Gabe Suarez: Combat shotgun – role and application. Part 2

The first book dedicated to working with a shotgun was written in the 1990s and was called Tactical Shotgun. However, now, given technical progress, it is considered to be very obsolete.

In 2004 I wrote a small supplement about these weapons, as a detailed answer to the questions of my students. I always avoid giving definitive and definitive answers, because the situation develops and changes, and an effective solution to a problem found in 1997 will differ from that in 2007, just as both of these solutions will be unsuitable in 2017.

Imagine that a person from 1896 will be asked about how best to make a transcontinental journey. Most likely, he will give an answer that will make you laugh. His world is different from the usual to us, as everything is constantly changing. This also applies to weapons, and in particular – the shotgun.

Further I will speak only about pump and semi-automatic shotguns of modern designs. Yes, I know that Bill Jordan used a double-barreled shotgun, and I agree that this is pretty cool, but let’s leave nostalgic sighs aside, and just take a weapon that is technically more advanced and efficient. Okay, a double-barreled gun and archaisms like it are acceptable where there is nothing besides this, for example, in countries with very tough weapons legislation, but we are not talking about that now.

Let’s look at the use of a shotgun in two roles:

  1. Using a shotgun for self-defense of a dwelling – at home or an apartment, in a confined space, for example, standing in the corridor in front of the door to the bathroom. In this case, the weapon must be compact, while at the same time from the factory, that is, do not require “finishing”.
  2. Shotgun in most cases may be the only available weapon with which the shooter should be able to perform various tasks.

ROLE 1: basic self-defense, low weapon proficiency

Equipment and workouts dThe first role of a shotgun requires minimum For this role, I propose to use a reliable and high-quality semi-automatic shotgun. Not because he is better than the pump shotgun, but because it’s easier to handle. The best choice would be FN, Remington or Mossberg. I will touch on the issues of training and application later, but I will emphasize once again that in this particular case, a semi-automatic shotgun is better only because it is easy to learn, especially for an untrained person.

The cartridge gets into the chamber of a semi-automatic shotgun as quickly as in the case of a semi-automatic rifle – with a reverse movement of the bolt, and the operator can shoot 4 to 8 times before he has to reload. To make shots he just needs to pull the trigger. As long as the quality of the cartridges allows the automation to work properly, there is no problem. However, such a weapon cannot be used at long distances; it is not very convenient to use it with a bachelor or shoot training ammunition.

An operator with a semi-automatic shotgun will never encounter such a problem as “shortage of the forearm” (short stroke) during reloading, which often happens to inexperienced shooters when working with a pump shotgun. For a common understanding, this is a situation when, after a shot, the forearm of the “pump” is retracted, but not against the stop. In this case, the cartridge case is ejected, but the new cartridge is not fed from the tubular magazine. The problem is easily reparable, but because of the hitch, it gives an advantage to the enemy.

As I have already said, this problem cannot be on semi-automatic weapons. Therefore, for the first role, a pump shotgun is not the best choice.

Before you erupt with fierce criticism, please remember that we are talking about a shotgun that is not supposed to be improved or used intensively. He will be in the safe behind the door for months, waiting for his time. An inexperienced shooter will sooner or later encounter a shortage of the handguard of a pump-action shotgun.

In addition, if this inexperienced shooter is not the strongest physique, and the purpose of acquiring a shotgun is self-defense and protection of the home, then a semi-automatic 20-gauge is the best choice for him. It’s easy to use a weapon, even a child will master it, and the range is more than enough for limited city distances, and the power is enough to knock all the crap out of the bastard who tried to get into your house.

Required skills and upgrades for 1st role

For the first case, you will need a reliable weapon that can be quickly and easily brought to combat readiness and which will be sufficiently effective anywhere in the intended conflict zone. The small weight of the shotgun is good, but not so essential for the protection of the home.

A housewife with a shotgun in her hands will not go looking for a bad guy who has climbed into her house, but will simply hide in one of the rooms. Her children will be with her, and she will be so scared that she will shoot at anyone who tries to enter the room. She does not need to identify the target, it is enough that her whole family is with her, and as soon as the door starts to open, she will pull the trigger until she runs out of bullets. And, if she was properly trained – without saying a word to the bad guy before.

For this case, the skill of possession of weapons is almost not required. The only thing that needs to be done is to press the butt of the shotgun tightly against the shoulder and pull the trigger until the bad guy dies or the cartridges run out. There is a question with a rifle rack, the purpose of which in this case is to help cope with recoil and maintain balance, however modern ammunition, especially of 20 gauge, removes this problem.

In general, you can learn everything you need for the first role in just an hour of practice at the shooting range.

ROLE 2: advanced use of a shotgun, high weapon proficiency

The second role of the shotgun is more flexible in the choice of goals and means, since it is intended for a person who at least has a good command of the weapon and regularly trains with it. This is a professional or enthusiast who is fond of practical shooting, consciously preparing for emergencies, and not a successful manager, hipster or housewife who has by some miracle bought weapons for self-defense, indifferent to weapons.

In the second case, the shotgun can be, and should be optimized as well as possible, for successful application in various options and scenarios.

Required skills for the 2nd role

For the second role there are no limits and limitations. In a decade and a half of wars and armed conflicts, the weapon culture has changed critically. Shooters, gunsmiths and killer terrorists – everyone needs quality accessories and ammunition for all possible firearms, including a shotgun. And it is in this area that all research and development takes place.

The operator must study his weapon as fully as possible in order to have a full understanding of his capabilities, what ammunition and how he works with weapons (I know a lot of guys who will roll their eyes with the word “operator”, however I use this word and I understand it who doesn’t just carry weapons, like a golf club).

Tactical clue:
A clever operator is looking for an opportunity to fight in such a way as to maximize the potential of the weapon, minimizing the effect of the flaws

The operator must skillfully handle the weapon, quickly and clearly move from the patrol position to the position of readiness for shooting. The shooter must also develop realistic skills related directly to the shotgun, such as shooting various ammunition – bullet, shot and shotgun, use of scattering or shotguns to hit moving targets, taking into account surface penetrability, and other factors.

He should also be able to work with weapons in a state of stress, to cope with such simple tasks as shooting in motion, shooting at moving targets, changing the main weapon to a pistol, shooting from a weak shoulder and transferring the weapon from shoulder to shoulder, forced reloading, skill “ on-the-go ”to be recharged, to use bullet ammunition together with the canister to increase the range of the shot or penetrating effect.

And this is just the beginning. The ability to use weapons to repel and strike at short distances, use a shotgun in combat conditions in limited CQB spaces, work with weapons at 360 °, in low light, and against several opponents, complete the list of necessary skills.

Shotgun improvements

The shotgun for the role number 2 can be both semi-automatic and pump-driven – both of these platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Tactical flashlight

The presence of a tactical flashlight on a weapon is always an advantage if the operator is able to control it. This is not necessary for the first role, but a weapon torch for the second role shotgun is a necessary condition. However, installing a light source on your weapon is not such an easy task.

Sub-trunk shop extension

Magazine extensions shop extensions are also important – I don’t recall a single case in which extra ammunition in a weapon was harmed by someone (except, perhaps, attacking a person with this weapon). Anyone who complains about the increased weight of a shotgun loaded with extra ammo will be sent to the gym. A shotgun is like a battle ax with which the Vikings fought, and if you want to get maximum efficiency, you should be able to wield a weapon to the fullest.

Side bracket for cartridges

There is no definite answer about the side holders for cartridges (saddle shell style carriers). Opinions diverge here – someone loves them, someone hates them. My suggestion is to set the holder for 4 rounds. Thus, you will always have four shots in stock, and without a noticeable increase in weight. New holders from Aridus look quite decent, I will try to test them (and this is not an advertisement).

Weapon belt

In cases where long-barreled weapons are used outdoors, I would recommend taking a gun belt. For an inexperienced shooter, he is not needed, but for an advanced user of a shotgun – an indispensable thing. Now there is a bunch of good models with reliable and quick-release fasteners.


As we have said, the shotgun of the first role does not need to be improved, so there will be shooting from a standard sight. Many modern instructors may not agree with me, but from three meters from a shotgun you can get there with your eyes closed. If you think I’m wrong, just ask me to prove it.

Weapons for the second role can and will be used in different situations, so there will need something more. If you prefer standard mechanical sights, then strive for unification. For example, a shotgun Remington 870 Police Model (police version) the sight and sight are the same as that of my gun.

Now very popular on smooth-bore weapons aperture sights Ghost Ring. Such a sight allows you to aim faster, but it loses a little to standard sights exactly. In general, any sighting system has the right to exist, the question of skill. Our task, in essence, is to kill a person who wants to harm us. What is good in sports is not very applicable to life situations.

For some time now we have been using the Trijicon RMR collimator sight on pistols, which has proven itself well. I think for the shotgun the “red dot” sight (red dot) will also be a good addition.


I always say that the best ammunition for a smooth-bore weapon is a canister (at worst – a large fraction). A shotgun equipped with a grape shot is best suited for use as a special weapon when you want to hit a target in circumstances where a bullet weapon, such as a pistol or rifle, does not work. Even if your weapon skill is not high enough for a high rate of combat and the current situation, there is always a chance to hit the target, even if it only gets a pair of carts. The natural accuracy of hitting kartechin is also an advantage, so I do not advise using chokes (choke).

However, bullet ammunition for a shotgun has its advantages. Shooting a bullet may be necessary when the distance is too large for the canister, or it will be necessary to break through the barrier, which the canister cannot do. The bullet is much more effective against large animals, and especially bears.

Let’s sum up

The meaning of what has been said above about sights and other gadgets for a shotgun is not to turn a shotgun into a rifle, but that a person who simply does not have a rifle, or for various reasons chooses a shotgun, has the opportunity to conduct a full-fledged fight in within and beyond the reach of a conventional fraction. Performance characteristics and efficiency in general are the parameters by which we choose a weapon.

The shotgun is not so accurate, but it will allow you to make an effective shot in cases where you are guaranteed to miss the rifle. It is easier to work with a shotgun and easier to hit the target under low light conditions, as well as in circumstances where there is simply no time for the traditional principles of karabiner shooting.

Regardless of the ammunition chosen, the shotgun will never replay the rifle in matters that are solved with a rifle. As well as the rifle can not cope with the problems that are eliminated with a shotgun.

Mission options and tools to accomplish

Mission type Mission description Best tool
Proactive Shoot and hit someone or something from a distance of 5 to 350 meters Rifle
Reactive Hidden carrying weapons 24/7/365, shooting to kill from a distance of 50-100 meters Pistol
Proactive / Reactive Limited space, close distance, not enough light, several opponents, availability of protective equipment, low sensitivity to damage Shotgun

Gabe Suarez

Weapon accessories

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