Shooting the – Rockcastle Pro Am

Shooting the – Rockcastle Pro Am
Codys Corner

Honeoye Falls, NY –( Last month I had the opportunity to go to the Pro Am 3 Gun Championship. It has been fifteen+ years since I shot a 3 gun match, and a lot has changed.

I am now 53 years old and 25 pounds heavier than I was then, so I was skeptical to accept this invitation at first. I didn’t really need the hassle of gearing up and preparing for a whole new game and I remember 3 gun being complicated and overburdened with rules. Regardless, I decided to check it out and after reading the rules and requirements I was very pleased to see how easy it would be to key up for this match.

The rules were very basic, as always, SAFETY FIRST:

Cold Range, no handling firearms, other than in a designated safe handling area, keep your handgun in your holster, long guns cased or muzzles up until ready to shoot under the direction of a range safety officer
Eye & ear protection mandatory for everyone

Ammo requirements were easy and uncomplicated:

  • Pistol requires 9mm or larger no AP or Tracer
  • Rifle requirement is .223 or larger, no AP or Tracer
  • Shotgun requirement is 20ga. or larger, no steel shot
  • Any holster that retained the handgun at belt level and protects the trigger is allowed
  • No cross draw or shoulder holsters

Firearm requirements were simple as well:

  • Minimum requirement is a factory-configured handgun
  • A revolver, single stack or high cap auto will all work fine
  • No Race guns or Space guns needed
  • Rifles were typically the AR15 type, however any semi automatic with a detachable mag will work
  • Quite a few competitors were using pump shotguns, although semi auto with 7 plus round tubes seemed to be the most popular.
  • Just about anything you have will work

You can dig out your old 1911, Glock or whatever you already have. Any old AR and a riot gun will get you started playing, but look out- 3 gun can be addicting!

The organizers put tremendous effort and succeeded in coming up with courses of fire that challenged your mind and body and required forethought as to shooting tactics, shooting skills, and a little physical effort as well. All of the stages were fun, fast, and challenging. Most of the stages required about 50 yards of movement while engaging 17 to 25 targets.

None of the stages were so difficult that you would need to run a marathon or the stadium steps to prepare for, however I was inspired to get into a little better physical condition after returning home.

Here is a brief description of the Amateur stages:

Stage #1 Shotgun only (17 targets) – Variety of steel and paper targets; and did I mention you got to kick down a door?

Stage #2 Shotgun only (17 targets) – Blazing fast course on larger targets if you didn’t mess up your reloads (like I did).

Stage #3 Rifle (14 targets) Handgun (8 targets) – Run downhill with rifle approx. 20 yards engaging 9 paper targets, on left and right. Then run up a steep hill about 30 yards and engage 5 more steel rifle targets at 100-250 yards prone through a port in a barricade. Then stand, draw handgun, and engage 8 targets both paper and steel. Side note: I’m glad we started running downhill, it gave this older, slightly overweight competitor the momentum to run up the other side.

Stage #4 Shotgun (14 targets) Handgun (11 targets) – All up hill in a heavily wooded area engage the 14 shotgun targets on left and right, some partially obscured by trees and shrubs. Upon reaching the summit, draw the handgun to engage 11 various targets. Piece of cake except for the uphill part and the one tree that would not get out of my line of fire.

Stage #5 Rifle (15 Targets) Handgun (8 targets) – Flat Ground finally. Proceed towards the car engaging 5 targets on left and right originally obscured by barricades. Then using the car for cover, engage 10 more rifle targets, between 7 and 230 yards. Then draw and engage 8 handgun targets both steel and paper. This was the longest course to shoot (time wise). Targets were challenging and the shooting positions were constrictive.

Stage # 6 Rifle (10 Targets) Handgun (12 targets) – Starting seated inside a car with hands placed on the steering wheel, grab your rifle from the passenger side and engage 8 targets through the passenger window (not something you get to do every day). Exit the car and engage 2 more rifle targets. Draw your handgun and engage 12 targets including poppers and movers, while moving an among the other cars on the range and try not to shoot the cars. Very fast and different from the norm.

Stage # 7 Rifle (10 targets) Handgun (10 targets) – Engage 10 rifle targets from between barrel barricades ranging from point blank to 7 yards. Draw handgun to engage 10 targets while charging forward into small room like areas. Fast and furious, this course was CQB at it’s best. Less than 20 yards movement, longest target 7 yards. It was one of the most challenging stages and many a competitor left more than one target standing.

I was on squad 16, a group of guys whose participation, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship made this event one of the most enjoyable events I have ever attended. Everyone on the squad pitched in to reset and tape targets, everyone was courteous, encouraging and helpful to each other in preparation and through clean up.

We were lucky enough to be squaded with Jim- one of the nicest, most accommodating and helpful gentlemen I have ever met. It wasn’t until later that we came to find out he was Jim Noble, father to Nick and Nate Noble who are the owners of the Rockcastle Shooting Center. I can’t say enough about what a pleasure it is to be squadded with a group of guys like this, and what a great family the Nobles are.

At this event I was blessed enough to meet up with old friends that I haven’t seen in years, and to meet new ones that I look forward to shooting with in the future.

All of the sponsors were extremely generous; the prize table (all 100+ feet of it) was spectacular! I’ve never seen such an array of prizes. Every shooter went away with a prize in hand valued higher than their entry fee. Everyone associated with the Rockcastle Shooting Range and Lodge was the best. Thanks to all for making this a great event!

3 Gun is a fast paced, fun new sport that you won’t have to break the bank to get started in. So grab your 3 favorite guns and dust them off. Grab your ammo, gear, and maybe your wife too! Find a local 3 Gun event and get started.

Looking forward to seeing you at next years Pro Am 3 Gun Championship!

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