Colorado 3-Gun Bootcamp: A Beginner’s Guide to Completing Your First 3-Gun Stage

Lanny BarnesSTOP OVERTHINKING AND FOCUS ON YOUR SHOOTING! I struggled through the physically demanding drills three-time Olympic biathlete Lanny Barnes (pictured right) created for 3-Gun Bootcamp. A mixture of upper and lower body exercises with some shooting mixed in, Lanny broke me down so I could better understand the 3-Gun mindset. She succeeded. I learned a few tricks and, hopefully my mistakes become your blueprint when preparing for that first 3-Gun event. This adventure was set in motion for filming an episode for season two of GunVenture that airs on the Sportsman Channel June 26. 

Don’t Go Naked!

Would you show up to prom naked? I didn’t think so. I waltzed in without the proper shotshell carrier and the wrong belt. Looking over Lanny’s gear, I quickly realized I’d shown up bare. Lanny delivered the right gear without missing a beat. The shotshell carrier held a whopping 16 rounds, but I learned that you stagger the shotshells in every other carrier slot. This allows quicker access to shotshells for reloads. The belt was a Hogue competition inner and outer set.

The outer belt came off easily for times when nature called or if you didn’t want to carry extra weight after each stage. Although it never came off because I was sweating out liquid as fast as I could produce it, the outer belt carried a ton of gear.

Success Comes to Those Well ArmedLanny Barnes

I came well-armed for 3-Gun Bootcamp. I chose to run the Sig Sauer M400 Elite with Tango4 optic. Perfect for a 3-Gun rookie, this set up is  lightweight and easy to run. The optic allowed for quick sight acquisition. The M400 is light and quick to ready, which is ideal when running through the course.

The Springfield XDM Competition series carried the burden of bad shooting habits and years of neglect I’ve shown my pistol shooting. For the first time in a long time, I left the range with confidence in my pistol shooting skills. I can only attribute this to the XDM. A crisp, clean trigger pull and comfortable, ergonomic grip made shooting effortless. For a competition, ready gun, the XDM outperformed those old habits.


My muscles broke down, and my lungs felt like they had 107 years of hard smoking added. I survived Colorado, Lanny Barnes and her 3-Gun bootcamp. In one way, shape or form, I experienced each of these and surprisingly came out whole on the other side. Jumping into the 3-Gun competitive scene is no small feat. The tutelage that Lanny provided was invaluable, and anyone would benefit from having a guide to 3-Gun. Get the training and learn the right way instead of showing up naked.

- KJ

Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma, but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter, and knows his way around a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.

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