They may call them 3-gun competitions because they’re triple the fun of many shooting events.
About two dozen people gathered around 17 competitors at the Oregon Trail Shooting Range Saturday as the shooters honed their skills by moving through targets while armed with rifles, pistols and shotguns.
“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had shooting,” said Tom Dickman, president of the Gate City Shooting Sports Association.
The association manages the shooting range off 2 and ½ Mile Road northeast of Chubbuck.
On Saturday, Dickman was both a competitor and a match director along with Chuck Howell of Pocatello.
Dickman has been shooting 3-gun for about five years. His arsenal is a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm pistol, a Stoeger semi-auto shotgun and a Daniel Defense AR-15 in .223 caliber.
“I just urge people to come out and do it,” Dickman said. “It just takes lots of practice.”
It also takes lots of ammunition as shooters move through target courses where they fire multiple rounds from pistol, rifle and shotgun.
“We try to make it a lot of fun,” Howell said. “We’re always open to new shooters.”
Two new shooters were trying their hands at coordinated movement and accuracy Saturday morning. They were Dave Pacioretty, field manager for the Pocatello office of the Bureau of Land Management, and Brittany Hunt, a Coeur d’Alene native and transplant to Pocatello.
Hunt works at Lithia Motors in Pocatello and was introduced to competitive shooting by her boyfriend, Nick DeVito, who is a student at Idaho State University. Saturday was her first try at 3-gun.
“It was a blast,” she said about the experience. “I think it’s a lot of fun.”
No stranger to guns or shooting, Hunt has hunted large and small game with her family since she was a young girl.
She has tagged a spike bull and a cow elk.
“The toughest part is learning to shoot and move,” Hunt said about the competition.
The entire course and shooting is a timed event, and the pressure can be daunting, according to Howell.
“When the timer goes off, we lose half our IQ,” Howell said with a smile.
In reality, he said competitors and organizers stress safety over everything else when it comes to the shooting events.
Pacioretty was taking part in Saturday’s event with is son Alex. The BLM field director said he was just doing it for fun. His weapons included a scoped Marline .30-30 lever action rifle, an Remington 870 Wingmaster pump shotgun and a Beretta 96A1 .40 caliber pistol.
“I’m a little bit under-equipped,” Pacioretty confessed.
Howell said being competitive in 3-gun competitions doesn’t necessarily mean shelling out a large amount of cash for high-end weapons. He said the bottom line is accurate shooting and an ability to not waste motion while moving through the targets, switching guns or reloading.
The three classes of 3-gun competition are “Open Class,” where nearly any legal modifications to the three guns are allowed; “Tactical Optics Class,” which seems to be the most popular and consists of an AR-15 rifle, a high-capacity semi-automatic pistol and a semi-automatic shotgun with extended magazine; and the “Heavy Metal Class,” in which competitors shoot a semi-auto .308 rifle, a single-stack .45 ACP pistol and a pump 12-gauge shotgun.
The Pocatello 3-gun group plans to holding shooting events at the Oregon Trail Range the first Saturday of each month through September.
To find out more about the shooting events, email email@example.com.