’t a bad run for a first time, but as you see midway through the video, I’m like “where are all my shells?” I had a side saddle, but it felt off, which left me totally zero on extras. Oops! If I had a proper shell holder for my belt or chest, I think I would have done somewhat better. Well, that and “practice”!
My gear loadout was my GG UGF battle belt with an Omnivore holster and some Esstac Kywi pouches. Pistol was a Glock 34 with TTI sights and a minus connector; rifle was my class SBR (DD V7S upper, Romeo4M+Juliet4 optics), and the shotgun was a brand new Stoeger M3k “Freedom Series”. I had completely overestimated the amount of ammo and reloads I’d need; I literally did not reload pistol or rifle at all. If I have one gripe about the whole match, it is that not having a stage plan available ahead of time led me to make some poor decisions on gear and over-prepare.
The Omnivore literally fell off my belt when I was resetting a stage; when I did a little research online after the match, I discovered that despite the hole pattern being the same, the Omnivore’s screws are actually too short to thread securely with the Blackhawk Mid-Ride Duty Belt Loop. While it was OK when I wasn’t doing a lot of dynamic movement, it had an epic fail when I did a full run and I lost 2/3 the screws. I didn’t get DQ’d because it was during a stage reset (and the holster did retain the gun). It also got the Glock rather dirty, albeit it still kept running. I finished the match by simply staging the gun at the pistol parts. It slowed me down a fair bit.
Another thing that went wrong was shotgun, which I guess is not surprising. The Stoeger M3k was totally new to me; I had only done some slug test firing, and hadn’t even patterned it. In match use, it was a stellar performer; it ran flawlessly with Winchester Super X 7.5 shot (1255 fps), and it pointed very naturally. But I also had more misses than I should have (especially the long slug shots), I had no idea how to deal with the MGM Spinner, and my inability to load twins or quads due to lack of proper equipment and practice slowed me down a lot. This kind of thing is solvable with gear, practice, and experience, but it’s a little embarrassing. Still, even with all of that, I’m still glad I used it instead of rolling the dice with my Saiga 12 or using a pump gun. I watched a couple guys use pump guns, and let’s just say they were even less competitive.
My riflery kinda sucked; I needed to focus a little more, but as a first time ever shooting even these short distances in an action shooting match, I didn’t feel bad about it. My pistol shooting was more inexcusable, but I also haven’t used irons in literally months. I think my problems there will be solved with more experience. I suffered a lot during port shooting during stage 3 because I learned through the port – rookie mistake I shouldn’t have made.
I don’t want to sound like too much of a whiner; it was my first match, I didn’t come in dead last, and I didn’t get DQ’d. It wasn’t the worst outcome ever. Some changes I’m considering for the future:
- Switching to a Safariland GLS or (preferably) ALS holster. I have a mid-ride QLS belt setup, but I never put it on my battle belt… that changed as of about an hour ago.
- Figuring out the shell holder situation. Something belt mounted? This is tricky on a battle belt. Chest rigs seem usable, but don’t seem as popular except on really long shotgun stages.
- While I’m not sure it will happen soon, a dedicated 3 Gun upper with an 18″ barrel, good comp, nice long handguard, and a good 1-6x BDC scope would absolutely make some of those rifles targets easier.
- I think, ultimately, I will need to build out a 3 Gun setup on my BladeTech competition belt. My battle belt is designed for a different use case – minimal shotgun and pistol and maximum medical/tactical, which isn’t how 3 Gun works.
Hitting a 3 Gun match was one of my goals for the year, so I’m really happy I did it. Shadow Hawk does a lot of 2 Gun steel matches, and after my experience here, I think I’m going to be trying a few of those out. I really like shooting shotgun, though, so I do think I will be trying to hit more of those as well.