Last week, I went to Lone Star Handgun to participate in their 3-Gun Training. The training was cancelled, that’s what I get for not calling in advance. But they did give me the range for the afternoon and let me shoot their .300 BLK Suppressed AR.
After having fun with the suppressor, I broke out my guns and decided to work on things that I needed practice on. Number 1 was the shotgun. I haven’t run a shotgun in almost 10 years but am taking a shotgun course next month, so I figured this would be a good time to see if it still works.
Starting with the most fun thing on the range (Texas Star), I started working the gun. Within 20 rounds or so I was back into a groove with the gun. I could shoot the star down in 4.62 seconds. Not earth shattering, but not bad out of an old pump gun.
After that, I started working on single loading the gun off of the sidesaddle. Running the same star I got my times down to 12.6 seconds starting with an unloaded gun and hand loading each round. That makes my load times about 2.5 seconds for each round. That is a lot longer than I would like or thought it would take, but that’s from shot to shot.
The easiest way I’ve found (and what I was doing) was to shoot a round, pull the action back, leaving it open, grab a round off the sidesaddle, tuck the gun under my arm towards myself and throw the round into the open ejection port. Then yank the action closed and use that energy to shoulder the weapon to make the next shot. Then repeat for all five stars.
What really surprised me was that it took a full 2.5 seconds after practicing for a while (at first it was almost 4!). So when running a shotgun, you need to carry a secondary weapon and be able to employ it when the shotgun runs dry. I know that it takes me about 1.5 seconds to transition from a long gun and draw my handgun. That was a nice lesson to learn on the range instead of the hard way.
After running through 100 rounds with the shotgun, I remember one other thing, it’s a lot of work to run a shotgun. The shotgun takes far more energy to operate than a different gun. I don’t think it’s only the pump action, but the action of loading each round into the gun. It’s a long stroke no matter where you get the ammo from. So if you are going to run a shotgun, or think you are going to run a shotgun for self defense, get that thing out and work on it. It takes a lot of muscle to hold that thing up to reload for a long time.
Go practice with your shotgun, on the range, or get some dummy rounds here and get those muscles ready for that gun!