Competitive shooting has become such a big part of my life that it is no surprise my fun time also revolves around shooting. The benefits to shooting matches that are “just for fun” overflow into my 3-Gun game. Of the endless types of matches, I choose to shoot pistol matches for fun.
It is an undisputed fact among 3-Gunners that the best 3-Gun competitors are also strong pistol shooters. Many of the competitors who are currently dominating the sport of 3-Gun started out by shooting pistol-only matches. Knowing and accepting that fact has rerouted my practice plans.
Like many 3-Gun competitors, pistol shooting is my weakest skill. With limited time to practice, but understanding there is no substitute for match experience, I started shooting pistol-only matches. When I shoot a pistol-only match, I make a mental note to remember that: my score does not matter, watch and learn from the better shooters, and to have fun!
At a “just for fun” match, my score has no impact on the sport I choose, therefore I use the experience to improve my 3-Gun game. At major 3-Gun matches, I do not have much time to focus on what other competitors are doing. I have learned the most from watching others. Stage planning plays a huge part in winning matches. Good shooters are also able to proficiently move through the stage without difficulty. Learning why better shooters make a certain decision is such valuable information that I will sometimes show up to just spectate at matches.
It is possible to capitalize on fun. The low stress environment of a pistol-only club match allows me to just that! Local club matches have a minimal cost, low round count, and usually only last a couple hours. My favorite pistol-only matches, titled by the local club, are “BUG match” and “Fun match.” A “Backup Gun (BUG) Match” involves a primary gun and a backup gun. This match also allows me to get trigger time with my conceal carry gun. A “Fun Match” is a match without strict rules and allows me to relax while shooting. This type of match helps me work on my mental game by accepting that there is nothing to stress about; all I need to do is see target, see sights, and pull the trigger. Knowing what it feels like to be calm during a match is just as imperative as practicing how to shoot accurately.
Commitment to 3-Gun has driven me outside of my comfort zone. I would prefer not to be at a pistol-only match, but taking a light-hearted approach to my weakness in 3-Gun has helped me exponentially. Shoot for fun to help you win when it counts.
By Candice Toy. Originally published in the Septemeber 2014 issue of GunUp the Magazine.