Run and Gun: Introduction to 3-Gun

Bristlecone Blog: September 2019







Written by: Joe Kriz


One of the fastest-growing competitive shooting sports, 3-Gun is exactly what it sounds like—using a combination of handgun, rifle and shotgun to engage targets against the clock. Sounds fun, right?


At Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center, we host regular shooting competitions, including bowling pin, USPSA and GSSF matches, but always strive to find ways to challenge and offer our customers new opportunities. Beginning this month, we are excited to announce our new Introduction to 3-Gun course, held at Pawnee Sportmens Center in Briggsdale, CO (located 90 minutes north of Lakewood)!


Taught by one of our best, Cindy Coker is a Bristlecone instructor and sponsored 3-Gun shooter with seven years of experience shooting competitively. Sponsored by Troy Industries and others, Cindy competes at matches around the country and has multiple top finishes. We spoke to her about the new course, what students can expect to learn, and beginner run-and-gun tips.


Who is Introduction to 3-Gun for?

Introduction to 3-Gun is for anyone with a basic knowledge of all three firearm platforms (handgun, rifle and shotgun), an understanding of firearm safety and looking to get into competitive shooting.


What will students learn in the classroom portion of the course?

Students will learn about safety rules for competitive shooting, the main divisions of 3-Gun,  gear needs and set up, ammunition selection, match etiquette and what to expect at their first competition.


What will shooters learn out on the range?

Shooters will learn the basics of each firearm platform, including proper grip and stance, drawing from a holster, and loading techniques, as well as how to engage static and moving targets, how to retrieve, abandon and transition between guns, and how to plan for a stage, including movement and reload strategies.


What minimum equipment will students need for the course?

Students will need the following equipment and gear:

  • Firearms (preferred caliber):
    • Handgun, semi-auto (9mm/.40 S&W/.45 ACP)
    • Rifle, AR-style (.223/.556)
    • Shotgun, semi-auto or pump-action (12 ga)
  • Magazines, two (2) per firearm (handgun and rifle)
  • Ammunition, no steel core/case (minimum round count):
    • Handgun—200 rounds
    • Rifle—200 rounds (55gr), 50 rounds (65gr or higher)
    • Shotgun—100 rounds (2 3/4”, 1 1/8 oz max, 3 ¼ dram max #9, #6 only), 5 slugs (lead only, low recoil preferred)
  • Competition-style belt (inner/outer system recommended)
  • Magazine pouches, double or two (2) per firearm (handgun and rifle)
  • Shotgun shell caddy (belt or chest rig)
  • Ear and eye protection


Why are you passionate about 3-Gun?

The 3-Gun community is full of great people who are extremely giving and supportive, and the sport provides a platform to be able to train with all three types of firearms, under pressure, in a safe environment that you can’t get anywhere else. I am surrounded by so much knowledge every time I compete—I just try to soak up as much as I can every time.


What advice would you offer to new 3-Gun shooters?

Hopefully you’ll sign up for Bristlecone’s Introduction to 3-Gun course, but if you can’t, spectate a match in your area and ask questions. Don’t ever think you aren’t ready or that you aren’t good enough—just do it! And don’t spend a lot of money on gear. Get what you can, shoot what you have and ask to borrow. You don’t need to know or have everything for your first match, just get on the range and figure it out from there. Oh, and have fun!


To enroll in our next Introduction to 3-Gun course, visit our online training calendar or sign up the next time you stop in to shoot or shop at Bristlecone. We have the guns, ammunition and shooting accessories you need to compete!


If you have any questions about the course, 3-Gun or are interested in a private lesson, shoot Cindy an email at