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About Multigun Competitions

multigun feature

Table of Contents

Hey all, we here at True Shot Academy are going to go over Multigun competitions today. Mulitgun competitions are popular among shooters of all types, from casual to serious competitors. Our goal with this blog post is to provide a brief overview of these types of competitions while delving into traits and other pertinent information. Without further ado, let’s talk about Mulitgun competitions.


What is Multigun?

Multigun competitions are practical shooting competitions in which shooters utilize multiple firearms. These types of firearms are typically going to encompass rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Additionally, some divisions and matches utilize rimfire firearms in calibers such as .22 Long Rifle rather than centerfire firearms. The roots of Multigun matches can be traced back to the Soldier of Fortune (SOF) matches which began in Missouri in 1979. From these initial matches, the concept of Multigun competitions gradually spread across the rest of the country. Since the debut of the matches, numerous governing organizations, divisions, and rulesets have spawned regarding Multigun competitions.

Like many types of competitions, Multigun matches feature numerous stages and courses of fire. Some stages may lean more heavily on one firearm than the others. The inverse is also often true as some courses of fire require shooters to utilize all applicable types of firearms on the same stage. There is a physical element to these competitions as the shooter must move throughout the stage to engage targets. Often times, the shooter will have to contend with obstacles and take shots from a variety of different positions. Targets in these types of competitions are generally going to be either cardboard or steel. Close range targets will be of the cardboard variety while steel targets are placed further away for rifle use. This is done to minimize the potential of ricochets and spalling.

During competitions, shooters are accompanied by an RO, or range officer during the course of fire. In addition to ensuring safety procedures are adhered to, ROs will also carry a timer with them to record the competitor’s time on the stage. There is a briefing regarding the course of fire for each stage. This details things such as the starting position, likely ammo count, and outline of the targets to be engaged. Additionally, there is typically a safety briefing at the beginning of the match which outlines the range procedures which must be adhered to. Violating any safety protocols will result in a competitor being disqualified from the stage or match depending on the severity.

Firearms for 3 Gun Competition
Firearms for 3 Gun Competition

Different Divisions

These types of competitions are conducted in a variety of divisions and under various sets of governing bodies. The governing bodies offer different divisions and rulesets, providing competitors with a myriad of options when it comes to selecting matches.


Major Governing Bodies of Multigun Competitons:


  • International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC): Offers Open, Modified, Standard, and Production divisions/rulesets.
  • United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA): Offers Open, Tactical, Limited, Heavy Metal Tactical, and Heavy Metal Limited divisions/rulesets.
  • 3-Gun-Nation (3GN): Unlimited, Practical, Practical .308, Factory and Heavy divisions/rulesets.
  • International Multi-Gun Association (IMA): Open, Stealth 2 Gun, Stealth 3 Gun, Tactical, Limited, and Heavy Metal division/rulesets.
  • United Multigun League (UML): Race, Limited, Optics, Heavy, 2×4, PCR (Pistol Caliber Rifle), 2 Gun, and Ladies divisions and rulesets.


It should be known that there is some overlap between some of the divisions and rulesets offered by these governing bodies. Some governing bodies and match directors may feature unique rulesets and conditions with their matches. Because of this, shooters should refer to the ruleset and conditions specified by their specific match, shooting venue, and governing organization when competing.


2 Gun and 3 Gun Matches

2 Gun and 3 Gun matches are some of the most common Multigun competitions one will encounter. 2 Gun matches incorporate two firearms into their competitions, generally in the form of a pistol and rifle. Like the name suggests, 3 Gun matches incorporate three firearms into their matches in the form of pistols, rifles, and shotguns. During these matches, one may encounter stages which require shooters to utilize one or many of these firearms in a single course of fire. A number of clubs, ranges, and organizations host Multigun matches of this type, making these competitions among some of the most accessible for new shooters.


Cowboy Action Shooting

Certain types of Cowboy Action Shooting are done in a Multigun format. These types of matches utilize Old West style firearms. Many 19th century firearm designs are prevalent at these events such as single action revolvers, derringers, shotguns, and rifles. Diverse styles of shotguns are utilized in these events such as lever action, double barrel, single shot, and pump action shotguns. Typically, handguns are holstered at these events while long guns are to staged for use at certain positions or are carried by the shooter. Simply put, Cowboy Action Shooting events allow shooters to engage in entertaining and historical Multigun shooting competitions.


“Outlaw” Matches

In the realm of multigun competitions, the term “Outlaw” is used to refer to matches which exist outside the typical governing bodies. An appropriate term for these types of matches would be “outliers” as they exist beyond the standard established canon of competitive shooting. These matches will typically utilize IMA or UML rulesets. A notable example of an ”Outlaw” type match would be a 4 Gun match. Like a 3 Gun match, a match of this type will require the use of a pistol, rifle, and shotgun with the addition of another type of firearm. This can be something like a pistol caliber carbine (PCC) or any other firearm which differs from the standard three categories.


What Ammo is Used in Multigun Matches

Typically, shooters will shoot common, mainstream calibers in Multigun competitions. Calibers such as 5.56x45mm NATO, .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and 7.62x51mm NATO are among the rifle cartridges. Some competitions even see shooters utilizing .300 Blackout and 7.62×39 ammo in AR and AK platforms. When it comes to pistol calibers, mainstay calibers such as 9mm Luger, .40 Smith & Wesson, .45 ACP, and 10mm are often used in these types of competitions.

Competitors will generally utilize either standard full metal jacket loadings or competition specific loadings when competing. Regardless of what shooters employ in competition, they generally spend a great deal of time finding out which load works best for their firearms and use case. By doing so, they will ensure that their loading is optimal for the competition they are running. Once a desired loading has been selected, serious competitors tend to stick with that exact load for all their competition uses. Doing so promotes consistency and allows an end user to stick with ammo that works.

Firearms for 2 Gun Competition
Firearms for 2 Gun Competition

How Can You Get Involved in Multigun Matches?

If you would like to participate in Multigun competitions, one will find that there are many points of entry. A good place to inquire about upcoming matches would be your local shooting venue that hosts matches. Formal matches often require a fair amount of space and real estate to run, meaning that local ranges with large bays often host these types of events. You can inquire further by asking staff at the range in person or on the facility’s website. Additionally, one could use an online resource such as PractiScore to find and register for matches. In addition to allowing one to register for matches, PractiScore also records scoring data and match results, making it a great tool for shooters. One could also inquire about potential matches in their area while at a local gun shop. Simply put, one has a wide range of resources available which will help them enter the world of Multigun competition.



All in all, Multigun competitions are some of the most popular and prevalent competitions when it comes to shooting. These matches are held across the United States on many scales, making it easy for casual and serious competitors to find matches. We here at True Shot Ammo carry a wide variety of ammunition well-suited for competition usage. Whether you are shooting Multigun, engaging in another shooting discipline, or need ammo for other purposes, we here at True Shot Ammo have got you covered. As always, happy shooting.


Need bulk ammo? At True Shot Ammo, we have a wide variety of handgun ammo and rifle ammo available to purchase. Please visit our website, call us at (888) 736-6587, or you can email us at [email protected] for more ammo options.


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