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Thread: The Case for a 20" Shotgun, No Side Saddle, Non-Flite Control Buck

  1. #1

    The Case for a 20" Shotgun, No Side Saddle, Non-Flite Control Buck

    I'm writing this not to convince anyone but to get more experienced people to kick the tires of an idea I've been working on. For my background I'm a civilian without much real world experience. For purposes of this discussion, the training I am basing this idea on is a handful of shoothouse/CQB trainings, shivworks AMIS, and a few shotgun trainings.

    The standard recommendation for home defense seems to be a 14" or 18" pump or an 1301 with flite control buck filling the tube with a 4 to 6 round side saddle and either 2 slugs in the side saddle or the entire side saddle of slugs. I've been mussing with the idea of a 20" pump, no side saddle, tube entirely with buckshot that may or may not be flite control depending on patterning and home distance.

    From my limited experience, other than stance and push-pull concepts, most of the class, maybe 90%+ of shotgun training is reloading and patterning concepts.

    These are the facts I will base my argument on:

    A 20" shotgun holds 8 shells in the tube. A standard 14" to 18" shotgun holds 5 to 6. A side saddle holds 4 to 6 rounds.
    Ammo maintenance is the hardest part of running a shotgun. "Shoot one, load one" - Every shotgun instructor ever
    No one takes more than 2 hits of buckshot for a stoppage - Tom Givens
    Clearing your house solo is generally a bad idea - Craig Douglas
    If you're doing CQB with a long weapon like A2 Stock M16 with 20" barrel, you can tuck the buttstock under your armpit to shorten the muzzle protrusion distance - multiple CQB instructors

    So given these facts, it seems like a 20" shotgun with 8 rounds in the tube can deal with 4 to 8 bad guys inside your house assuming they want to stick around and fight after putting down the first or second bad guy, and assuming you can actually survive if it's so bad that you have 8 armed guys engaging with you in your home.

    With 8 in the tube and no side saddle you can't and don't have to reload so there goes 50%+ of shotgun training, either initial training or maintenance practice.

    If you pattern your gun once and pick a buckshot that may or may not be flite control that gives you a 4" spread at your maximum distance of your house. It's either Darryl Bolke or the Yeti guy who has said on a podcast last year that most people pick buck that is too tight and would be better off if you actually got a 4" or so spread. You'll create a larger wound cavity and are more likely to make hits. You can argue that if you have a 4" spread and only hit with 6 of the 9 pellets and get 3 fliers, that you're responsible for those other 3 rounds. Okay sure but they'll probably hit drywall and stop. Maybe they won't. BUT, if you took that same "bad" shot where you didn't get the whole 4" spread on the bad guy, and you were running flite control, then maybe you miss with ALL 9 rounds, and they are tightly grouped, more likely to penetrate dry wall and kill a bystander. Also, I'm saying this would be at the maximum distance of your house. So most of the time, the spread would be significantly smaller, maybe 2" on average and spread out to 4" or so at maximum indoor range. The alternative is flight control that might be 2" group at maximum distance of house and zero spread on average.

    I don't find it plausible to my lifestyle to do this but I guess pick flite control if you live with family and are concerned that you might be making hostage rescue headshots as a bad guy is holding a family member from behind as a shield and you're not running a side saddle with slugs. Then again if you think this is really something to prepare for, why not run with an AR15 and aimpoint? To do a slug select drill while your wife is behind held at knifepoint being used a shield seems like something unlikely Ill have the wherewithall under stress, being woken up in the middle of the night, and unless you regularly train shotgun slug select drills, like alot alot.

    Okay so what about bears in Alaska or vehicle threats? Well, if you're really worried about bears or cars, maybe you have a dedicated slug shotgun in addition to a buckshot-loaded shotgun. Or maybe you fortify your home so bears can't get in and surprise you and you have 30 seconds to load slugs in there from off-gun storage. And vehicles, I'm not sure that's contextually appropriate for a civilian. And if your threat model involves shooting from your house into cars, maybe a dedicated slug gun makes sense that's all slugs preloaded.

    What about the weight? 20" shotguns are heavier. Okay, but I don't think I'll be holding it for hours at a time. I lack the experience here to comment on holding a badguy at gunpoint waiting for PD to arrive. In my mind, I'd probably just want them to leave, not hold them at gunpoint. And if you shot them and they are laying there bleeding out, maybe you would be there holding the shotgun on them in case they get back up, but I don't think the 20" shotgun is appreciably heavier than a 18" gun especially since this 20" gun lacks a sidesaddle and 6 rounds on the side. Its probably lighter overall than the standard recommended shotgun.

    How about length? Well, clearing your house is generally a bad idea, and if you needed to, you could tuck it under your armpit or round the corner with the gun in a "position sul" super low ready. Okay so it's 2" longer than an 18" and the bad guy is more likely to grab the muzzle as you "slice the pie" but I'm not super worried about that. Maybe I should be? But that seems like fantasy to me and if this occurred in my house and a badguy grabbled the muzzle I'd probably shoot a round and he'd drop the muzzle either because I Just shot him or because it made a loud noise.

    So here's why I want to go this way. I have limited training time and I dont enjoy ammo management of shotguns. Its not fun for me and even though I have some training, I still fumble a bit if Im doing it as part of some physically demanding drill where Im moving and shooting or I did some physical training as part of it. So in real life with real adrenaline, Im not confident Ill be able to do it right. Im also not confident Ill have my wits about me enough to slug select.

    Now if I was using a shotgun offensively, then yea, I think side saddles make a lot of sense, and you KNOW your fighting, not just being woken up, so you will be more mentally acute to do ammo management and selection. But Im no cop and dont use a shotgun offensively.

    Second, this idea isnt just for me, its for the average person. I sometimes train friends and family in basic firearms. If I can hand a 20" shotgun to someone who has the physicality to control it, then I think I can get them up to speed in a very short time if I dont have to train them on ammo management skills, and honestly these particular people arent enthusiasts and wouldnt train that regularly enough to be able to do it anyway.

    So my idea is a 20" 8-shot shotgun with no side saddle, buckshot either #1 or 00 with appropriate spread for my living conditions, and some off-gun slugs on hand nearby to the gun that I can access if some kind of slug-related threat arose with the idea that those threats dont just happen, at least in my context of life, and off-gun slugs are fast enough for me to address that.

    Is this crazy? Please kick the tires and tell me what parts of my assumptions or argument are flawed.
    Last edited by Sanch; 03-25-2020 at 10:21 PM.

  2. #2
    I donít think keeping slugs in your side saddle is the current, best-practices, way of thinking. Several of the prominent shotgun trainers donít even teach slug select anymore. The side saddle, for most people, is loaded with additional buckshot for exactly the reasoning in your post: most people donít have realistic scenarios where theyíll need a slug in their home defense long gun. The people who are loading slugs for bears arenít generally expecting bears to break into their homes, theyíre worried about encountering bears while hunting or hiking. Shooting slugs into engine blocks to stop cars isnít a typical scenario for non-LE citizens.

    You already mentioned the shoot-one-load-one thought process. You shoot a round of buckshot and load another round of buckshot. I think itís strange not to have an additional source of ammunition on a shotgun with how easy it is to slap some Velcro on the side of the receiver and attach a Vang Comp shotshell card to it.

    I agree that the practical differences between a 20Ē barrel and an 18Ē barrel are very minimal when talking about clearing rooms. The added weight of a 20Ē barrel and flush fitting magazine tube bothers me more than the length. I find that most guns balance better for me with an 18Ē barrel and a five round magazine tube. The side saddle doesnít mess with the balance too much for me since itís at the receiver and not out at the muzzle end.

    ETA: I wonít comment on Flite control vs larger patterning buckshot. Iím undecided myself and understand the argument for both.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    I agree that the practical differences between a 20Ē barrel and an 18Ē barrel are very minimal when talking about clearing rooms. The added weight of a 20Ē barrel and flush fitting magazine tube bothers me more than the length. I find that most guns balance better for me with an 18Ē barrel and a five round magazine tube. The side saddle doesnít mess with the balance too much for me since itís at the receiver and not out at the muzzle end.
    You bring up an interesting point. But, for a home defense situation, how much does balance matter? It matters a lot if your taking a 16 hour 2 day shotgun class. But for actual home defense, do you think it has an impact? It might, I dunno, but it doesnt seem like it would? I agree with you a loaded 20" with 8 rounds in the tube feels like a musket. But I dunno if that actually matters?

    Also I realized I forgot about competition from the original post. I put that in the same camp as offensive shotgun use. Its a different thing than home defense so if you need a side saddle to do 3 gun or whatever, then yea I guess you need one.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sanch View Post
    You bring up an interesting point. But, for a home defense situation, how much does balance matter? It matters a lot if your taking a 16 hour 2 day shotgun class. But for actual home defense, do you think it has an impact? It might, I dunno, but it doesnt seem like it would? I agree with you a loaded 20" with 8 rounds in the tube feels like a musket. But I dunno if that actually matters?

    Also I realized I forgot about competition from the original post. I put that in the same camp as offensive shotgun use. Its a different thing than home defense so if you need a side saddle to do 3 gun or whatever, then yea I guess you need one.
    Balance affects any movement of the gun such as coming up from the low ready or tracking a moving target, and also holding the gun in a static position for any length of time. If I had to hold someone at gunpoint for any significant length of time while waiting for LE to arrive, Iíd rather do it with a gun that wasnít very front heavy.
    Last edited by DanM; 03-25-2020 at 10:53 PM. Reason: Grammar

  5. #5
    Having 8 rounds already in the tube is the most persuasive argument to me.

  6. #6
    Member GearFondler's Avatar
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    May 2019
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    Southeast Louisiana
    My 1301T sports a Nordic +2, so there's 7 in the tube plus 1 on the lifter... That's 8 in an 18" package.

  7. #7
    Moderator BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    I've yet to see a home invasion not repelled by the application of a shotgun that was fired. Literally every loss was when the home owner failed to fire the shotgun, either getting entangled and losing it, frantically working to remove a trigger lock when discovered, or just not being willing to pull the trigger. I've yet to see anyone need a reload. As such, I think it's pretty easy to overthink the gear requirements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UNM1136 View Post
    Maybe with talented students I would lube up with baby oil and then go at it.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BehindBlueI's View Post
    I've yet to see a home invasion not repelled by the application of a shotgun that was fired. Literally every loss was when the home owner failed to fire the shotgun, either getting entangled and losing it, frantically working to remove a trigger lock when discovered, or just not being willing to pull the trigger. I've yet to see anyone need a reload. As such, I think it's pretty easy to overthink the gear requirements.
    Which brings up the biggest difference. It isnít the number of rounds, the length of the barrel, or the type buck. It is pump vs semi-auto. Running a pump requires two hands and regular practice. I dragged out a Benelli pump a month ago, and I was like a monkey humping a football trying to run it.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  9. #9
    The longer barrel is going to make the gun less maneuverable. Yes, the two inches makes a big difference, and it isn't worth it to me to be able to add one more shell. Like has been previously stated in this thread, capacity in such scenarios is typically not a deciding factor.

    I don't run slugs on my home gun. I don't run slugs on my duty gun. I have an additional duty gun loaded with slugs for vehicle take downs.

    If I were running a single shotgun as a primary tool and the environment included open space, then I would consider putting slugs on the gun.

    I'm running FFC.
    I had an ER nurse in a class. I noticed she kept taking all head shots. Her response when asked why, "'I've seen too many people who have been shot in the chest putting up a fight in the ER." Point taken.

  10. #10
    Sanch since you're an AMIS alum here's some vid from an AMIS class where Adam from Aridus Industries was running a sim barrel in a pump gun for the course work and I gave him some instruction on that.


    https://www.facebook.com/38499303836...5182233347890/

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