Typically shotgun patterning brings one thing to mind – hunting prep.

The practice is integral in delivering pellets on a bragging-rights long beard or limiting out on white wings. But understanding how different shot sizes in different loads perform out of a particular shotgun has broader applications.

The shotgun is a popular home-defense tool; knowing how it patterns is key to getting the most out of the firearm. Luckily, Clint Smith neatly covers this crucial concept in the above video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The president and director of Oregon’s Thunder Ranch training center, however, doesn’t stop at discussing patterning. He also touches upon the role distance plays for the defensive shotgun.

Far from being a point-and-shoot weapon, Smith demonstrates exactly how precise the shotgun can be at close range. Have your doubts? Watch the whole thing and take note of the exactitude required to successfully execute Smith’s drill at the end.


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Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Shotgun