The number one reason people tell me they don’t want to shoot 3 Gun is because they don’t have/don’t want to buy a shotgun just for shooting a game. I have heard this more and more over the past 5 years.
There are 3 major things contributing to this:
1) We have a large pool of people coming back from the global war on terror, who have bought carbines similar to the ones they were issued, and want an outlet to practice the martial skills they learned and used. Very few of these people actually used shotguns, and those who did will admit their limited utility.
2) The focus in commercial defensive/tactical shooting schools is entirely geared around rifles and handguns now, there aren’t as many tactical shotgun classes taught anymore by comparison.
3) Expense: one less gun makes it that much more affordable to compete in both initial equipment investment and ammunition costs. While people may own shotguns, few are optimized for shooting 3 Gun. Competitive 3 Gun Shotguns are somewhere between a home defense shotgun and a hunting shotgun. 21-24″ barrels with chokes and full length or longer magazine tubes are the norm. The ammunition carrying equipment to be competitive is also increasingly impractical for anything other than competing. The shotgun is consequently viewed as much more specialized equipment than rifles or pistols.
I think its time for local groups to start pushing Rifle/Pistol matches, and perhaps a national level match with just these two firearm types.
The American Confederation of Tactical Shooters Arizona contingent runs monthly matches with consistently good turn outs for local level events (40-60 shooters). It is strictly a rifle/pistol match, with many of the stages combining physical challenge elements, and the stages are often based around real world incidents. The demographic of shooters at that event is different than most of the other matches I attend; the mean age is younger, and more active duty military, veterans, and Law Enforcement attend it. There are also more people attending who have paid for commercial training that want a monthly event to keep their skills sharp.
Whether it is tactically based or more sport oriented I think there is a market for Rifle/Pistol matches.
Edit: 12-16-2012 Since the writing of this entry, ACTS-AZ has become 2 Gun Action Challenge https://twogunaction.squarespace.com/