A shotgun is considered by many to be the optimal piece of hardware for CQB. A scattergun filled with 00 buck is hard to beat in a fight that has a range of the avg American living room. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of shotguns will help you get the most out of yours. Lets lay to rest perhaps the biggest myth of the combat shotgun; That due to the spreading of the shot pattern there is no need to aim the weapon. In the REAL world the shot only spreads 1” for every yard of travel after leaving the barrel. This means a single hole at distances out to about 12’ or so. To stop the bad guy the entire pattern must hit him (or her) in a vital area. A few pellets just wont do it.
Why choose a smoothbore over a pistol or rifle? Easy: against a thin-skinned target within range a 12-ga. shotgun can be said to be the most powerful arm available. Over 1 ounce of lead hitting a large area produces tremendous terminal results!
Another good reason to pick a shotgun is the reduced probability of over-penetration.
A few negatives of the shotgun are; the bulk of the ammo, recoil, slow reloading, and one of its pluses is also a minus in that range is limited.
Some people prefer semi-auto shotguns and some prefer a pump action. A semi-auto is easier to shoot while prone or in a “compromised” position and can re-acwire a follow-up shot or secondary target faster. A pump action is a more economical choice and can be argued a simpler machine to repair if it malfunctions.
A shotgun to be used for indoor defense should have a legal minimum 18” barrel. Many people go for a 22” barrel and get 2 extra shells in the mag. But this makes for a very long package to take through the house. Chokes do not work with buckshot so it would be best to use no choke at all. If you can’t get a decent pattern, take the gun to a gunsmith and explain your needs, he’ll fix you up. You might also want to consider getting a porting job. This will not tame the recoil any but WILL help you re-acquire targets much faster by reducing muzzle rise.
Ammo and Accessories
The only really effective ammo for a shotgun is either 00 buck or slugs. There are different calibers of buckshot on the market; #3, #4, and #1, but to get adequate would channels nothing beats nine .33 caliber pellets. With slugs you can get either saboted or not. I prefer not, a full .72 caliber slug would do some major damage and that's the name of the game.
If using this weapon for home defense, odds are that it will be employed in the dark if the need ever arises. With this in mind, you’ll need to add a light source. There are clamps that can clamp a maglight to the magazine, there are integral forends that actually house a light, and a few other choices. Some folks like to add ghost ring sights, some use the new colored tubes that seem to glow, but these do need a light source.
I don't anticipate a shotgun fight lasting more than 2 or 3 rounds but a sidesaddle carrier filled with 6 extra rounds and mounted to the action of the gun goes a long way to soothing my nerves. I keep 4 rounds of 00 buck and 2 slug rounds, just in case some one thinks about barricading themselves behind a door.
As with all firearms, you have to train or you’ll have you gun taken and used on you. If you're not going to practice you might as well just get a dog.
Return to The Alpha Group Web Page
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.