Why would 3 gun have anything to do with Survival?

 3 Gun and Survival!
A Guest Post from: James R Morris SFC ret.

If you have any type of firearm that you think you might have to use, whether that is hunting, security or self-defense; you need to train and practice.

We all have busy lives, budgets, families, and a list of tasks that need to get done in our everyday lives. How can you make the best use of your time and resources to accomplish firearms practice for your situation?

3 Gun Competition!

If you do not know what 3 gun Competition is, it’s a time and accuracy based shooting competition that the competitors use a Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun in a staged scenario based event. You can customize these scenarios based on your needs and objectives.

I’m not saying you should run right out and find the first National level 3 Gun Match and go for it! Although you could do that.

I am saying that you and a few friends or family, could set up a couple of stages at the range that reflect your practice and training needs.

I invite gun owners to 3 Gun matches on a very regular basis; I find it amusing that just about every gun owner is ready to defend themselves and their family’s Life Liberty and Justice. But when I ask them to come on out to a local 3 gun match, they go stone face and say….

I’m not ready for a COMPETITION!

I hope that Ironic contrast strikes you as it does me.

What are you going to get out of 3 Gun?

First off you’re going to have fun. Training and practice of any kind is much better if it is fun.

You will learn how to operate all three weapons.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people you truly think would know how to operate their equipment make mistakes. I have seen them have to study their gun just to remember how to take the safety off so that they can shoot it. I’ve also seen people hit the wrong button and drop the magazine on the ground, while thinking they were taking the safety off.

If you can’t do it in a 3 gun Competition you cannot do it in a real situation.

It would be a pretty sad day that after all of your preparation you found out the hard way that you don’t know how to load your gun or take the safety off.  A guy hits you over the head with a stick, and Walla, he now owns a real nice retreat. I know it sounds like a class B movie but you must remember your security is only as good as your least trained member.  Every member of your family and group needs to know how to correctly and safely operate guns.

Gun handling, is a skill like many other skills; you must practice them.  Doing so in a 3 Gun style scenario will make your practice better in every way.

Do you know how to select a good Rifle Pistol and Shotgun?

Have you tested these guns and know that they work? Sure it works at the range shooting at that one piece of paper, but what happens when you have to carry it 24/7 when it gets hot and dirty? Will it still perform? Can your rifle shoot from pointblank out to 600 yards?  How do you zero and set up a rifle to do that?

All of these things you will learn from the sport of 3 Gun.

Now that you have read this brief explanation re -ask the question.

Why would 3 gun have anything to do with Survival?

Guest Post From:
James R Morris SFC ret.
Author of: The 3 Gun Multi-Gun Report

You can find The 3 Gun Multi-Gun Report on Amazon by clicking here.


  1. Dan
    July 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Very good info. Will use next time I am out killing zombies, or shooting paper which ever comes first.

  2. kloathis
    July 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I also find it amazing that some firearm owners are clueless about their equipment. At a local range I have seen police officers have trouble clearing a jam on their service weapon that was as simple to fix as dropping the mag and racking the slide. Yet they stood there pointing the firearm in unsafe directions prying on things that they shouldn’t have been. Kinda makes you wonder!! I am a big fan of “practicing” at the range, out in the duck blind, deer stand etc. If you own a firearm you MUST be proficient with it otherwise it might as well be a really expensive club.

  3. Ken T
    July 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Great article and food for thought.

  4. Peter
    August 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Like they say: “You don’t need a gun until you need a gun and then you REALLY need a gun!”

  5. Jim
    August 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    This is for those out there that are not comfortable with or being around firearms. We all could find ourselves in an unexpected situation. You are far safer knowing and being familiar with all three categories of firearms, even if you personally are not packing. Training is for your safety and more impotently, those around you.

  6. Caza Gringo
    August 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Well, looks like I need to find some peeps to participate in the competition with me. Anyone know of any good outdoor ranges near Atlanta Metro? :)

  7. KC
    September 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Caza Creekside range is a pretty good range. Its in Cartersvill. Its the only outdoor range in the area that I know of that isn’t members only. Check out Creeksides web site, they have some good class that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

  8. Joker
    September 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    good info!!,…and i might add another “Shooting Competition” for you to think about….it called “IDPA” (International Defensive Pistol Association)…this match is run as a single shooter against various situations (that are all true and have happened in real life)…where the shooter is armed with a conceled weapon,…and at the sound of a buzzer…has to solve a staged situation with correct thinking, actions, movement and yes SHOOTING skills…..putting rounds on targets to stop the threat!!!

    The time tested step up to a range table,…pull your pistol, aim, at a target,…shoot,…check your results,..then repeat, is not really preparing you for when SHTF!! thats where IDPA comes in,…this competion “stresses” you, your gear, your skills, your decision making, and it all pits you against other like minded shooters.

    Yes it is timed with a buzzer,..and yes you will be scored on your hits, your time, and you will be critiqued with what you could have done better,..which might have been a better 1st target,…should you have reloaded when you did,…did you handle your misfire correctly….etc..etc….and i did mention you will be scored against other shooters,…BUT,..

    The scoring system is weighted to put everyone on the SAME sheet….example,…i show up with a custom Kimber Pro Target .45,…and you are shooting your trusty ole handed down .38 Special,…the time weighted averages will put both of us on the same level,…where i can drop a mag and reload in under 3 seconds (I wish!!)you have to swing open a cylinder and punch out 5-6 shells,..then load,..then close the cylinder then get sights back on target,…BIG time difference…..

    This competion FOCUSES on Technique, and gets those jitters away from you, lets you work on your style, and exposes shortcomings in your equipment and skills!! AWSOME Training for when SHTF!!!!! log on to IDPA.COM and check out the competions,…every town seems to host them sometime,…only costs about $10 to shoot.

  9. Charles
    September 16, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I agree that anyone can learn whatever they can to reasonably employ a learned skill. However, my students over the years have come to find the same flaw in this idea of carrying and attempting to maintain an assortment of different weapons and calibers.

    Invariably, I find that people really need to “get back to basics”, through training and gradual lifestyle changes, become more self-reliant and “lower-tech” by reducing dependency (not necessarily knowledge and use of) on higher tech toys.

    What I’m getting at is the idea of learning how to:
    -use a map and compass vs. GPS
    -Hand-Held Transciever (HAM?) vs. Cell Phones
    -Hunting/Gathering vs. Freeze Dried Camp food
    -Build a Shelter vs. using a tent
    -“Read” Nature by observing plant and animal behavior
    -find things like flint for starting a fire or signaling
    -procuring safe water or making it safe
    -etc. etc. etc.

    For example… The average person under stress consumes:
    -1.5 Gallons of water per day, that’s TWELVE POUNDS to carry.
    -3 pounds of food

    Most physically fit people can only (sustainably) carry 33% of their lean body mass in gear, water and food. For example: 250 pound person that is 80% lean can only (sustainably) carry 16 pounds.
    250 x .80 = 200
    200 x .33 = 66
    66 – 50(fat) = 16 pounds “usable load”
    “Usable Load” = anything other than the naked version of you.

    See how light AND inexpensive your pack/kit can get through training, practice and healthy living. Lose a pound of fat, gain something you can use.

    Food for thought,

    • TripodXL
      January 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      “and Walla, he now owns a nice retreat”; What is Walla? Did you mean “voila”, which is French for “and now”

    • TripodXL
      January 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      @Charles; you’re overdoing the math. You got rid of the 20% fat with the 250x.80 calculation, so you don’t subtract the 50# again from the 66#!!!! The lean body mass=200#. You stated that “physically fit people can only (sustainably) carry 33% of their lean body mass”, well the lean body mass=200#; therefore 33% of that is 66#, which is actually pretty much correct. Quit while you’re ahead.

  10. Jarhead 03
    September 19, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Great article! While I have a small collection of firearms I do have 3 primary if SHTF/home defense I have a case with the padding molded to my AR, 1911 and Remington 870.
    While I shoot many guns, these are the 3 that go to the range every time. Over the years I have cut back on quantity for quality. Cutting back from ten different calibers down to five. This keeps it simple and cost effective on ammo, magazines and parts.

  11. Larry O
    October 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    … I’m with ya Jarhead. I cut my variety of calibers back years ago to basically (mainly) NATO calibers in 5.56, 7.62×51, 9mm and .40S&W. It makes it easier that when something bad happens, grabbing ammo is easier and more accurate in terms of grabbing the correct ammo. My 3 SHTF guns are my CAR-15, Benelli M2 tactical shotgun and my Sig Sauer P229. IF given a 4th option, the M14 comes along as well. (It’s debatable between the M14 and CAR-15 as the primary rifle) Obviously, weight (amount of medicine, ammo, food, etc.) becomes an issue but that should be able to be overcome through conditioning.

    Semper Fi Jarhead … from a Zoomie.

  12. steve
    October 18, 2011 at 1:54 am

    16 pounds/250 lb. man….5 calibers, 4 firearms (plus ammo)…12 pounds water…something ‘doesn’t compute’ here.

    Maybe ONE firearm, one swiss army knife coupled with light short machete, one sierra cup, plus food, water, and knowledge.
    Stay light, like Nessmuk.

    Like everyone else I’ve many pounds of useful gear. But how much do you want (or can) carry when you may need to move quick?

  13. PulpFiction
    October 18, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I’d like to meet anyone who wants to have a survivors’ group in Florida.
    You can email me your number if you want to get in touch.
    It is killiansredbeer at gmail dot com.
    If you don’t like guns or the idea of being armed, don’t bother me.

  14. lucille
    November 28, 2011 at 7:21 am

    for reason’s i will not name,,i am deathly afraid of guns. but i do know how to handle a gun when i need to. for me guns are a tool for survival in more than one way. i wish to ask if there is any advice you can give a person afraid of guns as i am? what steps are best? would it be best to go thru the authorities or private trainer for gun training?

    thank you, lucille

  15. ztar
    December 5, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Here are some steps that may help.
    1.Go to a firearm training class and just watch.
    2.Figure out what type of gun your’e going to get Rifle, pistol, Shotgun. and then learn how to use it, the learn how to clean and take care of the gun properly.
    3.Set up a training session, First off, check into it, check if its a gun club, a wildlife federation, or go to a gun shop and ask for direction.
    4. Forget about being afraid of guns(easier said then done) I used to be afraid to shoot things with kick, like a old shotgun, but you have to mentally prepare yourself for it.
    5.Use it regularly, Go to the range at least once a week, Don’t get a red-dot sight when you but a gun, you want to be ac crate, not precision scope.
    6.you want to be able to shoot anything and be accurate with anything, just learn how to use many different types of guns, You want to get to where you can take any old gun and hit the target.
    7.Try to cope with your fear, What ever scared you enough to be deathly afraid of them, you have to remember that it’s not you , and just because it can kill people doesn’t mean it will.

    • Pistol Laser Sight
      May 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      Great tips ztar, going to be sure and use them next time I go target shooting. What is your preferred pistol of choice?

  16. Luis
    December 19, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    My load out:
    Tactical vest with pistol belt
    Large ruck
    Camel bak
    Day pack
    Mossberg 590 with bayonet (300 rounds )

    AR-15( 1400 rounds )
    SA compact .45 ( 300 rounds )
    Knee pads
    Elbow pads
    Protec helmet
    Danner boots

    • jesse james
      January 4, 2012 at 3:27 am

      luis, i hope you have a vehicle to carry all that shit. the ammo alone would preclude you from carrying any food/extra clothing if you had to huff it.
      which.. you most likely will.

    • luis 2
      January 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      jejeje thats a lot o gear buddy. k.i.s.s. should the idea here… rifle,ammo,food and water. Ones u start to get fancy yo start to over think it… remenber, keep it simple stupid

  17. Will
    September 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Training is best done under competent instructors, not as part of “gun games”. Once you have the fundamentals down “gun games” can be a form of practice but in and of themselves they are a poor form of training.

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