Competitive Shooting

Getting Started With 3-Gun Nation and Cheaper Than Dirt!

Patrick E. Kelley running with AR in hand.

3-Gun Nation has Changed the Face of Action-shooting Sports and Cheaper Than Dirt is Supporting the Charge!

Chad Adams and Pete Brown were coworkers at the NRA. Included in the several projects they worked together was the NRA’s American Rifleman TV Show. During filming, Chad and Pete discovered 3-Gun and neither of these two men’s lives have been quite the same since.

A shot of Jerry Miculek engaged in 3-gun action.
Just over the left shoulder of Cheaper Than Dirt shooter, Jerry Miculek, is his daughter Ashley sporting her shotgun with extended magazine.

“Each time we went to cover a match, we’d leave telling each other how this was just the coolest gun-shooting sport. It’s fast, dynamic, cool—sort of like the X-Games of the shooting world,” said Pete Brown, president of 3-Gun Nation.

Both men have solid credentials in the outdoor industry and shooting sports arenas. Chad’s strength is more toward the history and operation of guns. Pete on the other hand, brings significant experience in television production.

“We quickly realized the problem. No one in the industry or populace was paying any attention to 3-Gun on the scale of its potential. Shoot after shoot and match after match, we left excited, but scratching our heads. Finally, we made the decision to do something about it. We pooled our collective talents and experience to create 3-Gun Nation,” said Brown.

Today, 3-Gun Nation is the culmination of Web, TV, social media and broad-based sports media marketing. “We take all of these aspects and apply it to the same business model Bass Masters or the PBR (Professional Bull Riders Association) uses. I don’t know of another organization that has brought this type of marketing to the to the shooting sports industry.”

3GN-The Series

The tour features several events held at various venues across the nation where competitors can earn points. From there, the top 30 shooters are invited to Las Vegas to compete in a bracketed competition for $50,000.

“We decided to take the business model from other popular sports and couple it with our backgrounds in sports marketing and 3-Gun and to create 3-Gun Nation. In plotting the path for the tournament series, we looked at different organizations and essentially modeled it after something resembling NASCAR,” said Brown.

Patrick E. Kelley running with AR in hand.
Cheaper Than Dirt sponsored shooter Patrick E. Kelley shows this is one game where you can run with dangerous items and your mother will yell for you, not at you.

Over the last four years, 3-Gun Nation’s numbers and popularity have swelled—both figuratively and literally. “Four years ago our first purse was $25,000, which at the time was the largest purse I know of in the sport. The level of enthusiasm was not nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, the series was so well received that we were quickly able to move the purse to $50,000 for the second championship. In January of 2013 we’ll be holding our third championship where shooters will again be able to compete for a top prize $50,000,” said Brown.

One of the most exciting aspects of 3-Gun is—of course—the shoot off. “A 3-Gun shoot off is an absolute drag race, but you have to get there first. Over the course of any given match there are various stages. They range from big, long rolling hills over natural terrain with high round counts and lots of movement to stages where you stand in a box, pick up a gun from the table and then it’s all about how fast you can accurately shoot,” said Chad Adams, vice president of 3-Gun Nation.

He continued, “The shoot off on the other hand, is a flat out drag race. The shoot off is the penultimate test of your ability to perform in front of a crowd when the pressure is at its utmost. This not only test the competitor’s shooting, but there is an element of athleticism. Most of all, it test the competitor’s mental game and will to make it happen when it counts the most.”

“The competitors are allowed to use their own equipment through each round of the shoot off, until the final round. In the final round, competitors will use guns provided by FNH USA, which I will cover in depth in a separate article.”

Getting Started

If your blood is pumping and you’re ready to try your hand at 3-Gun, getting started is easy. “Just show up! That is the best way to get involved with 3-Gun. You don’t need the latest gear or modified guns.

According to Pete Brown, “The easiest way to get started is with borrowed gear or what you already have in your gun safe. If you have pistol, rifle and shotgun—great! If not, bring what you have. At any rate, when you are on the range there will be so many different people willing to let try a piece a gear or give you a tip—the helpful nature of the community is incredible. Then—after you have a shot a match or two—you’ll have a much better idea of what you need (or want) and you will be able to make an informed decision from there.”

Clint Upchurch pounding the steel in a 3-gun match
Cheaper Than Dirt’s Clint Upchurch is abusing the steel targets at a recent 3-Gun Nation event.

“There are several great sources these days to find a place to shoot or match. Of course you can go to 3GunNation.com and click “The Sport of 3-Gun,” then click the “Get Started” link. Once there, you’ll have access to a wealth of information including contact information for clubs in every state, “ said Brown.

3-Gun does not have a specified course of fire. As a result, you’ll need to contact each match director or range staff for details before heading out. While other shooters will be happy to lend you gear, the number of rounds of each type of ammo may be another story.

Unfortunately, 3-Gun Nation does not support a rimfire class. “We looked at the surging ranks of rimfire competitions, but it simply does not fit into our model. Ruger is doing a great job its Rimfire Challenge. If you are looking for something along those lines, check out your local club. From there, I would recommend that shoot.”

3GunNation.com

The 3-Gun Nation website is updated daily with new 3-Gun news and happenings around the tour. You can get the rundown on shooter profiles, tips, tricks, guns, and gear. There are also links to 3-Gun Nation’s Facebook and social media pages.

E-zine

3-Gun Nation is producing a new e-zine. “It is a digital magazine (e-zine) with new additions being published on a bi-monthly basis. The e-zine focuses on any and everything 3-Gun. It features updates on the 3-GN Series, tips from pro shooters, articles profiling shooters in the series and 3-Gun events. There are also articles on the gear used and important issues to shooters. One of the most exciting parts is the special content sections from our partner at cheaperthandirt.com.

Patrick in a
Notice Patrick E. Kelley’s front hand. This grip allows him drive his AR from target to target with increased speed and precision.

“By partnering with both of these sites, we can ensure we are able to provide not only the best information on and about 3-Gun, but also from the world of AR-15 and shooting enthusiasts in general. Our intent is to cover everything 3-Gun, but fill the readers thirst for everything relating to gun culture in general,” said Brown.

When Pete said gun culture he really meant it, too. He went on to explain, “Gun culture is simply everything gun people might like. We are planning everything from reviews of the gear, to reviews of first-person shooter video games that gun enthusiasts have embraced as part of our culture.”

Cheaper Than Dirt

“Cheaper Than Dirt is 3-Gun Nation’s premier sponsor for all of our retail gear. In fact, it has been such a strong supporter of 3-Gun Nation that in our e-zine, we give our readers every opportunity to support it as well. Every article that reviews or mentions a piece gear, ammo or gun that is carried by Cheaper That Dirt will have a link for the reader to buy it on CheaperThanDirt.com. After all, half of the story is the product; the other half is how the reader can actually get their hands on it,” said Brown.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. I just went to my first 3-gun match last weekend. I had bare bones equipment compared to most other people there but still had a great time. Don’t worry about accessorizing until at least after your first match. The things you really NEED are to make sure you have enough ammo, mags, and some way to carry at least 2-3 mags each for rifle and pistol on you. For shotgun, I was just fishing shells out of my pockets… its not what the pros do, but it was good enough to get me through it. If you decide your committed too it then the first thing I would get is a mag extender for your shotgun, that would have made the biggest difference for me.

  2. I just purchased a Remington 870 Tactical model this past Saturday. Because I’ve been wanting to try shooting 3 gun for a while now. Now I have all 3 guns, an M&P 15 a .40S&W pistol and now the 870. I need to look into what other accessories I’ll need to compete successfully. Any other competitors out there have any suggestions for a beginner? As far as tips/tactics and must have extras.

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