Nearly perfect weather and plenty of challenging stage layouts greeted the more than 340 competitors who made the trek to Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club in Mesa, Arizona, for the 2023 Superstition Mystery Mountain 3-Gun competition, a.k.a. SMM3G.
One of the longest-running and most prestigious events of its kind, SMM3G usually draws many of the finest 3-Gun shooters from around the world. Attendance is virtually mandatory if you want to be recognized as one of the sport’s top competitors. Best described as a run-n-gun event, it requires meticulous preparation and a high degree of skill if you hope to finish at the top of your chosen division.
“The match was exceptionally well run with fun stages that tested well-rounded shooting ability.”
– Mike Bauer, WEGC Match Director / Competitor
As the name implies, most of SMM3G’s divisions require competitors to use a rifle, pistol, and shotgun as they tackle several stages throughout the three-day match. While a given stage may only require one or two weapons to be used, many compel competitors to be proficient with all three if they want to win.
“SMM3G went back to a half-day format this year and it was a welcome change! The match moved smoothly and the staff and stages were great. Thank you to POF-USA for being the title sponsor once again. I know Frank [the late Frank DeSomma [of POF-USA] was looking down on the match and smiling.”
– Keith Garcia, Pro 3-Gun Competitor / SMM3G High LEO Shooter
Scoring is based on the amount of time it takes for a competitor to complete stage, but additional penalty time is added for any errors made during the stage. Miss a target—or forget to engage one altogether—and your chances of landing on the podium range between slim and none.
“This year’s match seemed much tighter and more technical, than the past few years, which was a challenge for me, but an awesome learning experience. I’m continually impressed with how professional and efficient the match is run for the number of shooters that come out. I also really like Rio’s Stealth division and how practical it is. Hopefully we’ll see it grow in popularity among other multi-gun organizations.”
– Andrew Wright, SureFire LLC / Competitor
The degree of difficulty within each stage can also vary with the target distances themselves. The 2023 didn’t present as many long-distance targets within the stages as previous SMM3G editions, but that hardly diminished the intensity or the fierce competition level. However, you don’t have to be the fastest or the best to enjoy 3-gun competition. Safe gun handling at all times is an absolute must, and SMM3G may not be the best choice for your first-ever competitive match, but it nonetheless offers a great atmosphere and plenty of opportunity for shooters of varying skill levels to enjoy the camaraderie, challenges, and rewards of a well-run event.
Nils Jonasson put in a dominant performance, taking the overall win as well as first place in Stealth 2-Gun. AJ Anthony and Kyle Litzie had an epic battle for the always stacked Tac 3-Gun division, with AJ taking just barely edging out Kyle for the win. Varick Beise won Open 3-Gun, Ross Haney won Heavy Metal 3-Gun, Joseph Murray won Limited 3-Gun, and Kyle Robinson won Open 2-Gun. Here’s a list of the top finishers at this year’s SMM3G. For more results, CLICK HERE.
2023 Superstition Mystery Mountain 3-Gun
Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club
Results: March 17-19, 2023
Overall: 1. Jonasson, Nils; 2. Anthony, Aj; 3. Beise, Varick 2; 4. Litzie, Kyle; 5. Kitzmiller, Matt.
Tactical 3-Gun: 1. Anthony, AJ; 2. Litzie, Kyle; 3. Shelby, Glenn; 4. Tisler, Evan; 5. Lockaby, Bryson.
Open 3-Gun: 1. Beise, Varick 2; 2. Schmidt, Tucker; 3. Kitzmiller, Matt; 4. Saiti, Naim; 5. Weinstein, Lee.
Stealth 3-Gun: 1. Lytton, Tony; 2. Gentry, Ty; 3. Bures, Vitezslav; 4. Meisaichi, T.j. 1; 5. Wright, Andrew.
Heavy Metal 3-Gun: 1. Haney, Ross; 2. Schilling, Brandon 3; 3. Petcoff, Steve; 4. Wegener, Jeffrey; 5. Piatt, Bruce.
Limited 3-Gun: 1. Murray, Joseph; 2. Krenzelok, Tyler; 3. Torres, Chadd; 4. Pennington, Shane; 5. Miller, Kurt.
Stealth 2-Gun: 1. Jonasson, Nils; 2. Fletcher, Kyle; 3. Neal, Kelly; 4. Martinez, Benito; 5. Jones, Ethan.
Open 2-Gun: 1. Robinson, Kyle ; 2. Williams, Justine.
High Lady: Barnes, Lanny
High LEO: Garcia, Keith
High Military: Fuchs, Ron
High Senior: Holmes, Tony