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Old September 15, 2002, 06:37 PM   #1
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Elders of TFL, Help!

The young & nubile:

As I am inclined from time to time, I took a young female LEO shooting today. We shot mostly pistols (everything from J frames to 1911s): the safety lecture, the mechanics lecture, different stances, ground fighting, using cover, mal drills, one handed shooting, a few tactical basics, und so weiter.

As we were packing up this morning to leave for my range, she noticed by ST 870s in the main safe and asked if we could shoot them as she had never shot one before. I expressed mock shock in my occasional sarcastic manner. However, she persisted.

At the range, I had her start dry after the safety/mechanics lecture. We started with a break-open 20 ga. I have never seen someone react so negatively.

Thinking the lack of weight of my first squirrel gun was the problem, I tried a ST 870 12 ga., the old "FBI Model" that I prefer. Again the same reaction of pain. I checked her stance, her hands, her cheek weld, everything I have been taught to do. However, she continued to have problems to the point of wildly flinching when switching to dry fire.

We only shot bird shot and only 7 or 8 rounds of that. She did really well with the carbines, machine pistol, and pistols, but could not handle the shotgun at all. She's 5'6", 26, despite her desk job (swims and "Turbo Kick") fairly athletic and a size 6 or maybe 7.

Is it just physical strength? I've always believed my gunskul masters who told us it was technique, not brute strength, that allowed us to outthink the shotgun.

She did not have the "I'm female, therefore I must be afraid of guns" attitude. Indeed, she asked me if I could show her how to clean the firearms.

I'm at a total loss here, gentlemen. This is something I've never seen; however, allow me to admit I have absolutely no experience instructing in the art of the shotgun. Indeed, I have only 3 shotgun classes (as a student) to my credit.

What would you suggest? I thank you in advance for your time and suggestions.

/s/ Kirk
"Arguments of policy must give way to a constitutional command." Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 602 (1980).
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Old September 15, 2002, 08:37 PM   #2
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How about trying a gas gun or using a shoulder recoil pad?
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Old September 15, 2002, 08:59 PM   #3
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I don't blame her. 12 gauge, even in bird shot loads gives you a good kick. I still have days where I'll flinch shooting a 12 gauge shotgun. All you can do is have her keep practicing, and obviously start out with the mildest loads.
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Old September 15, 2002, 09:49 PM   #4
The Plainsman
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As G3 suggested, I'd recommend you let her work with a semi-auto, first of all (assuming you have an appropriate gun), in the smallest gauge you have available. You might also add a Pachmayer Decelerator pad if you can.

I started my 5'-0", 33 year old wife (who had NO particular interest in shooting) with a Remington 1100 12ga, with the lightest loads available. We were shooting skeet. Believe it or not, she did good and actually began to enjoy shooting.

Food for thought.

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Old September 15, 2002, 11:28 PM   #5
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Methinketh there is something about her structure that makes your guns not fit her well. Hopefully you had her mounting them properly, that bout leaves us with fit tween gun and gunner.

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Old September 16, 2002, 12:23 AM   #6
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A couple of thoughts here.

1. What is her bust size in comparison to her body size? I've known some short, slightly-built ladies who had a fairly large bust size, so that the upper part of the breast was intruding on the "pocket" where one would normally mount a long gun. This can lead to added pain in recoil.

2. Try a recoil shield such as the PAST or some such item. There are some made specifically for ladies that are designed to shield the upper breast from recoil impact - maybe one of these would help?

3. Try a lighter-recoiling gauge. I've put many ladies onto the 20ga. for defensive and sporting use, and they've had a lot of fun. The recoil is only about 60% of the 12ga., and is usually in a smaller, handier weapon as well, which makes handling it much more comfortable for smaller-statured people. I particularly recommend the Remington 870 Youth model in a pump. I've used a Remington 1100 LT-20 with a cut-down stock as well, and ladies seem to like it (at least, I've had a number of attractive offers made on it!). Another goodie is the old Browning A5 "Light 20": I had one cut down (at the stock) by a full 4" for a very small-statured lady, and she loves it.

4. Try a lighter-recoiling rifle as an introduction to long guns. I've started several ladies with a lever-action .30-30, and the transition from this to a 20ga. shotgun is quite easy, judging from their remarks. A .243 is another good starter gun.

Hope this helps...
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Old September 16, 2002, 04:28 AM   #7
Harley Nolden
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Does she lean "well" forward?

Does she pull the gun "hard" into the shoulder, with the heel of the stock high on the shoulder?

Rather than stop the recoil, does she roll with it?

Additionally; as mentioned earlier.
Is the stock too long for her?
Put stock in crook of elbow, place trigger finger on trigger.

If the finger places properly on the trigger the fit is OK

If the finger is behind the trigger the length of pull is too long.

If the finger is forward of the trigger the length of pull is too short..

Length of pull can definetly cause severe recoil problems

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Old September 16, 2002, 05:27 AM   #8
Dave McC
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The folks already covered most of the gamut, but a couple things....

Review the thread on proper mounting techniques.

Find some of those Winchester Extra Light, subsonic loads.

In a diplomatic and courteous way, encourage her to eschew bras that have little metal adjustment thingies on the straps on range days. I've seen them draw blood.

Try a couple of those homemade recoil reducers, IF she can handle the extra weight. If not, encourage her to practice her mount at home until she can. She may be quite fit, but shotgunning uses muscles in a different way.

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Old September 16, 2002, 07:03 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies. They are appreciated.

Oh, I can't believe I didn't think of that PAST recoil pad thingie. Trapped by my own narrowmindedness. "Gee, I never use them, thus they do not exist."

The LoP was fine. Her stance was good (she wanted to lean away at first but we corrected that). Everything was seemingly "textbook."

I do have a couple of 20 ga gas guns that I haven't given away yet. I'll try those next.

Thanks again, everyone.
"Arguments of policy must give way to a constitutional command." Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 602 (1980).
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Old September 16, 2002, 07:06 AM   #10
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Sounds like a gunfit problem. I have shot with many petite ladies and they are able to handle the recoil if the gun fits. You might try the Remington 1100 as it has less percieved "kick".

What kind of Break action 20 ga, was it one of those single shots? They are hard kicking guns. 20 ga doesn't kick less unless you are shooting it in a 12 ga gun (tubes or barrel sets). Thinking that a 20 ga will kick less is just wrong. They don't .

Type and make of gun have a lot to do with comfort of the shooter.

Do your guns have recoil pads?

I still maintain the best gauge for new shooters is the 28. Easy to teach proper stance and leads with it on the skeet range.

Another problem (this one from an old thread on the shotgun report website) is what type of er ...ah ...lingerie is she wearing? Some have a little buckle in the wrong place that can cause pain as it sits under the butt and digs in under recoil. You can figure out how to check this one out.

One lady I shot with told me she took two aspirin before shooting, recoil did not bother her but did if she failed to take the aspirin! She was LEO also, shot with her husband and I got the impression she would rather be doing something else. I understand they are now divorced

I have a cousin who is a retired detective. He told me he dreaded yearly qualification as the NYPD made them shoot those old Stevens SXS with buckshot.

It is the gun, not the shooter.
I am no longer a member of this forum. Bye!
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Old September 16, 2002, 07:18 AM   #11
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K80, yes, it was an old H&R 20 ga. single shot. I shot it as a child so I thought I would be fine. Obviously I was wrong.

No recoil pads. They snag when moving and grooving.

Will try the Ber 303 or Rem 1100 that I have in 20 ga. Don't have a 28. Maybe I should borrow one?
"Arguments of policy must give way to a constitutional command." Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 602 (1980).
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Old September 16, 2002, 09:46 PM   #12
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how did she get to be a 'female LEO' in the first place with no experince with shotguns? Weird.
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Old September 17, 2002, 06:22 AM   #13
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Review the thread on proper mounting techniques.
Oh Dave, what you said!!! Telling KS something like that is akin to telling a Democrat to review a thread on lying

My only addition here is that proper fit can be everything. My Rossi SxS coach gun fits me fairly well and is comfortable to shoot. My Stoeger doesn't, and is a real hard kicker using the same loads.
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Old September 17, 2002, 07:24 AM   #14
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Mannlicher, not all LEOs are walking the mean streets (or whatever they call them in the gun rags). Nobody writes about the mean courtrooms in the gun rags. All firearms training I received as a LEO was not part of the job as thus had to pick up the tab, maybe I should have been a Federal Flight Deck Officer so others would have to pay for me.

RAE, the mount was seemingly fine as was stance, cheek weld, inter alia. Will try a self-loading gas gun. Thank you all.
"Arguments of policy must give way to a constitutional command." Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 602 (1980).
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Old September 17, 2002, 03:52 PM   #15
Denny Hansen
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Like others my first thought was LOP, but you've said that was alright.

Erick has a good idea about Ken over in Lebanon. Can't remember for sure but it seems like he has a shotgun class coming up. Too bad this didn't happen a bit sooner. Louis Awerbuck just left Ken, Brent and company after spending five weeks there. You might have been able to get her into one the shotgun classes.

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