While carbine calibers are all the rage these days, there are some distinct advantages of the shotgun over the carbine. The shotgun is capable of utilizing a number of differing types of munitions. From less lethal (beanbag) to breeching to birdshot, buckshot, slug and all points in between. In essence one can have a single firearm capable of a variety of problem solving rounds. The benefit to a shotgun that is often overlooked, is that under most normal usage, (even those of you who shoot quite a bit) you’re probably not going to wear it out. The barrel lasts indefinitely, on the 870 the receiver group is solid and a synthetic stock is short of indestructible if made properly.
Now having said that, I have worn out no less than three 870’s. However, these saw extensive use in Metro with full house loads day in and day out for 15 years. I simply had them rebuilt and they are running hot today in our classes. There is a supreme pleasure in running the 870 fast and at speed. It is an alchemy of pure lines, technique and speed which can very closely approximate the speed of a semi-auto shotgun. The advantage of the semi-auto, however, is that it does not need to be cycled and can be fired from the prone position with less effort than the pump shotgun.
The shotguns effective stopping power is not to be underestimated, especially with full house loads in either 00 or slug. Even with soft body armor, an opponent would be severely debilitated if struck by one of these. Within a home structure or close confines birdshot or #4’s may be utilized. With a pump actuated shotgun even the most reduced of loads may be cycled whereas in the semi-auto this is not the case.
Somewhere around here I have about 5 rounds given to us years ago in Metro to test. “Hey guys you should try these, they go through anything.” Well… they did alright! They were essentially tungsten carbide discs cut into quarter sections that spread when fired. We had two shoot vehicles lined up and there they went through all four doors like a hot knife through butter never to be found. Not good for police work, perhaps overseas, but not where an entire city block can be taken out. Great thought but no thanks, the liability is off the charts. Less lethal (beanbag or shot filled sock) can be utilized when lethal force is not called for. These can be effective under some circumstances say, obnoxious teenagers who talk back (kidding of course). There have been failures in the field of less lethal to stop the threat. I was nailed once and it’s akin to being struck by a fastball on opening day. Suspects operating under room temperature I.Q. may not be as affected as those with a sense of self-preservation, yet this makes for lively and interesting engagements at times.
We have a Shotgun III class coming up and I urge you to attend as it is well worth the effort to master the shotgun. Existing skills will only be improved upon and you will get good!