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Mondrian Cycling TeamFirearms-related companies seem absolutely addicted to sponsoring practical shooters as a means of marketing themselves, and a big part of that, for some insane reason or another, is having the shooter where a jersey to a match with the sponsor’s name on it somewhere, in the hopes that other shooters will see the sponsor’s logo and buy the sponsor’s products.

But have you SEEN the shirts more shooters wear? Can you tell, at a glance, who gives the shooter the most amount of support? No? Then why are the spending the $$$ to sponsor a shooter? Taran Tactical and S&W do a good job of branding their shooters, as did the late, great FN USA and Sig Sauer shooting teams, but other than that, what is there? I’m not asking for something as distinctive as the Lotus 72 (aka the John Player Special and probably the prettiest car ever to race on any track, anywhere), but how can a sponsored shooter stand out from the crowd (and provide more value to his/her sponsors) if all they’re doing is taking the same shirt templates that everyone else is using and slapping slightly different logos onto them?

Look, it’s not hard. Cycling teams have been doing this for over a century now, with some pretty tremendous results like the Mondrian-inspired jersey that’s shownin this post. All it takes is a little effort, a little more money and a desire to stand out from the crowd. Sadly, without that last one, no one will attempt the other two, and that’s why sponsored shooter jerseys will continue to all look the same.

Buzz Guns.

Buzz Guns.

Buzzfeed, that bastion of liberal muckracking, goes to Taran Tactical in an attempt to re-create that iconic Keanu Reeves 3 Gun run with a couple of regular joes.

What’s expected to happen next, doesn’t. They actually do a fair, even-handed report, and also manage to toss in a few talking points about how guns are the ultimate in women empowerment and how insanely fun it is to shoot 3 Gun.

More of this, please. Much more. This is what guns becoming part of lifesyle should look like.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Rudy Project has been a relentless supporter of practical shooting for years now, so when one of their marketing honchos posts something like this on Facebook, match directors around the world should sit up and take notice.


Honestly, I have no idea why anyone would pony up money to sponsor a practical shooting match, other than feeling like they owe a debt to the sport or something. ROI is almost impossible to track from sponsored shooters, because 99% of the matches out there give little thought to marketing the match outside of the match itself.

You can’t track what doesn’t happen. “Hey, we put up banners!” is the extent of the P.R. done for most matches. Social media is free and easy, and email marketing is cheap. Every match should have at least one person dedicated to updating the website (that’s if they HAVE a website, or one that can be easily updated) who also hypes the match before and posts thank-yous afterwards. How hard it is to have snapping photos and posting on social media? How about live-tweeting the PractiScore results for the super squad?

It should be written in the contract with the sponsor that the match will post at least one photo of a shooter from a major match sponsor on social media while the match is in-progress, and that’s the VERY minimum. This is bargain-basement marketing, and it should be teamed with an email after the match thanking the sponsors for their support. Show more value for your sponsors beyond a poster and a flyer tossed into the swag bag, and you’ll get more sponsors. People want SOMETHING for their money beyond a banner and a warm feeling in their pants.

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks


Don’t wait for 3 Gun Nation or the USPSA to capitalize on that insanely popular video to Keanu Reeves shooting at Taran Butler’s range. Rather, follow the lead of the Rio Salado and get your best 3 gunners out in front of the local news teams. They’re always hungry for local news that ties into larger stories, and Keanu’s shooting prowess has made it all the way across the pond.

Don’t wait for someone else to make our sport popular, do it yourself.

Visual Clues

Visual Clues

Why does every stage we’ve ever shot begin with an audible start signal? How hard could it be it integrate some kind of connecter into a CED (or other) timer that would allow for some shooter-initiated action to start the timer? Humans are not bats, we rely on sight, not sound to get around in our environment. Despite this, every stage begins with “Are you ready? Standby… BEEP!”

What if a stage began with the shooter reacting to a visual signal, such as a random popper falling from a tripwire controlled by the RO or something similar? Where in the rulebook does it say that the start signal always has to be audible?


It's Not Me, SPX930, It's You

It's Not Me, SPX930, It's You


The time has come for me to part ways with a gun. I bought a Mossberg 930SPX years ago for 3 Gun, long before some guy from Louisiana started shooting one, because at the time, it seemed like the best 3 Gun shotgun for someone who shoots long guns left-handed.

Key phrase in that sentence: At the time.

The 930SPX is a tactical gun, not a 3 Gun gun. It has an 18 1/2″ barrel and no choke, and no provision of adding chokes, either. I worked around these issues in the past by going with #6 shot on further targets or targets like an MGM spinner that require a bit more oomph, and it seemed to work. However, earlier this month, I shot a great match at Altair Gun Range, but I had serious problems flipping a spinner and left a half-dozen small steel plates standing up because I couldn’t get enough pellets on-target to make things happen.

I’ve reached the point where my gear is noticeably affecting my performance, so it’s time to move on. I’m looking at either a 930 JMPro, a CZ 712 or tricking out an 1100 for left-handed 3 Gun use. I know, I know, I should just bite the shotshell bullet and get a Benelli, but I just can’t justify it from a price/amount of shooting standpoint right now.

3 Gun Returns To Its Roots

3 Gun Returns To Its Roots

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.04.27 AM

Me, a few months ago:

3 Gun started out as the Soldier of Fortune match and it was very heavily influenced by tactical and military shooting of the day. Since then, 3 Gun has moved away from the “tactical” world (except for Trooper division) and evolved into more of a pure sporting event.
What if 3 Gun were more about the tactical and less about the gaming?

And this pops up in my Facebook feed this week:

So we got together a bunch of guys who shot and administered the old SOF matches.
COMPETITION DYNAMICS presents RESURGENCE, a Tactical 3-Gun Match that captures the full spirit and flavor of the legendary SOF 3-Gun matches.
It’s all authentic, from the original rule set to the semi-surprise stages in open terrain.
This match is being brought to 3-Gunners, law enforcement, and military shooters by SOF 3-Gun veterans.
It’s time to rekindle the spark: the ancestor to all modern 3-Gun events.
RESURGENCE brings that history to life.

I’m not a tactical dude, but I like the idea of this match quite a lot.

Man To Man To Some Other Man

Man To Man To Some Other Man

Thinking more about my comment from last week,

It’s rather rare to have more than two shooters with the same Classification/Division on any given squad, making man-to-man comparisons pretty much impossible.

Maybe that’s another reason why practical shooting sucks to watch in person. Yes, there are Super Squads stuffed to the gills with people at the top of the game, but even within the Super Squad, you’ll have Production shooters and Open Shooters and Limited Shooters and even a few freaks shooting wheel guns, so when that squad runs through a stage, at best you’ll have three runs that can be directly compared to each other, and those runs will probably be interspersed between the other ten or so people on the squad, killing the tension and suspense.

Watching, say, Max vs. Chris Tilley vs. KC compete in Open is exciting. Watching Max shoot Open, then Jerry shoot Revolver and Rob shoot Single Stack and Chris Tilley shoot Open and Nils shoot Limited and Phil shoot Limited and THEN AND ONLY THEN watch KC shoot in Open is whole lot less so.

Product Review: Troy Ambi Mag Catch And Bolt Release

Product Review: Troy Ambi Mag Catch and Bolt release

Ambidextrous Mag Release
Advantages: Small size, powerful output, common battery type
Disadvantages: Confusing controls
Rating: Four out of five stars.

Ambidextrous Bolt Release
Advantages: I never knew how much I needed one until I got one
Disadvantages: Ummn, none.
Rating: Five out of five stars


I was part of the staff of a 3 Gun match before I ever shot a match. Thanks to my home range being the home of the Superstition Mountain Mystery 3 Gun, I got to see what 3 Gun was like when all I owned was my CZ, a .22 revolver, a 20ga 870 and a sporterized M1903. Also, I’m cross-eye dominant, so I shoot pistols right-handed but shoot long guns left-handed. I bought a Mossberg 930 SPX (not the JM Pro version, which wasn’t available at the time) because the receiver-mounted safety on that gun is easy to use with the left handd, but the rifle, however, was another matter. AR-15’s are the rifle of choice in 3 Gun, and it took some time for me to figure out what works best for how I shoot.

First off was an ambidextrous safety selector, something that I consider a “must have” for anyone who shoots an AR-15 left-handed, as it allows me to easily toggle the safety without altering my grip on the rifle. Next was an ambidextrous charging handle to allow me to work the action with my left hand and not change my grip on the gun, and an oversized mag well for faster and easier reloads.

This system worked well for me for a few years, but I recently added a Troy Industries ambidextrous mag release and bolt release, and they’ve proven to be very useful as well. The magazine release is a no-brainer: Having to bring up my right (support) hand to hit the mag release button in order to drop an empty magazine was costing me a few precious seconds and the ambi mag catch eliminates that extra time. At first, I didn’t see a big need for the ambidextrous bolt release because I can easily hit the bolt catch with my left-hand index finger during a reload. Where the Troy release really shines, however, is after the stage is over and I need to unload and show clear. Locking the bolt open left-handed to show the Range Officer that my gun is empty is a breeze now with the new release, and I’m now considering adding to my other AR’s as well.

I’m very happy with both the upgrades and will be adding them to all my AR’s in the near future. If you shoot left-handed, these are definitely “must have” items for your AR’s.

We're All On The Same Team. And That's A Bad Thing.

We're All On The Same Team. And That's A Bad Thing.

Thinking more about the shooting sports as a television sport, why is it that in a sport that is all about about intense competition, there are zero rivalries? Football grew in the 70’s when it was the clean-cut Cowboys vs the bad boys of Oakland or Pittsburgh. Basketball grew with Bird vs. Magic (and then Jordan). Baseball grew with the dominance of the Yankees in the 20’s/30’s. In each of these cases, we had someone to root for and we had someone to root against.

Cubs fans, of course, continue to cheer for their team, and cheerfully deny reality.

I digress.

It’s great that everyone in practical shooting pretty much gets along and helps each other out. That sort of thing makes it a fun sport to shoot every weekend, but it makes for lousy TV because there is nothing to get excited about. We like to cheer for the rebels, the rule-breakers. NASCAR blossomed when there was a face/heel competition between good ol’ boy Dale Earnhardt and slick Yankee Jeff Gordon. Who are the rebels in practical shooting? Where are the rivalries? Why isn’t Glock vs. S&W vs. Sig as big a deal as Ferrari vs. McLaren vs. Mercedes?

Top Shot did this brilliantly. Yes, there was constant whinging from shooters about the drama, but you know what? We also secretly and not-so-secretly cheered for our heroes and booed for villains. We complained, but it worked.

Give us conflict. Give us rivalries. Give us somebody/something to cheer for, and we’ll give you the ratings.