This post is a continuation of "Shotgun Class Yesterday"
Wow, it seems you were really impressed with your shotgun class and training and you highly appraised the usefulness of a shotgun. Some you past comments concerning shotguns for self defense were negative. Did this class change your outlook? If so, what changes would you make for your own self defense and what recommendations would you give the rest of us for incorporating shotguns in our self defense (either at home or on the road)?
Hi, I’m happy with the training, but the shotgun still has several disadvantages. You can minimize some with training but they are still there, and you also have to be realistic. Few people will ever have the skill I mentioned in the beginning of my previous post. If Benelli or Beretta sponsors you, gives you ammo and guns and pays you to shoot with their brand, by all means use whatever floats your boat. But the truth is most people will never have that level of training with a shotgun.
For a worst case situation, you still have a weapon that requires both hands to operate a mechanism per each shot. I’ll still take a big bore handgun, preferably something like my Glock 31 357 SIG for indoors and close quarters. That doesn’t change the fact that I’ll still have the shotgun handy and ready, along with other weapons. People that boast about how shotguns are the best weapons in the planet rarely ever take serious amounts of firearms training. If they did, they’d realize there are better tools out there for most situations that may present themselves. If possible, people should train with everything they see themselves using at some point, handgun, rifle, carbine and shotgun. This is the best way to tell what works and what doesn’t.
Again, it depends on the situation, and you keep several tools handy to use them within your possibilities. My first go to weapon is my handgun. If just a second after picking my weapon I have someone crushing me against a wall or floor, for that kind of encounter I prefer to have a handgun so as to use my left hand to create/maintain distance and the other one to shoot him full of holes. What if someone is trying to enter your home and its taking him a few more seconds than planed? Maybe you can holster your gun and wait for Mr. Home Invader with a warm welcome shotgun blast. Depending on the situation and time available, that dictates your course of action, in this case the weapons and tools you’ll be using.
My recommendation is pretty much the same. For home defense and specially for close quarters such as the ones you have indoors, you’ll want a weapon that is easy for you to move around, but most important, one that is semi automatic and does not require to action a mechanism with both hands per shot. I’m sure that many of my readers wont take that amount of training. Not interested or maybe not within their means. To them I always recommend at least learning how to use a big bore handgun and taking at least a class with it.
During the shotgun class we had a guy that had not taken the previous pistol classes. He froze when he had to reload his pistol single handedly, had no idea of what to do.
A pump shotgun is a poor choice as your one and only weapon, specially poor choice for the novel gun owner. A shotgun is incredibly powerful, very rugged, but it does require a level of training and even with it has the mentioned limitations.
As I said in the Home Invasion post a couple days ago, there’s some criminals that you can send away with intimidation alone, including a replica gun, a 22LR, or an air gun, doesn’t matter, certainly a shotgun will intimidate this kind of predator. It does not mean that a replica gun is the best home defense weapon, and while it may scare away a thief, it might get you killed when dealing with a dangerous criminal.
What I would recommend is understanding that any weapon will require training. Shooting paper at the range and hitting a couple cans on the side of the road does not make you a shooter. You think you know how to fight with it, but you actually don’t even being to understand how much you DON’T know. Like a certain Clown fish told his son once “You think you can do these things, but you can't, Nemo!”. Knowing how to aim and shoot a gun without shooting yourself in the foot only means you’re not a complete disaster waiting to happen, its like getting your driver’s license issued. Sure, you know enough so as to not kill the old lady crossing the street, but it will be almost a year before you know how to really drive and everything becomes second nature. The difference here is that with guns, you’ll not learn defensive shooting by going target practicing, no matter how many years go by. You have to take that Defensive shooting class, hopefully with a reputable instructor. It will be by far the best spent money in terms of firearms and self defense.
Once that you understand that owning a gun doesn’t make you a shooter any more than owning a F-15 Eagle makes you a fighter pilot, then yes get a gun.
For home defense concerning people that wont do much other than basic safety training, a 38 special/357 magnum S&W or Ruger revolver would be my first choice. Anyone that will be more serious about self defense will find a Glock in 9mm or bigger to be a much more capable firearm for self defense. Again, the classes show you this. If you take your revolver to a handgun class, a few minutes later you’ll see how little capacity you have, how slow it is for you to reload compared to autos. If you take your fancy 1911 you’ll see that everyone else using Glocks seem to have endless amounts of ammo. You reload a couple times and the guy next to you still has a couple rounds left in his first magazine. When reholstering, you have to make sure engaging the safety becomes second nature to you, while the guy with the Glock doesn’t even have a safety to worry about, he just reholsters. At the end of the day, your hands will suffer every single sharp edge in your gun, most guns, 1911s , Berettas 92s, etc, they have a few sharp edges in their frames and your hands will show it. The Glock on the other hand, it has all its corners smoothened and is much more friendly to users that abuse them.
After the handgun, I’d get an AK47 in 7,62 x39mm. With soft points or good jacket hollow points it has terrific stopping power, you have much more ammo capacity, and unlike the pump action shotgun it fires semi auto with each pull of the trigger.
I would recommend to have a handgun (along with body armor and tactical light), then a carbine. You might add a shotgun to the collection of weapons ready to use, but that would be my order of importance.
If you want to go for a shotgun for self defense, then get a Mossberg 500/590 or Remington 870. Have sights installed. Have a side saddle installed to the frame and add a sturdy shell holder to the stock. Keep it loaded with Nº4 buckshot and have some slugs or sabots ready in case you need to make more accurate shots or shoot at distances further away. Consider the shotgun class to be mandatory here. That’s the only way you’ll learn to deal with some of the weapons limitations better. It wont solve them all, its still pump action and magazine capacity is limited, but it will sure help. Training is also the only way you maybe have a chance to deploy a slug if needed. Don’t train and your odds go down significantly. Stay away from semi auto shotguns. You have semi auto capability and that’s a big advantage, but you still open a new can of worms. The SPAS 12 is awful, even some of the nice Berettas have certain loads and shell types that they favor. Saiga shotguns are pretty reliable but then again you can’t feed ammo into the mag like you do with a pump, and its still a shotgun with most of its deficiencies. This includes ammunition that isn’t as standardized as metal cartridges, with much more loose specs and tolerances. The plastic hulls are likely to deform when under pressure in a magazine, specially a detachable box magazine. Will it work well after sitting in a case for a couple years? Probably, but you at least know that metallic ammo will not deform under pressure like plastic does. For all these reasons, I’d play it safe and stick to pump action shotguns. Finally, if you’ll be using a shotgun for home defense, use it like cops do, with a handgun ready on your belt. Maybe that’s the secret as of why so many cops like their pump action shotguns so much, they always have a handgun to transition to if needed.
|This is my shotgun, a Mossberg 500 with a (legal in Argentina 15" barrel) It was a two point sling and Stock Shell holder.|
|Assortment of ammunition. FM magnum 12ga buckshot shell showing its contents. There also slugs nad Winchester N4 Buckshot.|
|This shell belt carrier is terrific. You just pull the shells out of it off the top. The shells are kept in place tight.|
Bones said...Re: plastic buckshot - exactly what kind of door did it penetrate. Was it the foam core/wood veneer type? I wonder what it would do to drywall at contact range?
Too bad about your hostage. I'm sure they'll recover.
Just curious: did the instructor talk about if there is ever a situation when it might be better simply to drop the shotgun? If you're out of ammo doesn't it become a liability?