3-Gun Essentials – Target Diversity

By: Chris Andersen, 3-Gun Nation Pro Shooter

Pistol Targets
Pistol Targets
3-Gun Nation
3-Gun Nation

USA –-(Ammoland.com)- One of the coolest things about 3-Gun is the fact that we get the opportunity to shoot targets that range from arms-reach distance all the way out to 500+ yards, sometimes in the same course of fire.

That target diversity is also one of the toughest aspects of the sport.

It requires tremendous discipline to dial our speed, and focus level up and down accordingly. It’s very important to have drills in your practice regimen that sharpen this skill. I find that varying target arrays with all three guns that require me to adjust my shooting pace drastically from target to target help me stay sharp.

Here are a couple of varied speed drills that I use in training to stay on top of that skill:

Start position: Pistol holstered, hands at sides. Upon start signal, engage 1 IPSC target at 7 yards with two rounds, then transition to two 4-6” steel plates at 15 yards.

The differences in speed between the two types of targets will be drastic. Forcing you to stay under control while transitioning between a high speed, target focus type shot, to an aimed hard sight focus shot. This setup will offer a number of different ways to shoot the drill as well. Starting on one of the difficult targets first, then transitioning to the high speed shot, and then back to the remaining difficult target is another option. Mixing up the drill forces you to keep thinking on your feet, and the large variance in speed will help you sharpen your focus and train you to stay under control.

Rifle Targets
Rifle Targets

Start position: Low ready. Upon the start engage an IPSC target at 10 yards with two rounds, then transition to an offhand shot on and 8-10” plate at 50 yards.

Just like the pistol drill, switch between starting on the slow and fast targets to keep yourself guessing. A ten yard rifle paper shot will be VERY fast, and the visual patience required to hit the offhand 50 yard steel will be invaluable in competition.

Offhand rifle shots are some of the best training opportunities available in all of shooting. The fundamentals they ingrain are incredibly important, and will carry over into every difficult shot that you ever take with your rife.

Shotgun Targets
Shotgun Targets

Start position: Port arms. Upon start signal engage 2 falling steel targets at 10 yards with birdshot and then transition to a third falling steel target obstructed by a no shoot plate in front that requires a careful hold-off to execute.

The shotgun is the most dangerous gun of all in my opinion when it comes to staying under control. The amount of forgiveness a good birdshot pattern can offer is great, but it is also very easy to get cocky and push too hard.

This is especially true if you have a difficult shot situated amongst some faster shots. The consequences of a miss are much higher due to the guns limited capacity, so focus is very important. Varying between fast birdshot targets and a difficult, no-shoot hold-off shot will test that focus. Not to mention, these types of shots will reinforce valuable knowledge of your shotgun’s birdshot pattern.

Stick with these drills.
I have been doing drills like this pretty much since I started shooting, and still use them regularly. Try setting up your own version of these drills and plug them into your practice routine each time you are at the range. They are simple enough to be easily duplicated.

Keep your setup consistent and track your times to monitor your progress. Also don’t be afraid to push occasionally to find out where the limit is. You will find if you practice these skills regularly, that limit will be faster and faster!

Chris Andersen is a 3 Gun Nation Pro Shooter for Team Vertx and regular contributor to AR15.com and 3GunNation.com. Look for his articles and videos every month in the ARFCOM Newsletter to help improve your performance in 3 gun competition.