Practical Shooting Aftermarket Essentials
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- Last updated: 01/07/2019
So, you’ve started shooting practical disciplines. You’ve joined the United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association (UKPSA), the governing body for all UK practical disciplines. You’ve spent too many man hours researching Facebook groups and internet searches for suitable firearms. Armed with this, you have raised a second mortgage for finance and stuck in your firearms certificate (FAC) variation for, well, pretty much everything you might need and then some!
To start with, if you’re getting into Practical, Action-type shooting, then you may as well go the whole hog and ‘kit up’ for Practical Shotgun and Three Gun events too. For both of these disciplines you will need a Section 1 shotgun on your firearms licence. This is a high capacity shotgun (SG), typically 9+1, and more in some cases. Decide upon the class you want to shoot in. This can be Standard – large capacity semi, Manual – large capacity pump action, or Open – this is the magazine-fed guns, typically based upon AR or AK platforms, although other systems are readily available.
You will also need a Minirifle. Typically, this will be an MSR, (modern sporting rifle). Again, many of these are based upon an AR platform or similar. The MSR offers the best options in ergonomics and robustness, whilst featuring high capacity magazines, and the capability of adjustment and fitting of suitable optics.
Lastly, you will need an LBP, (Long Barrelled Pistol, or Revolver come to that).
There is a wide range to select out there now, from the ubiquitous GSG 1911, the K22, Walther PPQ and GSG FireFly to name but a few. So, what to do now?
For magazine-fed firearms, you will need a suitable number of magazines. Typically, start with three or four of everything, SG, MSR and LBP. Now you need to figure out how to carry them. For dedicated PSG, there are many options to hold your shells for tube guns. These carriers can allow for individual loading, duel and quad loading (two or four at a time). These can use simply friction clips, or even magnets to hold shells in place on the belt.
For Three Gun, shotguns, Minirifle and pistol, you need the ability to carry all ammo on your person during the competition stages. The starting point is a good shooting belt. These are typically a rigid, two piece design with Velcro™ to allow for adjustment. Upon this are fixed magazine pouches, or rigid magazine carriers. Normally, these are attached by a simple belt loop, or more typically with a quick release plate such as a Teklok™ or similar. This allows you to fix your belt with an array of magazines, but also to adjust very quickly as circumstances demand.
For our Open shotguns, Minirifle and LBP box magazines, we have a range of soft and rigid holders, which attach to the belt, can be easily adjusted, and yet firmly secures them in place. The rigid holder’s angle can even be adjusted, so it’s orientated perfectly for reloads. There’s a few tricks for the LBP mags that you can also employ. Aftermarket extras, such as extended bases and replacement followers, increase the capacity from 10 to 13, or 16, and even higher for certain models. This can be a great benefit in competition shooting, as being restricted to only 10-rounds can easily cost you.
Team RedFlag magazines also sport ‘BUMPZ’ ™ on their bases. These are impact resistant bumpers that fix on the base, so that when you dump your empty on the floor, it receives a gentle landing, rather than an unhealthy clunk. For LPBs, this also has the added benefit that the magazine is made longer, and so protrudes from the base of the pistol. This makes good positive reloads much easier as you ‘slap in the mag’.
There are good firearms retailers out there with extensive ranges of aftermarket equipment, and even a few dedicated companies with some great offerings. Team RedFlag has a supply of products and equipment made by 3 GUN NATION UK, which fit the bill.
For our Mini Rifles and Section1 Open shotguns, we have also fitted a ‘MAGSWELL’™.
This is a great piece of kit that can be simply fitted at the base of the rifle’s magazine well, producing a pronounced ‘flare’ at its base. This enables you to load a fresh magazine, which is naturally guided into the well without fumbling. This one piece of kit is invaluable for fast, smooth mag changes; cannot recommend it enough.
In Three Gun, you are carrying typically three different magazine types, and it could be two or three mags of each depending upon the stage requirements, and your fear of running out of ammo. In extremis, this could mean up to nine! Even my expanding waste line can’t accommodate them all! For this, there are options to ‘double stack’ the holders. Effectively one is attached to another, so doubling the capacity, but halving the room needed on the belt.
As well as the dedicated competition rigs, like those from 3 Gun Nation UK, keep an eye on e-bay. There are some good suitable options out there, particularly on the back of the growing airsoft market. Soft mag pouches are a good economic option to consider, as well as a good source of different shooting belts.
The long and short of it is that in Practical disciplines the actual shooting element is only 1/3rd of the equation. 2/3rd is goods drills and practise, particularly for reloading and movement and the final 1/3rd is the organisation of the ammo on the shooter and the suitability and quality of the equipment. So, give yourself every edge. Magswell™ for easy changes, magazine holders on a decent belt, and increased capacity of the pistol mags.
3 Gun Nation UK; https://3gunnationuk.biz/ Team RedFlag;