In a rare fit of advance planning and organization, I’m starting to think about what gear to use at this year’s Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational match. The event takes place August 12th through 17th in the high desert outside of Bend, Oregon, so I’ve got a little time.
As the event title implies, I need to pick, you guessed it, three guns to use – one handgun, shotgun and rifle. Stages are designed in such a way that you must always use at least two, and usually all three guns. Some targets require use of a specific gun type. For example, you might have to obliterate targets 1 through 9 with your pistol and targets 10 through 17 with your rifle. Other targets are optional, meaning that it’s the shooters choice whether to use a shotgun, rifle or pistol.
The event is more fun than should be legal, especially as it takes place in the absolute dark of night. Last year, shooting started sometime after 9pm and finished up some mornings near 5:30am. Who needs sleep?
This year, I’ve already decided to use the Midnight 3 Gun event as a home defense equipment trial of sorts. Rather than picking guns that are perfectly optimized to three gun competition rules, I’m going to pick guns that are reasonable to use in my home for protection of self, family and my ABBA vinyl record collection.
What does that really mean? If I was choosing to optimize for the competition and game the rules, I might select the following:
- A pistol with a 20 round magazine and hair trigger that shoots the lightest recoiling 9mm rounds I can find.
- A shotgun with a 30 round magazine extension where the magazine tube extends 12 feet past the muzzle. Total shell capacity would ideally be in the three digit range.
- A short barrel rifle that fires a low-flash and light recoiling round like the .30 carbine. Oh, and it would have about a 50 round magazine.
Tweaked out “competition optimized” guns like the shotgun mentioned above are obviously are not necessarily well suited for home defense. You wouldn’t want to be navigating your home in the middle of the night with a six foot long shotgun complete with magazine tube extending into the next room. A short and compact model would almost certainly be more appropriate – even if it had lower capacity.
With all that said, here’s what I am considering for each gun category:
I’ve got a number of contenders going for the perfect home defense / M3GI pistol. Last year I shot a Glock 17 equipped with Crimson Trace Lasergrips and Crimson Trace Lightguard. It’s certainly no slouch for a home defense gun. 9mm is acceptable as a defensive round, capacity of 17+1 is solid and you can find a holster to fit a geared up Glock. But it’s a new year and a new match. I’ve been there and done that with the Glock, so I’ll be trying something different. Perhaps one of the following: