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There’s No Shame In Using A Pump Shotgun For 3 Gun

There’s No Shame In Using A Pump Shotgun For 3 Gun

As a new entrant to the adrenaline-pumping world of 3 Gun competitions, you’re likely inundated with advice on gear. A common suggestion is to ditch your old pump shotgun for something more “advanced.” However, I’m here to offer a different perspective, one that celebrates the pump shotgun’s unique value, especially if you already own one.

The Reliable Workhorse: Embracing the Pump Shotgun

The beauty of the pump shotgun lies in its simplicity and reliability. It’s a purely mechanical device that’s directly under your control. Unlike semi-automatics, where bolt cycling is a concern, the pump shotgun gives you complete command over each shot’s timing and execution. This reliability is a crucial asset for beginners in 3 Gun shooting.

Remington 870 Pump Shotgun with Magpul Stock and Foregrip

Speed vs Skill: The Pump Shotgun Advantage

Yes, pump shotguns are slower than semi-automatics. But this isn’t the whole story. The pump action demands that you consciously re-engage with your target after each shot, potentially enhancing your accuracy. This deliberate action can sometimes outdo the rapid-fire nature of semi-automatics, which often leads to rushed shots and missed targets.

Loading Speed: The Underrated Competency in 3 Gun

An often overlooked aspect of 3 Gun competitions is loading efficiency. While shooting speed garners most of the attention, the ability to load quickly is equally important. Before splurging on a high-end shotgun, consider improving your loading techniques with your current pump shotgun. This skill development can significantly enhance your performance, often more so than a new firearm.

Budget-Friendly Strategy: Enhancing Your Pump Shotgun

A top-tier shotgun can be a significant investment, one that might not be necessary for beginners. Instead, consider upgrading your pump shotgun with a magazine tube extension and refining the loading port. This approach allows you to develop skills without breaking the bank. After gaining experience, you can reassess your needs and upgrade if necessary.

Remington 870 polished load port and Nordic extension tube

Starting From Scratch: Choosing the Right Gear for 3 Gun

If you don’t already own a pump shotgun, a mid-range model priced between $500-700 is a sensible starting point. This investment ensures you have a reliable and capable shotgun that won’t depreciate significantly when it’s time to upgrade.


Your success in 3 Gun competitions is more about skill and familiarity with your gear than the type of shotgun you use. If you’re starting with a pump shotgun, embrace it. Master it. Let it be a part of your journey in honing your 3 Gun skills. When the time is right, and you truly feel the need for an upgrade, make that decision based on your performance and comfort, not just prevailing trends.

Closing Note: Remember, the best gear in 3 Gun is what works best for you. Starting with a pump shotgun can be a practical, budget-friendly, and skill-enhancing choice. So load up, take aim, and let your skills, not just your equipment, speak for your prowess in the exciting world of 3 Gun shooting.