- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

LEBANON, Pa. (AP) - The last time Jon Beecher went deer hunting he felt like he pulled into an overcrowded Wal-Mart parking lot instead of the state game lands.

“I was coming home from sitting in the woods,” explained Beecher who had just purchased an expensive hunting rifle for the season. “I thought this is really kind of ridiculous. I spent this money on a hunting rifle. I sat in the woods for two days and I didn’t get to see a deer.”

But, Beecher enjoys exercising his second amendment rights, so it was important to him to find a way to do that.

That led the York County resident to a 3-gun match at the Lebanon County Police Combat Pistol Club (LCPCPC) on April 1.

What exactly is the sport of 3-gun?

“Three-gun is a compilation of rifle, pistol and shotgun to solidify all your skills and combine them altogether and do it for time, under pressure,” explained Scott Sheroky. “You transition from shotgun to rifle to pistol. It’s kind of a final test of individual skills at each discipline all put together.”

Some participants will run or sprint from station to station to get the best time and score, but at LCPCPC they are just getting the sport started and want to keep it low key and relaxed.

“We are here to have fun,” said Joe Murray, one of the event organizers. “Yeah it’s a competition, but the prize is bragging rights. We’re here to get people into it because we enjoy doing it and we want to get more people here doing it.”

While it appears to be all fun and games, 3-gun is very practical.

“If you do practice defensive style shooting for protection in the home,” Murray said. “(Three-gun) applies to it more than bull’s-eye shooting because you have to move around more and you get your heart rate up. You do have to engage multiple targets. It’s a little more towards the practical side.”

Each time a new match and course is set up, it’s setup differently to test the shooter’s skills.

“The idea behind 3-gun is to change things frequently so you don’t know when you show up what situation you are going to encounter, like in real life,” Sheroky explained. “In real life you don’t know what situation you’re going to encounter and the more you transition from different things (and) shoot from different positions it builds those skills.”

While low key and relaxed is the focus of the LCPCPC, the Heidelberg Sportsman Association is the opposite.

They offer four to five stages of fire with targets anywhere from point blank range to 75 feet, and at times as far out as 200 yards, according to the association’s website.

“Shooters may have to shoot from behind cover, under a car or wall, while on the move,” the website said. “Our stages change monthly and you never know what to expect from our stage designers other than you’re going to have a whole lot of fun,” the website said.

Before Beecher stepped to the line to make his run on the course, he joked.

“My first goal is to get through it without getting disqualified,” he said with a smile.

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Online:

https://bit.ly/2oYWgAn

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Information from: Lebanon Daily News, https://www.ldnews.com

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