Three Gun Nation Division Showdowns

Three Gun Nation Division Showdowns
By Chad Adams (photos by Yamil Sued)

Mike Voigt
Division wins at MGM and Rocky Mountain put Voigt back in the race for 3GN Open Division Championship.
3-Gun Nation
3-Gun Nation

USA –-( Heading into the ninth event on the 2011 FNH USA 3-Gun Nation Tour, Presented by SureFire, clear battle lines have been drawn for a piece of Hornady’s $25,000 in the 3GN Divisional Championships.

With only two opportunities for points remaining, not one Division has yet been fully secured, as each race will play out until the final shots of November’s FNH USA 3-Gun Championship.

In Open, newly-singed Colt shooter Clint Upchurch has led from the jump. But SureFire’s Mike Voigt picked up wins at MGM Ironman and Rocky Mountain, keeping him in the hunt. The venerable Jerry Miculek scratched out a win at the Pro Am, keeping him alive as well by a mere thread.

To win it all, Miculek will have to run the table, with division wins at both USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals and FNH, while Voigt only needs to win FN to claim the division crown. Conversely, Upchurch doesn’t necessarily have to win another match to take the title. If neither Miculek nor Voigt secure their third win at FN, Upchurch, who already has 300 points, is the winner. Or Clint can just go out and win it outright and prevent anyone catching him.

Rank Name 1st Score 2nd Score 3rd Score Overall
1 Clint Upchurch 100 100 100 300
2 Mike Voigt 100 100 96.74 296.74
3 Jerry Miculek 100 98.53 97.15 295.68

Like Upchurch, Kurt Miller has led Tactical Irons for the majority of the 2011 season. With 300 points, he’s maxed out on wins, and needs only to hang on to become the first Tactical Iron Champion. Gunning for Miller will no doubt be James Casanova, who has been steadily gaining ground on the field all season long. Casanova earned his first division win at Ozark, keeping him alive for the division title.

Veteran Kelly Neal, who picked up two early wins, has been keeping a low travel schedule this season. As such, he’s stuck on 200 points in the division. If he turns out to compete at Nationals or FN, Neal will give Miller all the competition he wants.

But Miller, the famed iron sight shooter, can beat both of the 1X optic shooters by simply winning at FN. If so, he’ll claim the division title, and take home $5,000 from Hornady.

Rank Name 1st Score 2nd Score 3rd Score Overall
1 Kurt Miller 100 100 100 300
2 James Casanova 100 94.97 92.62 287.59
8 Kelly Neal 100 100 0 200

Tactical Optics is down to a two-horse race between arguably the two top 3-gunners in the country—Daniel Horner and Taran Butler. Horner has been on a tear of late, winning five consecutive matches on the 3GN Tour, as well as 3GN Shoot-Off wins at Rocky Mountain and Ozark. Butler, meanwhile, has two division wins this season, one at Fort Benning, where Horner didn’t compete, and the other at Superstition, where Butler beat Horner heads-up.

For Butler to win the title, he’ll have to pick up a win at Nationals or FNH, and he’ll have to beat Horner heads-up once more to do so. Nationals, going on past year’s stage designs, offers Butler his best opportunity to pick up his all-important third win. Either way, this division will be won at FN, where the mix of range bay and natural terrain courses of fire will likely favor Horner.

Rank Name 1st Score 2nd Score 3rd Score Overall
1 Daniel Horner 100 100 100 300
2 Taran Butler 100 100 93.67 293.67

Like Tactical Optics, Heavy Metal Optics is down to two competitors as well—SureFire’s Barry Dueck and Larue’s Adam Popplewell. Dueck has led the division much of the season, and in fact recently picked up his third division win at Ozark. However, two of his three Heavy Metal Optics wins came from that match, and only one may be used for score per 3GN rules. His other division win this season came at Blue Ridge, in Heavy Metal, which created some confusion.

Meanwhile, Popplewell has been steadily gaining ground on Dueck all season, finally taking over the top spot. But Dueck’s win at Ozark, though not eligible for his score, did prevent Popplewell from picking up that key third division win.

All this adds up to what should be two more exciting showdowns between Dueck and Popplewell at Nationals and FN for the division title and $5,000 from Hornady.

Rank Name 1st Score 2nd Score 3rd Score Overall
1 Adam Popplewell 100 100 98.77 298.77
2 Barry Dueck 100 100 92.37 292.37

Midway through the 2011 season, it appeared Bryan Ray would run away with the Heavy Metal division. After winning the first two events, and with the departure of Patrick Kelley to Tactical Optics, there didn’t seem to be anyone capable of seriously challenging for the division win. Then at Rocky Mountain, Rob Romero, who at the time was ranked in the top five in Tactical Optics, decided to make a run at the money.

Since then, Romero has picked up division wins at Rocky Mountain and Ozark, where he beat Ray heads-up going away. Romero will be competing in Tactical Optics at Nationals, which means it will literally all come down to the FN Championship for the Heavy Metal division.

If Ray should hold on, it will be a major accomplishment for the non-sponsored shooter from Kentucky. But if Romero is able to pick up the win at FN, going three-for-three in the division, then that will be an amazing run to close out the season for a Divisional Championship.

Rank Name 1st Score 2nd Score 3rd Score Overall
1 Bryan Ray 100 100 88.6 288.6
8 Rob Romero 100 100 0 200

The final event for points, the FNH USA 3-Gun Championship, takes place Nov. 10-12 in Glengary, W.V. The 3GN Divisional Championships will be presented at the conclusion of the FN match, in conjunction with the match awards ceremony, on Nov. 12.

To see all of the 3GN Points Standings, go to

Noveske's Rob Romero
Noveske's Rob Romero is one win away from a 3GN Heavy Metal Division Championship.

Eds. Note: All competitors are encouraged to begin checking all of their scores immediately. Any scoring errors must be reported to 3GN prior to the beginning of the FNH USA 3-Gun Championships in November to be valid for the 3GN Championship, Lady Shoot-Off or Junior Shoot-Off.