Chris Andersen on Getting Started in 3-Gun

Today’s guest article comes to us via none other than Chris Andersen, Team Vertx 3-Gun Nation Pro Shooter (and an Oklahoman, we might add – this is important, as most of our minions are from within a few states of there). He’s answering a question that a lot of neophytes (grunts: neophytes) have. How do you get started in 3-Gun?

We’ll tell you this much before turning it over to the expere. You have to get up off your ass. Don’t just do it for the competition. Consider that all that training, if properly scheduled, could be good family time as well. A youngster, wife, girlfriend could be shooting alongside you, taking turn reloading mags, learning weapon manipulation, etc – all of which is better than parked on the 4TH Point of Contact playing X-Box.   Mad Duo

Getting started in 3-Gun

Basics to get you in the game

By: Chris Andersen, Team Vertx 3-Gun Nation Pro Shooter

So you’ve seen the YouTube 3-Gun shooting videos or possibly caught an episode of 3-Gun Nation.  You love to shoot, it looks like way too much fun and you want to try it.  The question now is how to get started?

The short answer is that it is easier than you think! This sport can be a little intimidating at first because of the shear amount of equipment required (especially relative to single-gun disciplines), so here are a few basic steps to start you down the road to your first 3-Gun Competition:

Find a local club.

The sport is growing quickly. In fact it is becoming unusual for a large gun club to not have a regular 3-gun match.  If you are a member of a club, ask your club’s competition coordinator.  Competition shooting forums like, and’s 3-Gun Nation Forum are full of shooters, match directors, and officials that can steer you in the right direction.

Don’t buy ANYTHING yet!

You will thank me later.  If you have a reliable rifle, pistol, and shotgun along with the means to carry additional ammunition along with a safe holster, eye and ear protection, you have about all you need to try your first match.

Nearly everyone falls into the trap of impulse-buying unnecessary items when they get into the shooting sports. Spending a bunch of money on equipment right of the bat may seem like the right move but can be money down the drain.  Until you’ve spent some time in matches and at the range practicing, it is very unlikely that you will have any idea what you REALLY need to participate in the sport, not to mention what will work best for you.  Experience will steer you in the right direction.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from experienced shooters.

I have always loved competition, but one of my favorite things about the shooting sports is the people.  Most everyone at literally every level is willing to offer advice and even loan equipment to help a new shooter get started.  The sport is full of people who have all been right where you are now and can offer you tons of tips to help avoid pitfalls and maximize your investment in the sport.

Have fun!

Don’t take yourself too seriously at first. 3-Gun is very technical and gear-intensive and there are a lot things that can really change your perspective on your ability to operate your firearms under stress.  It is pretty common for a new shooter’s mind to go a bit numb the first time you hear a timer start in competition.  So it is very important to relax and have fun.  There will be a lot to learn, and that knowledge comes a lot quicker if with less stress in the picture.

Don’t blame me when you are addicted to this sport!

I will warn you up front.  There is a reason this sport is growing so quickly.  It is huge fun.  Odds are if you are the type of personality that is drawn to this sort of thing you are going to get hooked.  But don’t worry. There are plenty of folks on Craigslist who will happily take your golf clubs/motorcycle/etc off your hands!

See you on the range!

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Mad Duo, Breach-Bang-CLEAR!

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