Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun 2016 Photo Blog

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Earlier this month I was invited to attend (and participated) in a national 3-Gun competition, Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun, in the new Stealth Division. Up to then I had only done my local club matches. Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun is in it’s 20th year of competition, and certainly lives up to it’s name.

3-Gun is certainly not a spectator “sport”, but hopefully I can help you live vicariously and enjoy this match through some of the photos I was able to capture of the event.  And I promise this will be the last post about SMM3G.

Again, thank you to KE Arms for the invite and opportunity to run their firearms during the match.

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All of these had to be cleared during the Side Match.

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The special Team Match was scored by the time it took to clear all of the steel and cut this board down.

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Side Match had prizes such as free entry and guaranteed slots to next year’s SMM3G

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Awkward positions didn’t stop anyone.

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It was possible to find love on the course.

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Peek through the window for the 1 second target presentation

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Had to climb a tower to access the gongs.

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If you hit a tripwire, you lost your support hand…

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…I didn’t hit the tripwire… 🙂

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Hands up, Don’t….ND…. (too soon?)

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Okay, so I dig the optic on the shotgun.

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There was some waiting time between stages.

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While this helicopter had seen better days, it still made for a good shooting platform.

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Wait. You mean I have to shoot “ALL” of the targets? Wha?!?

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The vendor area at the competition was like a mini gun show. And KE Arms apparently also sells cokes.

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Danielle Vermeulen contemplating the next stage.

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Just like any match, everyone has to help reset the stage.

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Baby strollers. Not just for babies. Unless you consider your $4000 rifle a baby…

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My gear was much less customized.

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Jeff B. hailing all the way from Saskatchewan to compete.

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Team Kel-Tec definitely won the beard competition.

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There really weren’t that many places to spectate from, but some could be found.

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Is that Kalani Laker? Running a Cobalt Kinetics?

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John McClaine rocking the best pants at the match. It seriously took 4 takes of the picture to get the whole barrel in the frame.

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Sponsorship Jerseys. Not just for Nascar.

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Some of the cases have seen some miles.

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All manner of shooters could be found at the match.

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The most patriotic rifle at the match.

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Agreed. Speed and accuracy are key. But don’t go so fast that you ND. That is too fast.

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Say what you want. The Kel-Tec RDB looked pretty good.

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It really started getting warm, in the Phoenix April weather.

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I’m pretty sure that cactus was a “no shoot” target.

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Do not disrespect the almighty timer…

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I looked good shooting this stage…

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…Danielle Vermeulen looked better…

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…Bearded Kel-tec guy looked the best.  Yes, I had beard envy.

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Iain Harrison running the shotgun like a champ.

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I think it would have been more fun to have the dummy fighting back.

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Speed shotgun. Someone actually cleared this stage in 3.7 seconds (there are two more plates off camera)

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Russel Phagan completing this horrid stage with the KE Arms prototype Aimpoint Glock.

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My favorite stage. Because I got to lay down. Hey, it was hot out…

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What you can’t see is that Glen was balancing on a board. Over a pool of lava. Or maybe it was just a tarp to simulate water. But lava sounds cooler.

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Silently standing there. Waiting to be shot…

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I had a hard time with this stage. Because I was chasing the dot on the optic.

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Little did I know I would capture both Iain Harrison….

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…Danielle Vermeulen, and…

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…Jeremy Ward all in the position.

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Glen Stilson was moving too slow so I caught him one position earlier.

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Something was terribly funny here.

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Yep. I still think the Cobalt Kinetics was the best looking rifle out there.

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I can’t tell you how many people didn’t get to engage these because they got stuck hopping platform to platform.

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The Mid-Evil 360 Vertical Foregrip was great here.

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This poor rifle looked so lonely parked all by itself on the side of the stage.

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See all of those orange marks around the window? Yeah. People missed with the Milkor. That had a red dot. And was tuned to lob perfectly through that window. In all fairness, it did have a mile long trigger pull…

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Not only did Glen run fast enough on this that the RO had a hard time keeping up, BUT he realized he missed a couple of steels, and backpeddled like a mad man and still cleared the stage faster than most. Oh yeah, and everyone else used a pistol by this point.

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I think a few rounds were shot. Brass call is going to suck…



Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • KestrelBike

    haha way too cool. Awesome pics, thanks!!!!

  • Nicholas C

    Looks like fun. The side match looks really fun except the cutting of the board.

  • Doc Rader

    Ha. Not a rifle at all. That was Kalani’s shotgun… 🙂