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Shotgun Woes and Lessons Learned from the Short Range Match

This can be a visitor submit from Dixon Gunther who attended our 29 Might 2022 Wise Self Protection Shotgun Match.

I’d simply returned from a piece journey once I seen that Wise Self Protection was internet hosting a Shotgun Match. Nonetheless reeling from the twelve earlier hours of ‘planes, trains, and vehicles’ that are likely to bookend my frequent work journeys, taking pictures a match the next morning wasn’t precisely what I’d had in thoughts. Which brings me to my first level. By no means cross up a chance to coach. Ever. Doesn’t matter how drained you might be or how dangerous the climate is meant to be. All the time go practice.

I knew it’d been a minute since I’d run a shotgun defensively, so the subsequent morning, I sorted my gear out, and headed for the vary. These ‘matches’ (‘Brief Vary Match’) because the host/founder, Eric Lamberson of Wise Self-defense titles them, have persistently confirmed to be wonderful alternatives to run by real-world defensive taking pictures situations utilizing both your EDC or dwelling protection set-ups. I’ve been taking pictures them periodically for the previous eight years. On this match, shooters may use pistol, shotgun, or pistol-caliber carbine. There have been 4 situations, with 3-9 targets at varied distances, all of which needed to be engaged utilizing cowl the place accessible, in opposition to the clock. Some mandated reloads, with others you simply reloaded as you deemed essential.

Throughout the first situation, I skilled a complete malfunction with my shotgun on the second shot. The shotgun is a Mossberg JM-Professional, which I’ve used extensively previously. I attended Eric’s Defensive Shotgun Course, modeled after Tom Givens’ course in January 2020, and had run the identical gun with identical ammo with zero points. I used to be utilizing Federal Regulation Enforcement Flight-Management buckshot. After I fired the primary shot, the gun cycled, however failed to fireplace the second spherical. I racked the slide, ejecting the unfired second spherical and loading a 3rd spherical, tried to fireplace – nothing. Whereas the gun would fireplace the primary spherical loaded into the chamber, it was failing to cock the hammer on the following photographs. After repeatedly performing rapid motion to scale back the malfunction to no avail, I knowledgeable the Security Officer that I used to be going to make use of my backup gun.

I wound up taking pictures your complete match [clean] with my Mossberg 500 which I’ve had for 38 years. It labored flawlessly. And it was good to refresh myself on operating the slide motion. I targeted on attaining stable goal hits, use of canopy, and even ran the gun on my non-dominant facet for a part of a stage so as to negotiate the corners correctly.

Classes Discovered:

I say once more: By no means cross up a chance to coach. Ever. Doesn’t matter how drained you might be or how dangerous the climate is meant to be. All the time go practice. Studying about it and fascinated about it are not any substitute for truly operating your life-saving gear and truly working towards your expertise.

Run your gun: To not be overly dramatic, however this match may have actually saved my life, because the malfunction I skilled with what had been my dwelling protection shotgun may have gotten me killed in a house invasion situation. It is best to periodically observe with the gun and defensive ammunition.

Six photographs just isn’t lots in a gunfight, significantly with no approach to really execute a velocity reload (as you may with a revolver or pistol). One of many levels on this match had 9 targets, every of which needed to be shot twice – 18 rounds whole, engaged from cowl or whereas shifting. Even reloading twice from cowl after participating the primary six targets, that also required me to reload on the transfer previous to participating the final three targets. My Mossberg 500 has an 18.5” barrel, and an unplugged journal capability of 5 rounds, for a most of six rounds within the gun. With 5 extra rounds carried on the facet of the receiver, that brings my most spherical capability to 10 on board. One of many options that originally attracted me to the 930 JM Professional was the 9-round journal capability, which enabled me to hold 9+1 within the gun, with an extra 5 on the receiver for a complete of 15 rounds. However within the ultimate evaluation, I imagine the 930 is just too lengthy to be sensible as a defensive platform. The shorter 500 is far handier.

Reloading: Ought to be performed the identical means, from the identical place (both on the ‘facet saddle’ or on the physique) EVERY SINGLE TIME! Although I had beforehand educated pretty typically on reloading a shotgun in a defensive situation, it has been practically two years since I’ve practiced with any regularity. Previous to that I had actually shot tens of 1000’s of rounds with varied shotguns, principally taking pictures Sporting Clays and dove searching. With the latter, I’m usually loading two rounds at a time from a belt-mounted cartridge pouch/shell bag. So operating the gun defensively, I found my expertise have been at finest rusty, and at occasions down proper awkward. Throughout the match, I usually had time to plan my reloads and at the very least rehearse them mentally, which helped, but it surely was nonetheless removed from easy. This can be a ability that it’s essential to observe periodically – even dry/with dummy rounds. As I’ve discovered previously: you may’t anticipate to stay proficient at expertise you don’t observe.

Regarding the particular mannequin of firearm and the character of the malfunction I skilled: A cursory web search of the assorted Mossberg 930 boards yielded a plethora of shooters that had skilled the an identical (and lots of different) drawback(s) with this explicit platform. Whereas I’m nonetheless within the strategy of diagnosing drawback. The trigger just isn’t instantly obvious; the firing pin isn’t damaged and the gun is clear, correctly assembled, and has no lacking or clearly damaged components – my confidence within the platform has evaporated.

From what I can confirm, the Mossberg 930 JM Professional was launched as an entry-level shotgun to be used in 3-Gun competitors, and was not particularly designed as a severe defensive platform (learn: anticipated to be inherently dependable). I base that remark on the truth that (if the web boards are correct) many, if not most 930 homeowners have needed to modify their shotguns simply to make them operate, and frequently ‘tweak’ them or tinker with them to maintain them operating, regardless of variant — SPX, JM Professional, or Professional Waterfowl. My private expertise bears this out.

I personal two Mossberg 930s, the JM Professional in addition to a 930 Professional Waterfowl. I’ve changed various inner elements with “upgrades” (“efficiency” components from OR3Gun) simply to get them to run, however proceed to have reliability issues with each. I chosen the Mossberg 930 primarily based on the the tang-mounted security, which is simpler to govern as a left-handed shooter (I’m cross-dominant – right-handed, however fireplace lengthy weapons left-handed primarily based on eye dominance). Whereas I’ve owned six Mossberg shotguns since about 1979, 5 of which I nonetheless personal and shoot, Mossberg’s forte appears to be their pump shotguns. For my part/expertise, the Mossberg 930 shotguns, at the very least the 2 that I’ve, are too unreliable to function a defensive shotgun, and as talked about beforehand, the JM Professional might be too lengthy to be sensible for such use.

The 2 semiautos that appear to ‘rule the varsity’ in the intervening time are the Beretta 1301 and the Benelli M4. The latter of the 2 is nearly prohibitively costly, and are someplace between tough and unimaginable to find regionally. Semiautos are undoubtedly quicker, as you clearly don’t need to cycle the motion your self. Eric shot one stage clear along with his 1301 – 5 targets in 2.36 seconds. I shot the identical stage clear with the five hundred in one thing extra like 11 seconds. However my private expertise this previous weekend has me internally debating the appropriateness of a semiauto as a defensive platform. I’m nearly inclined to favor the simplicity and reliability of a pump over the velocity of the semi. I’ve a Remington 11-87 that I purchased new in 1989, that I’ve hunted with for the previous 30+ years, which has functioned flawlessly with me seldom doing greater than swabbing the bore and feeding it ammo. That, and I may actually purchase 3 Mossberg pumps for what it might value me to purchase a Benelli. We’ll see. In the intervening time, my 500 has changed my 930 because the one by my bedside.

                                                        Dixon Gunther 31 Might 2022 


Facet Observe:  On 30 Might 2022 I taught a Residence Protection Shotgun Course and one scholar utilizing a JM Professional had the very same drawback. He made it by by pulling the bolt partially to the rear with out ejecting the spherical.  This cocked the hammer and enabled him to fireplace the subsequent spherical.  Clearly not an optimum resolution.

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