May 2, 2021
Maynard Rod and Gun Club
oftllc.us, maynardrodandgunclub.com

Instructor: Ben DeWalt
Round count: birdshot (300+/-), buckshot (30+/-), slug (20+/-)
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Weather: 50’s cloudy with a little sun, windy


: Ben has one of the best shotgun classes on the East coast.

Ben Introduced himself thanked everyone for being in class this Sunday morning and said we were going to have a ball shooting shotgun. You could see his enthusiasm and his love for his job on his face. We went around the group introducing ourselves, our previous training, and what we wanted to get out of the class. I had taken this class before, I wanted to smooth out my reloads and get my shotgun manipulations honed. I knew each class was a little different and the skill level of the student body would dictate the speed of the class. This particular class was made of all of Ben’s alumni and all but one student was proficient with the shotgun. I was excited to see what the day was going to bring.

We had our safety briefing, identified medical personnel taking the class. Ben talked us through the range orientation, what to do if there was a training accident and medical services were needed. People were given jobs in the unlikely event something happened. Who to call? the correct words to say and the words do not say to the 911 operator.

We discussed slings on a home defense shotgun. The pro is you could go hands-off and still retain the long gun and the con being moving around your home it could and probably get caught of things like doorknobs, furniture, and anything else Murphy has in store for you… We discussed the common shotgun myths: you cannot shoot a shotgun one-handed, just chambering a round into the chamber will scare the bad guy off, aim a shotgun is not required, the recoil will toss the shooter back several feet, and so on… Hollywood has done such a disservice!

We started off with unloaded guns, Ben explained the parts of the shotgun and the different positions we were going to use on the range. Ben demoed how to load one directly into the ejection/ loading port both overhanded and underhanded. We were shown the different ready positions we were going to be using for the class and we practiced each of them a few times. Once Ben was satisfied with our performance with the cold guns, we loaded up dump pouches with as much birdshot as we could carry and headed up to the 15-yard line.

Before each drill, Ben would explain it, demo the entire drill, and explain it again. I like that teaching approach. I like to hear the instructions and then see it being done correctly and then hear the instructions again. He would always say technique comes before speed. Go slow and get it done correctly.

We port-loaded one shell and fired one into our target a few times and then we would load two shells and fire two. We examined the birdshot patterns from 7-20ish yards on the freshly painted steel targets. Birdshot is not the best defensive ammo choice for anything further than 5ish yards. We shot a ton of birdshot, single shots, multiple shells. We shot with our bodies facing all directions while being mindful of where our barrels were at. Look, square up to the target and then get into your firing position. (SO MUCH FUN!)

We shot from standing, kneeling, rested kneel, double kneeling, sitting, on your side, and prone. All throughout the morning, we were constantly being reminded to FED THE BEAST. Keep topping off - adding more shells in the magazine. “...If you are not shooting, you should be loading Ben would be constantly reminding us…” We seemed to be always shoving shells into the magazine every opportunity we had.

We did a bunch of one-handed shooting while the support hand was digging for shells. Hmmm… You can shoot a shotgun one-handed, and we did not die or have our arm ripped off… WOWZIE

Ben brought out the shot-timer and we loaded and shot one shot on the beep as a group and then individually for time. We were not competing against anyone else in the class just ourselves. We did this each a few times until we saw our times go down. Technique before speed.

We broke for lunch Ben hung out chatting with students during the lunch break. Very personable and approachable.

After lunch, we switched out steel for paper targets and our dump pouches from birdshot to buckshot. We learned that not all buckshot is created equal. Ben showed us how Federal Flight Control 00 (FFC00) really holds super tight even at distance. Our low-end 00 had much larger spreads than the FFC00. Amazing load for buckshot. We pattern our buckshot from 5 yards to 25 yards.

We switched to slugs and moved back to the 30…. We shot from the 30 into the center mass and headbox of a standard IDPA target and then it was time for some friendly competition. The winner got a box of 00-Buck Federal Flight Control. Three shots into the A box center mass and two shots into the headbox. I did not win even with a dot on my 1301. My friend Jason was running an inexpensive H&R Pardner pump with just a bead. He smoked us all and took the prize. (Movie reference: - "…Winners go home and fuck the prom queen… The Rock")

We learned how to safely move forward, backward, up, and down to knees, sitting and back up to our feet with a loaded gun and shot on the move while paying attention to the other shooters on the line while at the same time feeding the beast with shells. Man, the gun gets heavy as you are moving and port loading a lot.

The drill that stands out in my memory was the last man standing drill: the first person would fire 5 shots, the next person would then fire 5 rounds. Down the line, until the last person fired. Person number one would have to have the gun loaded and fire his 5 rounds. If your gun was not fully loaded by your next time up, you were out.

We cleaned up the range and sat down for a debrief. We were a little sore and tired but all happy faces…. We went around the group finding out what people liked and learned.

We had a range of abilities and I was in the middle of the group. All the guys were super cool and safe all day long. Ben never had to stop the line for being unsafe.

This was a fun class. I love Ben’s teaching style. I had taken this class before, and it seemed to be completely different and new skills to be learned. We did a few of the same fundamental drills in the morning but the afternoon was all different from the previous shotgun classes I have taken with Ben.

I really liked Ben. He is super knowledgeable, skillful, funny, humble, and sometimes appropriately inappropriate. As the day goes on his jokes go downhill. He is a down-to-earth dude, that is easy to talk to fun to be around. Ben cares about his students and he takes the individual time to adjust us when we need an adjustment. Ben walked the line and gave everyone personalized attention and modification where needed.

I think Ben DeWalt and OnSight Firearms Training is one of the best training companies. Absolutely take his class if you have the opportunity.