I have always been competitive. I played football and baseball as a boy and young man. Then I played slowpitch softball for about 15 years. However my shoulder had enough by the time I turned 37 and the pain of throwing a ball was not worth the competition anymore. But I still wanted to compete. Golf filled the hole briefly. It didn't hurt my shoulder and I started to get into it but didn't have the patience to get that much better at it. I still play for fun but don't take it very seriously.

During my last year of softball I stumbled upon shooting sports, particularly rifle matches. I would shoot the old school service rifle matches and they were fun but they didn't have the physical nature I was used to.

Last year competitive shooting bit me really hard. I shot my first United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) pistol match with the Sioux Falls Practical Shooters, which happened to be at the same gun club I was a member, the Big Sioux Rifle and Pistol Club. I then shot my first 3-gun match there a few weeks later. I was hooked.

I've been watching 3-gun on television for the last few years, mainly 3 Gun Nation on Sportsman Channel. When my friends ask me about it they will ask me "What is 3-gun?" It's a fast growing shooting sport that uses a rifle, pistol, and shotgun. It requires movement from quick steps and turns all the way to dead sprints through walls, barrels and other obstacles. Competitors shoot a variety of targets including paper, steel, and clay birds that sit still or fly. Some are in plain sight and some are hidden.

Shooting ability is important. Last weekend I found out that it wasn't the most important thing. With the exception of the first stage (which I forgot to get video of), I made a mental error on the other four. The worst of which was forgetting to shoot at four obvious hanging clay targets that were right in front of me. I just got excited to put the rifle down and switch to shotgun and never even aimed at them. That cost me five seconds in penalties per target. Guh! I was also shooting in a squad with several guys who are really good at this sport so even though I did okay for me, compared to those guys I was 4th string on the junior varsity. But that's fine because it's still fun even if you suck!

On Sunday I'll be back at it out at Big Sioux RPC for one of the regular club pistol matches. I prefer shooting all of the guns but pistol is my weakest so I need the practice anyway. While 3-gun requires more equipment, pistol matches require much less. All you need is a pistol, at least 3 or 4 magazines, holsters for them all and a couple hundred rounds of ammo. Cost is $20 to shoot. For details go to the Sioux Falls Practical Shooters website.

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