Guns Competitive Shooting

Shooting In The Dark

John B. Snow Avatar

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In a 3-gun match it is normal for things to go wrong. Magazines don’t feed. Shotgun shells get dropped during reloads. Guns seize up. Do a 3-gun match in the dark though, and things can grind to a jarring halt.

Case in point: On the first night of the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-gun Invitational match I had one stage that required shots on a fiendishly designed plate rack from MGM Targets that was three rows deep–18 targets total.

My plan was solid. The targets could be taken with either shotgun or pistol. I had my shotgun in hand as I approached this final element of the stage and had stuffed a couple extra shells into the magazine as I ran up to the plate rack. I was going to run my shotgun dry and then transition to my pistol. Good enough.

On the prior stage I wasn’t crazy about the amount of illumination being thrown by the light on my pistol, so I decided to swap it for a brighter unit for this stage. In case you’re wondering, yes, this violates one of the cardinal rules when competing: Don’t tinker with your gear in the middle of a match.

I had knocked down about five of the plates with the shotgun–the new Remington Versa Max Competition Tactical–grabbed my 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P Pro and knocked over a handful of the plates when the light came off my pistol, tumbling to the ground as the targets went dark.

I think I might have hit one or two more before the par timer buzzed, ending the stage. My friends on my squad were very sympathetic, naturally. They thought the sportsmanship I displayed by not taking the easy way out and using lights during a nighttime shoot was admirable and continued to remind me of the fact for the rest of the match.