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Posted (edited)

I've been feeling pretty melancholic about 3 gun lately without being able to put my finger on why. Then a couple days back it hit me. Here's a short story to explain my theory.

 

 

So while trying to explain to someone what 3 gun was I stumbled onto some YouTube videos of the 3 Gun Nation episodes from a few years back. Damn those looked like fun stages, no wonder I had to try 3 gun myself. Feeling nostalgic about my first couple years I ended up watching my old stage videos. More awesome looking stages that I'd love to shoot again. 

 

There were basically two match styles in my area at the time. Wannabe 3GN matches, lots of targets, lots of movement, aerial clays, hoser paper as far as the eye could see. Then there were the Saturday USPSA matches turned into Sunday 3 gun by adding more targets, further targets, dump barrels and clays. Lots of movement, lots of walls, tons of activated targets (clamshells, drop turners etc.) even a few memory stages. 

 

But conspicuously absent were circus targets. Death stars, polish plate racks, etc. When the stage designer wanted to make you work he threw in no-shoots, hidden targets, hard leans or low ports. All good challenging stuff that kept it from being a complete hose fest.

 

Now stage designs seem to consist of go here and shoot some targets then DEATH STAR! It seems that good stage design went out the window with the advent of circus stuff as the centerpiece of every stage. And once one match bought some spinny s#!t they all had to have them. When thats not an option the next best thing to slow everyone down is walls of 4" 25 yard pistol steel, maybe a 100 yard offhand skinny sammy. Hard to have fun shooting fast when you find yourself in a bullseye match.

 

Maybe I'm just being whiny or maybe this lack of stage creativity is just a regional thing, possibly caused by burnt out or understaffed match directors. I didn't get into 3 gun to shoot circus targets or precision pistol stuff. I want to drag race with guns.

Edited by TonytheTiger

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This shooting is supposed to be practice for the real thing.

 

Test our skills.

 

Good to test a wide variety of skills - not just one skill over and over.

 

Nothing wrong with  slowing down a bit and trying to hit a small, distant target - who knows, it

might actually happen one day, and you'll be ready for it.    :) 

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10 hours ago, TonytheTiger said:

I've been feeling pretty melancholic about 3 gun lately without being able to put my finger on why. Then a couple days back it hit me. Here's a short story to explain my theory.

 

 

So while trying to explain to someone what 3 gun was I stumbled onto some YouTube videos of the 3 Gun Nation episodes from a few years back. Damn those looked like fun stages, no wonder I had to try 3 gun myself. Feeling nostalgic about my first couple years I ended up watching my old stage videos. More awesome looking stages that I'd love to shoot again. 

 

There were basically two match styles in my area at the time. Wannabe 3GN matches, lots of targets, lots of movement, aerial clays, hoser paper as far as the eye could see. Then there were the Saturday USPSA matches turned into Sunday 3 gun by adding more targets, further targets, dump barrels and clays. Lots of movement, lots of walls, tons of activated targets (clamshells, drop turners etc.) even a few memory stages. 

 

But conspicuously absent were circus targets. Death stars, polish plate racks, etc. When the stage designer wanted to make you work he threw in no-shoots, hidden targets, hard leans or low ports. All good challenging stuff that kept it from being a complete hose fest.

 

Now stage designs seem to consist of go here and shoot some targets then DEATH STAR! It seems that good stage design went out the window with the advent of circus stuff as the centerpiece of every stage. And once one match bought some spinny s#!t they all had to have them. When thats not an option the next best thing to slow everyone down is walls of 4" 25 yard pistol steel, maybe a 100 yard offhand skinny sammy. Hard to have fun shooting fast when you find yourself in a bullseye match.

 

Maybe I'm just being whiny or maybe this lack of stage creativity is just a regional thing, possibly caused by burnt out or understaffed match directors. I didn't get into 3 gun to shoot circus targets or precision pistol stuff. I want to drag race with guns.

 

IMO, you about hit the nail on the head.  I basically never shoot 3 gun anymore because of this stuff

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I know that time is a factor for most people, but if you are able to, maybe volunteer to help the MDs with some stage ideas?  I know a few MDs in my area and they would love any help they can get with stage design.  Like you said, they might be burned out and just need some creative people to step up and help out.  Be the change you want to see in the world! 😉  

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12 hours ago, TonytheTiger said:

I've been feeling pretty melancholic about 3 gun lately without being able to put my finger on why. Then a couple days back it hit me. Here's a short story to explain my theory.

 

 

So while trying to explain to someone what 3 gun was I stumbled onto some YouTube videos of the 3 Gun Nation episodes from a few years back. Damn those looked like fun stages, no wonder I had to try 3 gun myself. Feeling nostalgic about my first couple years I ended up watching my old stage videos. More awesome looking stages that I'd love to shoot again. 

 

There were basically two match styles in my area at the time. Wannabe 3GN matches, lots of targets, lots of movement, aerial clays, hoser paper as far as the eye could see. Then there were the Saturday USPSA matches turned into Sunday 3 gun by adding more targets, further targets, dump barrels and clays. Lots of movement, lots of walls, tons of activated targets (clamshells, drop turners etc.) even a few memory stages. 

 

But conspicuously absent were circus targets. Death stars, polish plate racks, etc. When the stage designer wanted to make you work he threw in no-shoots, hidden targets, hard leans or low ports. All good challenging stuff that kept it from being a complete hose fest.

 

Now stage designs seem to consist of go here and shoot some targets then DEATH STAR! It seems that good stage design went out the window with the advent of circus stuff as the centerpiece of every stage. And once one match bought some spinny s#!t they all had to have them. When thats not an option the next best thing to slow everyone down is walls of 4" 25 yard pistol steel, maybe a 100 yard offhand skinny sammy. Hard to have fun shooting fast when you find yourself in a bullseye match.

 

Maybe I'm just being whiny or maybe this lack of stage creativity is just a regional thing, possibly caused by burnt out or understaffed match directors. I didn't get into 3 gun to shoot circus targets or precision pistol stuff. I want to drag race with guns.

 

Our area for 3 gun kinda sucks. Everything you said and some other stuff is why I quit fully and just shoot USPSA now.

 

BTW... I miss your wife's baking. 🤣

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4 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

This shooting is supposed to be practice for the real thing.

 

Nothing wrong with  slowing down a bit and trying to hit a small, distant target - who knows, it

might actually happen one day, and you'll be ready for it.    :) 

I don't compete for real world training. Actually no one I know does. Just like I didn't race go karts as a kid to get a job as a taxi driver. No correlation for me, it's just a game that happens to make me more competent with a firearm even though I hope I never need to be.

 

I'm not against occasional challenging targets either but to use them as a substitute for interesting stage design gets old fast. 

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When I shoot three gun I want to bang and the biggest complaints I got were about things like spinners and the things you talked about.  

 

Next up was the amount of running. Lol. 

 

Keeping things fresh is hard after doing it for so long. It’s part of why I don’t do it anymore. 

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Posted (edited)

New alternative sports like 3G, paintball, sailboarding, snowboarding go through a maturation phase that either becomes wildly successful (X-Games) or an abysmal failure that depresses the overall interest in the sport (paintball, sailboarding). 

 

Frankly I like the early years before people get too ambitious and barriers to entry get too high. Paintball, sailboards, mountain biking, skateboards, all that kind of stuff was wicked fun back when we were kids and it was cheaper and simpler. 

 

Maybe some alternative ideas are in order? Figure out a way for clubs to run cheap easy fun matches that don't require race guns to be competitive again? 

 

Something a 25-year old with a regular job can afford. They can't afford golf, sporting clays or skiing. Where do think these sports are going to be long term, 20-40 years from now? Nobody is even going to know how to do it, they'll be only a handful of luxury resorts. 

Edited by Frankly

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, TalkingMonkey said:

I know that time is a factor for most people, but if you are able to, maybe volunteer to help the MDs with some stage ideas?  I know a few MDs in my area and they would love any help they can get with stage design.  Like you said, they might be burned out and just need some creative people to step up and help out.  Be the change you want to see in the world! 😉  

Thats an idea I've thought of. I've got a few stage designs floating around in my brain and I'll probably ask some local MD's if they'd like any of them. Is it bad form to design stages when you know you won't be available to help set them up though?

Edited by TonytheTiger

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8 minutes ago, TonytheTiger said:

Thats an idea I've thought of. I've got a few stage designs floating around in my brain and I'll probably ask some local MD's if they'd like any of them. Is it bad form to design stages when you know you won't be available to help set them up though?

Depends if you're going to complain when the execution of your design is watered down and a death star is added 🤬

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7 hours ago, Maximis228 said:

 

Our area for 3 gun kinda sucks. Everything you said and some other stuff is why I quit fully and just shoot USPSA now.

 

BTW... I miss your wife's baking. 🤣

The more PCC videos I see the more I consider taking a break from 3 gun. Somehow the average USPSA stage looks less contrived and artificially difficult than 3 gun, not to say it looks easy, just that it seems a more pure test shooting and speed. Less dipshittery I guess.

 

I'll tell my wife you said that, and squad 3 is awfully quiet without you...

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1 minute ago, TrackCage said:

Depends if you're going to complain when the execution of your design is watered down and a death star is added 🤬

If they remove half the targets, all the walls and movement then yes, I'll complain.

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3 hours ago, Frankly said:

New alternative sports like 3G, paintball, sailboarding, snowboarding go through a maturation phase that either becomes wildly successful (X-Games) or an abysmal failure that depresses the overall interest in the sport (paintball, sailboarding). 

 

Frankly I like the early years before people get too ambitious and barriers to entry get too high. Paintball, sailboards, mountain biking, skateboards, all that kind of stuff was wicked fun back when we were kids and it was cheaper and simpler. 

 

Maybe some alternative ideas are in order? Figure out a way for clubs to run cheap easy fun matches that don't require race guns to be competitive again? 

 

Something a 25-year old with a regular job can afford. They can't afford golf, sporting clays or skiing. Where do think these sports are going to be long term, 20-40 years from now? Nobody is even going to know how to do it, they'll be only a handful of luxury resorts. 

I have nothing against race guns, and I've seen enough guys win with garbage equipment to know better. And this is America, most of us want the nicest gear in any given sport even if we know we won't put in the time to win. So thats not really pertinent to the discussion. 

But I do agree that things always seem better in the early days. Maybe its just the enthusiasm or the not knowing what you don't know that makes it exciting.

 

I wonder if standardized targets like USPSA has would make me feel better. I don't care if I shoot the same 4 target types in every match as long as its a good stage design. But in 3 gun anything goes, so when a designer is out of ideas he says lets put small steel shotgun knockovers at 35yds, just because we haven't done that. Not only is it boring and beyond the effective range of the gun, suddenly the fastest shooter in the world that doesn't own a full choke might as well go home. Thats what I mean by artificial difficulty. Like when my PRS shooting buddies talk about shooting 800yds off of a hanging rope. Why would someone design a stage specifically so half the field can't get hits? How is that fun?

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1 hour ago, TonytheTiger said:

Why would someone design a stage specifically so half the field can't get hits? How is that fun?

 

 

The last 3 gun match i went to, was as much track meet as shooting, and most of the shooters timed out in most of the stages.  I am a middling 3 gunner and was able to finish most, but not all,  of the stages only because i knew what targets to leave.  It was almost a steel precision match with all 3 guns.  I am not looking for super easy, but IMO if 180 seconds is not enough for the average person to shoot a stage maybe the stages are a little too much.  I don't know that anyone at the match finished every stage and some of them are pretty good shooters.  

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If 3 minutes isn't enough time to finish a stage it better worth it. If it just takes that long because every target is that hard I can't see how ayone could have a good time.

4 hours ago, RJH said:

 

 

The last 3 gun match i went to, was as much track meet as shooting, and most of the shooters timed out in most of the stages.  I am a middling 3 gunner and was able to finish most, but not all,  of the stages only because i knew what targets to leave.  It was almost a steel precision match with all 3 guns.  I am not looking for super easy, but IMO if 180 seconds is not enough for the average person to shoot a stage maybe the stages are a little too much.  I don't know that anyone at the match finished every stage and some of them are pretty good shooters.  

 

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Hey @kurtm you've been around 3 gun longer than most of us and probably seen a few phases come and go. 

I'm starting to think the liberty of outlaw 3 gun is its own worst enemy.

Whats your take?

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I shot a USPSA stage which involved carrying a police shield.

 

Lots of complaints, but I thought it was interesting, and enjoyed the diversity.

 

The one Nat'ls match I attended (a decade ago), I was disappointed that for OPEN

guns, there were NO distant targets  -  it was all run and gun.

 

Some of us like diversity, I guess, and others don't.

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What's an @kurtm????

When M.D.s quit designing stages around What facet of shooting do I want to test with this stage/ scenario based stages, and started thinking Round Count was king was when it started to slide. Anymore I see most 3-gun matches as, " hey to be better and bigger" we need stupid amounts for rounds. Stages designs that have this as their base......go scatter out a bunch of targets.....make it about 50 rounds of pistol, 30 rounds of shotgun and 70 rounds of rifle. Bigger is better! Well now reset raised it's timely head so these same M.D.s said we need a target system to suck up a bunch of rounds and won't need much reset ......hence crap targets like spinners, polish ate racks etc. And the idea of carrying all 3 guns on you came in vogue too, when would you ever sling a rifle to shoot a shotgun???? Once again no thought to what you want to test, just get that round count up and scatter a bunch of crap out there.

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11 minutes ago, kurtm said:

What's an @kurtm????

Its how we summon you, kinda like the Bat-Signal but uses less electricity and no bulbs to change. 

 

Thanks for your input!

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If someone designed me a stage and wasn’t there to set it up it may not be the same as you had in your head but I’d be grateful for the help

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Posted (edited)

I have not been shooting 3 gun as long as some others, but my first match was almost 2 decades ago.  I agree that things have changed a lot over the years, and not necessarily for the better.

 

I have remained active and have shot a number of majors in the last 10 years.  I had to take a break over the past 12 months due to medical issues and recently made my return to competition at a major.  My, my, how a little time off let's you see the forest.

 

My return lined up with a very successful match that has been running for 4 years.  This was my first time to shoot in it because of past scheduling issues.  I was excited to finally get to shoot in it, but my excitement turned into meh as the match went on.

The match was supposed to be 10 stages, but weather forced one to be thrown out and we ended up with 9 stages for score.  No biggie that a stage was pulled, but we still had enough targets to cover a 15 stage match.  Rifle and pistol were pretty even, but shotgun was a major part of 8 of the stages.  I say it was a major part because there were 15+ shotgun targets on each one.  I DO like shooting shotgun, but not that much.  It became a shotgun loading festival and target placement was haphazard.  Some of the stages had knock down steel that required a minimum of a modified choke to even scare the target and the shooting area was a fixed position so you couldn't get any closer.  It was really hard on the new shooters who are trying to figure the game out and show up with basic equipment.  I inquired about this with other shooters and they indicated that this is the norm and not particularly different from other matches.  I didn't encounter problems since I had a wide range of gear accumulated over the years, but I was disappointed in how things have changed. 

 

I started shooting 3 gun in 2002 at a local match as a young police officer with a .40 Beretta, 4+1 Remington 870, and a borrowed AR-15 A2.  Rifle targets were small and took skill to hit, but were still under 200 yards.  Pistol was a mix of paper and pepper poppers, and buckshot was required for shotgun.  I did fairly well, but I found a lot of deficiencies in my shooting and decision making.  I loved that the stages were scenario based and technical.  The match designers put a lot of thought, effort, and props in the 2 stages on bays and the 3 others were set in natural terrain. I really enjoyed the martial aspect of the match a decided right there that I was going to use that match to improve my skill set.

 

That match has continued to run for the past 17 years and I have been helping with stage design to maintain the martial aspect and new shooter friendliness.  Keeping this flavor to the match and the sheer number of competing matches has resulted in a decline in the number of shooters. Even with the decline there is a bright spot because many shooters are first time competitors.  Some may move on to "mainstream" 3 gun, but hopefully others will return and bring a friend.

 

I started shooting competitively too late to get in on the old SOF match, but I did get a taste at Resurgence 2016.  Maybe the minds behind that one can dream up another.

 

As for me, I plan on branching out and enjoying other matches like the Nightforce 2 Rifle match and some low level precision rifle.  (I shot a PRS match last year and won't do that again.  The lack of organization, safe handling practices, and outright BS was monumental.)

I spent a lot of time on YouTube during my convalescence and the 2 gun (rifle/pistol) matches look pretty interesting too.

Edited by ShootfastRunfaster

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It looks like we all have one thing in common. Whenever we started shooting 3 gun, 4 years or 30 years ago, we thought that was the golden era and everything since then has been in decline. Very interesting, definitely gives me perspective.

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Not sure I agree. There have been some very good 3-gun matches long after I started. I'd say the best matches in 3-gun we're in the mid 2000s up to around 2012. After that, the bigger/better/round count designs started to take over. Along with this stage design fell and the "free style" decision making types of stages started to disappear. Along came the run to box a shoot, run to box b shoot.....etc. that took out some of the fun as well. I started I. 1992 and I really didn't see a decline untill 2011. 

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Funny you should mention the mid 2000's.  In 2005 I was squadded with some guys from Triangle Shooting Sports at the Cav Arms Match in Waco.  These guys were fast and accurate.  It was my first experience seeing high end competitors.   The guy named Benny won the match and the other guy named Ty did pretty well too.  The third one would have won the match, but he had a little problem with a table on a pistol  stage.  🍺

 

After seeing those guys shoot, I knew I wanted to be like them.  I'm still trying.

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