This is a guest post from my friend Steve Moses, owner of Palisade Training Group. I’ve taken several of Steve’s classes at the Rangemaster Conferences we’ve both taught at over the years. Steve is a very thoughtful and competent instructor and I recommend his material highly. If you are down in Texas, check out some of his classes.
Although carbine classes are all the rage, in this piece, Steve makes the case for how owning a pump shotgun and getting good training on how to use it might be beneficial for the average gun owner.
I know, I know, it’s almost impossible to conceal a shotgun, they are heavy, and they don’t hold much ammunition. So why would a concealed carrier even consider owning one? There are multiple reasons that I can think of, such as:
1. If during a home invasion I am able to stay in one room and take up a position behind hard cover (such as bookcase full of books in a corner on the same side of the room as the doorway), the shotgun may very well be the most effective defensive tool that I can deploy. I am unable to think of another defensive firearm that might work as well in a low-light environment where I might be forced to engage one or more possibly moving attackers.
2. In the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest where there is a possibility of looting or roaming bands of persons intent on committing criminal acts, a shotgun is much more likely to have a significant deterrence effect than a handgun. Critics of this theory may correctly point out that the shotgun holds noticeably less ammunition than a Modern Sporting Rifle (AR-15, etc.), but in many instances disorganized mobs are likely to disengage and move on if the possibility exists that even a few individuals might get hit by gunfire.
3. A shotgun loaded with a buckshot is not the equivalent of the Hammer of Thor, but far more effective in stopping a lethal threat quickly than a handgun, especially when loaded with premium ammunition like the Federal Law Enforcement Tactical 12 Gauge Reduced Recoil 00 Buckshot with the FLITECONTROL wad. Without going into much detail as to the exact nature of why it is so effective, this load consists of 9 pellets approximately .33” in diameter (a 9mm bullet is .355” in diameter prior to expansion) traveling at roughly the same initial speed as a typical 115-grain round fired from a 9mm handgun.
4. Can I get by with just a handgun in all of the scenarios described above? I believe that to be true. What I can’t get by with just a handgun are state laws that prohibit concealed carry. Simply put, there are multiple states that do not have reciprocity with states where concealed carry permits can be readily obtained. I would urge the reader to look further into this subject if they intend to travel out-of-state in the future, as state laws are always subject to change.
To the best of my knowledge, my slick tube-fed Remington 870 pump shotgun that holds no more than five rounds with a conventional buttstock (no pistol grip) is legal in every state. That doesn’t mean that we can carry such shotguns everywhere we want in each state, but for the most part it is not a problem to have them in the trunk of a car and in a residence.
Please note that there are cities where possession of even a long gun without a permit is prohibited. Do your homework before traveling. Having said that, ownership of a shotgun configured as discussed above should still allow the concealed carrier to travel through a lot of United States with a firearm.
5. Concealed carriers know that our right to bear arms are constantly under attack, and there is a possibility that in the years to come those rights may slowly be stripped from us. Should this happen, one of the last firearms to be likely targeted will be shotguns due to their long-time sporting heritage and popularity for both hunting and shooting sports such as Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays.
Other benefits of this same sporting heritage are that the media does not seem to demonize the use of shotguns used for legitimate self-defense in the same was as handguns and Modern Sporting Rifles like the AR-15. While I would always argue that concealed carriers first priority should always be to lawfully defend themselves and their loved ones with the most effective tool they have at their disposal, there is nothing wrong with doing everything we can to make it easier to deal with the aftermath of a justified use of deadly force.
One last thing: the use of buckshot in a shotgun is a two-edged sword. The very thing that makes it effective in a low-light engagement with one or more possibly moving attackers is the spread of the buckshot. At longer distances, the spread may be such that some pellets miss the target and represent a real danger to others in the distance. I have been informed that people have been killed at distances close to 100 yards with a single 00 pellet.
The Federal Law Enforcement Tactical 12 Gauge Reduced Recoil 00 Buckshot I referenced above patterns tightly, and distances inside of 20 yards it is possible to keep all of the pellets in an 8” circle. If the concealed carrier has need for more range and penetration, slugs are a possible option. I think that any concealed carrier who wishes to use the shotgun in the manner described in this article would be well-served to take a defensive shotgun course.
Concealed carriers should always remember that knowledge, mindset, tactics, and skills are a large part of being able to successfully defend themselves against one or more motivated violent criminal actors. Having proper tools is too, and there are some instances where a 12-gauge is possibly the best tool for the job.