3 Gun Competition Rules
We all love 3 gun competition and its true we also want to know the exact rules of the competition. We have crafted some generic 3 gun competition rules and we believe you will get the benefit from it.
1. Safety Rules –
1.1. Participants are subject to match disqualification for violation of any rule or regulation in sections 1 or 2.
1.2. T3G matches will be run on a COLD RANGE.
1.2.1. COLD RANGE (definition): Participants’ firearms will remain unloaded at the match site except by the direction of a match official.
1.3. Designated Safety Areas
1.3.1. Safety areas will be marked with signage or other obvious markings. Other safety areas can be as follows: (1) Within the confines of your vehicle with the muzzle pointed inside the vehicle, (2) Any area under the direction or supervision of a Range Officer.
1.4. Rifles & shotguns should be carried between stages empty with actions open, or with a chamber flag inserted, and detachable magazines removed.
1.4.1. During a Course of Fire (COF) abandoned pistols, rifles or shotguns must be empty or on safe and pointed in a safe direction, as instructed in written stage briefs(WSB). Exception: If the participant does not go in front of the abandoned gun, failure to apply the safety of an otherwise properly abandoned weapon will result in a 20-second penalty, and not a match DQ.
1.4.2. Definition of an empty firearm at the end of a COF: A firearm will be considered empty if there is no ammunition in the chamber and ready to fire. Ammunition in the magazine, touching the firearm, or live ammunition jammed outside of the chamber will not result in a penalty.
1.4.3. A participant who abandons a pistol, rifle, or shotgun and goes In front of the firearm during the COF and the firearm is found not empty or on safe will be issued a Match DQ.
1.5.1. Handguns should be unloaded and cased or remain in the participant’s holster with the magazine removed except in designated Safety Areas, or under the direction of Range Officer(s) on a stage.
1.5.2. Pistol ready condition for any style pistol may be hammer safely lowered.Single action pistols with a functioning manual safety lever may begin with the hammer cocked and the manual safety engaged.
1.5.3. Loaded 1911 or similar pistols with a working grip safety abandoned with the thumb safety off will not automatically result in a match DQ. However, all pistols abandoned in such condition will be left in the position abandoned until the stage is cleared. Then the CRO will unload the pistol and attempt to drop the hammer with the grip safety not engaged (not depressed). If the hammer falls, the shooter receives a 20-second penalty; if not, the shooter will receive a 5second procedural penalty for not engaging the thumb safety. Rule 1.4.3 still applies (DQ if the competitor moves in front of the gun).
1.5.4. Pistols with no manual or automatic safety, and only a de-cocking lever must have the hammer safely lowered by using the decocking lever.Pistols with the hammer not safely lowered will not be considered safe.See Rules1.4.1 and 1.4.3.
1.5.5. Pistols with no functioning safety must be completely empty when grounded.
1.5.6. Re-holstering a loaded pistol during the COF is a Match DQ. Re-holstering an unloaded, clear pistol (magazine removed, chamber cleared) is allowed.
1.6. Retrieving a grounded handgun, rifle or shotgun from a container or designated location is permitted as long as it is done in a safe manner.
1.7. A competitor is permitted to handle more than one firearm at a time, however, neither firearm may be discharged until one is safely grounded. Discharging a firearm while handling another firearm will result in a Match DQ.
1.8. No participants or spectators shall consume or be under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs at the match site before or during shooting. Any participant found to be impaired and deemed unsafe as a result of legitimate prescription drugs will be directed to stop shooting and requested to leave the range.
1.9. Eye and Ear protection is mandatory for participants, spectators and range personnel while on or near a stage of fire.
1.9.1. If a competitor loses/misplaces their eye and/or ear protection during the COF, there are 3 possible outcomes.
184.108.40.206. If the competitor intentionally displaces their ear/eye protection, this will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and will result in a match DQ under rule 2.6.
220.127.116.11. If the competitor unintentionally displaces (or fails to wear) ear/eye protection and they have a firearm in their hand, they may stop themselves or the RO may stop them and they will be issued a re-shoot.
18.104.22.168. If eye/ear protection is displaced during the COF, but the competitor does not have a firearm in their hand, they will be required to replace the protection prior to resuming the COF.
2.1. Match disqualification will result in complete disqualification from the match. The shooter will not be allowed to continue with the match and will not be eligible for prizes. The final decision is with the Range Master.
2.2. Match disqualification for a negligent discharge.
2.2.1. “Negligent Discharge” is defined as the discharge of a firearm unintentionally or in an unsafe manner, including instances in which a projectile (bullet/pellet)strikes the ground within 10 feet of the competitor or any other person on the same stage, or outside the confines of the backstop or in an unsafe direction.
2.2.2. A projectile which strikes any object other than an intended target within 10 feet of the muzzle will result in a match DQ. This includes walls, windows, and stage props.
2.2.3. Any shot fired which does not impact a proper berm or backstop will be considered negligent and will result in a match DQ. Bird shot at flying clay targets is exempt.
2.3. A participant shall be disqualified from the Match for dropping a loaded firearm, or dropping a firearm while in the loading or unloading process.
2.3.1. Dropping an unloaded firearm will not result in a match DQ. The competitor will be allowed to safely retrieve the firearm and continue with the stage. (Rule 1.7 still applies.) This includes, but is not limited to, broken slings, and dropped pistols.
2.4. A participant shall be disqualified from the Match for allowing the muzzle of his/her loaded firearm to break the safety plane(except while holstered before the COF). The safety plane is generally 180 degrees when facing squarely downrange, but may be defined as any plane on each COF. If the safety plane is not specified in the Written Stage Brief (WSB) or pointed out by the RO, the 180-degree safety plane should be assumed.
2.5. A participant shall be disqualified from the Match for handling or unloading a firearm used in the COF unless told to do so by a Range Officer.
2.6. A participant shall be disqualified from the Match for unsportsmanlike conduct.
22.214.171.124. Intentionally altering targets prior to them being scored to gain an advantage or to avoid a penalty.
126.96.36.199. Altering or falsifying score sheets.
188.8.131.52. Altering the configuration of firearms or equipment to gain an advantage (See rule 5.3, 5.4, 5.5).
184.108.40.206. Altering the course of fire. (i.e., moving props and or targets) This includes, but is not limited to, the repositioning or altering of targets, no-shoots, barriers, barrels, walls, tables, grounding containers, fault lines, painted markings, banners, trees, bushes or anything else deemed by match officials to create an unfair advantage.
220.127.116.11. Barriers, walls, and other range props and obstacles are deemed to go from the ground up to infinity unless specifically identified otherwise in the WSB. Competitors are not permitted to shoot over, under, or through these objects. Shooting under, over or through barriers, walls, or other range props may result in shooting in an unsafe direction and will result in a Match DQ or miss penalties at the discretion of the RO.
18.104.22.168.1. Match DQ will be issued if the shots fired are deemed to be in an unsafe direction, and miss penalties will be assessed if the shots fired were otherwise in a safe direction.
22.214.171.124. Intentionally moving outside the fault lines is not permitted and will result in a 10 second procedural.
2.6.2. Shootingprohibited ammo (see 4).
2.6.3. Failing to follow instructions given by an RO including, but not limited to, helping to reset and/or tape targets. One warning will be issued by a match official.The second warning will include a 20 second procedural.The third time an RO has to speak with a competitor will result in a match DQ.
2.6.4. This is not an all-inclusive list of unsportsmanlike conduct.
2.7. A participant shall be disqualified for unsafe gun handling. This includes, but is not limited to: handling a gun while people are down range, handling a gun on a stage without permission of the range officer, abandoning a gun in an unsafe manner or direction.
2.8. A Range Officer may issue a match DQ for any violation he/she deems serious enough, even if there is not a specific rule written here.
2.9. All disqualifications will be reviewed by the Range Master upon request from the competitor.
3. Sportsmanship & Conduct
3.1. Participants and spectators will conduct themselves in a courteous, sportsmanlike manner at all times. Disputes will be handled promptly and fairly by the RO, escalated to the CRO and finalized by the Range Master as necessary.
3.2. Clothing with any offensive or obscene logos, sayings, pictures or drawings will not be worn or displayed while at the match site/range. Competitors will be required to remove or obscure the offensive material upon request of a match official.
3.3. Any competitor with a proven handicap may request, or be required, to shoot the courses of fire other than intended, but may incur a penalty. The Range Master will rule on any such request on a case-by-case basis.
3.4. Range Officers may assess additional 20-second penalties to competitors that intentionally fail to make a good faith effort to engage and hit targets in order to gain an advantage. Targets must be engaged with an aimed shot. The Range Master shall be the final arbiter of any such penalties.
3.5. Reshoots may only be authorized by the Range Master.
4.1. No tracer, incendiary, armor piercing, steel jacketed, or steel core ammunition is allowed. Any bullet that is attracted to a magnet is not allowed. Competitors found in possession of such ammunition will be issued a Match DQ and may be required to pay the replacement cost of any target damaged.
4.2. Pistol ammunition shall be 9×19 or larger.
4.3. Rifle ammunition shall be .223 Remington (5.56 NATO) or larger.
4.4. Shotgun ammunition shall be 20 gauge or larger, LEAD SHOT & SLUGS ONLY.
4.4.1. No steel shot ammunition allowed.
4.4.2. Slugs may be prohibited on some targets.
4.5. Use of prohibited types of ammunition on specific targets may result in a match disqualification, as described in the stage description or elsewhere in these rules.
5.1. All firearms used by competitors shall be serviceable and safe.
5.2. If a competitor’s firearm becomes unserviceable during the competition, that competitor may replace his/her firearm with another of the same, or similar, model, caliber and sighting system only after it is approved by the Range Master.
5.3. For purposes of this ruling, a”firearm” consists of a specific caliber, receiver, barrel, stock, and sighting system combination.
5.4. The same firearm system, for each gun, per Rule 5.3, shall be used during the entire match.
5.5. Competitors may not reconfigure any firearm during the course of a match. (I.e. change caliber, barrel length, shotgun magazine tube length, sighting systems or stock.) Changing shotgun choke tubes not considered a reconfiguration and is allowed prior to pre-loading the magazine tube.
5.6. Supporting devices that can cause damage to props or pose a risk to shooters are prohibited. (i.e. the Hedgehog and like products are not allowed)
6. Firearms Classifications (Open Division, Tac Optics, NonMagnified or Heavy Metal Optic)
6.1. Handgun Division Rules
126.96.36.199. No limitations on accessories (see rule 5.3,5.4, 5.5)
188.8.131.52. Magazine length may not exceed 170 millimeters.
6.1.2. TacOptic/ Tac NonMagnified Division
184.108.40.206. Handguns must be of a factory configuration. Modifications are allowed. Rule 5.1 still applies.
220.127.116.11. Handguns with custom or factory installed electronic sights, optical sights, extended sights, compensators or barrel porting are NOT allowed in this division.
18.104.22.168. Magazines used shall not exceed 170 mm OAL(overall length) for single stacks, and shall not exceed 140 mm OAL for staggered magazines.
6.1.3. HeavyMetal Division
22.214.171.124. Handguns must comply with Tactical Handgun rules with the following exceptions.
126.96.36.199. Handguns must be .45 caliber.
6.2. Rifle Division Rules
188.8.131.52. No limitations on accessories (see Rule 5.3,5.4, 5.5).
6.2.2. TacOptics Division
184.108.40.206. Rifles must be of a factory configuration (see Rule 5.3, 5.4, 5.5). Modifications are allowed. Rule 5.1 applies.
220.127.116.11. Tac Optics Division rifles may be equipped with no more than one (1) optical sight. A magnifier may be used in addition to anon-magnified optic as long as it stays on the gun for the entire match. Iron sights may be used in addition to the optic.
18.104.22.168. Tac NonMagnified Division rifles may be equipped with one non-magnifying optic which is in the same plane as standard iron sights and the bore-line. They may be in addition to or in place of iron sights; however if in addition, the sights must co-witness.
22.214.171.124. Rifle supporting devices (i.e. bipods, sandbags, silo’s etc.) are not allowed in Tac Optics or Tac NonMagnified Division.
126.96.36.199. A rifle may have a compensator that is no more than 1” in diameter and 3” in length.
6.2.3. HeavyMetal Division
188.8.131.52. Rifles must comply with Tac Optics Division rifle rules.
184.108.40.206. Rifles will be .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51 NATO).
220.127.116.11. Heavy Metal Division rifles may be equipped with no more than (1) optical sight. A magnifier may be used in addition to anon-magnified optic as long as it stays on the gun for the entire match.
18.104.22.168. Rifle supporting devices (i.e. bipods, sandbags, silo’s etc.) are not allowed.
22.214.171.124. No limitations on accessories (see Rule 5.3,5.4, 5.5).
126.96.36.199. Shotgun detachable magazines and speed loaders are allowed in Open Division.
188.8.131.52. Shotgun speed loaders must have a primer relief cut.
184.108.40.206. Magazine tube length may not be changed for the duration of the match.
6.3.2. TacOptics and Tac NonMagnified Division
220.127.116.11. Shotguns must be of a factory configuration (see Rule 5.3, 5.4, 5.5). Modifications are allowed. Rule 5.1 applies.
18.104.22.168. No electronic or optical sights are allowed on shotguns in this division.
22.214.171.124. No shotgun supporting devices (i.e. bipods,etc.) are allowed in this division.
126.96.36.199. No compensators or porting on barrels allowed in this division.
188.8.131.52. No shotgun may be loaded with more than 9 rounds at start signal.
184.108.40.206. No shotgun speed loaders or shotguns with detachable magazines are allowed in this division.
220.127.116.11. Magazine tube length may not be changed for the duration of the match.
6.3.3. HeavyMetal Optic Division
18.104.22.168. Shotguns must comply with Tactical Shotgun rules.
22.214.171.124. Only 12 gauge shotguns are allowed in this division.
7. Holsters & Other Equipment – AllDivisions
7.1. The handgun holster must be capable of retaining the handgun during the vigorous movement that may be required or otherwise encountered during the courses of fire.
7.2. The handgun holster must allow the competitor to safely draw and holster the handgun without causing the muzzle to point in an unsafe direction.
7.3. The holster material must completely cover and protect the handgun’s or remington trigger.
7.4. The competitor shall use the same handgun holster for the duration of the match.
7.5. Spare ammunition, magazines, speed loaders, and other equipment must be secured in pouches, pockets and/or carriers on the competitor’s person or firearm.
7.6. No ammunition may be in the competitor’s hands after the “Make ready” command and before the start signal.
7.7. If a competitor is found using equipment not allowed in their division, they will be moved to Open Division for the entire match.
8. Division Participants
8.1. A minimum of 10 registrants is required for a division to be recognized.
9. Scoring and Penalties
9.1. Paper Targets
9.1.1. Scoring per stage will be straight time plus penalties. A maximum time allowed to shoot any stage may be set prior to the start of the match.
9.1.2. Any paper target designated as a “shoot” target requires two (2) hits inside the scoring perforations on the target. Slug targets are exempt from this rule and only require one (1) hit anywhere inside the scoring perforations on the target, unless otherwise specified in the WSB.
9.1.3. The best two hits on paper will be scored.
9.1.4. AVickers scoring system will be used with 0.5 seconds added to the competitor’s raw time on the stage for each point down (or each point not earned) on the paper targets on a stage.
126.96.36.199. Example of scoring penalties on paper targets:
188.8.131.52. “A”, “B”, or “0” zone hits = no penalty
184.108.40.206. “C” or “-1” hit = 0.5 second penalty
220.127.116.11. “D” or “-3” hit = 1.5-second penalty
9.1.5. Paper targets which have less than 2 hits will receive a 2.5 second penalty for each hit not in the scoring perforations.
9.1.6. Paper targets used in the match may be IPSC (old style), the new IPSC “Classic”, TSA, IDPA targets, or any other similar target approved by the Match Director.
9.1.7. Designated“No Shoot” targets will incur a 5-second penalty for each hit.
9.1.8. Shoot-through holes count for scoring and non-threat targets.
9.2. Non-Paper Targets
9.2.1. Knockdown style targets (i.e. poppers or other steel) must fall to score.
9.2.2. Frangible targets must break to score. (One shot hole is a break, but a chip off the edge is not a break.)
9.2.3. Reactive targets must be struck solid enough to cause the hidden “flash card” to be visible to the Range Officer. The Range Officer will call hits on all reactive targets. No other competitor or spectator may call hits and may be issued a 5second procedural for making noise which distracts or confuses the competitor or Range Officer. The competitor will not be given a re-shoot for reasonable competitor or spectator noise.
9.2.4. Engaging a frangible, knock-down or swinging style target by firing at least one round at it but not breaking it, knocking it down or causing the target to react will result in a 5-second miss penalty per target
9.2.5. If the target is located greater than 100 yards from the shooting position, the penalty for the miss is 15 seconds.
9.2.6. Engagement consists of aiming at and firing upon a target. Shooting in the general direction of a target does not constitute “engaging a target”, is not allowed, and will result in a 20-second procedural penalty being applied, or a match DQ if the shot is deemed to be in an unsafe direction or not impacting a proper berm or backstop.
9.2.7. There are no separate “failure to engage” penalties. However, a competitor who fails to follow the WSB or skips a position while failing to engage a target to gain an advantage will be issued a 10-second procedural penalty in addition to the miss penalties.
9.3. A procedural penalty of 5 seconds will be issued for failing to follow the WSB.
9.4. Procedural penalties of 5 seconds per target may be assessed for failing to follow the WSB while gaining a significant advantage.
9.5. Fault lines – a competitor who fires a shot while any part of their body or firearm is touching the ground or any other object not within the shooting area or otherwise identified by an RO as off limits will incur a 5-second penalty. Gaining a significant advantage while faulting will result in a 5-second procedural penalty for each shot fired. Stretching rope boundaries is included in this rule, but incidental contact with rope boundaries will not result in a procedural.
9.6. Pre-loading shotgun magazine tubes with more than the number of rounds allowed by the division will result in a 10-second procedural penalty.
9.7. A maximum time shall be established for each stage (180 seconds unless otherwise noted). Upon failure to complete the stage within the maximum time, a shooter will be stopped by the Range Officer and assessed a stage time equal to the Maximum Time plus all applicable penalties.
9.8. Higher penalties may be imposed for designated high-value targets, which will be identified in the WSB.
9.9. All divisions will be scored separately.
9.10.Ties will be broken by an undisclosed Tie Breaker Stage designated by the Match Director.
10. Arbitration Rules & General Principles
10.1. Administration –Occasional disputes are inevitable in any competitive activity governed by rules. It is recognized that at the more significant levels of competition, emotions run high and the outcome is much more important to the individual competitor. Remaining calm and rational while arbitrating disputes will make this unpleasant job easier.
10.2. Access – Protests may be submitted for arbitration except the actual scoring of targets.The CRO for the stage will make the final call on target scoring. Protests arising from a safety infraction will only be accepted to determine whether or not an infraction as described by the RO was, in fact, unsafe.
10.3. Appeals – Decisions are made initially by the Range Officer for the stage. If the complainant disagrees with a decision, the Chief Range Officer for the stage or area should be consulted. If a question or disagreement still exists, the Range Master should be summoned and asked to rule. If the Range Master is unable to resolve the question, only he/she may summon the Match Director. The Match Director’s decision is final.
10.4. Shotgun/Pistol steel calibration – Match Official will shoot the target from as close to the same position as the competitor as reasonable with factory 115gr 9mm in a firearm with a barrel not longer than 5 inches. If the target falls/reacts, the stage will be scored as-is.If the target fails to fall/react, the target will be scored as hit.Re-shoots will not be given for calibrations.
10.5. Rifle steel calibration –Every attempt will be made to use reactive targets for long range rifle engagements.Failure to cause a reactive target to activate will not be given a calibration. In the event a falling target is used, and calibration is requested, a Match Official will shoot the target from as close to the same position as the competitor as reasonable with 55gr XM193 in a firearm with a barrel not longer than 20 inches.If the target falls/reacts, the stage will be scored as-is.If the target fails to fall/react, the target will be scored as hit. Re-shoots will not be given for calibrations.
10.6. Squib – If the competitor any Match Official suspects a squib, the shooter will be stopped as quickly as possible.If a squib is found, the stage will be scored as-is, including all penalties and the shooter will be required to rehab or replace the firearm. (see Section 5)If no squib is found, the competitor will be given a re-shoot.
Tarheel 3 Gun Quick Reference
Infraction Penalty Rule
Loaded gun on cold range DQ 1.2.1
Re-holstering a loaded pistol is not allowed (empty is OK) DQ 1.5.6
Negligent Discharge DQ 2.2
Projectile strikes the ground or any object other than an intended target within 10 feet of the muzzle (includes walls, windows, stage props) or projectile does not strike a proper berm or backstop. DQ 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3
180 (assumed) or specified muzzle safe plane violation DQ 2.4
Unsportsmanlike Conduct DQ 2.6
Cheating, falsifying scores, altering targets DQ 2.6.1
Intentional loss of ear/eye protection DQ 18.104.22.168
Handling a firearm used in the COF, unless instructed to do so DQ 2.5
Slug fired at flying clay DQ 2.2.1
Discharging a firearm while handling a second firearm DQ 1.7
Dropping a LOADED firearm, or dropping a firearm during the loading or unloading process DQ 2.3
Persistent failure to reset (3rd warning) DQ 2.6.3
Shooting prohibited ammo DQ 2.6.2, 4.5
Altering firearm to gain competitive advantage DQ 22.214.171.124
A grounded firearm, loaded and not on safe, and the shooter moves in front of the firearm. Note: “loaded” means round in the chamber and ready to fire. DQ 1.4.3, 1.4.2
Shooting under or over barrier (e.g. wall) resulting in shot fired in unsafe direction DQ 126.96.36.199
Unsafe gun handling: people down range, not under direction of RO, abandoning in an unsafe manner or direction DQ 2.7
Any violation RO deems serious enough, even if not specifically written in the rulebook. DQ 2.8
Foot fault, no significant competitive advantage (includes stretching rope boundaries) 5s 9.5
Foot fault creating significant competitive advantage(includes stretching rope boundaries) 5s per shot 9.5
Failure to follow WSB (no significant advantage) 5s 9.4
Failure to follow WSB creating significant advantage 5s per shot 9.3, 9.4
Grounded 1911-style handgun with WORKING grip safety found without manual thumb safety engaged. 5s 1.5.3
Anyone but match official calling hits on targets 5s 9.2.3
Intentionally moving outside the fault lines (short cut) 10s 188.8.131.52
Skipping a position while failing to engage a target(shortcut) 10s 9.2.7
Pre-loading shotgun to more than division capacity 10s 9.6
Grounded 2011 without functioning grip safety and thumb safety not engaged, and the shooter DOES NOT move in front of the firearm 20s 1.5.3
Grounded firearm loaded and not on safe, and the shooterDOES NOT move in front of the firearm 20s 1.4.1
Failure of good-faith engagement of any target in order to gain an advantage. Long range targets require an aimed shot.All shots must impact a berm/backstop(2.2.3) 20s 3.4, 9.2.6
Failure to paste and reset after first verbal warning 20s 2.6.3, 2.6.4
Points down on target (per point – not in A, B or 0 zone) 0.5s 9.1.4
Steel or frangible Target missed under 100 yards 5s 9.2.4
Paper target missed < 100 yards 5s per missing hit 9.1.5
Target missed over 100 yards 15s 9.2.5
Targets shot over or under barricade presumed to extend to infinity and NOT resulting in unsafe condition 5s per required hit 184.108.40.206
Hole in a clay target No penalty (Hit) 9.2.2
Chip on edge of clay target 5s 9.2.2
Steel spins such that it is bladed to shooter but does notfall 5s 9.2.1
Hit on no-shoot (shoot-throughs count!) 5s 9.1.7, 9.1.8
Timeout (180) 180 + all penalties 9.5
• Steel targets must fall to be scored
• Default timeout is 180 seconds unless otherwise specified
• The back of the competitor’s vehicle is a Safe Area as long as the muzzle stays within the vehicle
• You can handle ammunition at your vehicle, including pre-loading shotgun magazine tubes
Test for firearm not on safe(Sometimes safety appears halfway on/off.)
1. Do not touch
2. Bring competitor to see
3. Lift from container without touching safety or trigger group
4. Unload and depress trigger with grip safety not engaged
5. If hammer/striker falls, assess an appropriate penalty. If not, no penalty
1. Do not touch
2. Bring competitor to see
3. Lift from container without touching safety or trigger group
4. Point in safe direction and depress trigger
5. If firearm discharges, assess an appropriate penalty. If not, no penalty