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Thread: 3-gun pistol selection considerations

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    3-gun pistol selection considerations

    As a newb I'm curious to hear from some of the vets as to what kinds of things one should take into account when selecting a pistol for 3-gun comp in the tac irons/optics divisions. I'm not looking to go out and buy a gun specifically for 3-gun, I'm more looking at how to decide which member of my collection to bring.

    Usually I prefer to run a 1911 in CDP or SS for pistol only games, but maybe that puts me at a capacity disadvantage. I have a 9 and a 40 for double stack polymer guns in my stable aswell, but then its a question of 40 to knock over steel or 9 low recoil (and cost).

    Thoughts?

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    9mm double stack polymer of choice. Steel goes down fine with American Eagle 147 grn's.

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    If you're okay with minor PF on pistol, go with the 9mm. I've shot some real soft loaded 124gr loads (probably 127pf, real close to the PF floor) and factory 115gr loads (135+ pf), never had a problem with steel unless it was calibrated too heavy or I just didn't hit it in the right place.

    The little 3-gun I've been able to shoot I shot in Tactical division (16" AR with Aimpoint Micro). I ran the same Glock 34 or Glock 17 I run in USPSA Production division, just load the magazines to 15 or 16 rounds. Eventually I'll get a few Arredondo extensions, but it's not a problem with the local matches.

    One of my friends I've shot with runs a 1911 with 10 rounders and hasn't has a problem here at local matches either.
    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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    Cheaper route: Glock or M&P 9mms if you want a plastic frame, CZ SP01 if you want a steel frame.

    More $$ to burn? 9mm STI/SV or CZ Custom Shop 9mm Tactical Sport.

    Yet more $$ to burn? .38 Super STI/SV

    But in any event, you want a hi cap 9. Cheaper to shoot, less recoil, more BBs. .40s are competitive but not the best choice. The occasional difficult piece of steel does not outweigh the significant advantages of 9mm in outlaw 3 gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelly neal View Post
    Cheaper route: Glock or M&P 9mms if you want a plastic frame, CZ SP01 if you want a steel frame.

    More $$ to burn? 9mm STI/SV
    or CZ Custom Shop 9mm Tactical Sport.

    Yet more $$ to burn? .38 Super STI/SV

    But in any event, you want a hi cap 9. Cheaper to shoot, less recoil, more BBs. .40s are competitive but not the best choice. The occasional difficult piece of steel does not outweigh the significant advantages of 9mm in outlaw 3 gun.
    Yup, I'm headed that route as soon as I get the tip of this barrel chopped off:


    I can't imagine anyone shooting .38 Super outside of open without going broke and/or crazy from losing all of their brass.
    Last edited by HK_Shooter_03; 12-28-10 at 16:25.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambluemax View Post
    As a newb I'm curious to hear from some of the vets as to what kinds of things one should take into account when selecting a pistol for 3-gun comp in the tac irons/optics divisions. I'm not looking to go out and buy a gun specifically for 3-gun, I'm more looking at how to decide which member of my collection to bring.

    Usually I prefer to run a 1911 in CDP or SS for pistol only games, but maybe that puts me at a capacity disadvantage. I have a 9 and a 40 for double stack polymer guns in my stable aswell, but then its a question of 40 to knock over steel or 9 low recoil (and cost).

    Thoughts?
    For Tactical class I use my USPSA limited gun a STI Edge in 40sw. It works well for me. At outlaw matches a 9mm would be nice but I can't afford two limited guns.



    For open class I got this pistol. I have only used it in one match so far so I am still getting used to it. It was not a three gun match just a pistol match. But so far I like it.
    A Caspian in 38 super comp.

    You definitely need a high cap pistol for three gun. I started using my single stack Wilson that I used for work and it is a major disadvantage.

    Here is a good video on how to select a pistol.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXgzl...e_gdata_player
    Pat
    Last edited by Alaskapopo; 12-28-10 at 17:40.
    Serving as a LEO since 1999.
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    As AKPoPo says, you'll be at a SEVERE disadvantage with a single stack gun. Plus, in 3 gun you have to consider how you'll wear all the needed gear. It's hard to find space for all the single stack mags you'll need, and also the AR mag(s), and the shotgun ammo.

    If the match you're competing in has major/minor scoring, advantage goes to .40 over 9mm.

    Major PF (.40)
    A =5 points
    B/C = 4
    D = 2

    Minor PF (9mm)
    A 5
    B/C 3
    D 1

    .40 will also knock steel over better/faster/more noticeably than 9mm, esp when you have marginal hits.

    I don't shoot 3 gun much anymore, but for Tactical class I've been very happy with my SVI in .40

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    The best pistol for 3 gun is a 2011 in 9mm period. There are only a couple good/big USPSA matches that give you an advantage for using major PF. Since your shooting all A's in USPSA anyways PF really don't matter anyway does it?

    If you can't afford a $2000 gun the next nest choice is a Glock 34. They are everywhere used if you want to save a few bucks. The go fast parts are plentiful and anybody can work on them.

    Choice number 3 would be a M&P9 5". Just as good as the Glock just not as many aftermarket goodies to be had. Especially if you are looking for used stuff to save a buck.

    The .40 cal versions of those 3 guns would be choice #4, 5, & 6 respectively.

    Here is a video I found on setting up your pistol for 3 gun.
    Last edited by Jesse Tischauser; 12-29-10 at 06:23.

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    OK, so basically anything that fits in USPSA limited is GTG in 3 gun...no other restrictions or considerations to worry about? The closer you are to a full blown limited gun, the better off you are gear wise?

    Right now I'm working with either a 4" XD9 or a G23. I've thought about building my XD into a "3-gun rig" (magwell, sights, maybe trigger job) if not perhaps buying a g34/35 in the future. But I'm looking to walk before I run in 3gun, especially before spending a bunch of money on a specialized set up.

    I guess I should definitly leave the 1911's at home though eh...
    Last edited by ambluemax; 12-29-10 at 17:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambluemax View Post
    OK, so basically anything that fits in USPSA limited is GTG in 3 gun...no other restrictions or considerations to worry about? The closer you are to a full blown limited gun, the better off you are gear wise?

    Right now I'm working with either a 4" XD9 or a G23. I've thought about building my XD into a "3-gun rig" (magwell, sights, maybe trigger job) if not perhaps buying a g34/35 in the future. But I'm looking to walk before I run in 3gun, especially before spending a bunch of money on a specialized set up.

    I guess I should definitly leave the 1911's at home though eh...
    Don't dump money into anything that isn't a 2011.

    Save it for that instead. Until you can shoot to the capabilities of the weapon, there's no reason to upgrade it and in this case, an upgrade is another gun.

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    I would roll with what you have (although I would get sights and a trigger because I always get sights and a trigger) until your equipment is holding you back which is probably a year or two of serious competition. Buying a 2011 is not going to radically improve your scores until you gain some real experience and even then it won't radically improve your scores!

    I agree with jtischauer that long slide Glocks are a good 3 gun pistol, just not that they are better than the SP01. And a customized Tac Sport (not stock) gives the 2011 a real run for its money!

    And finally I would not always leave the 1911 at home, it can be fun to shoot 1911s on stages designed for 20 round 9s!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelly neal View Post
    I would roll with what you have (although I would get sights and a trigger because I always get sights and a trigger) until your equipment is holding you back which is probably a year or two of serious competition. Buying a 2011 is not going to radically improve your scores until you gain some real experience and even then it won't radically improve your scores!

    I agree with jtischauer that long slide Glocks are a good 3 gun pistol, just not that they are better than the SP01. And a customized Tac Sport (not stock) gives the 2011 a real run for its money!

    And finally I would not always leave the 1911 at home, it can be fun to shoot 1911s on stages designed for 20 round 9s!
    The CZ are definitely great guns and are very comparable to a 2011 when set up to race. My only problem with them is having a local Smith to work on them.

    You won't be wasting your time shooting a Glock if you can't afford a 2011 either. A 2 lb trigger in a 2011 will help the ocassional less than perfect trigger jerk but a 3.5 lb Glock trigger is very useable. Just ask Sevigny.
    If you got the coin a 2011 is king!!! That's what I'm saving for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelly neal View Post
    I would roll with what you have (although I would get sights and a trigger because I always get sights and a trigger) until your equipment is holding you back which is probably a year or two of serious competition. Buying a 2011 is not going to radically improve your scores until you gain some real experience and even then it won't radically improve your scores!

    I agree with jtischauer that long slide Glocks are a good 3 gun pistol, just not that they are better than the SP01. And a customized Tac Sport (not stock) gives the 2011 a real run for its money!

    And finally I would not always leave the 1911 at home, it can be fun to shoot 1911s on stages designed for 20 round 9s!
    The XD is a hard gun for me to spend money on because a good trigger job and decent sights cost about as much as the pistol would be worth street value. Even then its still behind a couple of nice 1911's and my glock as far as my priority of guns to shoot from my collection. That's why I just kind of run it like it is, but maybe 3-gun is a reason to get it out of the safe more often.

    I'm too much of a 1911 fan to always leave them behind, but for getting started I don't want to handicap myself right off the bat.

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    Sorry I failed to read this post before I just went on typing away in my last two posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by ambluemax View Post
    OK, so basically anything that fits in USPSA limited is GTG in 3 gun...no other restrictions or considerations to worry about? The closer you are to a full blown limited gun, the better off you are gear wise?
    This is 100% correct. The only difference is that power factor only matters in USPSA which is why a lot of us run a 9pm in outlaw matches so we can maximize ammo capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by ambluemax View Post
    Right now I'm working with either a 4" XD9 or a G23. I've thought about building my XD into a "3-gun rig" (magwell, sights, maybe trigger job) if not perhaps buying a g34/35 in the future. But I'm looking to walk before I run in 3gun, especially before spending a bunch of money on a specialized set up.
    I would run that XD9. If you have never shot a match before you won't need anything different in that gun for now. If you want to maximize capacity you might order one extended bade pad. Just be sure you have a good secure holster for it that allows you to run confidently with a loaded gun and not worry about it falling out.

    After you shoot 2-3 matches you will be selling everything that doesn't relate to 3 gun so that you can get a bunch of go fast guns and gear. I know that's what I did. Enjoy man and welcome to the sickness!

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    That's what I'm afraid of. I've only shot one match and it was a two gun (due to legal struggles that range was having they temporarily banned pistol use- long story) so I've never shot the pistol portion of 3-gun but I can already feel the disease coming on.

    I've competed with all the handguns mentioned, so I have gear and the ability to run them all well.

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    OP: first off, consider the 3gun "rules."

    What are the rules?

    Unlike USPSA or IDPA, there is NO single answer. There are literally DOZENS of sets of rules out there.

    If you enjoy 3 gun and someday travel for shoots out of your local area, be prepared for rule changes.

    So, knowing this fact, we will have to speak in GENERAL TERMS in this thread, since everyone's rulebook might be different.

    That being said, I would NOT choose either of my favorite USPSA pistols: no 1911/2011 nor any variation of the 75 (ie CZ-75/SP-01). Nor would I choose a Sig.

    Why?

    3gun often reguires re-holstering "on the clock." Any aforementioned pistol will require you to ALSO re-engage the safety - ON THE CLOCK. In my opinion, there is too much risk of failing to re-engage that safety to bother shooting either of the guns I love (and build) for USPSA: again, no 2011 or CZ. I also know TWO (2) experienced, ranked competitors who managed to DQ for dropped guns (one at USPSA multigun Nationals, one at the Iron Man). It happens. NO gun is safe if dropped and of course it should never, ever, ever happen (but again, it does). IMHO, a cz or 2011 w/ the safety off is not as safe as some other designs. Again, we are talking about risk in what amounts to a game.

    What is left? You pick: M&P, Glock, XD, Steyr or similar choice. I've shot Glocks (even used 30 round mags in competition where allowed under the rules - gee they DO have a use!) and I like M&Ps.

    Please let us know what you choose & why.

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    That's a good point. I almost always completely unload the pistol (or rifle or shotgun for that matter) before abandoning it for fear of a safety popping off when dropping it. I have seen that happen to some VERY good shooters.

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    I thought about starting a new thread, but my question is so close to this topic, just a variation of it really.

    I will be shooting open, in that I realized how much better an RDS made me shoot a pistol with my aging eyes. I love my STI Edge in 40SW and I also have a STI Tactical 5.0 in 45ACP. While I love them, I just find the mags too much of a liability (dirty, dusty ones jamming) to count on them for my carry gun. Since I want to train like I live, I was thinking about mounting an Trijicon RMR on a M&P. The question is, what caliber- with the thought that 3-gun is what I mostly shoot and USPSA would be the other place where I might use it (I have enough trouble getting to the three gun matches I want to go to.) Seems from the discussion that 9mm is the way to go.

    The added wrinkle is that I might want to shoot my LMT MWS from time to time as my rifle, though I have a well set-up 556AR for three gun. Outside of He-man Iron sighted matches, is the mismatch of the 9mm pistol with a 308 rifle that much of an issue?

    I'm never going to be a top tier shooter, I just want to rationalize gun selection. I'm in the process of trying to reduce platforms and calibers. The M&P is a nod to more economical guns than the STIs and 9mm to eventually bringing my wife on board.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TY44934 View Post
    OP: first off, consider the 3gun "rules."

    What are the rules?

    Unlike USPSA or IDPA, there is NO single answer. There are literally DOZENS of sets of rules out there.

    If you enjoy 3 gun and someday travel for shoots out of your local area, be prepared for rule changes.

    So, knowing this fact, we will have to speak in GENERAL TERMS in this thread, since everyone's rulebook might be different.

    That being said, I would NOT choose either of my favorite USPSA pistols: no 1911/2011 nor any variation of the 75 (ie CZ-75/SP-01). Nor would I choose a Sig.

    Why?

    3gun often reguires re-holstering "on the clock." Any aforementioned pistol will require you to ALSO re-engage the safety - ON THE CLOCK. In my opinion, there is too much risk of failing to re-engage that safety to bother shooting either of the guns I love (and build) for USPSA: again, no 2011 or CZ. I also know TWO (2) experienced, ranked competitors who managed to DQ for dropped guns (one at USPSA multigun Nationals, one at the Iron Man). It happens. NO gun is safe if dropped and of course it should never, ever, ever happen (but again, it does). IMHO, a cz or 2011 w/ the safety off is not as safe as some other designs. Again, we are talking about risk in what amounts to a game.

    What is left? You pick: M&P, Glock, XD, Steyr or similar choice. I've shot Glocks (even used 30 round mags in competition where allowed under the rules - gee they DO have a use!) and I like M&Ps.

    Please let us know what you choose & why.
    With respect because I am sure you have been playing the game for longer than me. But re-holstering in my opinion is not any more dangerious with a 1911/2011 vs a striker fired or DA gun. From my experience in law enforcement what causes ND's and injuries is trigger finger disipline. Basically if you re holster in a hurry with your finger on the trigger the gun will fire. If you have your finger off the trigger you are fine. Basically its a software issue (shooter training) and not a hardware issue (gun equipement) We all have our opinion but in my experience safe people are safe regardless of the gun and dangerious people are dangerous regardless of the gun. The most Negligent discharges recorded in law enforcement were with DA revolvers. The reason being the training back then did not cover keeping your finger off the trigger.
    Pat
    Serving as a LEO since 1999.
    USPSA# A56876 B Class
    Firearms Instructor
    Armorer for AR15 and Glocks.
    YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/Alaskapopo

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    Quote Originally Posted by FromMyColdDeadHand View Post
    I thought about starting a new thread, but my question is so close to this topic, just a variation of it really.

    I will be shooting open, in that I realized how much better an RDS made me shoot a pistol with my aging eyes. I love my STI Edge in 40SW and I also have a STI Tactical 5.0 in 45ACP. While I love them, I just find the mags too much of a liability (dirty, dusty ones jamming) to count on them for my carry gun. Since I want to train like I live, I was thinking about mounting an Trijicon RMR on a M&P. The question is, what caliber- with the thought that 3-gun is what I mostly shoot and USPSA would be the other place where I might use it (I have enough trouble getting to the three gun matches I want to go to.) Seems from the discussion that 9mm is the way to go.

    The added wrinkle is that I might want to shoot my LMT MWS from time to time as my rifle, though I have a well set-up 556AR for three gun. Outside of He-man Iron sighted matches, is the mismatch of the 9mm pistol with a 308 rifle that much of an issue?

    I'm never going to be a top tier shooter, I just want to rationalize gun selection. I'm in the process of trying to reduce platforms and calibers. The M&P is a nod to more economical guns than the STIs and 9mm to eventually bringing my wife on board.
    That's is like ten different discussions rolled into one. I'd start a new thread about running and MP in open and one about using a .308 in tactical or open divisions.
    Last edited by Jesse Tischauser; 01-14-11 at 13:38.

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