WRAS 3-Gun AAR from April 25: Running the Horseshoe

Only a week or so after the actual event! The April 25th WRAS 3-Gun match in Spruce Grove was a solid shoot. Despite ominous forecasts and a few horror stories from the road, we seemed to be in the eye of the storm all day Saturday. No rain, no snow, only a little wind and chill. Lets run through the stages…

Stage 1 was a zig-zag pattern. Shooters begin on the left side of the field with an array of IDPA and no shoot targets. On the buzzer, they clear the paper with their pistol, ditch it into a dump box, retrieve their rifle and run diagonally across the field to a desk barrier.

There are targets on the way to the barrier, a cluster of 3 targets about 60 yards downrange, and a pair of shielded targets right at the barrier. It’s not often that you’re shooting rifle paper under 5 yards, so I had a good time compensating for the height over bore of the Tavor. Once that’s clear the rifle is ditched, and the shooter cuts back across the field again to where their shotgun is waiting with some steel poppers and clays.

The view from the shotgun dump box, you can see both sets of rifle targets against the far berm.
The view from the shotgun dump box, you can see both sets of rifle targets against the far berm.

Stage 2 took place on the range behind the Quonset, and had a fun shotgun-focus. After breaching through the door, shooters find themselves in a snow-fence hallway and have to move up to a table clearing poppers and clays on both the left and right. Strategically placed barrels put some tricky clays behind cover, and counting targets during the walk through definitely paid off. I watched a few people zip through the course only to realize one clay had survived in hiding.

Once the hall was cleared, shooters would dump the shotgun, take their rifle off a range table, and ring 3 steel targets down-range. Simple, clean. Pick up the rifle, fire 3 rounds from a standing position (no resting) and put it down again.

Of course my rifle jammed. Having just experienced a serious malfunction with the shotgun at last month’s shoot, I wasn’t feeling mean enough to mortar my Tavor and force it to behave. I took a Failure to Engage penalty on this stage and moved on to the handgun port. The last segment of the stage was a wall with an array of 5 paper targets and two no-shoots fanned out in front of the window. It was a fun and fast section of working left to right hitting close targets in swift succession.

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Stage 3 used the wide yard range, and had the distinction of featuring the first steel no-shoots I’ve ever seen. It went like this: shooters begin by ringing steel through ports on a VTAC barrier, run diagonally across the range two a goal post of barrels framing a range of paper IDPA targets.

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Once the paper’s been thoroughly punched, the shooter dumps their rifle and returns to the center of the stage where their shotgun is waiting on a table between a set of ported walls. The texas star is set up directly downrange from the table, but with two steel poppers sitting in front that are listed as no-shoots. As you knock plates off the star, remaining targets start to spin behind the no-shoots. Hit them fast! Because it is possible for two plates of the star to come to rest behind the poppers, and then you’re out of luck!

After returning your shotgun to the table you clear the remaining IPSC targets with your handgun through the ports in the walls. I was lucky here, if you do everything right you can clear the shotgun portion with only 5 rounds.

Stage 4 & 5 took place on the same range, and had the same set of commands, but each used a single firearm. Stage 4 was the pistol horse shoe, while 5 was the shotgun horseshoe. There were two starting boxes, and a symmetrical array of targets on each side, with a single solid wall in the middle. The idea was that the shooter could choose either box, and clear the course however they wished, but sooner or later you were going to have to come back up the opposite side.

It was great to see different shooters try to game particular portions of this stage. Do you try to shoot around the wall from your start position, and clear the closest two targets on either side? Do you try simultaneous slow movement and slow shooting to bring each close target into view at the right time? Do you chase speed or accuracy? Despite being only a single-gun stage, it was still challenging and fun to think through.

The horseshoe course that made up stage 4 & 5
The horseshoe course that made up stage 4 & 5

Doing the whole thing again with a shotgun and clays instead of pistol and paper was great. This is exactly the kind of thing where I expect the Mka 1919 to shine, and it did. After a year of shooting this shotgun in competitions, I think I’m about ready to put together a proper review. Expect that to appear here shortly!

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