Sportsmen’s interest in three-gun competition growing

LEBANON, Pa. — The last time Jon Beecher went deer hunting he felt like he pulled into an overcrowded Wal-Mart parking lot instead of the state game lands.

“I was coming home from sitting in the woods,” Beecher said. “I thought this is really kind of ridiculous. I spent this money on a hunting rifle. I sat in the woods for two days and I didn’t get to see a deer.”

But Beecher enjoys exercising his second amendment rights, so it was important to him to find a way to do that.

That led the York County resident to a three-gun match at the Lebanon County Police Combat Pistol Club (LCPCPC) on April 1.

What exactly is the sport of three-gun?

“Three-gun is a compilation of rifle, pistol and shotgun to solidify all your skills and combine them altogether and do it for time, under pressure,” Scott Sheroky said. “You transition from shotgun to rifle to pistol. It’s kind of a final test of individual skills at each discipline all put together.”

Some participants will run or sprint from station to station to get the best time and score, but at LCPCPC they are just getting the sport started and want to keep it low key and relaxed.

“We are here to have fun,” said Joe Murray, one of the event organizers. “Yeah, it’s a competition, but the prize is bragging rights. We’re here to get people into it because we enjoy doing it and we want to get more people here doing it.”

Each time a new match and course is set up, it’s set up differently to test the shooter’s skills.

“The idea behind three-gun is to change things frequently so you don’t know when you show up what situation you are going to encounter, like in real life,” Sheroky said. “In real life, you don’t know what situation you’re going to encounter and the more you transition from different things (and) shoot from different positions, it builds those skills.”

While low-key and relaxed is the focus of the LCPCPC, the Heidelberg Sportsman Association is the opposite. It offers four to five stages of fire with targets anywhere from point-blank range to 75 feet, and at times as far out as 200 yards, according to the association’s website.

“Shooters may have to shoot from behind cover, under a car or wall, while on the move,” the website said. “Our stages change monthly and you never know what to expect from our stage designers other than you’re going to have a whole lot of fun.”

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