3GN... North of the Border

Thursday, April 27, 2017

By Ryan Bartsch

3-Gun Nation Member

As I write this, I am staring down the barrel of what will be my third full season competing in 3-Gun up here in Canada. 


Most of you are all aware, the sport of 3-Gun is the fastest growing shooting sport in the world, and in Canada the sport is no different. Although, up here in Canada we have our own silly and somewhat challenging set of gun laws and restrictions to abide by. Wait a minute though, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. You’re probably asking yourself who in the heck is Ryan Bartsch, and why am I reading about what a Canadian has to say about 3-Gun!

Well that is a really good question, so here ya go, eh! My name is Ryan Bartsch, I am a husband, a father of two and a semi-professional 3-Gun shooter. I'm from the very small farming town of Denzil, Saskatchewan, Canada. I grew up on the farm learning to shoot tin cans, then moved on to hunt ducks, rabbits, and deer, probably just the same as most of you. I shot my first ever 3-Gun match in the Fall of 2014, and I've been hopelessly hooked ever since. 


Lately I've had the good fortune of being sponsored by some the best names in the business: WASP Munitions, Wolverine Supplies, Vortex Optics, Nuke'M Gunworks, Custom Protect Ear, Score Shotgun Shells, Robinson Armament, Ergo Grips, Gerber Gear, ESS Eyewear and Safariland. My teammates, Del Zimmer and Drew Kruger, and I compete all over Canada and soon some of the northern states to try our luck south of the 49th parallel.


3-Gun competitions, for the most part in Canada, will vary from outlaw style matches where it's "run what you brung" to USPSA/IPSC-styled and scored matches, all the way to a few hardcore Tactical Tom belly crawling, drag your gun through the mud type of matches. As of late, official 3-Gun Nation matches are popping up in Lethbridge, Alberta, and Campbell River, British Columbia, with many more clubs adopting the 3-Gun Nation rule book and scoring system. 


"I, for one, love the 3-Gun Nation rules and scoring system. It is simple, effective and easy to keep track of during a weekend of competition. "


Many matches and match directors are changing to the way of 3-Gun Nation as well. With its straight up drag race stage designs, to the Classifier stages where active 3-Gun Nation members can compare their times against shooters all over the world, shooting the exact same stage. 


It is easy to think you’re "King of the Hill" when your burning it down at a club level or local match. After you've shot a 3-Gun Nation classifier, and it took you 12.4 seconds to do a certain stage, then you look up that same stage online and see that a fella like Daniel Horner shot it in 6 seconds flat! Well you, just like me, have a lot more work to do.


In January my teammates and I attended our first SHOT Show in Vegas. What an awesome eye-opening experience, an experience I can't thank Vortex Optics enough for. I think what blew me away the most, besides the miles and miles of cool guns and gear, were the people, and most of all the Pro Shooters – the Pros that I follow on social media, and spend hours watching on YouTube and then try to emulate. These guys and girls that I got to meet were all down to earth, very friendly, and extremely knowledgeable of the product and companies they represent.


In April, Zimmer and I will be making the 1,053 mile drive to Forrest Lake, Minnesota to compete in our first U.S. match ever. We will also be taking a shotgun course taught by none other than Keith Garcia. After that we will be squadding with Keith and his Cobalt Kinetic teammate Rick Birdsall for the main match. You may recall Keith and Rick both won their respective divisions last year at the 3-Gun Nation Nationals in Virginia. It will be a fun-packed weekend, with tons to learn I'm sure.


Stay tuned for my next segment, where we will take an in-depth look at what it takes to cross the border with all the tools of the 3-Gun trade, along with a summary of all the gear and accessories we Canadians have to use to stay competitive in the 3-Gun game in Canada.


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