The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 1, 2011, 09:47 PM   #1
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,107
Defensive Shotgun with Tom Givens

Defensive Shotgun with Tom Givens of Rangemaster.

(note, if there is a technical mistake, it is mine - not Tom's).


I recently had the opportunity to take Tom Given’s (www.rangemaster.com) Defensive Shotgun class. First, I’ve trained with a good number of instructors and Tom is one of the finest. Not that the others weren’t great but Tom is superb. His courses have a depth to them that the scholar and scientist in me deeply appreciate. You get historical, theoretical and practical knowledge in one package.

The course was offered by KRtraining (www.krtraining.com) – Karl Rehn’s outfit and another great venue. Before more details – I paid for everything, so this isn’t a puff review and the money well spent. I’ve trained with Tom before and attended the Polite Society, so when he was coming to KRtraining – I had to sign up.

Defensive Shotgun as offered in a one day format was designed to go offer shotgun basics (equipment, ammo, sights), history of the gun and how to run it.

Of course, as members of the gun world – we know that all men are instinctive shotgun warriors. The gun cannot miss. It will not fail to stop someone. In fact, the simple sound of effects from the gun being racked will send hardened sociopaths fleeing into the night. The gun is so easy to use that you don’t have to train.

Well, not really. True, most defensive gun uses seem to turn out well. No shots fired and the bad guy fled! Whoopee! But Tom trains you for when it becomes a real fight and you do have to run the gun. Untrained and unpracticed civilians can be subject to user induced malfunctions. Short stroking, failure to remove the safety, failure to chamber a round in a semiauto gun, not understanding the bolt release, etc. – are all seen under stress in the nonpracticed community.

Thus, we shot and shot with birdshot and buckshot. The idea was ingrain correct motor patterns and use them under timed and stress circumstances. Of course, a one day class must be followed up by practice on your own to maintain the skill.

Most of the class used pump guns. The majority were Remington 870s with a few Winchesters and Mossbergs. There were a couple of semiauto guns. Interesting, they seemed a touch more difficult to manipulate in the rapid fire, reload drills.

The class started with a review of shotgun and ammo types. If you want the whole song and dance, take the course or buy the DVD from Tom.

Some interesting equipment tidbits and recommendations (you can disagree):

1. Use 2 ¾ controlled flight 00 buck – 8 pellet. Federal makes a line of such. Why – it gives amazingly tight patterns at distances for the home defense user. You want a tight group to avoid flyers. Forget the room filling pattern mythology. Only a newbie or wannabee spouts that. The geometry of an 8 shot load is less likely to produce a flyer than a 9. Tom told us of a hostage shot where 8 hit the BG righteously and the 9th flyer did serious damage to the innocent.

You must pattern your gun – the heuristic is one inch per yard of expansion. But you have to see what yours does with a given load. For example, one shooter bought some Nobel buckshot. At about 12 feet, it completely filled a man sized target with an off target flyer. You cannot afford a gun that inherently misses the target at that distance. I shot some Federal low recoil 00 and got a pattern about 4 to 6 inches. But a round of the Federal controlled flight load through my 1300 at the same distance made one solid hole, no flyers.

One shooter had a rifled barrel – and guess what. A round of birdshot made a donut pattern that covered the whole target with the center almost untouched. That was a consequence of the rifling which is for a deer gun in states that mandate such for hunting. You don’t want it in a defensive shotgun with buckshot.

2. Lights on guns – not needed by the home defender and makes the gun heavier and more unreliable.

3. Pistol grip only guns – very hard to control – NO. Pistol grips on full stocks – transfers much recoil to your wrist and hand – Ouch – so not recommended.

4. Rubber shot, OC shot – for law enforcement circumstances and not you. If you don’t want to use something lethal – don’t pick up a gun.

5. Don’t keep the gun fully loaded as mag springs in shotguns are weaker than pistol mags and can get crappy. Also, remember the safety doesn’t make the gun drop safe and keeping it on a HD gun isn’t that useful. Not having a round in the chamber is better for safety. Tom demonstrated how he keeps guns cruiser ready for quick usage and safety.

6. Keep the 20 gauge away from the 12 gauge – load a 20 and then try to shoot a 12 – the twenty can get stuck and you blow up!

7. Some kind of visible front sight works fine. Tom likes rifle sights. I had a fiber optic as it was standard on my 1300. He demonstrated correct sight picture (Oh, you need a sight picture – I thought you couldn’t miss – but you can).

8. Stocks are too long. This is a major point and I should have mentioned it earlier. Tom says most shotguns have stocks based on sporting guns and in the 13 to 14 inch range. It makes shouldering the gun and manipulations in the aimed position difficult. This is esp. true for people under 6 feet. Thus, he suggests taking an inch off or getting a shorter aftermarket stock. He let us should his modified gun in a quick move and it was much easier.

There was more fun equipment stuff.

Now to the range.

The purpose was to learn to run the gun quickly and efficiently. We want to minimize user errors. A pump gun has a bolt release, a slide, a trigger, safety, a mag tube that you stuff shells in with some funky ramp thingee. All can lead to booboos – like no BOOM or DAMN, IT WENT BOOM (you ok? Uh, say something?).

We first emphasized stance – one wants an aggressive one or else repeated shots will drive you back. You want elbows down to ease in moving around the house and reducing your target area. It is stronger for retention. This was hard to do and we coached each other. Elbows down also reduced twisting the guide rods for the slide which can get you into some trouble.

One thing Tom did was have us paired to watch each other. This was for correcting behaviors and also to activate mirror neurons. Three cheers that modern neuroscience is impacting the gun world!

Tom demonstrated proper head alignment, grip, cheek weld and sighting. Trigger control and position (straight on the receiver). Follow through was incredibly important for the pump guns. Work the action, reload the mag! Tom wanted to hear that click, ching-ching in dry fire. Trigger press and action cycled.

We repeated this many times to ingrain the pattern.

Moving to live fire, we used birdshot and practiced loading and topping off the gun with the gun pointed at the target. Tom was clear that sporting reload practices are not useful in a fight and can be dangerous because of muzzle control issues and speed. We would load by inserting a round in the chamber and then topping off the tube.

One major drill was called “Rolling Thunder” which was a hoot but with a serious purpose. It went as follows. Four or five shooters were in a line. The first in the line would load one round and fire. Then the second did the same he heard the first shooter’s shot, then the third, etc. But after you shot, you had to reload two and shoot two when the rotation got to you. Then, three rounds. Then four. By the time you got to four, you had to move quickly! If you fumbled, the group was to berate with good natured but insulting cat calls. We did that several times.

We then moved to buckshot with similar drills and changing distances to pattern the guns. As mentioned before this is crucially important. In the archetypal HD fight, it seems to be an assumption that no one will be around the bad guy. That might not be the case. You cannot afford a loose pellet as some buckshot rounds are prone to produce. In another class and in matches, I’ve done the hostage shot – it’s interesting. Tom says consider the longest distance in your house – I measured mine and used the Pythagorean Theorem (math!) to get the max distance of 20 yards – that would give something of a spread with 00.

We also learned out to reload safety without cycling the gun which can damage rounds. We tried different ready positions for ease, safety and retention. One thing is that carrying a shotgun aimed at a target or an unsupported low ready can get tiring. Think about it if you want to deal with a surrendered BG. If you say – that won’t happen – har, chest puff, har, har – remember the courts and moderators don’t like blood lust.

In summary – awesome course. I would have liked to take a tactics course also with the shotgun but we only had one day. So Tom rightly concentrated on running the gun.

Will I make the shotgun my go to home defense long arm? I’ve trained with handguns, ARs and the shotgun (this being my second shotty course). My first go to gun is a Glock – if we get to the safe room, then the AR is my choice. That’s another debate.

But I believe in eclectic training, I want to run well whatever I get to and the shotty lives next to the AR. The 1300 is an awesome weapon and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it. I’ve decided to keep it stoked with slugs (Hornady Taps). I’m not hunting turkeys and want the rounds to go to point of aim.

If you can study with Tom, do it and go to his Tactical Conference. One of the best instructors around! Remember I paid for this. Also, for the TX crowd – Karl Rehn runs a great training facility with his instructor set and great guests.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old June 1, 2011, 10:45 PM   #2
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
Thanks, Glenn. Some real world info.

"Run the gun". I believe I've heard that before......
Dave McC is offline  
Old June 2, 2011, 06:17 AM   #3
Rob228
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 29, 2010
Location: Broomfield CO
Posts: 534
Sounds like a great day of training.

What was the background for this:

2. Lights on guns – not needed by the home defender and makes the gun heavier and more unreliable.

I can see the heavier, but I can't figure out the unreliable part.
Rob228 is offline  
Old June 2, 2011, 06:36 AM   #4
natman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 24, 2008
Posts: 1,255
Quote:
At about 12 feet, it completely filled a man sized target with an off target flyer. You cannot afford a gun that inherently misses the target at that distance. ....

One shooter had a rifled barrel – and guess what. A round of birdshot made a donut pattern that covered the whole target with the center almost untouched. That was a consequence of the rifling which is for a deer gun in states that mandate such for hunting. You don’t want it in a defensive shotgun with buckshot.
Advocates of the Taurus Judge for HD take note.

Quote:
2. Lights on guns – not needed by the home defender and makes the gun heavier and more unreliable.
How not needed? Yes, it's home turf, but that doesn't mean I can see in the dark and identify that dark form across the room. Heavier, yes, very slightly. You're going to have to explain the more unreliable part.

Otherwise a great post with a lot of the real truth in it.
natman is offline  
Old June 2, 2011, 09:59 AM   #5
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,107
The idea of the unreliable part - sorry not to be clear - was that the light might make the slide heavier and interfer with a clear, crisp stroke for pump guns.

Some folks have trouble with short stroking the gun and if not familar, might get into difficulty.

The debate about whether one should have light on a gun is independent of the type of gun as far as tactics. See in the dark vs. pointing out where you are vs. having to point a gun at innocents to see what's up vs. chance of an ND when manipulating the light - quite a lot to think about.

But I was thinking about the old click, ching-ching screw up. You know many recommend Grandma with arthritis MUST use a 12 gauge - ENUF SAID!

So making the gun heavier and the slide harder to slide - seems a plan.

As far as the Judge - Tom wrote a rather complete analysis of the Judge for SWAT. Wasn't that positive. But I know lots of unskilled folk who think they are Mjolnir (just saw Thor). Ultimate stopper than you don't have to aim.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old June 2, 2011, 01:16 PM   #6
fourrobert13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2005
Location: South West Ohio
Posts: 336
Quote:
The idea of the unreliable part - sorry not to be clear - was that the light might make the slide heavier and interfer with a clear, crisp stroke for pump guns.
This could happen wether you are running a light or not. I run a surefire 618FA forend on my 870 and it's not an issue. I guess every trainer has to have "their thing," and this must be Tom's.
__________________
Be aware of yourself and everything around you.
fourrobert13 is offline  
Old June 2, 2011, 01:36 PM   #7
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,107
Tom didn't make a big deal of it. Just mentioned it in equipment review.

I'm sure trained folk don't have a problem. We were talking about the guy who tactically upgrades his gun and never shoots it much.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old June 2, 2011, 01:59 PM   #8
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,071
This "Tom" feller must be one of them "Elmer Fudd" sort of people if he cannot see the UBER-AWESOMENESS of a PGO equipped gun in the hands of your average granny... And chances of her breaking her wrist is mitigated by the fact that with a pump shotgun, you never have to shoot the bad guy 'cuz he will popp his pants and melt to the floor in a spineless puddle of strawberry jelly when she racks the... Cycles the action... And slings vile obscenities at him...

Okay... in truth... sounds like Tom basically has the same opinions, for the most part, as this ol' untrained (formally) redneck shotgun lover... Makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy knowing my beliefs have merit with the very well trained and well versed "experts" on the subject of defensive shotgunning!

Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old June 3, 2011, 01:13 PM   #9
Cheapshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 2, 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,130
Guess he wouldn't like the one I just put together


He might like the adjustable stock, but not the pistol grip style, nor the heat shield with ghost ring sights. He certainly wouldn't like the vertical forearm grip with a 150 lumen light built in. Oh well, I don't really care what he likes. I think it has major cool factor, and it will probably only come out of the safe to blow up water mellons and pumpkins. Unless of course the CDC is right about the zombie apocalypes they warned of.
__________________
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
Cheapshooter is offline  
Old June 3, 2011, 01:38 PM   #10
anonymousFolk
Member
 
Join Date: March 24, 2011
Posts: 63
Great post Glenn! Thank you!
anonymousFolk is offline  
Old June 3, 2011, 05:30 PM   #11
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,107
Thanks! This weekend, I think I will switch gears and make clinks at a steel match with some little ol' wimpy caliber.

Cheapshooter - you need to see that picture of the tricked out tactical AR that goes around. The one with the George Foreman grill attached to the stock!
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old June 3, 2011, 06:09 PM   #12
Cheapshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 2, 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,130
Actually, the vertical forearm grip is useful to me. Due to a fall off of an 8' ladder resulting in some major shoulder surgery, and elbow prosthesis, I can't operate a slide action with my hand in the proper palm up position. the vertical grip helps a lot, and allows me to operate the gun perfectly.
__________________
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
Cheapshooter is offline  
Old June 4, 2011, 08:39 AM   #13
RobG
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2011
Location: Missouri City, TX
Posts: 2
Interesting read...Tom wouldn't be too happy with my HD set up. I keep my 870 express 5077 fully loaded...6 in the mag tube and one in the chamber with the safety on. No kids in the house...just me and my dog.

I don't want to be fumbling aroung in the dark if the boogy man and one or two of his friends decides to break in my house at 4AM and loading the gun while half asleep in the dark during a home invasion.

I've tried to keep the gun simple...no George Foreman grill, but a Hogue overmolded 12" LOP stock, Mesa 6 round sidesaddle and a CDM MOD-C mount with a Surefire G2 LED flashlight attached to it.



Sorry Tom...
RobG is offline  
Old June 4, 2011, 10:49 AM   #14
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,107
Obviously if set up aids in some kind of physical handicap, that's ok.

About a round in the chamber with safety on and your dawg! Tom was worried about drop safety and kids. However, he did tell of a guy who had a loaded shotgun under his bed. Somehow, Fido stepped on the trigger and blew the guy's foot off. Don't know if the safety was on or Fido took it off.

There have been a few dogs shooting their owner with a long arm that I recall.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old June 4, 2011, 10:59 AM   #15
RobG
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2011
Location: Missouri City, TX
Posts: 2
Yea, I'll keep an eye on the dawg...
RobG is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2013 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13105 seconds with 7 queries