Iron Element 3 Gun
The 3 gun league at Iron Element was started in 2018.
Our 3 gun is a unique league that uses accuracy as our driving and primary focus. Designed with thought to real-world skills and needs, we strive to be less about playing a "game" and more about developing and using actual skills.
We have shooters of all ages competing in the 3 gun leagues.
In the context of personal defense, hunting or at the core of competing, accuracy is what counts above everything else. Our scores are therefor focused on shooters attaining accurate hits as their main goal.
Time is the second factor by which we score and rank competitors. If competitors are tied with accuracy or there is a defining score needed to separate the ranks, time is that factor.
Our leagues take place in the Spring and in the Fall. We run 3 runs over a 3 month period in which each shooter will compete in a different course set up each time. At the conclusion of the months(3 scored shoot days) the shooters are ranked and receive awards at a league awards banquet. Typically these prizes have included Iron Element gift cards up to $400 as well as other sponsored prizes. Finally, the champion of each league gets their name etched into a crest plate on the Iron Element Champion's Helm which sits atop the big safe in the store-room.
To sign up or get more information contact us or use the Schedule and Registration tab to register for one of the leagues!
From the eyes of the R.O. - Fall 3-gun 2018
We’ve just completed our first ever 3-gun league at Iron Element. As this event is wrapped up we stop to take a look back at just what has occurred over the last four months. I’ll give you my perspective as the range officer and facilitator of this event. Strap up, get ready for a ride!
In September we began our league by conducting an obstacle course of shooting challenges utilizing the pistol, shotgun and rifle. Competitors needed to navigate shots on steel, paper, near and far targets, as well as aerial clay bird shots, ground clay shots, shooting through obstacles, around walls, shooting while moving backwards and sideways, and more. Our competitors even had to shoot a jumbo candy cane in celebration of the Christmas season!
The targets varied, the distances were always changing and no course of the four was ever the same as the last or any previous. Each month the shooters would be faced with new challenges and each month the skill level went up. We saw shooters making perfect runs on dueling trees, steel torsos, steel gongs, tiny steel discs to hit while shooting through a moving obstacle, single handed, two handed, prone, standing, kneeling, walking, and even some shots while cursing, although we won’t name names. The sheer variety of shots and experiences that I saw as the Range officer for 27 shooters, over four months is beyond the space to write in this report. Yet I sit here now with one thought in mind.
This was awesome!
I don’t use that word frequently but this event and the fruits of it, adequately call for that description. I set out to achieve a few main goals with this competition. One of the most important for me was to offer an event that allowed shooters to come out and actively participate in something new together with other shooters. I wanted to see a shooting community begin to develop. I hoped to provide a place where a competition was done well, conducted safely, and where the shooters enjoyed their experience from first place to, well everyone.
I wanted to begin building a network of people passionate about shooting. I wanted to hear the laughter, see the smiles, enjoy the success, and put in the work to fix the failures. Iron Element is about more than just guns. Our training, our sales, our events, and now our competition is about people. The people who walk in our door, sit in our classrooms, send their youth to us for safety and learning. It is those people that made this what it was, awesome. And the best way to convey just what this competition was to me is to share a few stories from the Range Officer’s eyes.
We began this event by setting up our course for Run #1 and having myself run through it to ensure that it was a course that could be conducted safely, proficiently and competitively. During our courses we had different firearms staged around so that shooters could pick them up and shoot different sections such as shotgun, rifle, and pistol sections. Then switch guns and move to the next. During the first ever trial run I had to transition from a pistol to a rifle at one point.
As I finished shooting the pistol section and moved to where the rifle was staged, I suddenly realized that I had never put the rifle at it’s staged area. I recall standing there with my hands out looking around for my own rifle, which I had put in the WRONG place in MY OWN course. I made a few turns with my hands out looking for my rifle to no avail. I can only imagine what it looked like to the team who was helping set the course that day. The creator of the course spinning in a circle looking for a gun during the middle of the first ever competition run. I do recall hearing the first of many laughs of the 2018 3 gun competition. And I will say, that this was certainly not the last time I saw a gun put in the wrong place for a shooter’s competitive run. I can say however, that I did it first!
During our course we had two competitive runs, each of them scored. The average of their scores gave each shooter their position in rank among the other competitors. After the first competitive run the shooter would reload, reset equipment and prepare to do it all again for the second. In November one particular shooter was in between his runs when we noticed a small varmint walking around out in an open field behind our range.
I quickly communicated to the shooter that the varmint was fair game (in season, and a varmint after all). The shooter picked up his AR-15 and began shooting. A few seconds later, the varmint was eliminated. The shot was at the 320 yard mark and took place in the middle of the day, in the middle of the competitive runs. Imagine 20, AR-15 rounds 10, 12 gauge rounds and 25, 9mm rounds that had JUST been shot, yet there was this varmint, walking in the open field without a care. It was unprecedented. But this one gets even better.
Then in December that SAME SHOOTER was in the middle of his two competitive runs once again. I remember looking up as he walked back to the beginning of the course to reset and what did I see, but another of the same species of varmint walking across the open field.
“Get your rifle!” I yelled. The shooter did so and returned asking,“What is it?!”
I pointed out the varmint and again our shooter shot. A few seconds later a second varmint was eliminated. The same shooter was able to shoot two varmints in the middle of his competitive runs one month apart. But don’t go thinking this kind of thing is common. I’m at that range nearly every day, and I have not had chances like this. Either the shooter is gifted with some luck, or the stars aligned just right. I still stop and think of how I would never have believed such a thing was possible. During our awards celebration, the shooter was awarded a small stuffed raccoon in recognition of his accomplishments and again laughter filled the room. If you want to hear one of the best parts of that story, stop in to the store and talk to Jim. He can give you his experience of it from inside the store. It’s worth hearing.
At one other point we had a father and son make a wager on their runs. I can still hear the sound of the son after shooting his last shot. I looked at him and said,
“Madden 19!” And gave him a high five as he had just beaten his dad on one run and won a video game prize for the wager. His response was first of disbelief and then raw joy.
“Seriously? YEAAHHHHH!” Was his reaction to hearing of his win in the wager.
And what kind of report would this be without mentioning the excuses. Oh, the excuses that I heard. If only I had recorded every one of them. “It’s too cold,” “It’s too windy,” “I’m too old,” “I can’t see,” “The sun was in my eyes,” were all staples throughout the competition. But some that we heard were less expected.
“It was the glasses!” we heard as one shooter explained his performance and then improved his run a full 20 points (out of 55) by just changing a pair of safety glasses.
“This one won’t be good, I’m out of ammo... Can I buy more?” was another that was used as a shooter legitimately ran out of ammunition in the middle of his run and had to come into the store and purchase ammo to finish. Needless to say, his time was less than stellar for that run.
“That’s it, I’m buying a new gun. This one is crap!” Was one of my favorites, but perhaps that has something to do with the fact that we also run a gun store right there on site.
Or how about “I’m telling you, that clay bird dropped RIGHT as I shot!” I didn’t even tell the shooters that we have those new, special, clay birds that use microchip technology, motion sensing and GPS navigation to avoid birdshot. Ok, not really, but that would be a cool trick if I had such a thing.
“I don’t’ know why I thought that was blue” a shooter told me as he was looking at a yellow torso after clearly having shot the wrong target.
And one of the last ones we heard “The birds are too loud, is my excuse.”
There were many excuses, but the personalities behind them made this competition and the conducting of it worth the time and investment for me. I’ll think back on the last four months with a smile remembering the banter of strangers becoming friends in the background, the laughter, the frustrated head shaking and relieved exhales after a shot is made and yes, even those fumbles resulting in, “How did I MISS THAT?!”
The first ever Iron Element 3-gun competition was more about experience than it was competing to become a world champion. We have our own trophies. We have a Greek Warrior helmet as our Iron Element Champions Helm, we have awards, prizes and pats on the back. But what we have above all else, is each other. We have engineers, we have truck drivers, we have business owners, farmers, mechanics and salesmen. We have those who go by titles such as “dad,” “wife,” “brother,” “son,” “daughter,” “boss,” “employee,” “joker” and “I’m sorry you know him.”
We compete yes, some of us more than others as one of our competitors recently said. But overall we do this because it’s part of who we are, and what we love. We love the freedom to have firearms, and use them. We love shooting, we love guns, we love the competition of me against them, and even me and against me. We love checking scores and we absolutely love the “clang” of a high speed projectile hitting a steel target. Now after this league has concluded, I know why I am still doing this.
I’m doing it because when I think of Iron Element I no longer think of just myself. I no longer think of just myself and the few close team members who assist the Iron Element vision. I think of all of us. I see the faces of those who spent the last four months with us shooting, learning, failing and growing. I think of the smiles, the fist pumps, the pats on the backs and yes, even the excuses. Because together we are Iron Element. Those who took part in this competition have been woven into the fabric of what this company is.
Tonight I stood in front of a room full of people and their family members for the awards celebration. I saw the faces that I knew, remembered each one in their competitive runs. I remembered our conversations, I remembered their frustrations, I remembered their successes, I remembered their passion. I looked around the room and thought of those who were not able to be at our awards ceremony and I thought the same things about them. We listened to suggestions for improvements, we presented awards of trophies, money, silly stuffed animals, gun cleaning oils, coffee mugs, tools, trinkets and more.
I picked on a few of the shooters for things they had done, some picked back at me. We laughed, and we all decided to do it all again next year. And I can guarantee, that it won’t even take that long for most, if not all of the people in that room to be at Iron Element doing something similar, long before then. The names and faces of people who share your ideals, your interests, your passions stay with you. Although we are all different in our own ways, we have become united. A simple, amateur 3-gun league in western Ohio united us, and that can never be taken away.
I thank each and every shooter who came to support our event. I thank every wife and husband who gave up their spouse to a shooting competition over the past four months. I thank my support staff who, without them, I could not do any of this. I thank you for reading this memory and taking a short journey with me for a glimpse into what I saw. And I can tell you now, without a shadow of doubt that I was getting tired, tired of running nonstop conducting this competition and the rest of a busy life. But tonight when we presented suggestions and awards and I looked into the faces of those who have become Iron Element along with me, I’m ready to do it all again very soon.
If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, contact us today. We have plenty of room for you.