View Full Version : Completed - tactical shotgun class

February 2, 2011, 08:55 PM
This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a 6-hour tactical shotgun/pistol training class offered by Executive Solutions in South Florida. The lead instructor is a British army veteran who has been training individuals worldwide for over 20 years.

I had previously taken an Advanced Defensive Handgun course from this same instructor, and some of the basic exercises were similar - shooting while moving forward/backward and side-to-side (crab-walking right to left), shooting from standing and from one knee/two knee positions. We added safely getting into and shooting from the prone position - shooting 12 gauge slugs from your stomach is a pretty eye opening experience.

We also learned and practiced reloading techniques, and how to transition from the shotgun to the pistol, either dropping the shotgun if your sling design permitted (for two-handed pistol) or otherwise dropping the shotgun to your side in one hand and shooting your pistol one-handed.

Topics included in the course included a discussion of sling design - single, dual and triple mounts, and the advantages/disadvantages of each (triple is actually the most versatile but nobody had this kind of sling). For all-day carrying, a dual-point sling is preferred because it offers the most carry options and the best opportunity to get the shotgun out of your way. I found that with my Remington 870 slung over my left shoulder with the barrel pointed down (the "Rhodesian" carry), it was extremely easy to grab the forestock, unsling and bring the gun up quickly to my right shoulder.

I learned a lot in the class about my shotgun and about other designs. To make my old wood-stocked 870 more "tactical", I had added a cheap plastic mag extension for a total of 7+1 capacity, along with a barrel/extension clamp that included a sling swivel. Unfortunately, the barrel clamp loosened after a couple of dozen rounds and needed to be reinstalled. With the clamp tightened more, so it wouldn't loosen, there was a binding effect on the plastic mag extension and the magazine would sometimes fail to feed all its rounds. The feed problem would clear up if the clamp was loosened a bit. The lesson learned was that a steel mag extension works best. I also found that the design of the old 870 is prone to jam when loading rounds if you don't push the shell all the way into the magazine past the little pin which holds the rounds in place. If you don't push far enough, the shell can slide forward under the "flap" that covers the opening to the magazine and the pump jams up. This condition required taking the gun apart on several occasions to free things up. Good lessons learned.

I also learned that semi-auto shotguns, at least the ones brought to the course, do not work well with "practice" birdshot rounds or even with standard 2-3/4" 00 buckshot. There was quite a scramble in the morning to find slug or military-grade buckshot ammo to cause the guns to cycle correctly, and a lot of frustration on the part of the three shooters who brought them. The instructor came up with a couple of extra pump shotguns and we got through the rest of the day.

All together, I shot a total of about 120 birdshot rounds, and about 20 rounds each of buckshot and rifled slugs. It was my first time shooting slugs and I was impressed at their accuracy even in the hands of a novice with an 18" barrel and a simple bead sight. My shoulder wasn't as sore as I expected through all that shooting. I had several months ago replaced the old hard rubber buttpad on my 40 year old Remington with a Limb Saver pad that probably saved a lot of wear and tear on my shoulder.

We ended the day with some pretty cool scenarios involving moving around barrels and shooting multiple targets. When our shotgun ran out of ammo on the first stage, we "heard" someone screaming for help and ran at top speed to another shooting area, where we magically discovered another shotgun waiting for us, but empty. After loading as quickly as possible, we had to move and knock down five bowling pins with the five rounds we had just loaded. Pretty fun stuff, and also harder than it sounds.

February 3, 2011, 12:18 PM
Thanks for the report!

Topics included in the course included a discussion of sling design - single, dual and triple mounts, and the advantages/disadvantages of each (triple is actually the most versatile but nobody had this kind of sling).

That's interesting - how did you/they arrive at that conclusion? It seems like a 2-to-1 pt. sling setup would be the most versatile and least cumbersome setup... What's advantages does 3-point offer over the others?

February 3, 2011, 04:01 PM
how did you/they arrive at that conclusion?

That's what the instructor said - none of us had the three-point sling, so it seemed pointless to try and demonstrate it, but he led us to believe it would do anything a one or two-point sling would, pretty much the best attributes of both.

February 13, 2011, 10:57 AM
How's that shoulder feel now ??????

February 13, 2011, 01:10 PM
After a guy was murdered in the house behind ours when we lived in an SF suburb, I bought a Mossberg 500 and hired a police trainer to teach my wife and I how to use it ... we spent 8 hours with him, about half in class and half shooting, and learned so much about tactics and firing it would take a week to write it all down ... we fired 00 buck, slugs, smaller pellet loads, all at from 5 to 15 yards .. it was an incredible experience, even though it left my poor wife's shoulder black and blue for two weeks ... and even though the Mossberg has been retired in favor of a bedside 1911 with night sights, I still love the shotty and the experience we had with that patient officer ...

February 13, 2011, 04:39 PM
A quality pump 12 gauge is pretty hard to beat in many situations.

I personally favor the Remington 870 over others.

February 14, 2011, 01:16 PM
Very cool post. Its kind of a wonder why people don't do more shotgun training. I say this because I myself don't really have much. In all reality it's a fairly easy weapon to use, so with some training I can just imagine how much more effective they could be when someone is in a bad situation. Not to mention they are a pretty cost effective form of training. Its something I'll definitely have to look into once released back into the civilian world :p


February 14, 2011, 01:32 PM
Great post, thanks for the report!

Indeed I think shotgun is coming back into vogue as a home defense option among those who blow in the wind with the gun rags and trends.

Those who use firearms for a living, or live in rural areas never understood why everybody was getting into such a fuss over fancy pistols and semi-auto rifles that required constant maintenance and tweaking. :)

February 14, 2011, 03:57 PM
Nothing like a good ol shotgun, it will protect yer home, put food on the table and is a lot of fun to shoot.

February 16, 2011, 07:56 AM
Great post. I certainly would like to get myself into some classes. Target practice is good but to better handle your weapon the classes are where its at.

February 16, 2011, 02:27 PM
Good to hear.

As far as slings go...
3-point slings have a wide range of capabilities, but also have a lot more material to get caught/in the way.
2-point slings (depending on set-up) can be very comfortable and hold a long-arm fairly securely.
1-point slings tend to be more for transitions and ambi shooting, as they don't hold the firearm very securely in one place.

February 24, 2011, 08:18 PM
Great post, thanks for the report!

No problem, glad to share what I learned and what you might expect from such a day's training. For those 99% of us who don't have a reason to carry/train to perform our day jobs, I think courses such as these are about as close as we'll get to practice that may help us respond correctly and more quickly to a SD/HD situation.

Rufus T Firefly
February 24, 2011, 10:00 PM
What is a good entry level shotgun without breaking the bank? What I know about shot guns fits on the head of a pin. Never owned one and never even shot one.

February 24, 2011, 10:47 PM
how much did the class cost?

Jake Balam
February 25, 2011, 12:02 AM

A HD shotgun, either a mossburg 500 or Remington 870 won't cost you more then 350 brand spanking new. A used can be picked up for a couple hundred.

H&R makes an 870 clone you can get for 179 at most big box stores.

If your not a hunter, a 20 inch barrel is a good length

Shootin Chef
February 25, 2011, 12:32 AM
What is a good entry level shotgun without breaking the bank? What I know about shot guns fits on the head of a pin. Never owned one and never even shot one.

In addition to what Jake said;
There is also the Winchester Defender, I held one today, it seemed lighter than a 870. I can't say about a Mossberg since it's been awhile. They seem to be a little less well-known and may constitute a slightly lower price used because of that. The new on was $379 I believe.

February 25, 2011, 06:21 AM
how much did the class cost?

My class was $200 (US).

February 25, 2011, 01:50 PM
We need a "LIKE" button.

Joe Mamma
February 25, 2011, 09:17 PM
I'm curious, who was your instructor?

Joe Mamma

Old Wanderer
February 26, 2011, 09:19 AM
I find today (being an "old wobbler") the shotgun is the easiest to refresh my skills on.

I was privileged to shoot with some of the "go fast" guys in IPSC back in the late 70's early 80's. When you compete with great people some of it naturally rubs off. I bought one of the 1st Bennelli shotguns, (old wood stocked M1) took it to Gunsight, and we did some mods. 30+ years later, it still functions like a Swiss watch.

In the mid 90's I had to go to the bay area of CA. for 3 months. I have a lifetime of being prepared. Some of my buddies wanted to know what I would carry while in the peoples republic of CA...my reply...."My Bennelli".. what else they asked...reply.."Just my Bennelli, because I can get anything else I need with it".

With either my Bennelli or my Vang barreled 870, they are like surgeons tools, if you practice. The new buckshot loads, patter very dense, the sabot slugs, can reach out and touch somebody at 100 yards without a problem. Know your gun, and practice, pattern, and practice some more. It is without a doubt my weapon of choice for serious social occasions.