Monday, April 24, 2017
New Target, Rules Highlight 3GN’s Initiatives in Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle and Long-Range Matches
3-Gun Nation will likely always be thought of as being synonymous with multi-gun shooting. And why shouldn’t it, for after all it was 3GN that brought unprecedented cash payouts to the first-ever professional series in action shooting. That success was parlayed into a national membership organization, the Club Series, classifiers, the Regional Series and the growing 3GN Nationals, part of the 3GN Championship & Shooting Sports Expo.
But there is still much work to do.
As such, 3GN has been quietly planning for the expansion into all action-shooting disciplines. 3GN Director of Competition Rob Romero and Regional Series Director Charles Sole poured over 3GN’s 3-Gun rule book, incorporating single-gun systems for Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle, Long Range, while also expanding on 3-Gun novelties such as .22 rimfire and Pistol Caliber Carbine.
One of the most notable new advancements is an updated official paper target from 3GN. Designed by Romero in conjunction with the 2017 rules update from 3-Gun Nation, the new target, and its additional scoring zones, was designed from the ground up to work with each new single-gun discipline. See the full updated rule set here >>>
Moving forward, local 3-Gun Nation Club Series match directors now have the ability to combine multi-gun and/or single-gun stages in one club-level event, on the same day if desired. By using the revised 3GN spreadsheet, Match Directors can now upload one document and provide 3GN classifications in multiple disciplines.
The genesis for the new target comes from taking a hard look at we already know about practical shooting and how its scored, whether USPSA, IDPA or even 3-Gun. In most practical shooting, targets have a total value, one in which a competitor can attain, or shoot par. Anything less than shooting par takes away from your total score, and there is no way to improve your score, or earn back that time or points.
We thought we could do better.
The target may look a little different, but the thought behind it is rooted in innovation. Each target features a typical 8-inch circle as well as a 4-inch circle inside of the 8-inch circle. However, there is also a 4-inch circle to the top-right of the square target. But before you have a heart attack, read this: The 4-inch scoring zones act as a .25-second bonus that is deducted from your overall time on the stage. So being accurate and quick can pay off pretty big throughout the course of a match. This rewards accuracy, however, does not restrict from traditional scoring zones. However, inaccuracy is penalized as well, as each shot that scores outside the 8-inch circle adds a half second of time to your overall score.
“With our targetry, now that we have this idea that the center 4-inch circle represents a quarter of a second bonus, it’s way smaller than the rest of the target. It’s situated so that you have to shoot dead center of the target, so it exemplifies accuracy,” Romero explained. “Anything outside of the 8-inch circle adds a half-second, and the 4-inch circle in the top-right corner, it can be used for a lot of things. But the key point, stringing vertical shots don’t land, so moving the second four-inch circle to the upper right rewards accuracy and reduces chance.”
In testing, Romero shot a modified El Presidente, a USPSA staple within its classification system, and a tool for trainers since the days of Jeff Cooper.
Romero shot it 3-Gun style (one in the middle, two anywhere), which produced a fast time and several half-second down penalties or misses. The result was an average four-second run with a couple of penalties for an adjusted time around 4.5 seconds on the average. Next he shot it at what he identified as a medium pace, with better accuracy and less penalty. The final testing runs were at an even slower pace, where he tried to put every shot right in the x-ring. Just like the first run, the two subsequent styles of shooting, medium and slow, produced adjusted times similar to the first, fast, pace. Whether speed versus accuracy, or risk versus reward, the system validated our belief that a better scoring philosophy could be achieved.
Let that sink in for a second – a style of match that places neither speed nor accuracy above the other, theoretically creating an equal playing field for all.
“We are using this for our motto or our standard – we like people to have options,” Romero said. “We’ve shot enough matches for enough years where there was no options. The evolution of the sport within 3GN, we’ve brought shooter-choice to the forefront of match design. But in single-gun, you really have never had any options before. But with this new target and our rules, you now have a system or style of shooting that can have options in a single-gun format. “You have the option of deciding to choose how you want to shoot the stage, which is different than USPSA or IDPA,” Romero continued. “Those are par for course. If you shoot, you have to shoot par and shoot all the points available. In this system, we’re allowing you to put more emphasis on accuracy—not a huge one, but it’s a smaller target, it yields time in your favor, the remainder of the targetry is a lot bigger, half second down, 8-inch circle in the center is neutral – so there’s a lot going on here, and it opens up a really cool option – we like our competitors to be able to have options, which is rare, especially in a single-gun format.” Remember the El Presidente test? You can shoot really fast, put two anywhere, pick up some down scoring in penalties, or you can be more methodical, shoot slower, then reduce that time via accuracy bonuses. As your speed increases, your accuracy can decrease, while slower runs can be more accurate. It’s all up to the individual competitor.
Those options will surely mean different things to different competitors. For the top-end shooters, shooter choice might mean weighing risk versus reward in a single array as one navigates a course of fire pushing for a stage win. For most shooters, shooter choice might mean staying competitive while a running a race that is much more within one’s comfort zone.
“The theory is taking this concept of actually being able to hit a birdie or eagle, as in golf, from 40 feet,” Romero said. “Guys in their upper 40s, 50s and 60s, that can’t move like Greg Jordan and Daniel Horner, or other fast shooters, they can say, ‘what you can do with speed I can do with accuracy.’ Ultimately, at the end of the day, the fastest guy who shoots the most accurate is still going to win, but this opens up options for other shooters who may have given up on those speed-based organizations. They may still want to go out and shoot and have fun, but aren’t in the position or fit enough to keep up with the speed, but they can still hit the target. In this new system, you can shoot slow and accurate and be competitive, or you can go super fast and be competitive. It’s up to you.”
This season, 3GN is planning stand-alone Shotgun, Pistol Caliber Carbine and Pistol matches, along with the new 3GN Long Range series. And several 3GN Clubs are already running Pistol matches and classifiers to rave reviews.
Everything rule-wise that you're used to will essentially be the same when competing in 3GN Pistol. The only real difference is scoring. Notice how there are no outer perfs on the new 3GN target? In single-gun, two hits on paper are required and both shots must be within either the 8-inch or 4-inch circles. Shots outside of the 8-inch circle incur a .5-second penalty per shot. “Like everything else we’ve done before, it’s original, Romero said. “It’s not stolen from someone else, it’s not repackaged. We’ve kind of broken the mold for what we’re supposed to do, but if we’re going to bring something to market, we’re going to be original.” 3GN has taken the fun, speed and simplicity of common scoring methods and utilized its pre-existing, simplified ruleset to create an exciting new platform for single-gun disciplines. “If it turns out that this system is as good as I hope it is, it’s going to be a fun, new, easy system of shooting that promotes accuracy and speed, not necessarily one over the other,” Romero said.