3-Gun Competition Upgrades for AR-15s

27th Apr 2020

If you've ever participated in a 3-gun shooting match, you know that speed is the key to victory. As the shooter, you need to pivot to hit a wide variety of targets at a range of distances using three different guns: a rifle, a handgun and a shotgun.

Many shooters find that the rifle portion is the most demanding part of the competition. You'll need to seamlessly transition from double-tapping multiple targets at extremely close distances to hitting precise targets that are hundreds of yards downrange.

If you want to improve your 3-gun skill set, it's going to take practice and technique. You can also give yourself an edge by  upgrading your gear, starting with an AR-15.

What Parts to Upgrade on 3-Gun Rifle?

An AR-15 is a powerful, user-friendly firearm right off the rack, and by adding a few accessories you can turn it into the tool of a champion. The only question, then, is deciding which parts of your AR-15 could use an upgrade.


AR-15 2-Stage Trigger

Your success in a 3-gun competition depends mainly on speed, but speed is nothing without accuracy. A trigger is critical on both fronts. For a 3-gun match, the  best trigger is one that has a crisp break and a pull weight you can adjust to suit your preference. You want to choose a trigger that offers a short, tactile reset so you can nail quick follow-up shots during the competition.

Lower Receiver

The lower receiver is the foundation of your AR-15, so you need to make sure it's solid. The ideal lower receiver will be lightweight likely with an oversized trigger guard so you can find the trigger and start firing quickly.


Strike Industries Enhanced Pistol Grip

A good 3-gun rifle is one that feels good when you are using it. The grip on your AR-15 is a major contributing factor on this front.  Choosing a grip with the right ergonomics will also go a long way in helping you control the gun during rapid transitions from one target to the next.

Adjustable Gas Block

An adjustable gas block lets you control the amount of gas that enters the tube when you shoot. Setting the gas correctly will give you the optimal force to cycle your bolt and improve your gun's timing. You'll also feel less recoil, which can make the difference when it comes to a 3-gun competition where you need to work fast and move between targets with zero hesitation.

Buffer Tube

A buffer tube, also sometimes known as a receiver extension, is an often-neglected component of the gas system of your AR-15. No gas reaches the buffer tube directly, but the weight of the buffer and the strength of the spring within the tube are contributing factors in the overall balance of a well-tuned machine.  Customizing the buffer tube can go a long way in terms of keeping recoil to a minimum. It may also be necessary to adjust the buffer setup to suit specific ammunition, such as subsonic rounds.

Bolt Carrier Group

Lightweight Bolt Carrier Groups

The bolt carrier group is a critical component of your AR-15. It loads new rounds into the chamber and fires them, ejects the spent casing, cocks the hammer and repeats this cycle for every new round of ammunition. The entire process can occur multiple times within one second, especially during a 3-gun competition where speed is vital.

For an AR-15, you'll want a bolt carrier group that reduces the overall weight of the firearm by cutting down on the amount of mass present, while also being durable to standup to repeated use.

Muzzle Device

AR-15 muzzle with various muzzle devices

There are a  variety of muzzle devices on the market that can help you achieve different effects. The main benefit of a muzzle brake is that it can reduce recoil and facilitate the kind of fast shooting that you need to succeed in a 3-gun competition.

What Makes a Good 3-Gun Rifle

Every shooter is different, so there's no single answer for what makes a rifle good when it comes to a 3-gun competition. The best thing you can do is take these factors into consideration and build a gun that works for you.

Explore AR-15 Upgrades on WingTactical.com

Next time you hit the shooting range for a 3-gun competition, give yourself an edge. Browse our extensive inventory of accessories and AR-15 parts, including grips, muzzle devices, lower receiver parts and more.

Wing Tactical is a veteran-owned business, and our goal is to meet the needs of every shooter. Whether you're a law enforcement officer or a weekend shooting range enthusiast, we have the gear you need to hit the target every time. We offer next-day shipping for every order, and if you're not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you can return it hassle-free within 30 days.

Our staff consists of experienced shooters. We'll never sell you a product we wouldn't use. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to send us an email so we can point you in the right direction.