Now that the 2011 Tiger Valley Team Match is done, my focus on training and preparation is now for the Ironman 3 Gun June 5th-7th in Parma Idaho.
The round count at Ironman is about 3 times that of traditional 3 gun matches. All of the stages use all 3 guns, and typically have required 30-60 pistol, 30-60 rifle, and 30-40 shotgun rounds if you don’t miss. Carrying 50% more than the minimum is a good idea to accomodate for misses or malfunctions.
The Ironman 3 Gun features Trooper division, where equipment is unlimited, but you must carry it with you for the entire match stage to stage (for full trooper rules read here). The high round count and physical stress of the courses make the Saiga-12 a distinct advantage over a tube fed shotgun in Trooper division. Even if someone is a fast tube fed loader, it becomes difficult to maintain loading efficiciency over 30-40 shells as fine motor skills degrade.
Coyote Tactical first made a Saiga-12 Trooper vest for me for in 2007. I used the same vest through 2010, and we modified it several times to incorporate new features based upon changing operational requirements and things I learned using it over that time period. The vest held up great, but we reached the point where it would be easier to start fresh with a new design than keep modifying the old one.
The new design incorporates features I wanted based upon running the Saiga-12 in competition since 2006, and optimization for use in Trooper division at Ironman.
- Carries four 10 round Saiga-12 magazines
- Saiga-12 mag pouches come down low enough on the sides to allow for a full hand grip on the magazine when grabbing it out of the pouch. Magazines are carried shells up for loading efficiency.
- Flaps for the pouches are adjustable in height to accommodate smaller capacity magazines. Flaps can also be tucked behind the magazines for faster reloading sequence on stages requiring minimal movement.
- Carries three AR15 magazines and two Glock 30 rounders tiered above the Saiga-12 mags. They are retained by elastic sewn into the pouch. The height difference between the mags prevents the mags from interfering with each other in reloading.
- H-style support harness for greater comfort and stability than X-harness style.
- Belt keepers on the front to hold the vest down and keep it from riding up.
I was able to used the vest at the Phoenix Rod and Gun 3 Gun Match
Local matches are organized practice/training sessions, and that’s generally what I use them for.
I Identified 3 things I needed to fix at this match
1) My shooting gloves had some fuzzy stuff on them that the velcro on my mag pouch flaps could bind to. It slowed down my reloads on one stage. I took a lighter to them after that stage to eliminate the problem.
2) I haven’t shot a Saiga in almost 10 months, I need to get used to the bore offset again with the red dot; more practice
3) My Saiga malfunctioned twice with failures to eject. I cleared them quickly by racking the bolt. The trigger was also behaving strangely. After the match I found that the right side leg of the hammer/trigger spring had moved out of position causing the trigger to reset slowly. I bent the spring and fixed it and it function tested fine after that.
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