Hornady Zombie 3-Gun Pandemic 2015

The Hornady Zombie 3-Gun Pandemic match is not one to miss, I don’t care how experienced you are at shooting. It’s a perfect set up for amateurs and a FUN set up for pros. Explosive targets, full auto, soda can gun… Have I convinced you yet? What about a costume contest? Will that help?

One of the coolest parts of this match for me personally was being able to bring some of my friends who have never seen a shooting match before out. It was great for them from a spectator standpoint because of the reactionary targets, the obvious theme, and the sheer mild insanity of the whole thing (that’s how you know I like something, when I mention it’s a little insane).

They had some cool sponsor booths set up spectators could participate in as well. From zombie face painting (XS Sight Sytems) to throwing knives (Cabelas) to shooting an exploding target with a suppressed shotgun (SonicBoom).

The stages included a wobbling bridge, more exploding targets, a gun that shot soda cans at a plate rack, a close-range forest scenario, a graveyard (complete with funny headstones, of course), a gutted helicopter… You get the idea.

Each stage comes with its own scenario, of course, these are zombies we’re fighting. For example: “Back at basecamp, you heard rumors of an old communications center. A chance to communicating with other survivors is worth the risk, so you set out to find this communication center. Your journey is successful and you soon stumble on the site. The array looks damaged, but you forge ahead to see if you can get a message out and hopefully find out that you and your group are not alone. You see zombies moving about but they have never stopped you before and today will be no different. Use your shotgun and pistol to clear a path and let other survivors know they are not alone! ”

All in all, it was a silly, fun, good time, that will certainly displease any srs gunfighters who like to complain about how matches don’t teach you any skills for the real world.

Be sure to check out the full write up in the next issue of GunUp the Magazine. Until then, here’s some photos:

Why I put a $700 HK in a $25 nylon holster

If you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should if you booze, cars, guns, and pictures of my dog) you might have seen this photo and caption:

HK VP9 Blackhawk nylon holster

I’ve never been more ashamed of a holster than I am of this. I’m so sorry, HK for putting your excellent VP9 in this holster. I needed a rig that fit the gun with a Crimson Trace Railmaster.

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I see now why 3-gunners like to drive

We shipped our ammo to M3GI. We’re sharing a shotgun. But we still have so much stuff that it’s ridiculous. There’s an entire suitcase that has nothing in it but our soft gun cases that we’ll be using on the range. Plus clothes for a week, all the guns, lights, and lasers.

It’s just so much stuff. That’s something that people forget about the cost of shooting, because when you do this enough, the guns aren’t the expensive bit anymore. It’s all the other stuff, obviously the ammo, but all the accessories. Rifle mags, shotgun shell caddies, holsters, belts, tools for maintaining your guns, range bags, carts, and it goes on and on. Interestingly, that amount of logistics required is why I enjoy being able to drive to Bianchi Cup, and that’s just a pistol match.

I couldn’t imagine flying to multiple 3gun matches each year and having to tote all this gear around. I get annoyed with two pistols and enough ammo for a USPSA match. I really hate having to travel heavy, and I tend to attempt to only pack the essential necessary. Of course, the essentials for a 3gun match are pretty considerable.

However, if you’re only going to shoot one 3gun match each year, this would be the one I’d pick. Crimson Trace puts on a great match, the stages aren’t overly complicated or tricky, they’re just fairly straightforward shooting challenges. They don’t need to be complicated and tricky, because it’s dark out and you’re using lights and lasers to do everything anyway.

But seriously, how do you dedicated 3gunners put up with having all this junk, all this junk up in your trunk?

HK VP9 for M3GI

My handgun choice for M3GI went around a few different tracks. I really wanted to run an all Beretta rig, with the same PX4 that I shot at Bianchi, coupled up with an ARX and a 1301. Unfortunately that wasn’t able to come together, and then Troy graciously hooked me up with the sweet Lamb carbine I’ll be using. So what to do for a handgun? Well well well, how about the HK VP9?

HK VP9

The only problem with the VP9 for three-gun is the capacity. It’s a 15 round gun, and I ran a 15 round gun last year (Sig P229). I didn’t like having to reload in the dark, so to fix that problem I added a sweet Taylor Freelance +5 basepad to the VP9. I also put a laser on it, which will solve the other problem I had last year: no really good night shooting device on the Sig. The sights are also different, instead of the night sights that come with the gun, they’re now 10-8 Performance brass bead front sight with a black rear sight. While I’m losing the “night visibility” of the other sights, I’ll have enough light on my body that I should be able to see them just fine. And also, that’s what the laser is for. White light to see the target, red laser to hose it.

I do like the VP9, and I think for the price point it’s a competitive choice with a Glock 19 or an M&P for a daily carry/duty gun. I do hope they’ll make a long-slide version sooner than later, because having a 4.5 or even a 5 inch version of the gun would probably go a long way towards taming the kind of bouncy recoil characteristics. But back to the point at hand, I’m genuinely excited this year for M3GI, mostly because our gear is so much better set up for the match than it was last year.

Thinking outside the box

Getting guns ready for Crimson Trace M3GI is always an interesting prospect. Ideally, I’d be able to set everything up with a light and a laser, but that’s not always feasible. Some guns lack the rail space for both, or in the case of my VP9 it’s impossible to find a holster that fits. However, sometimes I get creative with mounts:

Railmaster Pro 930 SPX

That’s a Crimson Trace Railmaster Pro mounted upside down on a Warne 45 degree off-set mount. If it looks derpy to you, don’t feel bad. It looks derpy to me. The problem with the 930 SPX is that there’s no forward rail space on the handguard, so I couldn’t slap the light/laser combo on further down the gun. I obviously couldn’t mount it on the top of the rail without obstructing the sights. I have a different mount for a traditional flashlight that goes on the magazine tube…but the tube is too thick for the mount.

So out comes the Warne 45 mount, and on goes the Railmaster. Now, I should note that I haven’t shot it yet, and I’ve certainly not used it in low/no light. So I don’t know how well it’s actually going to work. One of the things that happens a lot is a light set-up seems perfectly reasonable during the day, but then when you use it at night you suddenly get a ton of light bounce and can’t see anything. That’s a very real concern with this set-up.

I’ll find out for sure once I get to Oregon next week! Here are the guns and light/laser combos the team will be running at M3GI:

  • Surefire Wrist Lights
  • HK VP9 with Crimson Trace Red Railmaster laser
  • S&W M&P with red Lasergrip
  • MuttAR-15 with Railmaster Pro Green, Leupold 1×4 optic
  • Troy Defense Lamb Carbine with Railmaster Pro Green, Burris 332 optic
  • Mossberg 930 SPX with extended tube and Railmaster Pro

I’ll also bring along my trusty Winchester 1300 as a back-up gun for the SPX should something go wrong, but I don’t plan on using it in the match. This really is the only 3-gun match I shoot each year, and it’s one of the best events in the shooting sports. Crimson Trace gets great range staff, sets up great stages, and generally runs an absolutely top notch event.

The 4 Biggest Mistakes of the 3Gun Beginner

20140728-113016-41416110.jpgNow that I’ve been submerged in all things 3gun for a minute or so, my understanding of the sport has gone from learning the basics, to removing the obsticles that are keeping me from moving forward. As a complete beginner I needed to learn terminology, rules, and the mindset that is needed in order to successfully get through a 3gun stage. Much of this information could have likely been found in a book. (While this would not have been the best way to learn these ideas, it could have gotten the job done…theoretically.) But the next step of the 3gun learning process is all hands-on. Here are the four biggest issues that have held me back, as my 3gun training moved forward.

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Tales From a 3gun Beginner: Thinking Like a 3gunner

20140723-114644-42404887.jpgAfter training with top 3 gun pro-shooters for months now, I have begun to understand their methodology. I like 3gun as a shooting competition, because it’s all about assessing a situation and thinking on your feet. Every stage can be tackled a number of different ways and every shooter will have their own technique for approaching one. At this past weekends ATL3Gun match, a shotgun-only stage had my squad a bit puzzled. There were 18 clays spread throughout a “jungle” environment. Some clays were hidden behind trees and could only been seen from specific angles. Further, there was no obvious path through the shooting area.

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Tales of a 3 gun Beginning: Ma Deuce

20140716-140547-50747018.jpgThe last stage of my first day at the Freedom Munitions Memorial Match was filled with multiple 3 gun clichés. Firstly, they included a “pick-up gun”. A pick-up gun is a surprise firearm, often provided by a sponsor, which is meant to throw a shooter for a loop. Often the shots with the pickup gun are are not scored or they only affect one’s time. They are not usually anything one can prepare for, but they can be a great opportunity to get behind some pretty rare weapons. Also, we were provided ammo by the title sponsor for our shotguns, which was staged in a dump barrel.

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