To be an exceptional gun owner, you need to regularly challenge your gun handling skills. One of the best ways to do this is to participate in shooting competitions. Shooting against a timer gives you speed vs. accuracy insight you don’t usually receive during typical range sessions. While competing, not only do you want to shoot fast, but you also want to shoot accurately. Because if you don’t, then penalties will be added to your score.
Shooting competitions also challenge you to engage a variety of targets at a variety of different distances. This is critical to learn because not all self-defense occurrences will happen within a short distance. Learning how to handle each of your firearms at various distances will help you become a more accurate shooter.
There are amazing ranges across the nation that offer a plethora of different types of competitions. I had the pleasure of competing in the Tarheel 3-gun Challenge at the Clinton House Plantation in South Carolina. This competition lived up to its name. It was a challenge.
About The Range
The Clinton House Plantation is in Clinton, South Carolina, and offers various shooting disciplines on-site from sporting clays and 5-stand to a 1-mile range and pistol range. They also have on-site hunting. They offer Quail, Pheasant, Deer, Pig, Duck, and Turkey. During my visit, I even saw some people fishing in the pond.
To learn more about everything the shooting range has to offer, visit their website: www.clintonhouse.com
About The Competition
The 2023 Tarheel Challenge consisted of 10 dynamic stages. Each stage was designed to take a minimum of 100 seconds to complete. And the total round count was close to 700 rounds between all three guns – pistol, rifle, and shotgun.
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This match provided plenty of options for you to decide how you wanted to run each stage. In most cases, all paper targets can be engaged with either rifle, pistol or shotgun slugs. Most close-range steel (within 50 yards) could be shot with a pistol or shotgun. And most long-range steel was intended to be shot with a rifle.
There was a good assortment of unique shooting positions for long-range. We shot from the back of a bus, from the hoods of an Isuzu and Suburban, from stacked tires to a 2nd floor of a metal trailer. The long-range target distances varied from 100 to almost 600 yards. It is rare to find a 3-gun competition that challenges your rifle skills with targets beyond 400 yards.
The targets I chose to engage with my shotgun were also a challenge. You have to know where your slugs will impact. They’re different than bird shot, and you usually can’t aim at center mass unless you have a red dot sighted in specifically for slugs. The propeller plate rack (also referred to as the Polish plate rack), double toasters, and double Texas stars were refreshing target presentations to engage with my shotgun.
The pistol targets were probably the easiest of all the target presentations. A few of the stages did have some static steel right around 50 yards, but in most cases, you were engaging paper and steel knock-down targets with your pistol. Having easier pistol targets to engage provided a good balance between easy and challenging targets. Had all the target presentations been extremely challenging, I think more people would have struggled to complete each stage’s course of fire within the allotted 199-second par time.
What I Learned
I still have a lot to improve on. This competition pushed my skills to their limits. I received a lot of penalty points for simple errors made. I really enjoyed all the long-range shooting and the unique target presentations. I am happy with my performance based on my skill level. Every competition is a learning opportunity, and I sure learned a lot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Meaghan Roble is an anti-gunner turned gun activist. She is a USCCA-certified instructor and an NRA-certified range safety officer. Meaghan is also an A Girl & A Gun Chapter Facilitator. She owns her own Firearms Training & Education business, Roble Defense, and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others.
Want more content from Meaghan? Follow her on social media. Facebook – @mroble16, Instagram – @mroble16, and YouTube – @M1ssM3gO
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