Lock and load
Students pioneer gun competition club
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 00:09
Some students are interested in learning how to shoot properly and take part in competition while doing so. Aggie 3-Gunners is a new student organization billed as the nation's first collegiate 3-Gun competition team.
Chase Jennings, a geography graduate student and veteran 3-Gun competitor, created Aggie 3-Gunners. Jennings felt that 3-Gun was a fun sport with a high entry bar due to equipment costs and wanted to find a way to introduce college students to his passion at a reasonable price.
"I have been doing 3-Gun competition for a while now and I saw a substantial age gap between competitors," Jennings said. "I felt that this was a sport that my peers could surely enjoy as much as I do, but it's very challenging on a college budget. The price point just wasn't right. I wanted to lower the high-bar entry to competition and open this sport up to as many people as possible."
3-Gun is a form of competition shooting that involves the use of three different firearms. Competitors are required to use a rifle — usually a semi-automatic, such as an AR-15 — a pistol chambered in 9mm at the minimum and either a pump-action or semi-automatic shotgun.
3-Gun differs from other shooting sports because it is more physically demanding. Competitors regularly suit up in full tactical gear, similar to that worn by law enforcement and military, and run and shoot targets separated according to designation for rifle, pistol or shotgun.
Because 3-Gun is a sport involving firearms and strenuous physical activity, safety is a much bigger concern than it is in other shooting sports. All guns must be unloaded until the competitor begins a stage. Range officers oversee everything and make sure the competitors are ready to compete before any weapon is loaded. Infractions that could breach safety, such as a competitor dropping a firearm while running a stage, can result in immediate disqualification.
“It's actually a very safe sport," said Matthew Laffite, junior aerospace engineering major. "With modern advances in gun technology, firearms are safer than ever before. More importantly, each day of competition starts with a safety briefing and there are designated range officers enforcing safety rules. No one has ever been injured due to gunfire during a competition."
Aggie 3-Gunners exists so that anyone may get involved in the sport on a college budget.
"I think with proper time and adequate experience this is something that most people can take part in," said Kelly Hines, senior mechanical engineering major. "All are welcome, from hunters and target shooters to professional competitors."
Membership fees are $25. Meeting times and more information is available on the Aggie 3-Gunners Facebook page.
"Our hope is to get students introduced to this sport and form new world-class competitors from Texas A&M," Jennings said.