Essential 3 Gun Gear: Do it right the first time!
When I initially got into the sport of 3 gun I was on a super tight budget and had to piece my gear together slowly.
During that process I improvised, borrowed gear, and bought some of the cheapest options on the market just to get by.
Fast forward nearly a decade to where I am now, running nothing but top of the line gear with extras for students and new shooters to use and I can confidently say that I’ve learned a lot of the do’s and don’ts the hard (and expensive) way.
There are 3 major pieces of 3-gun equipment and gear you DO NOT want to skimp on. The classic term “buy once, cry once” comes to mind.
I put together a whole gear guide to help you through the process of putting together or upgrading your loadout (link to that below), but this is a quick look at three parts of the setup which 3-gunners experience the most frustration and unnecessary expense.
I do want to share a quick disclaimer with you when it comes to my gear and what I recommend. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to use a ton of products and I’ve handpicked a very select few companies to bring on board as partners in my shooting and training. While I am admittedly biased towards those brands, I will never recommend something to you that I haven’t personally tested at length and use in my own setup.
That being said, let’s dive into the good stuff!
Here are the THREE key 3-gun gear items that you don't want to overlook:
For whatever reason it seems like everyone getting into the sport wants to get the cheapest shotgun out there so they can see if they like it. The problem with that is most of the cheapo shotguns have major issues and cause more frustration than they’re worth… and then of course you don’t “like it”. I fell into the same trap, going through not one, but TWO Mossberg 930 JM Pro’s before I learned my lesson. Then I bought a “project” Remington Versamax which took hours of work to make it reliable. At the end of the day I should’ve saved up the $1200-$2000 I needed to buy a good Benelli M2, Beretta 1301, or even an upgraded Stoeger M3K. The number one thing you should be looking for in a shotgun is reliability. Number two is compatibility with aftermarket parts and the ability to get it prepped for 3 gun.
When I first got into the sport I ran a Vortex Sparc red dot which I eventually “upgraded” to a “budget” 1-6x Low power variable optic (LPVO) which cost me about $400. I quickly realized that the low quality of the glass and the crappy reticle rendered it more of a hindrance when it came to targets 300 yards and further. Eventually I upgraded to a used Vortex Razor HD 1-6 that I got from buddy for about $1,000. Talk about a game changer! Nowadays you can pick them up for under a thousand regularly if you watch for people selling them. If that’s still a bit much, go for the Vortex Viper PST II 1-6. It has a great reticle, clear glass, and amazing illumination.
Unless you have a huge budget set aside for 3 gun, chances are you’re going to have to borrow gear here and there. One issue that I ran into when I started out was having a belt that was compatible with my friends gear. Now I run a belt equipped with Safariland ELS which allows for quick detachment and modular sharability that I never got out of the TekLok system I had before. Make sure you get a good quality holster and mag pouches (like my Signature Series from Priority 1 Holsters #ShamelessPlug). Shotgun shell caddies could fill a whole post by themselves so check out the gear guide for more info on them!
So there you go! Get started (or re-started) in the sport of 3-gun right and skip the frustration of buying and using sub-par gear.
The cool thing about this sport is that everyone is willing to help you out and let you borrow gear to get you going. All of this is not to discourage you from going out with what you have right now and getting started, but choose wisely what you invest your hard earned dollars into. If you need to borrow some gear, load out of your pockets, or set $20 aside from every paycheck to save up and get what you really need, it’ll cost far less in the long range, both financially and frustration.
I could go on and on about all of the different options for gear, but if you have more questions or want links to where you can purchase your gear be sure to download my full FREE 3-Gun Gear Guide.
I also have a video breaking down my gear on YouTube.
Hopefully I’ll see you on a range somewhere around the country for a match soon! If you spot me first don’t hesitate to come tell me if you got something out of this! I love the feedback.