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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shotguns - Shooting Slugs

I'm off in a bit to teach a student how to shoot a shotgun using slugs.

The techniques used for shooting slugs are slightly different that when shooting birdshot.  The biggest difference is that when shooting slugs, if you don't employ a very steady stance, you pay dearly.  Well, your shoulder pays dearly.

With birdshot, if the butt of the rifle isn't securly placed against the shoulder, you will get a little bit of "slap" - the butt slamming into your shoulder.  With slugs (or with most buck shot), if the butt of the shotgun is not firmly against the shoulder before you pull the trigger, you have a real chance of hurting yourself.

The recoil is impressive, to say the least!

I teach a stance that has the student facing the target with their feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.  The right foot (assuming a right-handed shooter) comes back slightly, and the left foot comes forward slightly.  You want a slight bend to the knees and a slight forward-leaning stance.

The butt of the shotgun is placed firmly against the shoulder, and the left hand is up on the forestock slightly pushing forwards.  All of this - the knees, the leaning forward, tight against the shoulder and the slight forward pressure on the forestock - help to absorb a good deal of the recoil and provide better control of the gun.  And save your shoulder lots of pain!

The biggest issue is getting my students to shoot a second shot!  Most have come from my pistol classes, and the recoil of a handgun - even something large - is a world apart from a shotgun blast.

I take them through a number of drills to help to alleviate the outright fear many feel after simply hearing a shotgun blast.  Most are able to understand the concepts and truly appreciate how proper technique can make shooting slugs a part of their self-defense (and hunting) skills.

Accept The Challenge

As with all firearms, before you fire a new type of gun, get training first.  The safety features and operations vary significantly between types of guns - handguns, rifles or shotguns.

Be safe by getting trained.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Anonymous said...

I've got a few cases of slugs in my storage but hardly ever fire one. A shotgun loaded with full power slugs will get your attention if you aren't holding it correctly, as you point out.

Chief Instructor said...

It was pretty funny. I told him the exact slugs to buy - a low-recoil slug. Even sent him a picture of the box.

He bought the full load slugs. I had brought a box of low recoils and we started with those. He shot one of the regular ones, and called it quits!

GunRights4US said...

Hello Chief. Thanks for the invite.

Slugs by themselves have never been overmuch to shoot for me. But recently I very foolishly pulled both triggers simultaneously on a double-barrel loaded with double ought buck.

The experience very pointedly taught me I had become complacent! Ouch.

GunRights4US said...

Hello Mr Hermit. Long time no see.

Chief Instructor said...

Good to hear from you again, Guns. For some reason, I've never fired slugs from anything other than a pump shotgun. If I ever put some through a double trigger shotgun, I'll keep your experience in mind!

Ryan said...

With slugs I think it is important to make sure you get the butt of the gun tight into the 'sweet spot' between (and slightly lower than) the collar bone and the ball of the shoulder. One of my shotguns came stock with a thick rubber pad on it which helps.

This is where having some meat on your bones helps.

Chief Instructor said...

TOR, over a year ago, I bought a butt extender at the Reno gun show, but have yet to install it. It is a bit more cushy than the standard butt end. I need to get that installed!