Ryan Wiggins picked up his first firearm in first grade during a camping trip. He liked the Marlin Model 60 so much he asked for one for Christmas, and Santa delivered. Yes, he still owns that rifle, and other than one of the stock screws working its way out, he’s never had an issue.
It’s been two years since Ryan began competing at local pistol matches with his factory Smith & Wesson M&P 40. The awesome people at his club made the matches fun. However, after shooting two local 3-Gun matches a little over a year ago, he made 3-Gun his thing. In 2015, Wiggins signed up for the 3-Gun Nation Southwestern Regional Championship in Marble Falls, TX. Since then, he’s shot almost every major 3-Gun Nation Regional Series match, including the Nationals last year.
Ryan is currently the Match Director for the 3-Gun Nation Club Series and the Cactus Combat Match League. When Wiggins suggested they add 3-Gun at his local club, he became the new match director for one of the largest shooting facilities in the country.
When competing, Ryan shoots a KE Arms Team Rifle. It has a 16” Daniel Defense barrel with a mid-length gas system and A2 buffer setup to accommodate his LUTH-AR stock. His muzzle break is a UM-Tactical R.A.G.E. As for his choice of optic, it’s the Atibal Velocity 1-4x.
For his shotgun, Ryan shoots a first generation Benelli/HK Super Black Eagle, chambered in 3 1/2” magnum. The shotgun has been re-stained very dark, and Ryan applied about a dozen coats of gloss on top. He also embedded silicon carbide into the checking, opened the loading port, installed an extended lifter, a low drag follower inside a Nordic +9 MXT tube with HD spring, a Wolff negative power recoil spring, minimalist Hi Viz front sight, and titanium nitrided almost all of the moving parts in the gun. The shotgun now runs like a true champion on 1300 FPS shells.
For pistol he uses a Glock 34, although the only original parts left are the frame and barrel. The .7 pound, stainless steel slide is ultralight. It has a Zev mag well and mag release, and an aftermarket prototype trigger. He runs a mid-weight striker spring on a fluted and ported low mass titanium nitride striker, with a factory Glock trigger spring. Combined with a competition disconnector, the trigger pull is just under 3 pounds. He uses 10-8 Performance Glock sights, and has factory Glock mags with Arredondo +5 base pads.
All of Ryan’s soft goods—range bag, rifle case, shotgun case, backpack, magazine pouches, and belts, were provided by Wilderness Tactical Products. The sturdy, stiff, blue range bag has many pockets, and heavy-duty Velcro where needed. The multi-cam rifle case is almost like a hard case with a thick, flexible plastic layer around the inside of the zipper. It acts as a barrier around the case to protect the rifle and optic when closed. The inside has Velcro for all of his patches, and a big piece of MOLLE material for gear. His shotgun case is similar to the rifle case, but larger.
Being a gunsmith, Ryan never leaves the house without his Wilderness duffle bag full of essential gunsmithing tools and spare parts. In his duffle you can find: approximately 50 allen wrenches (both metric and standard), roll pin and regular punches, pliers, a small brass gunsmithing hammer, zip ties, JB weld, Loctite, about 12 screwdrivers, swabs, a towel, electrical tape, brass brushes, toothbrushes, a few small wrenches, as well as Reaper Solutions’ Reaper Cleaner and Reaper Lube.
When not on the clock, Ryan spends his time creating new products for the firearms industry, designing 3-Gun stages, cooking, talking on the Biggunner81 YouTube show, tracking stock market trends, answering Facebook questions about guns, following the news, studying animals, reading old gunsmithing notes, playing Battlefield 4 on Xbox with his fellow Veteran buddies, or hanging out and relaxing by the pool. He likes to camp, 4x4, hunt, and explore. His goal is to purchase a 50-foot sailboat in the next few years. Ryan wants to sail around with his wife, exploring parts of the world they have yet to experience.
For those new to shooting, Ryan says, “Don’t be intimidated or afraid to ask questions. The biggest step is actually getting out to the range and getting involved. Learn everything you can. The majority of competitors out there are more than willing to help new shooters with whatever they may need. Everyone in this sport has a common goal—to help the shooting sports grow. It is necessary in our fight to preserve our freedoms, and it’s a whole lot of fun. This is a great community, and an awesome industry.”