The Thrill of 3-Gun

Chris Cerino coaching a shooter for 3 gun
Chris Cerino coaching a shooter for 3 gun
Crimson Trace
Crimson Trace

Wilsonville, OR – -( After a blaring horn sounds behind you, the clock begins ticking.

You hastily unholster a pistol, slide in the magazine, and align the sights.

Then the trigger tugging starts—as more precious seconds pass. A series of steel targets drop with a pronounced metallic clang, then you dash to a nearby barrel where you pull out a shotgun, stuff shells into the semi-auto’s lower, and start shooting. After more steel targets tumble, you clear the shotgun, check the safety, and drop the gun back into the barrel. Next, you make a mad dash for a distant table, pick up an AR rifle, insert and tug the magazine, then start shooting the many targets ahead in your lane. The clock continues ticking away the seconds.

In less than two minutes, you’ve shot more than 20 rounds of 9mm, a dozen 12-gauge shotshells and at least 20 rounds of .223 Rem. through the rifle. You can breathe now.

That’s 3-Gun.

To win at this mix of running and gunning also requires planning and prepping. 3-Gun competitions are rapidly growing in popularity at ranges across America. Television shows featuring “top shots” have added to the public interest—and enthusiasm. If you participate in 3-Gun, your shooting skills and firearms knowledge are tested on every lane at every event.

“You need to master manipulation skills. Know your gun, learn about feeding it, and keep it running,” notes Chris Cerino, owner and instructor with Chris Cerino Training Group and a History Channel Top Shot All-Star. “You also need to know your shooting gear, know where stuff is and how to get it out.”

Cerino also recommends learning the fundamentals of shooting and to critically analyze why you hit targets—and why you miss targets.

“If you miss, you obviously need to try something else,” Cerino continued.

He now travels across America teaching others how to compete—and win—in 3-Gun competitions. Cerino is also a fan of using Crimson Trace Lasergrips and other products, such as a MVF-515 foregrip, for practice and competition. A downrange laser lets you see unnecessary firearm movement and help you work to prevent it.

One thing that lures some shooters into the 3-Gun circuit is that no two courses are alike, and you’ll possibly shoot in total darkness. Those are the conditions competitors will encounter when the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun Invitational ( opens in Bend, Oregon in mid August.

To learn more, visit To find a range near you that hosts 3-Gun competitions and training classes, visit or



Crimson Trace, the acknowledged industry leader for laser sighting systems, is based in Wilsonville, Oregon.  Its award-winning innovations include Lasergrips® and Laserguard® with red and green lasers, as well as Lightguard® – all with Instinctive Activation ™. Additionally, the company’s product line includes the Best-in-Class Defender Series® and Rail Master® platforms – all of which are proudly designed, engineered and manufactured in the USA. More details are available at: or by calling 800-442-2406.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I know that there are a number of competitions in the Northwest, I need to look into these and see if they are as fun as they seem like they would be!