3-Gun becomes popular shooting sport in United States

Like a sprinter waiting in the starting blocks for the report from the starter pistol, a competitor waits for the horn to signal that it is her time to leave.

Your muscles are tense and your heart is pounding. Mentally, she is doing another run through the course that she has already taken to prepare for this moment.

Then the horn sounds.

She jumps from the starting point and runs to the first station, where she draws her gun. Boom! Ting. Boom! Ting. Boom! Ting.

Targets fall as she moves through the course. Boom! Ting. Tight goals are paper; Metal targets are for longer shots.

On the way she overcomes obstacles and shoots from standing, kneeling or lying positions as needed. She shoots at every station. Boom! Ting. As she moves through the course, she must transition from her pistol to a semi-automatic shotgun and then to a modern sport rifle built on top of the AR platform. If necessary, she exchanges magazines.

She shoots 3-Gun, a fast moving, high adrenaline shooting competition that tests agility and shooting skills, as well as the mental and physical endurance of its female and male competitors. Similar to how Sporting Clays simulates the hunt for wild birds and other species, 3-Gun guides shooters through simulated combat or self-defense scenarios.

Targets include clay pigeons, cardboard silhouettes, and steel targets of various sizes. The shooter who hits the most targets in the shortest amount of time is the winner, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation

A typical 3-gun day on the track isn’t your grandfather’s day on the track, and maybe your parents’ day either. It moves much faster and tests multiple skills at the same time. In many ways, it’s both a sporting activity and a shooting event. A combination that has made 3-Gun one of the fastest growing shooting sports.

As with all shooting sports, 3-gun competitions follow a set of rules usually set by the International Multi-Gun Association or the United States Practical Shooting Association that govern some games. Local shooting ranges or shooting organizations can adapt the rules to their needs. This flexibility is part of what makes the sport so dynamic.

Shooting sports has long been part of the American landscape and culture, a tradition that has roots in the countries where many of our ancestors came from.

Competitive shooting has been part of the Summer Olympics since it opened in 1896, and has grown from five events in the first year to 15 today. The shooters will compete in the rifle, shotgun and pistol disciplines this summer.

Today, there are several ways that millions of gun owners can safely and legally enjoy the sport of shooting and hunting, each with a unique challenge and experience. Whether you’re enjoying 3-gun competitions, shooting clay targets, pounding holes in a paper target with a modern sporting rifle, or filling a freezer with game meat, they are part of an important part of our American heritage.

In many ways, you could even say that there is something for everyone.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Its column “In the Outdoors” is not connected to the NDOW or is supported by it. All opinions are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at [email protected]

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