6 Best Gear to Use for Three Gun Competition

Three gun competitions are exactly what they sound like; competitions where you use three different guns to show your skills. Each three gun competition falls into a category: open, tactical optics, or heavy metal.


where you are able to modify each gun. These guns are not typically practical for hunting; they are intentionally modified to help improve your game in competitions.

Tactical Optics

This is typically where beginners find themselves, as the guns required are common in many households: an AR-15, a semi-automatic shotgun, and a centerfire pistol. Tactical Optics is a great place to use an upgraded AR-15 upper receiver. Go to websites like Primary Arms for a selection of complete uppers, stripped uppers, or barreled uppers, so you can choose what the right starting point is for your next build.

Heavy Metal

The only guns allowed in this category are .308 caliber or larger, 12-gauge pump shotguns, and .45 ACP pistols. Many hunters prefer to participate in this category of competition because it better suits the firearms they use for hunting, and it helps them to improve their skills for the type of hunting they enjoy doing.

With so many different categories, how do you know what gear is best to use for your three gun competition? The following is what you need to consider looking for.

1. Holster

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Most all competitions, regardless of category, will require you to begin with your pistol holstered. Therefore, you will want to purchase a holster that you like and that is easily accessible during competition. This is not an item you want to skimp out on, as there are large penalties (like disqualification) that may be placed on you if your pistol comes out of your holster prematurely. The best type of holsters are those that keep your pistol secure and are opened in a fashion that feels natural to the process of your draw. Going in store to test out a holster is the best way you can shop for one and feel confident in your purchase.

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2. A Way to Carry Your Magazines

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Some competition rules force you to begin the round with your firearm unloaded. Some also require you to have extra magazines for you to reload your weapon. Either way, it is inevitable that you will need a way to carry your magazines. You can have holders that clip to your belt or to your clothing. Again, it is important to ensure that you will be able to easily access your magazine for quick reload times.

3. A Base Pad for Your Rifle

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During the stage of the competition where you use your rifle, like an AR-15, it may be helpful for you to have a base pad. A base pad will make it easier to reload if there is a round in the chamber, and it will make it easier for you to use the magazine when shooting your targets while in the prone position. These are fairly popular and are therefore easy to find either online or in store. Find one that best suits you and add it to your three gun competition bugout bag.

4. A Chamber Flag

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In many of the three gun competitions, you are required to show the judges that your rifle or shotgun is entirely unloaded as you move around the range. The flag can either be inserted through the chamber, but it could melt if inserted directly following your emptying of the magazine. If the gun has recently been discharged, the best place to put a chamber flag is through the magazine well. As long as the chamber flag is clearly displayed, you will likely be within the rules of the competition.

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5. Shotgun Chokes and a Wrench

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There are five main types of shotgun chokes (cylinder, improved-cylinder, modified, improved-modified and full). A choke does not affect the velocity (speed) or distance. It only controls how together or far apart the pellets are at a given distance. Chokes are needed in competition because they can be the difference between making your shot and missing. Knowing what pattern your shotgun takes will be important for you. Different chokes create different patterns, so you will want to be sure to do your homework. If you know which choke to use to go the proper distance you need, then you will succeed greatly during competition. The wrench is needed to assist you in quickly changing the chokes. Having the proper equipment for this task and having practiced a good amount of time, you will likely be the star of the competition.

6. A Belt Mounted System or a Chest Rig

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The most difficult and the most important part of a shotgun is the ammunition. There are two popular methods to loading a shotgun: the double-load, where you only put two shot gun shells in the barrel, or the quad-load where you load two to four shotgun shells at one time. A belt mounted system will be placed on the belt of the shooter. A chest rig is set on the shooters chest. Both options will allow you to gather your ammunition swiftly and securely. It may behoove you to test out both types before you choose one to use during competition. Choosing one that best fits you and your abilities to move may be the difference between winning and losing the competition.

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Three gun competitions are fast paced, fun, and test your skills with rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Having a competition that involves three different types of firearms can be intimidating, but with the right gear, knowledge, and practice, you will not be troubled. There are different items that you need to improve your chances of success. Listed above is some gear that will serve you well. There are other pieces of gear that can help you. Doing your research and finding what will best for you is imperative. Everyone is different and will respond to gear in their own way. These are suggestions for the best gear for three gun competitions and should help you along your way to getting exactly what you need.