Superstition Mystery Mountain 2-Gun?

Kelly Neal

On March 18-21, the ever-hard working crew at Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club put on the 26th annual Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun Match (hereinafter SMM3G). This is the longest-running multigun match in the world. It’s a match I never miss.

There were eleven stages requiring 379 rounds for the 2-gunners and 389 rounds for the 3-gunners. After winning it last year, I opted again for the Stealth 2-gun division, which is a combination of two very recent trends in the sport.

2-Gun requires only rifle and pistol, abandoning the shotgun. This option was first introduced last year, and participation doubled this year. I expect that this trend will continue as the shotgun becomes less relevant and more specialized.

Meanwhile, the Stealth rules are designed as an update to the old Soldier of Fortune rules. The goal is to maintain a level of real-world practicality:

Individually and together, these change up the feel of the match a lot. In the stage descriptions below, you can contrast the stage descriptions between the 3-Gun and 2-Gun match booklets.

For the match, I shot my JP-15™ with an 18” LWT barrel, LMOS™ steel bolt carrier, and Competition Series compensator. The JP-15™ was topped with Vortex 1-10x with MRAD reticle zeroed at 200 meters. For ammo, I shot Hornady 75gr. HPBT and a Leupold Deltapoint zeroed at 50 yards with Hornady 55gr. FMJs. My pistol was a CZ Custom Bull Shadow with iron sights.

The match was shot under the “outlaw” format of the International Multigun Association. The closest target was at about two yards with the farthest at 500 yards with everything in between. Overall, the match had a good balance of “technical” and “hoser” target presentations.

Here’s how the stages broke down and my strategy on each one.

And that’s how it went. After a closely fought battle, I ended up taking 2nd place to Brian Nelson by just .5%. Like always, the crew at Rio Salado did an excellent job putting on a challenging and fun match.

As for 2-gun, I predict it will be more and more popular. Speaking personally, it felt like I had about half the gear to manage that I do when I shoot 3-Gun.

The future of practical shooting sports may hinge on our ability to bring in more shooters to the competition world. I suspect that the specialized nature of shotgun gear keeps a great many shooters away.

A large number of shooters have an AR-15, some magazines and some sort of 9mm handgun that can readily be used in practical shooting events. Far fewer have shotguns, arrays of choke tubes and a multitude of highly specialized shell caddies to carry upwards of two full boxes of shotgun shells on their persons. 2021 already has some 2-Gun events scheduled, and if we want to continue to thrive as a sport, I expect we should have some more.

As a final note, the match was dedicated to Frank DeSomma, titan of POF USA, patron of the shooting sports and true patriot. Frank was tragically killed in a car crash on June 18, 2020. Frank donated a great deal of his time, energy and financial resources to support the shooting sports in general and the Superstition Mystery Mountain match in particular. We are diminished.

Kelly Neal is a legacy member of the JP Shooting Team and long-time friend of JP. He has been shooting 3-Gun alongside John Paul since the Soldier of Fortune days.

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