How To Prepare For a 3-Gun Match

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So you finally talked yourself into putting your 3-Gun skills to the test

I'm going to break down how I get ready for a big match, so all you have to worry about is getting registered for future matches.

Before You Train

The first I do is check all three of my firearms and inspect my gear belt to make sure all are functioning properly.

This is important to do well in advance of the match just in case you end up repairing or ordering new parts. Nothing is more stressful than finding out at the last minute one of your guns is not working properly or something on your belt is defective.


  • make sure the guns are cycling ammo properly
  • all magazines working properly
  • all barrels cleaned
  • firing pins and bolts appear to be in good working condition
  • all optics working properly

Gather Your Ammo

Next, I make sure I have sufficient round counts. It would be disastrous to get to the end of a match and realize you did not bring enough ammo to finish the final stages.

The best thing you can do is go online to and get yourself routine ammo deliveries. You'll never have to worry about making a trip to the store just to discover they are sold out of the ammo you need.

Personally, when I see the posted round counts for the match, I plan to take about 100 extra rounds of handgun and rifle ammo, and about 50 extra shotgun rounds. It is better to be over prepared in the rare event you need the extra rounds, and you never know when a fellow shooter may need some assistance.

When preparing my ammo at home, I load my magazines ahead of time. It's one less thing I have to do once I arrive at the match.


If you are entering a major match, then odds are you have some match experience. You should have an idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are.

For example, my biggest weakness is my handgun, so I will spend more time on handgun drills in order to carry my improved technique over to the match. I prep my gear early and save training until the end so I can train right up until match time. This allows my practice to be fresh in my mind and muscle memory.

Training does not only mean range time. There is enough running and maneuvering in 3-Gun that if you are out of shape, your performance is going to suffer. I keep myself on a workout routine in order to stay in the best shape I can.

Plan For Food and Water

Match day is going to be a long day, so after you make your final preparations and are confident in your gear and in yourself, make sure to pack food and drinks. I know I shoot at a much higher level when I can focus on the course instead of where the closest restaurant is.

Make sure you are taking care of yourself. I begin hydrating myself a week prior to a match to eliminate the possibility of becoming dehydrated in the heat, which makes my shooting ability suffer.

Basically, do not let lack of preparation be the reason you do not perform at the level you are capable of. The big matches can definitely be intimidating, but if you simplify the steps for preparing, then it'll be nothing to lose sleep over.

At the end of the day it is suppose to be fun, so get your gear loaded up and I will see you at the range.

Let us know your tips in the comments below.

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