Video: Defensive Shotgun Patterning

Video: Defensive Shotgun Patterning

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.


Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Shotgun


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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


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