Pricey Gear, Better Competitive Shooter?

20140326-105543.jpgDoes expensive gear make you a better competitive shooter? We’ve all seen that guy, rolling up in a zombie hunter H3, is always buying guns, but never actually goes to the range to shoot. It’s easy to get into all the gear, especially in 3Gun, but knowing how to use it is key when the buzzer sounds. Should a beginner spend a few thousand on their first long gun so they can get into competing or just a few hundred and then dive into training? Extended controls and low drag whatsits may make a person appear knowledge-able, but will they shave seconds off your time, like they do for the pros?

The guy in the H3 (from earlier) doesn’t even know how to field strip and clean most of his guns. He doesn’t hang out and talk guns at the range, because he doesn’t know anything more than what the sales guy tells him. A beginning competitor with H3 guy’s bank account could do some serious damage on the 3gun web sites. Unfortunately, once that beginner got into shooting matches, half that gear would never be touched again. The reason is, different methods require different gear and until a shooter knows what method is best for them, they shouldn’t commit to any particular gear.

But this system of trial and error is a lot more difficult with guns. Modifications WILL help a competitor’s time but many can’t be done at home and they can also add cost to that already pricey gun. Yet, even a new shooter can benefit from certain mods. So here’s what me and Jana Reeves (Pro 3 Gunner for Team Noveske) came up with the weekend: Hobo Division Just show up at a 3 gun match with whatever gear you’ve got, bum at least 50% of your gear from others, and shoot the match. I think it could turn into a thing!


  1. I LOVE the hobo division idea. I’ve ranted before about the people trying to buy their way up the shooting food chain, so to speak. I’ve recently seen how it all ends, too.L A Glock which appears to a bunch of people to have a lot of extra bulk tacked on to it for $2000 (used) on the shelf, and an XD that looks just like the other used XDs next to it showing a price tag of 4x the price of the others (although it comes with a convenient index card listing all the extras that were added).

    They really were worth that much, for the right buyer, but that person isn’t too likely to be wandering in to the local archery and hunting store and think, “Hey, that has the EXACT setup I was wanting to start shooting competitively!”.

  2. “Hobo” Division”. I thought it was going to be more along the lines of show up with 3 guns and ammo. What else do you need? A packed lunch wrapped up in a bandana toted on a stick?

    1. I like this idea a lot. I have three guns. I have ammo. Why shouldn’t that be enough to be able to shoot a match? Do I really need much else?

        1. Yes, at a bare minimum you need a SECURE holster. You will be moving around, running, getting up/down, etc..

          1. Also if you want to do better than dead last, I highly recommend a red dot at a minimum. Even in tac irons (limited) you’ll be putting yourself at a major disadvantage with only BUIS.

  3. Not everyone does go this route; I sure did not. I did have an AR-15 with iron sights, my normal 870 bird shotgun, and a 1911 with 8 round magazines. I loaded the shotgun shells from a bag at my waist, and most of the pistol magazines where holders, but not all. I shot my first season just like that, then figured out what I needed to add. I did this over several YEARS, with the bag for the shotgun shells the last to go. This year I upgraded my pistol, yee haw!! We do have people show up with ammo and borrow a rifle or shotgun, and all of us have been more than willing to help out. We even donate used gear to help someone too.

    I think part of this is the belief that one can buy skill, and then get disappointed that they are not winning matches out the gate. While some can do that, most of us can’t. I am happy to go and have fun with a bunch of friends.

  4. I just found out there’s multi gun matches 2 hours from me every month. I may try to go hobo one of those soon. Ive Got a 1911 and a Mossberg 500 and I’m AR shopping right now. I’ve got no way of carrying extra shells right now. Does anyone have cheap starter suggestions?

    1. You may be able to stage boxes of shells along the way ๐Ÿ˜€ What I used were some M16 3 Magazine pouches (surplus stuff), with the dividers cut out. I believe I was stacking 15 shells in one pouch, and I used 2 of them. They were zip tied to my belt. I started with a shotgun shell pouch like you would use in Trap, but the shells would fall out and just be a jumbled mess. At least with the M16 ones, the flap kept them in there.

  5. Thanks Mark try that. I actually have some of those lying around despite never owning an AR.(molle gear makes for great storage in your truck/jeep/car and the mag pouches are perfect fit cans like WD40)

    1. I forgot to add. If you do use those pouches, stack the shells all one way, flat. If you strong hand reload, point them left. That way when you grab them they are ready to stuff in the shotgun. Overall it is slow, but that does help a lot. ๐Ÿ˜€ Most of all, have fun. If you don’t have an AR yet, just get some ammo and a couple of magazines and go. I rarely know anyone that would not loan you a gun to shoot the stage. Seriously, we are just that great a bunch of people.

  6. If you are interested in competitive shooting, just get out there with what you have and get a match or two behind you. That’s what I did and it worked for me. Then you will quickly start to realize what equipment you need and what is not worth fooling with.

    P.S. Don’t leave home without gun oil/lube.

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