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Treating a Match Like an Athletic Event

I am getting ready for the XTreme Bullets Texas 3-Gun Championship in Marble Falls Texas so most of my activity has been around getting all my gear and ammo ready for this match and trying to fit a little bit of practice in.

I ran up to Hayes Custom Guns to return a PCC I had borrowed from Steve.

Got to go out for a little practice session with Steve, Ben Hayes and Josh Kenny who is the 2015 IPSC Junior World Shotgun Champion. He’s visiting from England and shooting a couple 3-Gun matches while he’s here. So yeah, stacked crowd.

I played around with one of these, which is a much more affordable alternative to a traditional 2011:

Most 3-gunners are moving to 9mm 2011 pistols these days, but the HCG dudes had just finished work on a customers pistol and brought it out to test fire (and I got to shoot it too.)

It’s a Rock Island Armory doublestack 9mm 1911, that the HCG guys did some custom slide and reliability work on. It’s based on the Para platform, and it’s way less expensive than a 2011.

Treating a Match Like an Athletic Event

I used to do a ton of obstacle racing and we would train specifically for the event, running distances, climbing walls, etc

And then I would eat well the night before, drink plenty of water and go to bed early. In the morning I’d eat a healthy breakfast with slow carbs to last throughout the day and pack with me plenty of water in a camelbak and some shotblocks for quick carbs out on the course.

And I don’t do any of that for 3-Gun matches.

This became apparent recently when I was shooting the Dissident Arms Multigun monthly club match near College Station, Texas.

So the night before I got to talking with the roommates and stayed up a little too late. And I’ve been running a bit too hard lately so I actually slept through my alarm. I woke up at 7, about an hour late and quickly took care of the pup and hit the road to drive two hours to the match.

I sent a text to a pal on my squad to let him know that I’d be late and luckily when I got to the stage it was a 1-gun stage, pistol, and we were only a couple shooters in so they put me down in the order. I quickly got ready and came over in time to help reset for one shooter and then I was up.

Of course it was a trash stage but that theme kept on most of the match. I was bumpling shotgun loads and couldn’t shoot the pistol to save my life.

So what did I learn from that?

Well a couple things:

I think I might be shooting too many matches and just not taking them seriously enough.

Self care. I’ve largely gotten away from this as far as matches go.

Get that sleep. This is totally subjective so if you need that 8 hours, get it. If you need less, good for you.

Eat a decent breakfast in the morning. Something that will give you energy for a few hours.

Pack some snacks. I like an apple but I found myself getting hungry toward the end of the day so I need to add something to the mix. Small snacks that can be eaten throughout the day and not necessarily one big meal.

Hydration. My standard is one of those standard 16oz bottles of water per stage. I came away from this match having consumed 1 24 oz bottle of water over 4 stages. That’s not nearly enough for the hot Texas day that I was shooting in.

The News

Federal Cartridge lays off a whole bunch of workers.

Gear that Doesn’t Suck

Traveling all around the country for 3Gun matches, I’ve had the opportunity to shoot in some really… awful… weather.

I picked up a big golf umbrella for matches, and it’s been phenemonal for keeping me, and all my stuff dry in crappy weather.

Here’s one that’s about the same size as the one I’ve got, and it’s been great.

April Fools!

If you want to hear more from Dave, head over to 3GunShow.com and get subscribed to his podcast. You can find Dave in iTunes, on you Android device, and a bunch of other places.

Special thanks to Snippets of Life Photography for letting me use the great picture of Dave.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. Lucas,
    Your voice sounds different this week.

    Hope you feel better soon!


  2. Lucas,

    Nice podcast. I run one over at TheGaGG.com. Actually just getting started. Would love to link up (local guy as well) and share pointers.

    I totally agree with your Firearms industry note. Although how and what happens with the WoT will potentially cause the re-emergence of a second bubble. Its a bad thing as well… A lot of really good technologies have resulted from these bubbles.

    On the training aspect… I have been toying around with a series of articles for my other site (WildernessMaster.com) about “functional training” and how these non-traditional sports may be more athletic than your traditional sports. For instance for my deep mountain hunts in Montana, I have to train up hard for them. Otherwise I am wasting my $$.

    I am looking for a friend/mentor for 3 gun. Have been interested and set a 3 year goal to begin competing with it.

    Let’s chat.


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