Anyway, I checked out an internet thread where a shooter asked this question: Is there a way to unload a pump shotgun without racking shells through the chamber? Well, I counted 16 replies to this question, and the break down looked like this:
10 shooters said “no”. A few explained their “safe” technique for unloading while racking the slide. Two of them theorized that you could unscrew the magazine end cap and pour them out.
6 shooters answered “yes”, and explained or linked YouTube videos on the proper method to unload a shotgun magazine without involving the action/chamber.
Wow, only 38% of gun enthusiasts could answer the question correctly. I realize that this isn’t the most scientific study ever, but it seemed appropriate to share this revelation. I would normally take this moment to assure you that I, of course, knew the answer, but only because Tommy Judy educated me a few weeks ago. Before I took the Progressive Shotgun class, I would have fallen in with the “rack the slide” respondents (I told you I was an idiot). I have always had a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 in my gun collection, and only now do I know the safest way to unload those guns. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who could use a little help.
Sure, with a little common sense, anyone can administratively load and shoot a shotgun in a safe manner, but I believe that all firearms demand a little more from their users. If you own a shotgun, then you owe it to yourself to understand its strengths, weaknesses, and all the nuances in between. For instance, do you know EXACTLY when your shotgun pattern starts getting larger than your target? Does your shotgun have a sling, and will it help or hinder your shooting efforts? Can you safely remove a live shell from your chamber, without the next shell in the magazine popping into the action? If learning the answers sounds interesting to you, and you also like to have an unbelievably good time, I think you should look into this class.
As usual, I strolled into this class with the assumption that I had my shotgun wired tight and good to go. Also, as usual, I walked out of this class with a laundry list of things to change about my shotgun to make it more useful and effective. When will I ever learn that “less is more” and over-accessorizing is always a bad idea? Since completing the class, I’ve removed the extra shell carrier that was attached to my stock, as it was simply bulky and awkward. I had to re-rig my side mounted two-point sling, as I was running it too tight and it kept restricting my movements. The maladjusted sling also made sweeping anyone to my left side ever so easy when I let the shotgun hang idle. I moved my flashlight to the right side of my fore-end, as slamming my thumb into it when shooting buckshot and slugs grew pretty old, pretty quick. I discovered that my shotgun, when loaded with Remington #00 buckshot, only keeps all 9 pellets on a man-sized target at 15 yards. The range discovery was a tough one to swallow. I have a hall in my home that is just about 25 yards long from cover point (where I could be) to entry point (where bad guy could be). Finding out that my trusty 870 with Remington ammo could end up launching an errant round in a neighbor’s house was definitely depressing. Fortunately, I learned that I could make 25-yard shots, but only after using Shoot Logic’s suggested rounds.
This is why I love training and wish more people who love guns would engage in it. I’m an experienced and not totally moronic shooter, and only at Shoot Logic could I truly discover 4 massive weaknesses in my home defense shotgun. My ammo carrier, sling, flashlight placement, and ammo all were detrimental to my perceived abilities with the gun. When feeling things out at home or the gun club, these flaws are not as obvious. However, when Tommy, Carlin or Tim is watching you shoot, they will point out these simple errors and guide you into the correct decisions. Ironically, spending a little more on the gun and ammo, and throwing the expensive after-market goodies in your junk box can resolve most issues. However, it is important to remember that the staff at Shoot Logic can teach. Sure, they can shoot, but being a great shooter and a great teacher are not the same things. As shooters, they can teach me proper gun handling, and demonstrate the advantages of various techniques. As teachers, they can help me diagnose what I’m doing wrong, and help me craft a solution that works for me. I have been to classes where the instructor might be a great shooter, but isn’t a great teacher, and there is no comparison.
As a final bonus, the Progressive Shotgun Class is one of the best values I’ve ever had in attending firearms training. Ammo for the class is predominantly bird-shot, and I estimate I needed less than 150 rounds. We spent a little time exploring our gun’s effective ranges, and that only requires 5-6 buckshot loads and I think I fired 1 or 2 slugs total. All in all, my ammo costs were under $55, and where was the last time you shot for hours on end for that little cash? Frankly, it amazes me that you could buy a pump shotgun, a ton of ammo, plus acquire practical and useful training and end up spending less than the cost of a common pistol.
So to that end, I jumped on the first shotgun class that Shoot Logic has done, and I cannot express what a fantastic experience it was. Now, if you are reading this, you are at the Shoot Logic website, and are probably already a fan of theirs on Facebook. You don’t need me to promote how good they are. However, if you own a shotgun, you owe it to yourself to take this class. While Shoot Logic does lean toward a defensive application of the shotgun, these skills will easily translate into the duck blind or deer stand. I’ve taken a handful of excellent training classes over the last few years, and Progressive Shotgun might very well be my favorite.