My Lessons Learned From a Recent Tactical Shotgun Class

by Greg C.

“I recently took part in a Tactical Shotgun class with the US Training Center and learned a great deal. I am obviously not an operator and have not engaged dozens of insurgents, but I feel the training I received was logical and correct. I’ll skip all of the obvious safety and protection comments which were part of the training and very well covered. I’ll also not discuss the media hatchet job performed on their earlier incarnation “Blackwater”. Here are my lessons learned from the three day class:

1. Tactical does not mean cool looking, tactical means light weight, easy to manage and successful in your mission.

2. Equipment should be minimized. You don’t need a laser sight, a spare light and multiple side saddles.

3. Train the way you plan to fight.

4. Tailor your ammunition selection to your mission specific goals.

5. Pick at most two types of ammunition you want for a mission. In a firefight, time doesn’t slow down, it speeds up. Your skills diminish, even if you are an experienced gunfighter.

6. Learn how to reload quickly. With a little practice and discipline, you won’t need to look down to reload—just watch your target instead.

7. Diagnosing failures on the fly is critical. Obviously, the hard failures take a lot longer to overcome. Again, time, opportunity and cover are needed to defeat a hard failure. This also underscores the importance of a sidearm.

8. The fundamentals are key. There are seven: Grip, Stance, Sight Picture, Sight Alignment, Trigger Control, Breathing and Follow Through. These really apply to all shooting, but I think are especially important to shotgun work.

No matter where you are, find somewhere to train with good instruction. All of the magazine articles and opinions fall by the wayside when those shells are flying off to the side and you are suffering the weather, bugs and fatigue. As our friend Boston T. Party (author of Boston’s Gun Bible) says, “Ammo turns money into skill”.


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