The hottest ticket in competitive shooting today is 3-Gun. It…

The hottest ticket in competitive shooting today is 3-Gun. It is fast, exciting and fun. It will tax every shooting skill you have with a rifle, pistol and shotgun, and your shots will range from powder burns on the targets to being so far out that the bullet has to pack a lunch for the trip. It’s all done on the clock and the shooter who hits all the targets the fastest wins.

“Big deal,” you are probably thinking. “I am a cop. I don’t carry a gun for games. I have a firearm because I have to deal with real life and death situations. Why should I care about 3-Gun competition?” Because you deal with life and death situations, that’s why.

Although I do have active law enforcement people in my immediate family, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a civilian. So, if I have a situation where my loved ones are in peril and they are depending on the police to protect them, I think one thing is very clear: Do I want a cop who only fires his gun to qualify? Or do I want a cop coming to their rescue that not only has spent a lot of time in competition learning gun handling and shooting, but also has used competition to train for making snap judgments while under a lot of stress? It’s a no-brainer for me. As one police officer shooting buddy told me, “I have an obligation to the public to be the very best I can be. That’s why I compete in 3-Gun shooting. It’s part of my extensive training regimen.”

Competition scenarios mimic real situations, like carrying the wounded and shooting behind cover.

I decided to inventory the friends I have made over the years of competing at a national level in 3-Gun and a majority are active law enforcement or military. A lot of Special Forces military personnel compete in 3-Gun shooting simply because it is excellent training. The Army actually uses 3-Gun competition to help identify which gear will or will not work in combat situations.
The LE shooters I know include small-town sheriffs, big city officers, state police officers and several in various federal agencies. Many of the cops I shoot with have critical, high-stress, no-mistakes-allowed jobs. One guards a state governor, a couple of others guard nuclear bombs. One buddy is in federal law enforcement and is out there every day diving into very bad situations and collecting bad guys.

They all tell me that two things have happened since they actively started to compete in 3-Gun shooting: they are having the time of their lives with this challenging, fast-moving and exciting sport, and they are much better trained to deal with a bad situation. It’s not just because they are very fast and very good shots. In fact, most have stressed that this sport has given them the training, skills and confidence to resolve a fast-breaking situation without shooting anybody.

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  • Great writeup on Three-Gun matches and their value to LEOs. However, do NOT use the word “civilian” to refer to members of the general public. Police officers are civilians, just like the rest of us who are not active duty military.

    It might seem like a small thing, but the militarization of police agencies is an ever growing problem, and using terms like “civilian” only widens the gap between those who serve and protect and those whom they serve, leading to an “us versus them” attitude.