What Is 3-Gun and How Do You Start?

Have you ever thought of legal ways of using your idle gun and optimizing your shooting skills without joining the police or army? If you haven’t, I would like to share with you a simple, action-packed opportunity to do it.

Yes, you can do it by joining America’s fastest-growing shooting game—3-Gun! I know you still have valid questions about this shooting sport. But no need to worry about your queries because I am here to answer them all. So, follow our informative and instructional guide until the end to:

  •  Understand what 3-Gun is;
  •  Learn how to join it;
  •  Learn how to arm yourself for a 3-Gun competition;
  •  Discover and enjoy amazing 3-Gun benefits.

What Is 3-Gun?

Let’s deal with first things first by defining 3-Gun. Simply put, 3-Gun (Multi-gun or Multigun) is a recreational or competitive shooting sport. It lets shooting enthusiasts master various marksmanship skills using different guns in an action-packed and dynamic environment. Its name clearly suggests that it involves three different guns—a rifle, shotgun, and pistol.

Additionally, its popularity cuts across various generations, from the Baby Boomers to the Generation Z. It’s no wonder it beats all the shooting video games tech-addicted teenagers love.

But, how do you join the action? Simple. The game’s firing course is timed based on time and hits (without penalties). Therefore, you win if you hit the most targets within the shortest time possible, especially from the most difficult angles. You score points by shooting different strategically selected targets, such as cardboard silhouettes, clay pigeons, and steel.

You also shoot at different short and long-distance targets from various angles. Participating in this sport enables you to master how to blend speed and accuracy.

How to Start 3-Gun Shooting

So, how do you plunge yourself into and succeed in this action-packed shooting sport? Fortunately, it’s a breeze to start 3-Gun. This section examines everything you need to become a successful 3-Gun shooter. I strongly recommend you spare some little time to watch this explainer video here and this other one here to complement our guide.

Now, let’s start our adventurous journey to becoming a 3-Gun shooter.

1. Locate Your Passion

First, you must have a passion for shooting to start. If your adrenaline always tells you to hide under the bed whenever you hear gunshots, this game isn’t for you. So, move to the next two steps if you have a genuine and adventurous interest in competitive shooting.

2. Attend Classes

Second, join 3-Gun shooting classes to sharpen your skills and learn the ropes of this shooting game. However, you need some basic shooting skills and experience before joining them because they don’t substitute gun use training. The classes will orient you into the nuts and bolts of this sport. You will learn the sport’s different classes or divisions based on their required gun types. Below are the three main competitive divisions.

  • Open: This first competitive class allows you to use any of the three guns we shall discuss later. These guns are unsuitable for defense or field purposes and are specially designed for shooting competitions.
  • Tactical optics: The tactical optics is the favorite of the three divisions. It requires the use of AR-15 rifles, semiautomatic shotguns with extended magazine tubes, and any semiautomatic, high-capacity pistols.
  • Heavy metal: Only .308 caliber rifles (or larger), 12-gauge pump shotguns, and .45 ACP handguns with single-​stack magazines are allowed in this division. It’s every experienced and passionate hunter’s favorite class. 

3. Find the Nearest Competition

Third, find a competition near you to start participating in this popular shooting game. I understand this part could intimidate you if you never grew up running around with guns. But never worry because you aren’t alone. You will still find many other shooting lovers at different levels.

Fortunately, you can use the internet if you don’t know where to find 3-Gun competitions. I recommend you start your search via a reputable platform, like 3gunnation.com. Here, you will get all the information you need from the grassroots to the national level.

After getting the nearest action site near you, go ahead and select your preferred division to start shooting. Afterward, get enough ammo based on each division’s requirements.

Once done with this stage, you are free to match into the nearest competition site. You have to register yourself to receive your flight and start time. Next, you are free to start your competition orientation and start learning practically.

Here is my little piece of advice: when there for the first time, shut your mouth and open your ears and eyes wider to learn. Remember, you are not just joining a competition, no. You are also joining a community. Luckily, you could stumble upon very generous shooting veterans who can sharpen your competitive skills. This way, you will learn the ropes of the game faster in a warm, mentored, and communal atmosphere.

Arming Yourself

Now you know how to get where the action is, and that’s great. It’s now time to learn about the tools you need to succeed in this game. I would be honest to inform you early that you will spend some cash on the tools. However, buying the necessary guns and accessories to compete in 3-Gun won’t cost you a fortune. You could still have lady luck on your side and land the three guns for a mere $1,000.

  •  The rifle: You may buy a modern sporting rifle (MSR), like an AR-15. Your rifle should be for .223 or larger. However, you could avoid this cost if you have a magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle with a mounted optic.
  •  The shotgun: You need a shotgun of 20-gauge or larger. You can choose between a pump and a semi-auto shotgun. This gun is ideal for the tactical optics division.
  •  The pistol: Lastly, you require a pistol of 9mm or larger. It may be either a semi-auto or revolver, although the former option is more suitable.


You are already armed to the tooth with all the guns. Now, you need accessories to spice up your experience during 3-Gun competitions. Below are some of the accessories you must have on hand. Fortunately, you can buy the listed accessories based on your discretion. However, never allow that freedom to compromise your safety (and that of your guns) and effectiveness. Here are the accessories.

  •  A pistol holster that holds firmly and securely.
  •  A competition-quality nylon gun belt with magazine pouches.
  •  Assorted shotgun-shell holders.
  •  Enough magazines for your rifle and pistol.
  •  Several empty chamber indicators.
  •  Appropriate gear to protect your eyes and ears.
  •  Enough ammo and in bulk. Buying the cheapest is the best option.
  •  Gun oil to lubricate your guns.

Up to here, you should be armed and ready for the big day out with guns.

Hidden Benefits of Participating In 3-Gun

I have systematically walked you through the what and how dimensions of 3-Gun. However, the most important million-dollar question still lingers: what is in there for me? I agree with you that it would be a waste of your time to engage in a game without understanding how it benefits your life. Plunging yourself into 3-G without answering this critical question is an insult of sorts.

Therefore, I selected the following benefits as the best prize you could clinch as a 3-Gun shooter.

  • Healthy adrenaline release: Engaging regularly in 3-Gun competitions releases a healthy level of adrenaline in your body. Increased adrenaline activates your liver to break more glycogen, a body component that gives your muscles glucose to energize your body. Increased adrenaline also temporarily enhances your immune system.
  • Improved eyesight: Our gadget-dependent technological atmosphere harms your eyesight. Fortunately, competing in 2-G allows you to break away from all these risky environments. Getting enough time to stare at natural objects and shoot at them enhances your eyesight.
  • Reduced stress levels: Taking time off the fast lane of 21st century life is one way of reducing stress. Changing your location and taking leave from life’s hustles in a social and competitive setting is a great way of calming yourself.
  • Enhanced hand-eye coordination: Competing in shooting games requires high levels of eye coordination. It requires you to coordinate your eyes to locate and hit a chosen target. Eventually, you train yourself to coordinate your eyes purposefully and strategically.
  • Supercharged mental discipline and functionality: Participating in a 3-Gun competition supercharges your mental discipline and functionality. This game requires a keen and focused mind. In fact, all shooting veterans agree that sport shooting is 90% mental and 10% metal! It also activates and sharpens your problem-solving skills. You tap into your mind’s deep recesses of creative thinking, calculation, and logic.
  • Improved body posture: Occupying a shooting position for a long time builds your core body posture, balance, and strength. You get an opportunity to engage in all these during 3-Gun shooting competitions.
  • Moral/legal accountability and responsibility: Participating in this shooting sport also allows you to develop moral/legal accountability and responsibility. It lets you show the world that guns don’t and can’t control you. Instead, you control them to do the right thing. It shows that you can remain a law-abiding citizen with a functional moral and legal fiber.
  • Bodily stamina: Lastly, 3-Gun competitions build your bodily stamina. Running through various stages while carrying guns and other accessories around your chest and waist strengthens your body. It’s a big opportunity to engage all of your body muscles in a single coordinated activity.

Closing Remarks

I have spilled all the beans to demystify 3-Gun. You’ve got all the facts about America’s fastest-growing shooting game at your fingertips. What’s more? Surge forward! Start the adventurous journey and shoot your way into 3-Gun success. It’s time to awaken the sleeping giant within and become the shooting champion you’ve always dreamed of.


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