I leave the chamber empty, too, but I still have 7 rounds in the magazine, as well as six more on the receiver in a Side Saddle shell carrier. It's a safety measure, but not for kids (I don't have any). Before I built a rack next to the bed, I just propped the shotgun up in the corner, and I was worried about an accidental discharge from dropping it, or having one of the dogs knock it over.
An empty chamber also reduces the risk of pointing a loaded gun at someone who may not be a threat, like when you investigate a suspicious noise that turns out to be your wife or one of the cats. This is even more of a problem if you have a dedicated light on your home defense gun, like I do, and point the gun/light around to see what's there, like I don't
. I point the gun at the ceiling or floor, and that lights up the whole room without endangering non-threat type people.
4 rounds in your shotgun? I don't like to think about how fast I run out of 4 rounds when I do my half-assed tactical drills in the backyard, and that's while making 4 good hits on different targets (yes, I am an expert
) Of course, We are
talking about a shotgun
here, but factor in multiple threats, missed shots
, and Murphy's Law, and four rounds starts to look a little less adequate.
If you want more rounds on hand, without spending a lot of money, get the Side Saddle. It's about 25 dollars or so, and gives you six extra rounds. It also allows you to have different types of ammo (slugs, buckshot, Dragon's Breath!) from which to choose moment to moment. When you alternate rounds in the magazine, you're committed to using whatever you loaded for your first shot, even if it's not right for the situation.
Or, if you can afford it, get an extended replacement barrel/spring/follower for your M500.
Or get both!
I just read your original post about shot selection. Do a search in the "Shotguns" forum for things like "low recoil", "home defense", and such. Plenty of good threads about what works best for what situation.
[This message has been edited by boing (edited July 02, 1999).]