I’m not an advocate of team sports. Depending on other people’s abilities and having others depend on mine is way too much pressure for me. Many of my friends played sports in school growing up, and I frequently attended their games. I experienced firsthand how their parents and coaches would yell and correct them as they played. Even after we left the game, the same parents would complain about the other team members and how bad they played. It was easy to come to the realization that I would not be playing team sports any time soon. I don’t do well being yelled at before, during or after I am doing something, especially in front of a group of people. But, 3-Gun meets my minimal competitive needs. As a 3-Gun competitor, I set my own goals, create my own “plan of attack” and am responsible only for myself. Since there is no coaching in 3-Gun, I only have the voices in my head to listen to.
3-Gun is an individual sport, but unfortunately there are some competitors who take the individual part just a little too far. Yes, you shoot as an individual, but you are also a member of a squad. There is not an “I” in team and there certainly is not an “I” in squad.
For the past 3 years, I have held the endearing title of “Squad Mom” by many competitors, both younger and older than me. At least once a day, while walking through the NRA Annual Convention, SHOT Show or any competition, someone will yell out, “Hey Squad Mom!” I might turn to see Jason Hornady, Neil Davis, Iain Harrison, Graham Hill or any one of the “children” I took care of on a squad at some match. Collecting and putting score sheets in order, making sure the person on deck was ready and sometimes even passing out snacks was part of what I did.
My 3-Gun experience began behind the scenes, watching range officers getting ticked off, having to correct someone, and competitors giving dirty looks to others that were smoking and joking when they were supposed to be setting steel and taping targets. With a background of knowledge through observation, I could be called the “Emily Post” of 3-Gun.
The following is a list of what my 3 years as Squad Mom have taught me:
Hopefully, my etiquette list gives you some information on participating in 3-Gun and helps alleviate any apprehensions you might have. If you’re still unclear, find someone on your squad that looks like they know what they’re doing and ask questions. You might also consider becoming a Squad Mom and learn from behind the scenes, like I did. Whatever you decide, know that there are always people out there willing to help you along.
Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, is the managing and social media editor at The WON. She also is the author of the column "Princess Gunslinger," sponsored by Trijicon. A mother of 2 adult boys, Michelle has been right there beside them hunting youth deer seasons, plinking pop cans with .22s, now it's her turn! Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group, LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers. When not working, Michelle enjoys shooting sporting clays and competes in prestigious shooting events, such as the Bianchi Cup in Missouri, and major 3-Gun matches nationwide. View all posts by Michelle Cerino