Three women compete in 3-Gun in different divisions: (L to R) Kay Miculek, head instructor of Babes with Bullets and 14-time National 3-Gun Champion, competes in Open Division with S&W as a sponsor; Lena Miculek, also sponsored by S&W, competes in Tactical Scope Division; Deb Ferns, camp director of Babes with Bullets, is sponsored by Atlanta Arms & Ammo and competes in Heavy Metal Division.
To set the record straight, I now own a lot more than three guns, even though I never shot one until my 45th birthday. Fast-forward to over 10 years later, with a variety of shooting sports under my belt, I have to admit that my favorite form of competition involves action shooting events. These matches are organized under the guidance of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association and held across the country. Though I participate on a monthly basis in USPSA handgun events, I try to shoot multi-gun—i.e. 3-Gun events—at least three to six times a year.
These multi-gun matches comprise several individual stages with each stage timed by a range officer who stays behind you on the course. After the course of fire is timed, then the targets are scored for accuracy. This combination of time and accuracy is what gives each shooter his/her score for each stage. Each shooter competes in a group based on the equipment they are using. For instance, classifications can vary from Open & Compensated Division to Tactical Division with Scopes, Tactical Division with Iron Sights, etc.
Getting back to the actual 3-Gun match, at each individual stage the competitor shoots one gun at a time, though the stage description commonly requires that a specific type of target be engaged with a particular firearm or with a certain type of ammo. So, for example, on one stage a competitor might start out shooting a long-range rifle, then retire that gun safely in a safe, pre-designated place to take on new targets with an alternate gun—and the clock is ticking. On a regional level, a multi-gun event is usually held one day per month and sees an average of 75 to 100 competitors. On a national level, these events are two- to three-day formats with an average of 300 to 350 competitors. If you make it to the world championship level, where the 24-stage competition lasts five days, the number of competitors grows to well over 1,000 people.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys a thinking game with lots of adrenaline going, this is the shooting sport for you! You need to be able to control and operate a variety of firearms safely and with speed—it’s the ultimate high. When I started multi-gun events several years ago at age 50, I knew I would never be a national champion. I started in the game a little too late for that. But I challenged myself to participate as a way to “walk the talk” for what I preach at our Babes with Bullets camps (babeswithbullets.com).
These camps are part of my mission to encourage women to participate in something outside their comfort zone, usually with an introduction to firearms. If you aren’t familiar with the Babes with Bullets program, it started in April 2004, when I met a world and national shooting sports champion, Kay Miculek, while attending a “ladies only” camp at the her home range outside of Shreveport. Since 2004, Kay and I have combined forces, along with several other female instructors, traveling to various regions of the U.S. to host the three-day camps. Now, eight years later, we have over 2,000-plus camp alumni and we couldn’t have done it without Smith &Wesson as our Foundation Sponsor.
The camps are offered at a discount based on financial support by S&W and women can “try before they buy” because of S&W providing loaner firearms as well. We have been blessed with several other awesome sponsors throughout the years, including Atlanta Arms & Ammo, who has stepped up again and again to make sure our camps have ammo available to the campers at a discounted price.