Build Your Own Gun Cart For 3 Gun Competition
In the last year I’ve taken up the sport of 3 Gun. As the name suggests, competitors shoot in various stages requiring a pistol, rifle, and a shotgun. The guns, the ammo, and the related support gear (ammo, hearing protection, magazines, etc.) can be a bit of a chore to schlep to and from the car. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and can actually get from my car to the match staging area at my local 3 Gun events in one trip. But once you’re there, then what? You have to find empty space on the long gun rack (if they even have one) to set up your long guns, then go find a table somewhere to load magazines. Those locations…if you can find them…will be stationary, and you’ll likely be moving around quite a bit from stage to stage, so your equipment will never be conveniently located. It’s kind of a pain.
It didn’t take long for me to notice that “the cool kids” at our matches had some nifty looking carts they were using to transport their guns and gear:
The advantages of such a device were clear – not only did it make the trip to and from the car a breeze, it also made for a great mobile long gun rack/loading station. Some of these “tactical caddies” were obviously re-purposed carts originally designed for other functions, while others looked to be professionally made products specifically made for 3 Gun/Multi-Gun shooters. In doing some research, I was surprised to learn that there really was only one choice in the market if you wanted a “pre-made” professional product – a company called Rugged Gear. Rugged Gear makes carts designed for competitive shooters – and they look very nice:
Unfortunately, as most well-made products are, the carts from Rugged Gear aren’t cheap – the one above is $249.00 plus $40.00 shipping. It’s certainly not an unreasonable amount of money, but it was more than I was hoping to spend so I began looking at alternatives.
If you look at the above photo, you’ll note this cart bears a striking resemblance to a baby stroller – the sort used by joggers. As it turns out, many shooters troll yard sales and second hand stores to find baby strollers that they convert into gun carts. Guys have told me they purchased them used for as little as $20.00, which I have no doubt is true if you’re equal parts patient and lucky. If you want something right now, it becomes a bit of a challenge. I started searching eBay, Craigslist, and even local thrift shops. The local places that even had anything like what I was looking for wanted at least $50.00 to $75.00 for them. That range held true too on eBay…except it would take another $30-$40.00 shipping to get one. “What do these things cost new?” I wondered. A quick search on Amazon.com and I found the following for just $100.00 shipped:
Basically I was buying a new stroller and paying about the same I could find them for used locally. And being new, I didn’t have to be grossed out by all the bodily fluids that the previous owner’s baby spewed all over my gun cart. 🙂
Besides the price, I chose this model because:
- It has a nice front wheel that can swivel for maneuverability, but is lockable for stability over uneven terrain.
- Cup holders! Yes, I wanted cup holders so that I could better enjoy refreshments between shooting stages.
- Plenty of storage – between the seat area, and the lower storage compartment, I could see where I could carry a range bag, cooler, and even some photo/video gear. It also seemed like I could easily reload ammunition from the cart between stages.
In addition to the baby stroller, I also had to buy some sort of clamp or mount to attach to the sides of the stroller which would hold my long guns. For this, I selected the Kolpin Rhino Grip Xl Rack/Handlebar Mount:
As you can see from the above photo, these grips were designed for use on ATV’s for mounting tools/firearms to vehicle racks. But shooters have been successfully using these to successfully mount long guns to jogging strollers for years – the mounting base fits tubing 3/4” – 2” diameter which falls in-line with the side bars of most strollers. Note that Kolpin makes double grip mounts that would allow you to mount up to four long guns on a stroller. The Kolpin grips are sold in sets of two, so I bought two (one set for each side of the cart) at $30.00 each. That put my total cost at about $160.00 – or about half of the cost to buy a gun cart from the fore mentioned Rugged Gear. If you were able to pick up one of those mythical used jogging strollers for $20.00, you could build the same thing for about half of what I paid. Here’s the finished product:
If you’re worried about this being an overly involved project – don’t. I’m not exactly a do–it-yourself guy and usually run far and fast from the words “some assembly required.” The cart itself came together in 5 minutes and I didn’t even crack open the instructions. Just pop the wheels on, put the cup holsers on, and you’re good. The Kolpin Rhino Grips just bolts on – a Phillips head screw driver and a gripping tool to hold the bolt while you tighten the screw is all you’ll really need. All told it took me about 20 minutes to complete.
Some people have encouraged me to cut the retractable canopy off to make it look less like a baby stroller. However, I’ve found that when the canopy is closed, the top of the canopy creates another handy place to set things in, so I’m inclined to leave it on. I’ve reached a stage in life where practicality often trumps aesthetics.
Having now used my gun cart at a 3 Gun match, I can confidently say it made all the difference in the world. It made the preparation for each stage and the subsequent transition between stages a breeze. Having all my gear in a convenient place that transported easily made it much easier to watch others shoot stages and learn from their mistakes. It also made reloading and prepped for each stage quite a bit easier – all this “easier” translated to less stress and more enjoyment during a match. Priceless.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.