As I told you at the outset, we'll go with the Remington 870. The .mil has used it, and half a dozen other guns, going back to about the turn of the last century. (Cue up The Wind and The Lion for some worthwhile scenes with one.)
They currently use the Mossberg M590. Mossberg does one thing right that Remington gets wrong: they put the safety on the backstrap, where it belongs, and where you can operate it rapidly with your strong hand thumb, instead of behind the trigger guard (which is functional, but more awkward).
In every other way, IMHO, the Remington 870 was/is a better gun (at least, it was before now-bankrupt RemCorp starting larding it up with all kinds of plastic parts to cut costs and quality). I have a M590. (In addition to most of a rack full of 870s.) It has a barrel heat shield, and a handy bayonet lug, always a thing near and dear to any Marine's heart. Mine sported a non-standard 12-inch M7 bayonet during the Rodney King riots.
But you can buy and add the heat shield and bayonet lug to any standard pump, with a couple of parts, and a minimum of work.
At any rate, the 870 is probably the vanilla-ice-cream commonest shotgun in America at this point. But if you're working with a Mossberg, a Winchester Defender, a new or vintage Ithaca, or any number of other pump shotguns, you'll get the job done. So at the end of the day, I don't care what you've got, as long as you know how to run it accurately and safely.
Focus on learning that, whatever you're rocking.
Hour 8 - Nomenclature, Firing Cycle, Disassembly/Assembly/Function Checks/Maintenance
Shotgun basics x 2:
Two ways to go about it
Note for users: one thing I highly recommend you do with your 870, or other pump if the part(s) are available, is to replace the factory-standard small dark shell follower (the part that pushes shells back into the action during loading) with an aftermarket hi-viz heavy-duty plastic or anodized aluminum follower. I use a bright international orange one, so that I can see the action is empty at a glance. If I can see orange, I know there's nothing in that tube. It's also bigger and beefier than the OEM factory part, and therefore more reliable and less prone to jamming or tangling the shell follower spring.
It's a $5-10 mod, and you can do it in about a minute at home without tools, during normal disassembly for cleaning.
Hour 9 - Immediate Action, Ammunition selection
Shotgun ammunition basics:
Hour 10 - Basics of Marksmanship and Moving Targets
The first video is prime: when firing a shotgun, lean forward more aggressively, and ride the recoil as you shoot to work the pump, so that when your muzzle comes back down, you're already set to fire the next round. I'm an average-sized guy, and I kick ass with a shotgun since learning that some decades hence. Your weight should be forward onto your leading leg. Then the recoil of full-power 12ga buckshot is inconsequential, and even the heavier magnums are tolerable.
When you're shooting at a moving target, coming or going doesn't really matter much.
Side to side does. The rule with clay pigeons is to pull the muzzle through the target, from rear to front, and pull the trigger as you get to the front edge, while still swinging the barrel. It works with clay pigeons, it works with birds on the wing, it works on feral pigs, and it works with bad people running across your field of view.
The beauty is, you can practice all you want at the local trap, skeet, or sporting clays range, to get the swing speed right. If you try to fire a shotgun like you aim a rifle, at a moving target, you'll miss behind them (and if they're not inanimate objects, they'll probably pick up speed getting away). Ask me how I know.
So spend some quality time practicing on trap or skeet (put a longer sporting barrel on the 870 if you do), get a new hobby, and build combat skills without looking like it.
Hour 11 - Course Of Fire
The entire USMC shotgun training for security personnel who use one, comprises a grand total of 2 hours of classroom time, and two hours of firing practice. The detailed breakdown is here. You should note that the orders section on shotgun training for additional security personnel in the first reference doesn't even require actual live fire training.
If live fire is conducted, following the breakdown in the second link, you fire 18 rounds of standard load 9-pellet 00B at 3 targets, (the CoF staggers it so you've fired 6 rounds at each target of the three by the time you've moved forward from the 25Y line to the 10Y line) engaged in the specified order in the second reference, from 25Y, 20Y, 15Y, and 10Y. 30 pellets (out of 54 possible: 9 pellets@ X 6 shells per target) impacted into each target is a pass, and qualification is a simple pass/fail.
You can do the same thing most anyplace you can shoot, or you can replicate the exact full course to specification.
A shotgun for defensive use should only be loaded with buckshot (00, 000, or #4) or slugs.
(Birdshot is lethal at muzzle range, and a mere annoyance after a very few yards distance. Don't try it. It only works in cheesedick Jason Bourne flicks, not real life.)
As a Rule Of Thumb, shot spreads approximately 1" in height and width for each 1 yard of distance from the muzzle. (Hardcore geeks, IDGAF if it's a bit more or less, I don't care about chokes and barrel lengths, nor about patterning the shot spread. That rule is literally,"close enough for government work". Pay attention to the general rule.)
|Remember this guy? So, now you know he was about 6Y away from the muzzle, |
assuming a cylinder bore weapon. Which was right in the sweet spot for
the person shooting at him.
So that means the ideal range for engagement is between about 6Y and 20Y for an average human target (given that the average person's torso is 18-20" across when facing you full-on). It'll still be quite effective closer up, but beyond 25Y, pattern spread, and a limited number of pellets, means that you'll start dropping pellets off the target (which flying lead you're still responsible for when it's continuing downrange past your target), and by 50 yards, the likelihood of an incapacitating hit with one round of buckshot on a man-sized target becomes prohibitively futile. Not impossible, just generally not worth the trouble.
Slugs, especially with a rifled barrel, turn a shotgun into a large-caliber hunting rifle with a 100-200Y range. If you have the slugs, if you have the barrel, if you have the sights, and if you've taken the time to train with all that in order to be able to use it to maximum effect.
If not, you get a roughly 100Y effective weapon shooting a rather devastating slug, with the accuracy of a Revolutionary War musket, at ranges a pistol is more difficult to be good with, without a lot of practice. And a weapon that's essentially worthless at normal rifle engagement ranges, particularly at 200Y and more, when you can't hit your target, but anyone even with a rusty old AK can hit you.
In short, great weapon indoors, in trench warfare, or in heavy brush or jungle, but not so good on prairie or desert plains unless the other team has nothing but clubs.
It is not a magic wand. Its forte is hammering relatively close targets with a devastating amount of damage, if they're not wearing a protective vest. (Most vests, including the 1980s-era PASGT military vest, were/are rated to stop fragments the size and velocity of shotgun pellets, among other things. Hips and heads if necessary, kids.)
A standard (2 3/4") buckshot round fires 9 .33 caliber pellets. At, say 10 yards, that turns your face or chest into hamburger. You tend to stop.
At 75 yards at a running person, you might get a hit or three, or you might miss them entirely, with all the pellets you fire.
Hour 12 - Sights, Lights, Lasers and low-Light Shooting
Shotguns need to be aimed.
And, just like pistols and rifles, there is no end of things you can add to them to help you see, ID, and hit your target. Some work better than others. The key is to know about them, try them out, and make sure before you make something a must-add, that what it gets you is worth the time, trouble, and expense.
A light is not a bad idea, to ID your target. The down side is that it also IDs you as a target to them.
Sights that only you can see in the dark, even without NOD, are even better.
Wearing NOD means you don't need the light, or the glowy sights.
You decide, and try it out for real, on a range, before you commit to something, and understand the pros and cons.
That concludes the marksmanship module, and Week One of basic training.
You're halfway finished.
Next, we start on fieldcraft.
Expect some administrative tidying up over the weekend, and perhaps a teaser, but I don't expect to start posting the next section this side of Monday for the meat and potatoes.
If I can do so, I'll do it like this week: all posts for the nominal day posted in the same day, rather than stringing it out over a month or more.
We'll see how that best-laid plan works out in reality, but that's where I'm headed with this.