Tonight was the final night of the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun Invitational, and while it didn’t go exactly as planned for me I still had an absolute blast. The high desert surrounding Bend is absolutely beautiful, and provided an amazing backdrop and a wonderful setting for what was the most challenging 3-gun I’ve ever participated in…
Stage 7 (video up top) started with 16 paper targets at about 45 yards, designed precisely to require more than 30 rounds and annoy those without an extended magazine. Thankfully I brought one of Surefire’s extended magazines and loaded up a good 40 rounds, and while it did have one failure to feed a quick tap-rack put things right and I was running again in a second. After grounding a safe rifle on the table the shooters moved to a second bay, where their shotgun was ready to take out the clay pigeons and steel targets. Some of the better competitors shot a slightly more “gamey” strategy, but I figured that I should try to take out the hardest targets (the small steel plates) while I still had rounds in the shotgun. I reloaded once, but then swapped quickly to the handgun.
Stage 8 is where everything went to hell. The plan was to engage a bonus target with a stage M249 with IR scope on it, then engage some clay pigeons with the shotgun, some steel, and eventually take out the paper targets with the handgun. I made it up to the shotgun portion before things went wrong.
As I was moving down the line of shotgun targets I lost track of where I was. In the dark I couldn’t find the dump barrel for the shotgun, and became disoriented. My brain was already three steps ahead. As I went looking for it the muzzle of my shotgun (pointed at the ground the whole time) broke that magical 180 line. It was an instant match disqualification.
I was completely furious at myself. I couldn’t believe I had made such a rookie mistake at an awesome match like this one. And to be honest, as I write this I’m still in a bit of a funk. I’m a competitive person — that’s my nature — and failure isn’t something that I handle well. But even despite the sour ending this was still an amazing competition, and I did things that I will remember for the rest of my life. Plus, I have some new awesome videos for my bosses to salivate over.
The final banquet is tomorrow, and while I’m no longer curious about what’s on the prize table I’m still wondering who actually won. The best shooters were competing this weekend, and seeing which one adapted the fastest to the new challenges will be interesting.