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Thread: AAR - Introduction to Shotgun Class - 8/7/2022 Culpeper, VA

  1. #1

    AAR - Introduction to Shotgun Class - 8/7/2022 Culpeper, VA

    In the opinion of Barnabas Pike

    This After-Action Report is aimed at the newer shotgun owners who are just getting into firearms and trying to get the training that they need. The trusty shotgun is a devastatingly destructive piece of fight-stopping home defense. For example, a single 00 buckshot fired out of a 12 gauge shotgun typically sends nine 9mm sized pellets from a single shell. That being said, it’s not a magical device that you just point in the general direction of an attacker; it needs to be aimed like every other gun. It also has its cons, namely low ammo capacity and the need to reload with dexterity while under pressure. That’s where training comes in.

    Introduction to Shotgun Class is an eight-hour course put on by the Green-Ops team in Culpeper, VA. It will benefit those who are new to shotguns as well as those who want to run some drills to polish existing skills. The class will cover setting up your shotgun, patterning, reloading, managing recoil and then putting all of those techniques together under timed pressure.

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    The student/instructor ratio for our particular class was less than 4:1. The Virginia Green-Ops Instructor cadre has a diversity of experience that they bring to the table [Military, Law Enforcement [LE], Contractors, competitive Grandmasters, etc.] and they clearly love what they do. Josh, Luke and Brian are all approachable and great resources to glean more knowledge regarding your goals, equipment, etc. Pro tip: feel free to contact Green-Ops at before your class to address any course-related questions that you may have.

    Equipment used:

    Shotgun: Beretta 1301 semi-automatic with a capacity of 7+1. Students’ shotguns ranged from borrowed long-barreled hunting models, venerable pump action Remingtons and Mossbergs to higher-end Berettas and Benellis. Think of the Mossberg 500 or the Remington 870 as your baseline models and avoid the cheaper, foreign brands, if your budget allows.

    Optic: red dot sights [RDS] aren’t a necessity for your shotty. Mine has ghost-ring sights and a lot of folks do just fine with plain old bead sights.

    Side-Saddles: either rigid ones made of metal or plastic or velcro-backed replaceable ones from Esstac are invaluable for quickly reloading your hungry scattergun. They mount to the left side of your receiver.

    Dump pouch carried behind your waist on your support [non-shooting side] for carrying a box of shells so that you can reload your gun/side-saddle.

    Ammo: 10 rounds of 00 buckshot for patterning and 200 rounds of birdshot from a variety of brands. Sizes ranged from # 7.5 to #9 shot.

    Again, Green-Ops can help you with your equipment-selection process.

    Course Content:

    We first learned about which items one might want to set up on their shotgun. Magazine tube extensions, stocks, lights, side-saddles, slings and chokes were all discussed. Safety and storage were also covered.

    Next, we went into the subject of the correct ammunition to choose for home defense. Hint: birdshot is for the birds. We “patterned” various brands of buckshot at five, 10 and 15 yards to see how far the buckshot pellets spread.

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    For recoil management, we experimented with the “pull-pull-lean” method and the “push-pull” method.

    Likewise, we tried the “over” vs “under” way for loading the breech and the “high-port” vs “violin” technique for keeping the magazine tube fed.

    We then put all of this together as we ran various drills, including shooting on the move, under a shot timer.

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    My Experience:

    Although all levels of shooter would benefit from this introductory class…
    Having basic safe gun-handling skills, knowing how to safely mount the gun, reloading, malfunctions, and the like are unspoken minimum expectations.

    I preferred the “under” method on my semi-auto or if I am using a RDS but might go with the “over” style in a pump-action. I also preferred the “high-port” method of tube loading so that I can continue to scan for threats. YMMV.

    Here’s where I feel that I fell short during class: When shooting on the move or with the timed drills I failed to properly aim and apply recoil management principles. Ironically, I lost time thru potential misses or from recoil issues because I tried to save time by not applying those techniques.

    One thing that COVID taught us is to do today that which can be done today. Whether it’s stocking up on life’s necessities or getting firearms training, procrastination is no longer an option. Pro Tip: sign up today, three of the classes that I wanted to take sold out this week before I pulled the trigger and I can kick myself. Don’t make my mistakes.

    Come with an “empty-vessel” teachable mind-set, bring a notebook and take notes!, be sociable, encouraging and make friends and ask a lot of questions. Banish all negative self-talk and, if you’re a lesser-experienced shooter like me, expect to be in the lowest 20%. As long as you are behaving safely and learning from your experiences, you are on the right path.

    Bring lots of hydration and ice, apply sunscreen early and often, bring a backup weapon, if you have one, and extra ammo.

    So, look at Green-Ops training schedule, find the classes that you need in order to fill in your gaps, put together the equipment required for the class and sign up today so that you can have the skills that you need when you need them.

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  2. #2
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I always enjoy training with shotguns! That's an excellent and detailed AAR. Sounds like a great time. Thank you!

  3. #3
    Dot Driver Kyle Reese's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Central Virginia
    Thank you for the excellent AAR and for training with us. We hope to see you In future classes. Stay safe!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Thanks for training with us! Great write up we appreciate it!

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