Today's article comes to you from Freedom Munitions Pro Staff Shooter Shiloah Mattoon.
Finding time to go practice is tough enough as it is, and there isn’t always access to a range for your 3 Gun rifle. Also, 223 ammo can add up in a hurry, especially if you’re not using Freedom Munitions like I do for practice.
But, none of that changes how critical it is to have confidence in your rifle skills. So, how do you do that if you only have access to indoor pistol ranges, 25 to 50 yard pistol bays or can’t drive hours to get to a rifle range? Well, you could just not practice, and say “My matches are my practice” like we all have heard hundreds of times. Although that’s probably not a good idea, especially when guys on your squad have names like Patrick “Machine Gun” Kelley! You can bet that he picks ups a rifle more than just at the match itself. Well there are a few options, parts and rifles to help eliminate this problem and keep your skills as crisp as your CMC Trigger.
Enter the world of the Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC). With a 9mm BCG and barrel you can build an upper half to convert your AR15 rifle, with a conversion block for your lower, into a PCC shooting 9mm ammunition that is generally accepted on most range’s pistol bays. There are also a few companies that make dedicated lower receivers that take PCC specific magazines so that you can build a complete rifle and eliminate the conversion block.
Without going into detail about what and how each person trains for 3Gun, the advantage of having a rifle that shoots 9mm ammunition is you now can practice your rifle handling, transition drills and offhand shots at any range you go to. You can also practice all of your positional shooting, including timing yourself getting in and out of a certain positions. This is important in your stage breakdown to know if it’s faster for you to go prone for three or more targets, but reverse kneeling is faster if you only have a couple of targets from a certain shooting spot. Don’t overlook sight alignment and trigger control for those longer range shots that you can still get from a pistol bay! Shooting a 1” target at the back of a 50 yard bay is the equivalent simulation of shooting an 8” target at 400 yards.
If you want to push your speed option (pun intended) with your rifle, head to your local Steel Challenge match to get even more rifle practice with your pistol caliber carbine! Training with different shooting disciplines such as Steel Challenge really forces a shooter to put the maximum amount of speed on transitions, but teaches us when we need to back off the throttle to make our hits count. Steel Challenge also helps us learn it’s fastest to transition our eyes to the next target and the gun will follow, instead of searching for the target with the gun. Plus pistol caliber carbines are SUPER fun! Who doesn’t want to have fun?!
Still need convincing? You can shoot them in select 3Gun matches in certain divisions like MGM Ironman and Hard as Hell’s Trooper division or bring it with you to the Seekins Precision Team Match where everything goes! Comparing Freedom Munitions 9mm vs 223 prices (reman), you save over one hundred dollars per thousand rounds by shooting 9mm ammunition! If you setup your PCC identical to your primary match rifle, you get all the benefits of training with your match rifle at most pistol range bays when you can’t make it to the rifle range at a fraction of the cost.