Wild West Gun Shop

The Spruce Grove Gun Club was the host venue for another day of exciting shooting action on July 7th, as the Wild Rose Action Shooters (WRAS) held a 3-Gun match at the Central Albertan range.

Due to the fact 3-Gun matches feature competitors firing rifles, pistols and shotguns, the dynamic events have become one of the more popular shooting competitions in North America. In Spruce Grove last weekend there were five exciting stages that pushed the limits of even the best shooters competing.

“We want to have something fun and challenging for the competitors,” said match director Sam Brownfield. “As it is a three gun competition we want to include multiple guns as many times as possible. Once we have an idea for a stage we need to work with the safety of the competitors and observers; that’s upmost in our minds. There are also some local range regulations that come into consideration…We try and build stages that, once finished, people will say, ‘wow, that was tough or fun or difficult, but I want to do it again.’”

“What I love most about 3-Gun shooting is the challenge it offers to shooters; no one is good at all three types of guns,” said Jeff Cheng, who finished a respectable fourth place at the Wild Rose Steel Challenge on June 24th. “IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) shooters have the edge in pistol shooting compared to lots of non-IPSC shooters, but many others have lots of experience with shotguns and rifles; disciplines that pure IPSC shooters like myself struggle with! The stages are a lot more practical, and really test shooting ability rather than finding short cuts and “gaming” that IPSC shooters are often seeking!”

The longest stage was stage five which featured shooting with a shotgun and pistol. The shooter had to run through a maze while engaging shotgun targets, before returning to the start position to get a pistol and begin all over again.

“I have never been so exhausted after shooting a stage” said veteran shooter Ken Kupsch, who after the match stepped the stage off and found it was 152 yards in about a dozen direction reversals.  It’s safe to say that’s enough to wear anyone out. The guns for the stages broke down as follows:

Stage 1 rifle/pistol

Stage 2 rifle/pistol

Stage 3 rifle/pistol/shotgun

Stage 4 rifle

Stage 5 shotgun/pistol

“Some are based on possible real life scenarios; others are the work of pure fiction,” Brownfield furthered. “We try and balance the stages, so that over the course of the match you will be using all three firearms equally, shooting distance and close range, quick shooting and deliberate shooting, odd positions and just standing and shooting. A good balance is what we work towards. WRAS is lucky to have some great people with years of stage design experience helping us, and newer shooters with different ideas and perspectives offering insights. We are always learning and striving to do better.”

“Three gun shooting is like learning all over again; even if you have experience with all of them,” said Kupsch, who is coming off a victory at the IPSC Alberta Provincials. “Reloading and transitions between guns add a whole new place for costly time consuming mistakes or just for things to go wrong”

By the end of the weekend, Todd Klinger stood atop the match standings, as the talented shooter recorded a 256.89 score. The lower the score the better, as the goal is to complete each stage as fast as possible without incurring any penalties for shooting inaccurately. The top five shooters for the match were:

Todd  K  256.89

Ken   K   268.62

Matt  G   312.58

Matt  C   350.92

Ross S   353.51

“The match was again a very well planned match focusing on tactical clearing of house and speed, accurate rifle shooting and some long distance free style shooting,” said Klinger, the competition’s winner.  “The first thing that attracted me to 3-Gun was the people involved with the sport ! Their compassion for the sport, dedication to set-up, and fellowship within the shooting sport and safety.”

“I think my strongest skills that allow me to compete competitively in 3-Gun is my IPSC experience, good hand eye coordination, and agility,” Klinger add. I’d also like to thank all the competitors for their help in setting up the match and help in running competitors through the stages safely and efficiently.”

Jimmy Tsai kicks down the door to enter the maze in stage 5

While the match winner enjoyed the day’s action immensely, so did Jimmy Tsai, who is fairly new to the unique shooting competition.

“I’ve just shot a 3-Gun match two times but I’ve really enjoyed myself,” said Tsai, while relaying his thoughts on the weekend’s action. “It was a special experience for me. I can use a rifle, shotgun, and pistol to shoot multiple targets in a stage and not just one stationary target.”

“I really liked stage 5 last Saturday,” Tsai added. “It made me move between multiple shooting positions. There’s a lot of movement but it’s also a lot of fun.”

With the match now in the books, Brownfield is happy with how the WRAS competition went, and is looking forward to the upcoming Provincials.

“I was very happy with the match turn-out; again we had almost forty competitors turn out for the shoot,” said Brownfield. “We have a great mix of people shooting 3-Gun and it’s good to spend the day shooting with them…Our next 3-Gun match is our two day Provincial match and we are looking at pulling out all the stops to make it the best 3-Gun match yet.”

“WRAS is looking to increase its membership and continues to offer 3-Gun and Steel Challenge matches at our home range, Spruce Grove Range and Gun Club,” Brownfield added. “WRAS is looking to start hosting 3-Gun and Steel matches at other ranges across the Province and eventually nationwide.”

The Wild Rose Provincial Match will take place on August 25th and 26th. Random four person teams will be picked at the start of the shoot to mix the abilities of the shooters equally amongst the teams. The Wild West Shooting Centre will award the top team with brand new Glocks and the second place team will take home Rossi Mare’s Leg Rifles!

Jeff Cheng finishes with shotgun and comes back to beginning of the stage to retrieve his handgun (note: Wild Rose rules usually allow competitor to stage ammo on props or begin with ammo in hands)

“I think it will be hard to say at the Provincial match,” Cheng added, when asked to share his thoughts on the upcoming competition. “It will be very interesting with the way teams are being made, with the mixture of skill levels. Given that it is a team effort, I believe that the winning team will be the one that is out there having the most fun.”

“My only gripe is that the next match is so far away!” Cheng enthusiastically added. “I suppose it allows for some needed training time for everyone.”

Other upcoming matches include the Buffalo Target Shooters Association Club Match on July 14th and the IPSC Alberta Qualifiers, one and two, in Lethbridge on July 21st and 22nd.

In addition, another Steel Challenge match has been confirmed for August 11th in Spruce Grove.


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