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Day #3 started out with a tactical movement classroom lecture for the handgun, rifle, and shotgun folks. After the lecture, we headed to the "field of doors" (that is what I called it). Using one of those big orange shotguns, I practiced slicing the pie after opening the door. With the orange shotguns in use, it gave others in the class a chance to interact with the shooter. With the doors closed, the shooter had to work their way around the door as though it were a corner in hallway. With one of us on the other side of the door, the shooter could watch for a foot or the brim of a ball cap while we would look for an extended elbow.
One of our instructors, Gary Hibbard, comments on Brian's technique as he works a door. The Front Sight instructors that I've had all posses an impressive background in military, LEO, and/or agency operations. Those instructors that I've had present their information in a highly professional manner and while adding just a bit of humor at the same time. If you are looking for a boot-camp type training facility, look elsewhere.
After the doors had been successfully navigated, we each took a trip through one of several shoot houses. Having done this last year during a handgun course, I was looking forward to trying it with the Benelli. The house I cleared had an actual floor plan from a Las Vegas apartment. With furniture and appliances, it was as real as it could get. We used birdshot for this shoot.
We also shot a trail at the bottom of a nearby box canyon. The trail
had various steel targets, both shoot and no-shoot, at different ranges and
positions. We used buckshot and slugs during this shoot. I preferred
the shoot house to the trail but both were good exercises in that different
techniques were needed to successfully complete each objective.
Here is AJ putting up some hostage taker targets for an upcoming shoot. To count as a hit, at 7 yards, at least one round of buckshot (preferably more) must enter the bad guy's cranial ocular cavity (the box on the grey head). At the same time, no pellets can hit the white hostage target. You need to know your shotgun and that comes from shooting it. Running the shotgun under a variety of scenarios will help prepare you for the real thing should it ever happen.
Malfunction drills were practiced many times....and a few folks even had it happen for real. We worked through Type I, II, and III malfunctions. Type I is failure to fire, Type II is failure to eject, and Type III is failure to extract. One thing I discovered was that the SuperNova handles the Type III failures very well. Once I found the sweet spot with the Benelli, I didn't have to "dig out" the live round. I was able to keep the support hand on the forearm and run the gun from there. Most of the 870 guys that I watched struggled with this type of malfunction. Not sure it was them or the gun. I do know that Gary, who was also shooting a SuperNova, found it just as easy as I did.
One thing I had not given much thought to, prior to Front Sight, was speed loading a shotgun and indexing the cartridge prior to doing so. Unless you have a shotgun with a detachable magazine, you'll be loading your pump or semi-auto shotgun one round at a time. These will go into the ejection port as an emergency reload or into the magazine tube as a tactical reload. If you feel compelled to argue the points of a tactical reload, save it.....I honestly don't care to hear it.
One of my favorite drills was reloading through the ejection
port. You start with a single round in the chamber and an empty magazine.
Point in on the target and shoot. In my case, pull the forearm back to
eject the hull, retrieve a round from where ever you keep them (in my case, the
Mesa Tactical Sureshell), index the round with your support hand, and roll it
into the ejection port. Transition the support hand to forearm, pushing it
home. Take the shot and repeat as often as necessary until you can safely
reload the magazine. From the ready position with the range timer keeping
track, I was consistently hitting 2.9 seconds and was on target at 15 yards for
both shots. With some more practice, I can shorten that up. It's all
about making that muscle memory faster.
We also expended some range time on "Select Slug" drills. A select slug drill is performed if a slug shot is required but the shotgun is loaded with shot. Put another way, you've exceeded your "B" zone and it's time to switch to the "C" zone. These were performed at both 35 and 50 yards.
At these longer distances, it is important to maintain sight alignment, a good sight picture, and proper trigger control. The amount of time I spent obtaining sight alignment and sight picture at 15 yards was minor compared to 35 yards and beyond. Once again, muscle memory, the more the better, becomes your friend.
Speaking of longer distances, we also shot from several supported positions. You already saw an earlier photo where I was shooting prone. We sent some shots down range from the kneeling position as well. I found that to be usable and much quicker to get into (and out of) compared to the prone position. We also used a position where both knees were on the ground and you sat back down on the heels of your shoes. I didn't find that one very comfortable (or steady) although it does present a smaller target to the bad guy.
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