View Full Version : Thank you, Learned Elders of TFL!

October 12, 2002, 03:18 PM
Well, it worked. Worked like a charm. I'm still having trouble believing what I just saw this morning and early afternoon.

A couple of times I had asked the Learned Elders questions regarding teaching a female LEO to handle a shotgun. The first session the guns (a 20 gauge single shot and a 870 shooting birdshot) physically hurt her.

The word came from on high that I should use a 20 gauge gas operated self-loader. The second session we did. It worked well.

Today, I thought she was ready for another attempt at the 12 gauge. She was. We started with the 20 gauge, a Ber 303, with "high brass" #5 "Pheasant loads" and then shot the Remington 870 with #8 birdshot. The transition was seemless.

Before long she was running the gun very well. I had brought a PAST recoil pad, but she declined it. She was worried, justly, that as it would not be allowed by the federal agency she is applying for, she should not come to depend on it.

I was worried, but the Federal #4 reduced recoil loads were not a problem. The strange thing is that nothing had changed about her technique. Everything was as it was suppossed to be the first time, but she had never shot a shotgun before. Confidence reigns supreme. As the Learned Elders say, "recoil is 99% mental."

We did not try slugs, but will next time. We covered retention, one hand operation, mal drills and transitions as well. She is getting stronger from working out with the gun and did just fine once she got sorted out.

I showed her more stuff with pistols, positioning, flashlights, etc., including tearing down a Glock, the likely duty weapon, to the screws. She was really impressed with the simplicity of the design that even KSFreeman could disassemble the weapon.

Her second interview is this Thursday and if selected by DC she will be gone by February. I hope I have enough time.:(

While I've taught several members of my old agency (as the unofficial FTU) who are now feds, I'm really nervous this one as she is the first female. I plan on teaching what little I know of tactics next session at a couple of different buildings in my city.

My next question for the Learned Elders is, what next? Other than tactics, what should I go over next?

Dave McC
October 13, 2002, 08:36 AM
Kudoes, KS. Sounds like you're doing an excellent job. Getting a rookie past that initial hump can be rough.

Next step....

Don't introduce much new stuff at the range next time.Have her groove in what she's learned. Try quietly timing her,w/o making much of it until she is doing things better,faster,more accurately.

Then let her know she's doing the same things but hititng more, and doing it in less time.

Add something fun, like handthrowing a few clays Frisbee style, and let her bust them. She'll smile the first time she smokes one.

Leave slugs alone for now,there's more than enough complications to keep her busy for a while.

You may want to find out what her qualifier is, and have her run through it a few times just to reduce test anxiety.


October 13, 2002, 09:16 AM
After a phone call last night, it is my understanding that the shotgun qual does involve slugs. With my schedule I cannot guarantee I will be around before if she is sent to Cleveland and then to DC. She has read some book by a female agent that wrote about the horrors of the shotgun training and wants to be ready ASAP.

I don't think I can throw any clays in my gravel pit. But I've never tried (never been concerned about being attacked by clay pigeon). I'll try it though. When you say "Frisbee style" you mean not using one of those orange plastic thingies or wood and metal thingies, just with your hand? Never done that. Hmmm.

Excellent advice about repeating prior lessons.

I'll try to ease her into the slugs. Use the PAST thingy? Buy some reduced recoil slugs maybe.

She's doing really well. She's motivated and wants to learn. She always asks "why" as good students do.

We have a large gun show coming up here in Indy and she has expressed interest twice now in going. She wants a pistol like her agency carries so she can train with that (she bought a Ber M21 in .25acp in law school--she had never shot it before she went shooting with me the first time:eek:) and has asked me how much one of the shotguns I have would be.

I'm sure I'll have more questions later.

October 13, 2002, 11:58 AM
A...Dave's on a roll. Right down the line.

B...Light slug loads first then duty slugs.

C...Throwin clays with your hand is easy, just like a frisbee for grip and throw. Tennis balls fun too...stationary for the first shot then the second shot gets interesting.

D...I have good luck with MOST female students. Eager to learn and good training ethic for the most part.

E...Elder and learned not always a team. Elder Leonard wasn't learned but Leonard the younger was quite learned. Son taught father.

Sam out.

Dave McC
October 13, 2002, 03:05 PM
"She's motivated and wants to learn"....

KS, the hardest part is behind her.

It used to be easy for me to pick out the problem kids in a training class of new CO candidates.

Most of the men were PKs. They didn't know nearly as much as they thought they did,were resistant to change,and regarded action movies as good AV aids to training.

Sound familiar?

The radfem axiom that testosterone lowers intelligence may indeed have some validity.

After a few sessions of getting pounded by the recoil, and hitting everything but the target, most males would start doing things right. Then,after passing the qualifier with a 71% score(minimum passing score, 70%)they thought they were truly bad. For once, I agreed...

Most of the women were not PKs. The ones with looks of great anxiety, the ones that seemed to have "Loser" branded into their psyches, were. And a LOT of the pre shooting stress was started by war stories about how much it hurt to shoot a shotgun,told by those of inadequate training, low motivation, and lackadaisical performance.

By all that's Holy, I wish we could impose Gag Orders on idiots that refuse to learn correctly and tell the world that no one can shoot a shotgun w/o major trauma.

I tried to deal with all of this during the classroom portion of the shotgun module.

I stressed the fact that when a shotgun was operated correctly by someone who learned to shoot it, it was painfree and very effective. I'd mention that most of the horror stories were told by folks who never learned to operate a shotgun correctly, and that the staff(including myself) would bust our collective butts giving them the benefit of our training and experience.

IME, those rookies that told themselves "I can and will do this", did exactly that. Those that said to themselves"I can't do this" did exactly that also.Self fulfilling prophecies...

The biggest factor in learning to use a shotgun is ATTITUDE.If one is convinced that they can, and the instructor takes the time/trouble to correct any form and fit probs that occur, progress will be rapid. The smallest CO I ever saw passed all three weapons qualifiers over 80%. He stood 4'8",weighed less than 100 lbs, and looked like a Cub Scout. His attitude was examplary.

KS,offer her the PAST and see what happens. Use does add about a half inch to LOP.

And, some of the earliest clays were shaped similar to the pie pans employees of the Frisbee Pie Company used to throw around on lunch breaks.

Just throw them with a smooth toss and let the tyro track them a few times with an empty shotgun. Then add ammo. After she hits a few, ask if she's still feeling the kick as much. She won't be, and you can stress the point that feeling kick is mental as well as physical.


October 13, 2002, 03:38 PM
[Lightbulb appearing over head] Thanks, Dave. Of course, just like the moving drills or Rolling Thunder, you never feel the recoil when doing two things at once.

Should have thought of that. I'm just really nervous. This is the first female I've even shown how to shoot a shotgun. I'm scared I might screw her up and see might fail her goal (family history of service in this federal agency).

She is doing quite remarkable with the pistol, but this takes more work.

Dave McC
October 14, 2002, 04:30 AM
You're very welcome, KS. And you've got a slight case of instructor anxiety. That's a good sign. You know how important this is and you want to do things right. That's motivation in its finest sense.

As for instructing females,it's easier in most ways than instructing men. I know it's non PC to state there's differences, but there is, in this case. And of course, generalities are suspect.


Have better eye hand co-ordination than men.

Team up and co-operate faster than men do.

Take instruction better, and they LISTEN better.

The downside's(yes, there's always a downside) more women have mixed eye/hand dominance, and they run smaller than men, making controlling the shotgun a bit harder.

Suggestion, either tell her about this forum or review some of the threads on training and operation. Crisis Management Reloading and Proper Mounting Techniques come to mind.


October 14, 2002, 06:56 PM
Dave, yes, I'm nervous. I've instructed a number of guys from my old agency, some of which are now with the federal agency that she wants to be a part of. You're right, this is different because she's female.

What really makes me mad is that I'm down an entire gun safe after giving away and selling a bunch of guns and now I find out that I guess I do have a reason to keep my 20 gauge gas guns. "Gee, I'm a big, buff gymrat dude; what do I need one of these for." Someone a couple states south is quietly smirking and saying told you so to her computer screen.:o Doh.

I've decided on tactics next. I can get a couple of different floorplans in new subdivisions from contractor clients. Keep fingers crossed.

Dave McC
October 15, 2002, 12:37 PM
Hindsight's always 20-20,KS.Some guns I've let go would be eminently useful here and now.

Before you get into tactics, consider some low light scenarios,malf and clearance drills, shooting from the support side, transition drills, and so on. You may have already done this, but grooving these in before adding the complications of planning one's next move will speed the learning process.

And keep on, it looks like a fine job from here...

October 15, 2002, 11:56 PM
First, a big WELL DONE! to you, sir. It's great to see the improvement in your student. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to produce another well-trained supporter of the Second Amendment!

As to the next step, I'd like to suggest a couple of things which may sound off-the-wall, but which she is sure to encounter in her training.

1. She will, during training, probably have to use a shotgun with a length-of-pull (LOP) which is not optimum for her - almost certainly, it will be too long. Also, the fore-end may not fit her hand well (with a pump-gun, some overhang the receiver when retracted, others stop well forward of the receiver). I'd like to suggest that she shoots various shotguns, with different LOP's, fore-ends, etc. to see how they affect her stance, cheek weld, aiming, recoil control, etc. If she's worked this out before being handed the last beat-up, Schwarzenegger-size pump-gun in the training armory, she's got a much better chance of coping (and qualifying!) with it.

2. She will have to learn to shoot with the noise and distraction of several other shooters on either side of her. If you can get some friends to go with you to your range, or take her to an open day at another range, she will get to experience this in a non-stressed environment. This will help her during her training.

3. Try to find out what targets her agency uses to qualify with, and let her shoot at some of them, at typical qualification distances. You can probably get the targets on the Internet, if your local gun shop can't locate them.

4. Try reduced-recoil slugs, and let her shoot them at LONGER ranges than used in her qualifier. If she can keep them on target at 100 yards, and her qualifier is only at 50 or 75 yards, she'll have all the confidence in the world when it comes to the real thing.

5. Try to let her see how mastery of a particular technique on one type of weapon translates to another type of weapon. For example: trigger control works fine on both handguns and long guns; sight alignment (focus on front sight) is the same; etc.

6. Just let her have fun sometimes! Bring along some zany targets. Try visiting the local dump or junkyard and pick up some old kitchen appliances (ever seen a toaster hit by a 12ga. slug??? :D :D :D ). Get some old tennis balls - heck, try ping-pong balls! Fill up some 2-liter or 20-ounce soft-drink bottles with water, and let her vaporize them. (As a marksmanship test, try getting her to hit a 2-liter bottle with a shotgun slug from 100 yards... challenging, with a smoothbore barrel!)

Hope this helps. Once again, well done! You're doin' great!