There has been a marked turn toward home-defense, military applications, and police-style shotguns, which have become a dominant force among gun enthusiasts. A few points about taking up the defense shotgun for the protection of yourself, home, or office.
First of all, keep it simple. Simple means less weight, in most cases, and that means control and an extra edge in speed, if you get into a gunfight. Those cowboys back in the day shot plain-Jane scatterguns most of the time, not the fancy types you saw in the movies.
Some shotguns kept to standard length barrels, while others were cut off as “coach” guns, with nothing added save for a bead on the muzzle, if even that. These guys as lawmen, stagecoach guards, and the like were shooting for their lives anytime those two sections of pipe went off. Still, they kept it simple.
Simple doesn’t seem the way these days, but you should try. Systems with flashlights attached may look sexy and are all the rage, but they can get you killed. The light marks you as a good target surface right off, when it’s attached to the gun.
Best to use a handheld light held off to the side opposite of which your gun is cradled. The light can be shot at by a bad guy, but you’ll still have your center mass in check, with a good scattergun and a good arm ready to go when it comes time to shoot.
Some people wonder at the merits of having a shotgun in a closed-in location, but using one in such conditions doesn’t have to be as awkward as you might imagine. Locate a pre-established defense position in your home, if covering an entry way or door. Use heavy chairs, tables, or even hallway corners as some form of barricade.If you need to expose yourself, stay low and stand sideways to the threat, as you’ll then make a small and narrow target.
When I teach folks to shoot shotguns for home-defense (and I have worked specially with a number of older members of our Dakota community every now and again), I tell them to set a game plan, factor in what they would do in the event of an intruder entry, and memorize the full layout of each entry area to the house, so that they understand the exact distance the shotgun’s payload will need to travel when making contact with a bad guy. What I tell older folks is that even if they are in their late 70s or 80s, they are only five pounds of trigger pressure away from winning the fight.
What they, as well as you, need to do is develop a plan and practice with that shotgun (empty and unloaded with dry runs in the home), if you are going to win the fight, one that’s possibly for your life. All you have to go on is muscle memory when you’re in a fight, because all the rest of the bull will fly out the window. Believe me, I have been there.
Remember this. A gunfight is only seconds long. That’s right, seconds. It is not the big, 15-minute long deal in the movies—at all. Range to the bad guy is often under five feet when the situation actually goes down, and the number of fired rounds is usually less then four total—that means both sides of the deal.
Sure, there are other situations that have occurred. The street gangs that blast away at each other are a different story altogether, for instance, but, in the case of home-defense it will be close and fast. Count on these two factors and train mentally for exactly that situation to unfold before you even have time to think.
This article is an excerpt from L.P. Brezny's book Modern Shotgunning.
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