As 3-Gun competitions continue to sweep across the country with a flurry of popularity and growth, you may be considering to give it a go at some point. Within that decision lies many questions. Where do I compete? Are there different classes? What specific equipment do I need? In the next couple of articles, I will cover one of the key pieces of equipment needed to compete in 3-Gun competition, the pistol. After decades of shooting, I’ve become a big fan of Glock products due to their simplicity and near flawless reliability. I carry a Glock 19 or Glock 43 depending on season and what I’m wearing but for target and competition shooting, the Glock 34 is king. Designed to be the “Practical Tactical” by Glock, it is categorized as a competition pistol.

A great resource is the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) which contains more information and rules on 3-Gun competition.

Days of Guns: Glock 34 Perfect for 3-Gun
Glock 34

Ever since I separated from the military, I greatly miss the type of shooting we used to conduct in the 75th Ranger Regiment. It was always dynamic and realistic which is a stark contrast to the static shooting conducted at your average gun range. To fill this void, a couple of non military friends of mine, who also enjoy shooting, suggested we attempt 3-Gun competition this spring. Having developed a comfort due to extended time behind various carbines and pistols, I jumped at the suggestion and began researching what I need to be prepared for this endeavor. Both of these friends shoot shotguns competitively so I tapped their experience for pointers on becoming more proficient with a shotgun. While performing a quick inventory of my current firearms, I noticed a possible weak link in the pistol department. I don’t own a target specific or competition handgun. Now I’m sure I could have got by with my Glock 19 but this was a perfect excuse to look for another gun to add to my collection. Having owned several Glocks over a span of 20+ years and becoming intimately familiar with these firearms, I was leaning towards the Glock 34 to assume the roll for 3-Gun competition.

Choosing the most effective caliber is a concern for 3-Gun competition and should be heavily weighed when selecting your pistol. I chose the Glock 34 9mm pistol to take advantage of the few extra rounds afforded by the smaller bullet. Scoring values at 3-Gun competitions may be different depending on your caliber size. This ensures someone shooting a high recoil pistol like a .40S&W or .45ACP, which are harder to control, aren’t disadvantaged compared to shooters using smaller calibers like 9mm. Check with your local club or visit their website to determine if they use the Major/Minor scoring values. Major/Minor scoring is more common in larger matches that involve cash prizes but our club scores everything as Major so my decision to use a higher capacity, low recoil 9mm made the most sense.

Check out this in depth article on 3-Gun competition for additional information.

Days of Guns: Glock 34 Perfect for 3-Gun
Glock 34 in action

The Glock 34 was designed to be the same length as a model 1911 pistol due to it’s proven long standing reputation and accuracy. With a 5.31″ barrel and their standard hexagonal rifling, the Glock 34 is a very accurate pistol out of the box. 5.31″ is also the maximum allowable barrel length in most competition divisions so Glock was clearly paying attention. Couple that with a lengthy 7.55″ sight radius and you’re sure to consistently bang the steel in a fast paced 3-Gun environment. The standard Glock 34 comes with a decent, albeit plastic adjustable target sight. The optional MOS version (Modular Optic System), includes a machined slide that facilitates the mounting of several different mini red dot sights without the need for a gunsmith or machine shops assistance. My local gun shop only had the Glock 34 Gen 4 MOS version in stock so I ended up purchasing it. Although the 3-Gun class I will participate in does not allow optics mounted on the pistol, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have the option if I ever decide to change classes or use the pistol for other types of competition that do allow it.

Days of Guns: Glock 34 Perfect for 3-Gun
Glock 34 slide

The standard ergonomics of the Glock 34 are well thought out by the engineers in Austria. A 108 degree grip angle follows the natural human form and the bore center resides a mere 20mm above the top of your hand. This low center of bore axis allows maximum control of the recoil and rapid follow up shots which is a key feature not found in many competitors models. Controlling the recoil for quick follow up shots is what will keep you ahead of your competitors while running and gunning through a 3-Gun course. Another key advantage over a 1911 or any single stack competition pistol is the 17 round capacity found in the Glock 34. With certain 3-Gun regulations allowing magazine extensions, you can easily carry over 20 rounds of 9mm per magazine which will greatly reduce the your overall time by requiring fewer mag changes.

Check out this video courtesy of Glock demonstrating their pistol ergonomics.