THE HISTORY OF THE MN 3GUN GROUP
When Minnesota’s primary range that hosted 3-Gun became unable to host further matches in 2010, 3-Gun matches in Minnesota became almost non-existent. The resources of other ranges were already stretched at the seams with other events. These ranges were used to having only a handful of volunteers who would spend hours before an event setting up for it. A handful of 3-Gun enthusiasts came up with a solution to provide willing ranges with the support needed to host 3-Gun matches became necessary.
The Minnesota 3Gun Group (MN3GG) was created in January 2011 to provide such support. The goal was to work in cooperation with a host range in order to facilitate 3-Gun Competitions. MN3GG would design and set up stages, provide a match rules set, and manage the match within the parameters of the host range. And MN3GG would bring in a workforce of volunteers.
The first range to partner up with MN3GG was the St Cloud Area Practical Shooting Association (SCAPSA) followed shortly by the Minnetonka Game & Fish Club (MGFC). In March of 2011, MN3GG held its very first 3-gun match at SCAPSA. MN3GG came with a volunteer workforce of shooters the size never seen in other events before. And the workforce came match after match, with 3-gunners making the set-up process a part of their match day.
Within a year of the first match, MN3GG began to see numbers of shooters swell from the 30’s to an average of 60’s in one match. As the popularity of 3-gun began to increase more and more, MN3GG learned to adapt their matches to accommodate more shooters by increasing the number of stages and shortening the target engagements without sacrificing the challenges 3-gunners wanted in a match. MN3GG itself continued to progress within and began to acquire and incorporate steel targets for easier and faster stage reset.
With the increase in shooters, MN3GG also observed a decrease in overall ability of the average new shooter. Many of these newer shooters had seen some 3-Gun shooting on the internet and tried to step right in. This added to increased DQ’s as well as slowing down the entire flow of the match. To address this, MN3GG began to offer a 3-Gun Intro / Skills Builder Course in 2013 to help these new shooters get introduced to the sport of 3-gun without the added stress of a match setting. MN3GG kept the course fee at a very affordable $50 per shooter by utilizing veteran 3-gunners as volunteer instructors. The basis of the class is not necessarily to teach them how to shoot, but to instruct on how to function their guns, set them up, clear them, abandon them and overall safe handling. The class was well received. In 2014, MN3GG held a class with 36 shooters. In 2015, the demand for the class was so high that MN3GG held 2 classes with a total of 70 shooters. For 2016, 48 shooters are registered for the class.
With the success of the 3-Gun Intro / Skills Builder Course, more veteran 3-gunners began to request for an affordable advanced course to help them develop their 3-gun skills. MN3GG answered the request and began to offer an Advance 3-Gun Skills Course utilizing Team JP Rifles and Nordic Components shooters Chris Cazin, Jay Schmitt, and Jomar Villamor. All three instructors have extensive firearms and 3-gun experience, having attended many matches throughout the nation and consistently ranking amongst the top in their respective divisions. All three instructors also have extensive Law Enforcement experience as well as being Firearms Instructors in their respective agencies.
MN3GG also supports the growth other shooting sports. In response to a growing request from action pistol shooters for a similar affordable advance course focusing on the handgun, the MN3GG introduced a new course in 2016 to fulfill this request. MN3GG’s Handgun Skills Development Course quickly filled upon opening with many attendees coming from the USPSA and IDPA discipline.
The continuing success of the MN3GG cumulated to its growing reputation for hosting quality matches. In 2012, MN3GG took control of running the Nordic Components Tactical Shotgun Championship. Year after year, the reputation of the match grew to be known as the premier shotgun event in the nation. MN3GG also partnered up with a 3rd range, the Forest Lake Sportsmen’s Club (FLSC). The continued ground development of FLSC allowed the MN3GG a more suitable facility to host larger matches. In 2016, the Nordic Components & Vortex Optics Tri-Gun put on by the MN3GG was a huge success with the match filling with over 200 shooters withing 15 minutes of the registration opening online. With the Nordic Vortex Tri-Gun, Minnesota saw the return of a major 3-gun match it had not had for almost a decade. This years (2017) Nordic Vortex Tri-Gun filled within 4 minutes and 42 seconds of the registrations opening.
Staying true to its mission, MN3GG will continue its commitment to the growth and promotion of the 3-Gun and the shooting sports. MN3GG will strive to provide fun matches that will test all skill levels. Follow the MN3GG on Facebook.