Have you checked out how much it costs to compete in airsoft? $4000 a year per player? If people are willing to shell out $4k to run around and shoot plastic pellets, how much would they be willing to pay to blast away with a real gun in their hands?
The problem is that four grand is just the cost of the guns needed to start into 3 Gun. Match fees and ammo (especially ammo) are going to cost you much, much more. The question remains: How much will you actually spend the first year shooting 3 Gun matches?
A typical four-stage 3 Gun match requires approximately 100 rounds of rifle ammo, 100 rounds of pistol ammo, 50 shells and a half-dozen slugs. You may shoot more, you may shoot less, but that’s a good amount to take to the range on match day, and you can use the leftover ammo for practice or plinking.
Match Fees: $180
Shooting one match a month, that means you’ll shoot 1200 rounds each of rifle and pistol ammo, 600 shells and 70 slugs. Match fees vary, but figure $10-20 each time you show up as good benchmark, meaning you’ll pay $180 to your local clubs for the matches you shoot during the year.
1200 rounds 9mm: $275
1200 rounds .223: $360
600 12ga shells: $185
70 12ga slugs: $60
First Year Startup Cost: $4560
Subsequent Yearly Cost: $1560
The subsequent yearly cost is based on a year’s worth of ammo cost and match fees, plus an additional $500 each year for gear tweaks and equipment upgrades. To be honest, I was expecting the yearly cost to be much more, but sticking with inexpensive ammo like PMC and Armscor dropped the price significantly. Ammo costs would be even less with remanufactured ammo, reloading your own rounds or going with even cheaper brands like Wolf and Tula.
Is 3 gun more expensive than USPSA or IDPA? Obviously yes, because you are spending more more money on more guns and more expensive ammunition than a pistol-only competition, but it’s not out of reach of the average U.S. household. The startup cost is high, but the enjoyment factor is very high as well.