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Old October 10, 2005, 02:42 PM   #1
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Is the "racking of a shotgun" sound...

... really going to scare any intruder away that is hell-bent on robbing/killing you?

OK, I've read many posts mentioning that the racking noise of a shotgun will scare any would-be robber/thief/etc away... and that you probably wouldn't even have to have it loaded, just use the noise as a scare tactic. But how true is that, REALLY? Yeah, it would scare the piss out of me, but....

If someone comes prepared and/or is determined to break in and rob you, wouldn't they have a gun as well? What if they're on something and they feel invincible? And there you are: you rack your (unloaded) shotgun with the hopes of it scaring them, and all they do is pull a firearm on you instead. Now you're unarmed, gave away your position, and just pissed off an already pissed-off someone who broke into your house. They shoot you dead, STILL take your stuff, AND they beat your head in w/ the butt of your unloaded shotgun, just to make a point.

For those who think this tactic would work, I assume that you're still armed w/ a handgun in case this scare tactic doesn't work, right?

Any thoughts on the shotgun noise tactic? I have a 12ga shotgun at home myself, but I'd keep it loaded if I'm using it for HD/SD. Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:02 PM   #2
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We Brits use 12g Remington 870 Magnum shotguns to remove doors using Hatton rounds; in Ireland we had them with folding butts and magazine extensions on a 20" slug barrel. I was caught out by some local thugs just before we made entry into a house from the rear for a surprise search operation; my rifle was out of my hands on the sling across my chest but I had the Remington pointed at the deck ready to go. In line with rules of engagement I had an empty chamber, but when I saw them I raised the shotgun and pumped it.
It was night time and the air still; that noise of the action ratcheting back and forward is intimidating and the look of it made people look twice at it.
The shotgun is a good weapon to use inside your home because it will not go through the walls; No.6 shot is reckoned to be the minimum effective load. I would not advise threatening anyone with an empty weapon - what if they call your bluff? Have it fully loaded and have the Police on the way!

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Old October 10, 2005, 03:10 PM   #3
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Anyone who takes an unloaded weapon to a gunfight deserves to get shot.
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:13 PM   #4
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Dave, you scare me dude!
But seriously, I've had to "rack" my shotgun before. Few years back when I had moved into my house I heard something outside on the deck. Thought it was just a raccoon or something till I heard it again. Well I woke up and looked down on the deck and saw someone stalking around at the back door dressed in dark clothes with a black hoodie on. Just saw the person, not the face. Well I took my Mossberg 500, racked that sucker with a round of 00 buck. Needless to say it scared the sh** out of the guy. He froze as I looked down, he then jumped the deck and ran. Far as I know, never had a problem since or seen anyone. Now if he was already in the house, screw the racking sound. Call the cops and wait at the top of the stairs in cover with a loaded gun!
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:16 PM   #5
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I think it's a fair compromise to have an empty chamber, and hope that racking the shotgun scares the bg away, but you had better be prepared for the guy to call your bluff! Bringing an unloaded gun for SD is not a bright idea. You can have a full tube, empty chamber and rack the slide. If the sound scares the guy away, great! If it doesn't, you've got a loaded shotty ready to handle the situation. Going "all in" on a bluff when your life is on the line is a terrible idea.
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:24 PM   #6
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Now why would I want to give away any advantage I might have with an Intruder(s) in my home, or business by racking a slide on a shotgun?

I would not want to give myself away racking a semi- auto handgun, opening/ closing the cylinder on a Revolver, running a bolt on a rifle either.

I do not do such actions while hunting.

One is to be prepared , to try to NOT engage in a situation if at all possible. I do not get paid to do house clearings. I will take cover and have the Calvary on direct line. If intruder finds my cover - snick of safety on shotgun and fire.

I have done the Tueller Drill often , and with a Shotgun as well. Precious milliseconds are going to be wasted on racking a shotgun when the ms are best used to snick off the safety.

Tueller : 21 steps covered in 1.5 seconds.

Can you stop an immediate threat in 1.5 seconds? It does not take long to be injured, or dead.
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:27 PM   #7
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Fourteen years in law enforcement was enough to show me that the sound will scare only a reasonable person.

The flip side of the coin, you probably won't need a shotgun for a reasonable person to begin with. Hardened street thugs have had weapons pointed at them (and actually shot) more than a few times. If you try and bluff one of these types, I hope your smooth bore is smooth both in and outside the barrel.

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Old October 10, 2005, 03:31 PM   #8
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It seems to me that is it legitimate to keep the shotgun unchambered for various safety reasons.

If you think you need the shotgun, you rack it as you pick it up, where you are. If the BG hears that and flees, all well and good.

I never understood if folks meant they were going to somehow confront the BG and make some kind of show about it.
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:37 PM   #9
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Its all a continuum.

Many will not come to enter your house if it is well maintained.

Of those that proceed, many will not enter the house if everything is secure.

Of those that proceed, many will not enter your house if they think someone is home.

Of those that proceed, many will leave when they realize someone is home.

Of those that proceed, many will leave when you verbalize a command for them to leave.

Of those that proceed, many will leave when you warn them of having a firearm and will shoot.

Of those that proceed, many will leave when you load your shotgun.

Of those that proceed, many will leave when you point your shotgun at them.

Of those that proceed, you need a loaded shotgun.

So the bottom line, pick at which level you are comfortable. If you think racking a shotgun will take care of your problem, get a tape recorder. Otherwise, have it ready to go. It would be ashamed to get killed while you are loading your shotgun.
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:41 PM   #10
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Actually, if you ask a professional burglar, they'll tell you that most don't go armed. Why? Because if they get caught, it adds time to their sentence. That's only the pro's, who look at it as a business. Home invasions by gang bangers, etc. are a whole different animal. They don't care, and they will shoot.

Racking a shotgun seems to be the one, universal warning. Several years ago we responded to a shots fired call in a parking lot late at night. When we arrived, gunsmoke was still literally hanging in the air, and there were four carloads of people all yelling at each other. Officers tried to separate them, but these people didn't listen, and continued yelling. I pulled the Remy 870 from my car, stepped up on a wall, and loudly racked a round home. You could'a heard a pin drop after that, and we got a lot of yessir's and nosir's . Like I said, the universal warning.
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:51 PM   #11
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Add me to the "no" list. I recommend not chambering a round until reasonably certain that the weapon will be fired or if your reactionary hand is going to be occupied, say, trying to herd a kid. The chamber can easily be charged while bringing the gun into a firing position - there is no loss in time assuming you can do two things at once.

Once you've chambered a round the typical shotgun isnt drop-safe, and in a tussle the last thing you want is for the gun to fire if you cannot control the muzzle, nor do you want the hood to get it already armed.

The only evidence that it'll cause someone to back off is anecdotal and qualitative. Remember, bad guys arent known for their good decision making skills
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Old October 10, 2005, 03:55 PM   #12
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Now why would I want to give away any advantage I might have with an Intruder(s) in my home, or business by racking a slide on a shotgun?
You would if, like many people, you've been watching too much t.v. and movies and think that they are representing reality. Because it looks and sounds dramatic and tough.

Even though it's stupid and tactically incorrect.

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Old October 10, 2005, 04:38 PM   #13
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I just let the snick of the safety going off to terrify them :-) My 870 has one up the spout at all times.
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Old October 10, 2005, 05:19 PM   #14
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Stupid and tactically incorrect as it might be, I do it as do many stupid and tactically incorrect Police Departments

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Old October 10, 2005, 05:29 PM   #15
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It would probably be ok, if the sound just before it had been a loud


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Old October 10, 2005, 06:01 PM   #16
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Old October 10, 2005, 06:30 PM   #17
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"...stupid and tactically incorrect."

Ah, the Supreme Arbiter of All Things Tactical hath spoken 8^).

Guess I will have to settle for being stupid and tactically incorrect yet again, then (man, I hate when that happens). My house shotguns get stored in cruiser ready as I was taught it once upon a time many many years ago, which is to say magazine loaded and hammer down on a double-checked empty chamber, safety on. That is a one-more-step-for-safety's-sake option I choose to use with long guns around the house- the AR on its hidey-hole pegs has an empty chamber also. Handguns are all in Condition One, if that makes anyone feel better about my tactical insufficiencies.

I DO NOT rack the gun in order to try and intimidate anyone, I rack it to put a round in the previously empty chamber. That happens the instant I lay hands on the gun as I am moving to cover. Anyone who gets far enough to make me pick up a long gun has already dealt with two layers of fences and two dogs and I doubt they will give a rat about a little noise from a round being chambered.

YMMV, it's your house, your life, your choice. I have been doing it this way for decades now and only shift to Condition One for long guns at the point I have to carry one at the ready. If it's on the pegs it is in Condition Three, in my hands it's Condition One.

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Old October 10, 2005, 06:35 PM   #18
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OK..........Time for a controlled study. I say we wire a public restroom for sound. First, on unsuspecting stall users we will play the sound of a toilet flushing. Next the sound of a dog barking. Finally we will play the sound of a shotgun chambering a round. We will measure toilet water displacement for results. This could be interesting. I wonder if we could get a federal grant to fund this?
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Old October 10, 2005, 06:40 PM   #19
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Old October 10, 2005, 06:43 PM   #20
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IMHO, the 'racking sound of a shotgun' just tells the opposition that you were not ready to dance. It also tells him what ya got, and where you are. You just blew your cover, and are now at a disadvantage.
Other's opinions may vary, (but they are wrong. )
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Old October 10, 2005, 06:44 PM   #21
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I have a story about this too lol. When I was in college I was a criminal justice major and took lots of practical police courses. One class I took from a professor who used to be a cop in Memphis. Anyways, he tells this story one day about how he was sleeping and heard noises downstairs. He says "I reached over and felt my kid, reached over to the other side and felt a bride...then I grabbed my 12ga and wallked down stairs to see a guy holding my CD player. I racked on in my 12ga and the guy dropped the Cd player real fast."
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Old October 10, 2005, 06:45 PM   #22
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This could be interesting. I wonder if we could get a federal grant to fund this?
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Old October 10, 2005, 08:29 PM   #23
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It would scare me, *BUT* when you hear it done back, that would be worse.
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Old October 10, 2005, 09:30 PM   #24
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Dave, . . . the answer to your question is a qualified "maybe" at very best.

Why take the chance, . . . is the question I would ask you.

First, . . . you put yourself at a tactical disadvantage in several ways: 1) you have given away any and all "surprize" effect, 2) you have given up your location, 3) you have one less round than if you had started with the chamber loaded also, 4) any serious bg has you made for a dufus, a newbie, or a John Wayne wannabe.

Secondly, . . . if you are serious in wanting to use the sound, . . . do it as a recording on a cassette tape, . . . also add verbal commands about bg's getting out of your house, . . . and have the speaker someplace that would not give away your position. Rig the recorder to play when you flip a remote switch or something.

Thirdly, . . . never, never, never give away your position or your resources until you fire that first shot, . . . and when you do, . . . make sure of your target, . . . and follow up quickly and decisively.

The winner of all gun fights is the one that got the baddest and deadliest the quickest. Everyone else comes in second.

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Old October 10, 2005, 09:46 PM   #25
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I've got 7 rounds (1st 2 are 00 buck, last 5 are 1oz slugs) in the tube. The chamber is empty for saftey reasons b/c the saftey is off. The trigger has been pulled so all I have to do is rack the slide and I have it ready to fire. Racking the slide does allow for intimidation factor but I will have a round in the chamber ready to be fired if it is needed.

This setup will change once I have children in the house, but for now its how I do it.
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