After my first 3-Gun match in February, clearly I was hooked, and couldn't wait till the next. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans for me—every single monthly 3-Gun match I could make got rained out! But, finally, this month's Texas Multi Gun match was actually happening... and it was extra-exciting because it would be the first time I was going to be shooting Ice Storm in a competition (read more about the white Saiga 12 gauge here and here).
There was a lot fewer competitors this time around, which was fine with me, as the last match seemed to be ENDLESS—this one only had about 6 people on a squad vs. February's 14 people per squad. Sure Shots San Antonio leader Becca was there with me, as well as my "spirit animal" Jonathan Foo. So, I knew a fun day was in store no matter how I shot.
Since I had received the Ice Storm a few weeks ago, I had been testing different ammo in it—I had heard Saigas were picky. I found a handful that seemed to work great, one of which I luckily had enough of in the garage to bring to the match (otherwise I'd have been screwed, as I hadn't ammo-shopped before the match, assuming it would be rained out yet again.)
The stages were pretty fun, though not as interesting as the match back in February. No shoot house this time! But there was one stage where the falling steel hit a clay pigeon release and launched two clays into the air, one of which on my turn was already broken when it launched—doh!
I had had some concern about mag reloads in the Saiga under the pressure of the timer. As I have written about before, getting used to an AR-style magwell with an AK-style "rock and lock" insertion is something different and takes some getting used to. Sometimes I can do it in a couple seconds, and sometimes it seems that sucker with never go in! This was not something I wanted to deal with on the clock. I couldn't have been happier when I realized that I could seat my mag and ground my shotgun in the barrel at the beginning of the stage—problem solved! And another wonderful thing about 3-Gun is that sometimes (often, I believe, though I'm not sure) once you run dry with the shotgun, you can transition to pistol and finish the job. For now, until I can change those mags like I can on my rifle and pistol, that's my strategy! In the meantime, at home, I seat a mag every time I walk by the Ice Storm. Practice!
I took it real slow and tried to shoot as smoothly and as accurately as possible. All my gear ran great, which is always a bonus. I can't wait to shoot 3-Gun again, and now I am looking at other clubs and locations to see what's all out there, I have a feeling the possibilities are endless!
Niki Jones is the Founder and President of Sure Shots, Texas’ Women’s Pistol League, which boasts over 300 core members. She is an NRA-certified instructor and has been shooting since she was five years old. She also holds her state commission as a Personal Protection Officer. When not on the range, Niki works in the magazine industry for various lifestyle publications.
Carrin Welch, a native Texan, is a relative new comer to shooting. She joined the Austin Sure Shots for practice one night in January of 2011 and never looked back. She is a NRA-certified instructor and also holds her commission as a Personal Protection Officer. Carrin recently launched ChickaBomb, offering a line of gun inspired jewelry, apparel and gear.