The 5 Best Matches by Dean DeTurk, 2017 and 2018 3-Gun Nation Heavy Metal Champion
With the popularity of shooting sports growing every year, the number of quality matches grows. With only so many weekends in a year and for most people busy work and family schedules, shooters sometimes need to choose the matches they attend carefully. Although I shoot some precision rifle, PCC and pistol matches, my primary focus in recent years has been 3 gun, for this article I am going to focus on the three gun matches that I consider must shoot matches.
Rocky Mountain 3 Gun. This match held in Raton New Mexico in August. Rocky Mountain will test your ability to shoot at higher altitudes and in hot weather. High quality stages, in natural terrain with great views this is an amazing match. Besides great challenging courses of fire that include long range on almost every stage, tough slug shots, and pistol shots at distance, the match has a great mix of shooting and physical challenges that will test your endurance and shooting ability.
The pro/am in Kentucky at the Rock Castle Shooting Center is another match that will test all your shooting skills as well. On top of the shooting, this match is especially fun for new and seasoned shooters since it is really two matches in one. Seasoned and pro shooters shoot one set of challenging stages, while am and new shooters shoot another set. This allows all shooters to shoot stages that challenge them, and the match to accommodate a large number of shooters in a half-day format. This format allows shooters to have time to meet venders, get together with friends, talk, and socialize like no other match. It is not just a great match, but also a place to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.
The Trijicon 3 Man Team Match. I am partial to this match because I am the match director. What I like about this match is the comradery and coaching that, is not only permitted but also encouraged. In most shooting competitions, an individual shooter competes, but in this match, you have to work as a team. The match generally has less complex stages than other big matches have, but uses the team format, so all three shooters shoot together, or in a relay type format on every stage. Teammates can coach each other; shoot each other’s guns, and they often have to decide which teammate will shoot which gun on each stage, making them strategize and look at each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The match is in July in Pennsylvania and generally fills up in the first 24 hours.
Blue Ridge 3 Gun held in Kentucky, at the Rock Castle Shooting center. This match has a reputation for challenging shooters not just in marksmanship but physically as well. The stages are fun and require the shooter to give it everything they have in order to complete the stages. Physical challenges are always fun and unique. Plenty of tough long-range rifle, lots of shotgun, and long-range pistol are staples at this match.
Task Force Dagger 3 Gun. Although I had to miss this match myself the past two years, it has always been challenging and fun to shoot. The stages are tough, there is plenty of shooting, and most importantly, it is for a great cause. A great mix of shooting and physical challenges are always present at this match.
There are plenty of great matches for competitors to choose to shoot. These are just a few of my favorite matches because of stage design and the natural terrain that most of them feature. Most importantly, the staff that have run and worked these matches have been fair, consistent and professional. Stage design, is important when it comes to making a match fun, but staff can make or break a match. Even when not shooting my best, accumulating penalties or faced with poor weather, at the end of these matches I can say I have always looked back and said, “I cannot wait till next year!”