Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"It's Not A Magic Wand." --That's a fact.

Tamara references Joe Merchant's blog on how it's possible to miss with a shotgun from across a room.

Those who believe that Open Choke means that you can "clear a room with a single blast from the hip" simply don't know what they are talking about, and need to be led by the hand to a tactical shotgun match.

Such matches, I have found, teach valuable lessons, such as:

  • 1. Some degree of aiming is required. Yes, you can point, but do so more accurately.

  • 2. You're not as good with your pump shotgun as you think you are. No, you're not.

  • 3. Rapid-fire high-brass loads can rattle you.

  • 4. Low-brass target loads, no matter how you center the plates, won't reliably knock down heavy steel.

  • 5. Autos are faster, no matter what you've heard.

  • 6. As a matter of fact, autos are generally more reliable than pumps. No, really.

  • 7. Good shotgun skills do require practice. Engaging multiple targets smoothly and accurately does not come "naturally."

  • 8. Mounting the shotgun to your shoulder quickly and properly and in a repeatable fashion is incredibly important. (See #7.)

  • 9. Sights and slings are valuable tools.

  • 10. Moving about with a shotgun deployed, ready for pop-ups, requires practice.

  • 11. Nothing is so big or so close that you "can't miss."

  • The most inveterate shottist can learn or relearn valuable lessons at these competitions.

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    At Sunday, August 05, 2007 5:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hear, hear! At rookie shotgun qualifications, many are amazed they can't just shread the targets by spraying "from the hip." All you write about the tactical shotgun matches is indeed true. Some proficient pistol shooters find it difficult to solve the problems using their short scatterguns. A LOT, including some street cops, cannot rapidly maneuver and shoot multilple targets. Frequently, it is the hunters who do the best in these matches. They KNOW how to operate their bird gun, scan the targets and make assessments while reloading under time comstraints. They rapidly shoulder the gun and get their eye down behind the receiver - - And cardboard is perforated or steel plates fall.

    It is interesting to how many guys have sidesaddles and butt cuffs full of slugs, with little idea where their gun throws them at 25 yards, much less 50.

    Over three decades ago, aware of my own limitations, I bought an extra barrel for my 1100 Remington auto, cut it to 20 inches, and mounted rifle sights on it. No more pinched fingers, no more "short stroking."

    During my final dozen years at my last agency I was in administration and keeping a long gun in my car was optional. I tried to like an issue Remington 870, but finally it seemed that the police shotgun wasn't worth the bother. I regularly qualified with a rifle or carbine, and that was my "go-to" if things got tense.

    At Sunday, August 05, 2007 7:02:00 PM, Blogger Murphy said...

    Re #2

    4 levels of competency (for just about everything that I do).

    1) you suck and don't even know it.

    2) you know you suck.

    3) sometimes, if you try real hard, you don't screw it up all the time.

    4) your'e ok, now practice some more.

    At Monday, August 06, 2007 4:45:00 AM, Blogger Full-On-Forward said...

    AMEN- and this is TOTALLY from a Hunting experience of 40 years. I couldn't begin to Imagine the tactical not to mention HUMAN dynamics that go into shotgun handling in life and death situations!

    You are right- not that you need my endorsement in every category as I've experienced from hunting -It can only be multiplied x XXX in people situations- and can't even compare!!!!. Well written Matt and my utmost respect for you calling out the Rambo's that think Shotgun skills come naturally!!!


    At Monday, August 06, 2007 5:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    6. As a matter of fact, autos are generally more reliable than pumps. No, really.

    Heretic! HERETIC!!

    Actually, this has been my observation too. I also notice that when a pump suffers a jam, it's a lot nastier than the common auto jams, and is more of a pain to clear. Auto shotgun operators are also notified that their guns are empty before guys running pumps.

    And at the risk of suggesting that you can buy skill, if you're getting beat up badly by your 12 gauge, get a stock that fits right.

    At Monday, August 06, 2007 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

    PDB, I will say, if you're trying to fire 6 or 7 rounds of 1.25 to 1.5 oz magnum buck or slug loads fast, I'll tell you right now that it'll rattle; I don't care who you are or what you're shooting. Those magnum loads are throwing ~500g of lead out the barrel at ~1500 fps. That creates recoil that beats a heavy .45-70, any day. Now do it rapid fire, engaging multiple targets, and you begin to feel it, or at least notice that it's not so easy to acquire the next target.

    I'm really surprised that I haven't been called down about making my outrageous "autos are more reliable than pumps" comment. Decent autos just keep on feeding clean plastic-hulled shells, all day long. Auto-shotguns probably got the reputation of being less reliable the first couple of decades that they came out, when shells were still made of paper. Get 'em wet, or compressed, and they would bulge and morph shape on you. In such an instance, a pump would probably make it easier for a determined shooter to crank an oddly-shaped shell into the chamber.

    But I've never short-shucked an auto, and I have done so with a pump. A good short-shucking failure will take you clean out of the fight.

    At Monday, August 06, 2007 12:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "6. As a matter of fact, autos are generally more reliable than pumps. No, really."

    Unless you are using it to discourage an intruder. You have to admit, the sound of pumping a shell into the chamber is quite an attention getter.

    (it does a lot for the hunting dogs too - awake and in the truck, ready to go.)

    At Monday, August 06, 2007 3:59:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

    Gunsmith Bob on the Browning Auto 5/Remington Model 11:

    "You get people who bring those things in to get 'em cleaned, and it's the first time the gun's ever been taken to a gunsmith in thirty or forty years. You can look at the screw heads and tell the owner's never had it apart. And you get up in there and there are leaves and dirt and dead insects and dirt dauber nests and you ask the guy was it running okay? And he says 'Sure, it was running fine; I just figgered I oughtta get it cleaned since it's been twenty-five years'..."

    At Monday, August 06, 2007 4:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have an old Mossberg shotgun (bolt action) with the twist choke. On 'Improved Cylinder' it's a formidable area weapon - with birdshot.

    Of course, while it will pretty well fill a 6' circle at across the room distances, even with #8 birdshot that's not a lot of pellets / square foot.

    And while I do not want to take a load of #8, if you pepper me with it at that range you'd better hope you greased the outside of that barrel because I am not going to be happy - or gentle - with you.

    At Tuesday, August 07, 2007 2:08:00 AM, Blogger KD5NRH said...

    Aw c'mon Matt; I didn't even have my Mossberg 835 shouldered worth a darn last time I lit off a couple 3.5" mag 00 loads, and it didn't hurt a bit until the numbness and tingling went away.

    At Tuesday, August 07, 2007 4:33:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

    Oh so true... Most people don't even know what patterning is either. I saw a "good" shooter brag on how he could take steels with birdshot at a 3-gun in NC, worked okay on the first two sets, but as the sets moved out to 15 yards, he couldn't put them down without multiple hits.

    One issue with autos, there is a problem when you have to cycle between 00 buck and slugs during a run. That will DEFINITELY play with your head...

    I shoot an old Mossy 590A1 and love it. I'm not the fastest guy, but I eventually get em all down...LOL

    At Wednesday, August 08, 2007 1:53:00 AM, Blogger Ambulance Driver said...

    People fail to realize that when shooting a scattergun, your eye is the rear sight.

    If you don't put that rear sight in the same place every single time, prepare to miss. A lot.


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