View Full Version : Training review

Oleg Volk
September 16, 2001, 11:21 PM
Went to intermediate shotgun course offered by http://www.defensive-edge.net Took their basic shotgun and basic pistol last year. Very interesting course, indeed.

I brought a 20ga Winchester 1300 ("Lady Defender") with a fiber-optic bead. To my surprise, I got through the course with no malfunctions (about 150 rounds of birdshot and ten buck).

Here's what was covered:
loading the gun in various ways -- tube, ejection port, weak hand only, strong hand only, etc.
patterning various loads
shooting with strong, weak hand
firing sitting and prone, walking
transitioning to and from a sidearm
keeping magazine topped off
observation while firing

Here's what I learned:
three-point slings are good to have. I did not have one and my sling was more of an encumberance than help
20ga works, esp. in permitting firing prone, one-handed with not too much flinching...but does noticeably less damage than 12ga
for close range, bead works as well as rifle or aperture sights
pistol grip+stock helps in one-handed manipulation
acurate firing on the move is possible

Equipment observations:
sharp edges abound: next to the magazine opening (that I knew) and sharp plastic edges where the stock meets the receiver (will file them smooth)
Two shooters with Benelli M1s had constant problems (birdshot not cycling one of the guns, both fumbling with loading and making ammo feed...manual of arms semed more complex than on pumps or 1187)
Trigger re-set on my gun is at the end of the travel. Trying to pull the trigger too soon leads to no shot at all.
20ga ammo is heavy and wants to fall out of pockets (bandoliers are all for 12ga). Buck and birdshot feel the same, can't be differenciated easily.
Having the same part (forearms) used for both loading and support is not good.
tube magazines are bad: slow to reload, impossible to check remaining ammo count

All in all, my lesson was that simplest equipment works best and light weight, small size are more important than raw power. At this stage, I'd actually pick an M1 carbine with soft points or an AR15 over a shotgun even for close range fighting. OTOH, the 20ga is close enough to usable that I won't upgrade it and will, instead, learn it better and smooth the sharp edges. Seems that #3 buck's useful range is under 10m when innocents are present and 12-15m is sloppy shooting is OK. Would have to switch to slugs past that range.

Overall, both the basic and the intermediate courses were very good, IMO. Learned lots (couldn't remember it all for this review) and hope to do more of this even though I am not keen on shotguns for fighting. Most techniques and methods apply equally to rifles and handguns.

Al Thompson
September 17, 2001, 05:53 AM
Thanks Oleg!!

For combat (fighting), the SG has some drawbacks as you mentioned. (capacity, range and reloadability)

For HD or where it's advantages out weigh it's drawbacks (like all firearms/tools) they are very effective.

As I live in a crowded subdivision, the flexibility of ammunition makes shotguns a must have item for me and my situation.


Dave McC
September 17, 2001, 06:11 AM
You brought up some good points, Oleg.

Tube mags do have those probs. OTOH, they're reliable and low profile, which cannot be said about the box mags on the market.

A sling on a HD tool only serves to catch on things, oft at a tragically wrong moment. Having said that, a good sling is essential out of house.
There's sling studs on every shotgun here except Son's NEF single and my 870 TB Trap gun. Neither's mission includes defense.

20 ga may possibly do less damage than a 12 ga, but their one shot stop capability is identical. I lack access to the database the Feds use, but last I heard was one hit,one stop, regardless of gauge.

While I prefer a shotgun for HD, if someone feels they're better off with an M-1 carbine, AK or AR, they're probably right.

September 17, 2001, 04:48 PM
I'm glad you liked your class. Don't discount the Benelli's too soon. For raw beginners, it can be complex. My Frontsight class was a good example of that. For experienced persons, it beats a pump hands down. It is so not close it is ridiculous. I have had one or two failures to feed with low base dove loads in my M1S90. When the bad guys come, I will be shooting 00 buck. I have never seen a single problem with full powered loads.

Regarding your comments on small and light being better, you may feel different when someone is at room distance trying to kill you. Stopping power is everything. Even if he dies 1-2 seconds after you shoot him, he can still kill you while he bleeds out.

Those stand up and shoot classes are fun and interesting. Now, go play paintball. You will get the fog of war and a whole new appreciation of having an opponent trying to kill you back.