What is the Best 3 Gun Pistol in 2017?

Our man Chester may be the most active member of our gun club. We meet officially once a month, the second Saturday regardless. We meet unofficially usually in some capacity once a week. It may be a barbecue, a road trip to the flea market, or meeting the bar to talk about guns. It’s something that brings us together and enhances our knowledge of firearms and related topics.

Chester has been following the lead of his brother Lester, and has participated in a few 3 gun shooting contests. These contests test the skills of participants with a variety of weapons, rifles, shotguns, and pistols that you supply as a contestant.

As Chester tells us, courses are created and stages are built. Different stages require the shooter to utilize different weapons to test their skills. The shooters take aim at targets set up close and some set up at a distance. Scoring is determined by the evaluated degree of difficulty associated to the targets, with points subtracted for penalties at each stage.

The overall challenge comes from the shooter and the weapons used. It suffices to say that these people are all talented marksmen, all at a higher degree than most. The conditions are neutral in concept, so the biggest determining factor tends to come from the equipment you use. Inexperienced shooters learn to hone their skill, and advance with practice.

The Top 3 Best 3 Gun Pistols

Chester, trying to do his best, or at least beat his twin brother Lester, challenged the group to help him find the best 3 gun pistol to add to his arsenal, and win the families affections for being the best, most decorated shooter in civilian competition. We thrive on this type of behavior, so we tested a few, and tried to determine which pistols would be most beneficial to our needs.

Three gun shooting tournaments are a fast growing sport. And the shooter wants something along the lines of being lightweight, fast and reliable. The best 3 gun pistol can take a beating. Repetitive firing. The average pistol used is a 9mm, and will go through at least 4 magazines during competition. Ideally it will be a single action piece, and will probably be fitted to accommodate a double stack to increase the shooters efficiency. Testing similarly on targets set up by Chester, we tested six models. These are our opinions, and ultimately, you may find a different model for your shooting weapon.

Springfield XD 9mm

  • Make: Springfield
  • Model: XD Compact
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 13
  • Barrel Length:8”
  • Finish: Black Polymer
  • Length: 75”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Springfield is a manufacturer that has never disappointed me, or most people that have had the opportunity to fire one. Springfield Armory offers this lightweight and versatile best 3 gun pistol in black like my model or in bi-tone stainless over black. This weapon offers the user the ability to maneuver easily, without the bulkiness that you might expect from a higher caliber pistol.

The lines on this pistol help make it easy for you will deal with. When you line up your shot, everything comes together. The low profile combat rear sight, falls in line with the target of the XD compact. It brings it all together with the fiber optic front sight and allows you consistent shooting.

The XD offers you everything that you would expect to find in a large pistol in an easy to carry compact frame. The magazine sits flush in the grip and works in and out of position with relative ease. The trigger safety is a great addition, and works perfectly with the trigger pull for an effortless movement. There was no jamming or sticking or any misfires for that matter. You get the reliability of the Springfield name put together in the compact usefulness you expect from Springfield.

The XD packs it in at 23 ounces empty. The slide is built from forged steel, and has a Melonite finish, while the frame is black polymer. This XD Compact, will set you back between $600-650. Well worth it for putting you where you want to be in 3 gun competitions.

Buy the Springfield XD 9mm online now with fast free shipping!

Sig Sauer P320

  • Make: Sig Sauer
  • Model: P320 Nitron Compact
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17
  • Barrel Length:7”
  • Finish: Stainless Steel
  • Length: 8”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Sig Sauer puts every effort forward to make theirs the best 3 gun pistol to win with. To start with, the P320 Nitron Compact, offers interchangeable grips to accommodate the needs of the user. For the current application we are firing the 9mm. Sig Sauer offers you the ability to convert your P320 to another caliber. If you are shooting a Sig Sauer for home defense, or as a sidearm or conceal carry, it’s easy to simply adjust to using the P320 and continue your consistent shooting.

To ensure user safety, Sig Sauer offers the striker safety and disconnect safety. The P320 is compact in size as well as in name, and it is designed for target shooting. Consistency and accuracy are the best descriptions for handing this weapon. No misfires, and no jamming. Any discrepancies came from operator error. The striker trigger fires with only 6.5 psi pull pressure. Easy to take down and build back up  puts you back in the game faster, and that adds to the aura that allows this model to be in the running for one of the best competitive pistols out there. This model is retailing at just around $675.

Buy the Sig Sauer P320 online now with fast free shipping!

Kimber Custom II

The Kimber Custom II is more than a pistol you can win a competition with. This model is a piece of art. Looks, feel, and reliability make this one of the best 3 gun pistols on the market. This 9mm pistol is designed and engineered to look and react like a traditional 1911. It doesn’t disappoint. You’ll buy into the straight lines, and the comfort from the rosewood grips. Round after round went through this chamber, and each one was right on the mark.

  • Make: Kimber
  • Model: Custom II
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 9
  • Barrel Length: 5”
  • Finish: Brush Polish
  • Length: 7”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

38 ounces empty, this nine shot capacity feels lighter than it is in your hand. The skeleton trigger and the enhanced hammer give you the impression that this is aerodynamically designed to perform at the most efficient of levels.

You’ll want this weapon on you while you are conceal carrying, target shooting, or as a reliable sidearm. This versatile piece is worthy of meeting the standards an experienced shooter demands. You can find this model trading new for just over $850.

Buy the Kimber Custom II online now with fast free shipping!

Glock 34 Gen4

  • Make: Glock
  • Model: 34 Gen4
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17
  • Barrel Length:3”
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Length: 74”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Glock pistols never disappoint when you wrap you fingers around it. This Glock is Chester’s current best 3 gun pistol he leaves his mark with in competitions. The classic look, black matte, simple packaging and, even lines is an example of what most guns strive to achieve.

The magazine comes with a 17 round capacity, enough to keep you in the top of the rankings. Loaded this model comes in at 33 ounces, fantastic for someone trying to max out capacity without sacrificing weight. You come to expect true firing, accuracy and reliability with anything Glock, and here they go again meeting those expectations.

Free of jamming, and no misfires. This weapon consistently performs at the level of the best 3 gun pistols available today. Chester will tell you if you ask, that he relies on his Glock for multiple applications, and this is no exception. You can find this model selling between $630 -700.

Buy the Glock 34 Gen4 online now with fast free shipping!

Smith & Wesson M&P 9c

  • Make: Smith & Wesson
  • Model: M&P 9c
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 12+1
  • Barrel Length: 2”
  • Finish: Armornite
  • Length: 7”
  • Magazine Type: Removable

Don’t be fooled by the size of this compact 9mm from Smith & Wesson. It will still put you on your rear end if it needs to. This is everything that you would expect from Smith & Wesson, just in a smaller package. Its size and versatility make this a welcome addition to your arsenal, and it’s made in the U.S.A., and backed by their lifetime service policy.

Another manufacturer that wants to make sure your hand fits as ergonomically correct as possible, offers three interchangeable grip sizes. The high strength polymer frame helps to absorb the impact from any recoil. It was hard to feel a lot of recoil when firing this weapon, which helps you while in the heat of competition. As reliable as you expect from Smith & Wesson. This pistol kept us on target with each shot fired, with the white dot dovetail sight up front, and the steel low profile carry sight in the rear.

Light weight at under 25 ounces empty this strong and willing gun which is one of the best 3 gun pistols around will hold 12 rounds in the magazine and one chambered. This gives you security and reassurance that you have enough to get you through what’s ahead. Then for your high capacity rounds the magazines slide in and out with relative ease. Chester’s older brother by 15 minutes, Lester uses this as his go to gun when he needs the best 3 gun pistol he can find. If you’re wanting to compete with the same pistol that Lester uses, check online for promotions, and rebates, but expect to lay out just under $575 for this offering from Smith & Wesson.

Buy the Smith & Wesson M&P 9c online now with fast free shipping!

STI Marauder

  • Make: STI
  • Model: Marauder
  • Cartridge: 9mm
  • Capacity: 21, double stack
  • Barrel Length: 5”
  • Finish: Black CeraKote
  • Trigger Release: 5 psi
  • Magazine Type: Removable

The STI Marauder is specifically designed to equip you with the best 3 gun pistol you need to keep in the running of any competition. STI thought about the needs of the user before the user had the chance to think about it. Built in a 1911 style, classic and traditional with 2011 black molded grips that accommodate any hand grip style.

The magazine holds 21 rounds, and allows for easy removal, and instant replacement. This you moving so you don’t miss a beat. The trigger reacts to 3.5 psi, and work with an Ambi-safety lever to maintain safety throughout your usage.

Because some 3 gun stages require the user to expend 75 rounds, we tested four magazines, 21 rounds each. We ran 84 rounds successively with no jamming or misfiring occurring. We stayed on target, and were only faulted by our own physical breakdown. Sliding the magazines in and out was a breeze. Because the Marauder is designed specifically to master a 3 gun competition, we had to consider the Marauder to be one of the best contenders. The only downside is the price. You pay for what you get. If 3 gun competition is your thing, this is yours for $2,399.


At the end of the day we all agreed on the Marauder from STI, but we didn’t all want to pay the asking price. That aside, I liked the Springfield. They offer confidence to me. Chester stuck with his Glock in the end, and Lester says he wouldn’t trade his Smith & Wesson for any of them.

The rest of the gang approved of the other manufacturers submissions. Where we all agreed was in finding a 3 gun pistol that fits comfortably in your hand, and that won’t weigh you down. We learned that if you are tired and spent at half way through your competition you are done. Try some models of your own at the range to get an idea of what you want, and what to expect. Then check out the online world for competitions in your area that you can take advantage of.

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