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On day #3, we brought an extra sandwich along for dinner as we were scheduled for a night shoot. Since it was September, we didn't get started until it was past 7:00 PM. The nice part was that with the sun down, it was notably cooler. We also had a full moon so there was a fair amount of ambient light for the targets.
We practiced using the Harries technique for shotguns. After an hour of
shooting, I could clearly see why a weapons mounted lighting system would be
very handy. I've found that shooting my handgun using this technique is
pretty straight forward but doing it with a shotgun brings a higher degree of
difficulty, in my opinion.
After we wrapped up the evaluation on the afternoon of day #4 (yes, I graduated), Scott ran us through some move and shoot drills. These and much more are taught in the advanced course. Since we had some extra time (due to the smaller class size), Scott thought we might like to get a taste of the next course. It was also a good way for those who didn't want to take rounds back home to use up the ammo. Needless to say, there was nothing left of the paper when we finished. Reasonably close shots with birdshot removes lots of paper.
Another extra curricular drill that Scott ran us through was a
simple "who can hit steel the fastest" from 50 yards out. At first I
thought we were shooting from the ready position and was pleased with myself
when my first shot came in at .9 seconds. Then I discovered that we didn't
have to shoot from the ready but rather could already be pointed in. I
shortened my time to .26 seconds. I missed a couple of the shots but had
more ringing steel than not.
Got hulls? Some of the empties at the 15 yard line directly out from the steel targets. Since we didn't shoot steel any closer than 15 yards, we had a fair concentration along here. I believe the pile against the berm was raked up on the 2nd day. There is a fair amount of used up $$ laying on the ground.
On the way home, we stopped at the Hoover Dam to stretch our legs. I talked Gary in to posing for a photo with the dam in the background. It will be nice when they finish the new bridge which completely bypasses the dam. It was suppose to be done this year but it is far from being completed. A 5 year project that is running well over budget, no doubt.
So....after 4 days of shooting and several hours of lecture, what did I learn? Well, let me direct you to the above bad guy target and I shall attempt to explain. We all know that we can't always ensure a hit in a vital area. During the stress of shooting, shooting the bad guy in an extremity is entirely possible. Note the .45 ACP wound to the bad guy's shooting forearm. No doubt it will sting like hell and it may even cause him to switch to his support hand to continue the fight. Now, kindly direct your attention to the shotgun hit to the support hand elbow. Not doubt it will sting like hell to. In fact, there is a fair chance that the bad guy will be looking for a freezer where he can store the limb while he awaits the EMTs. One round of 00 buckshot, at conversational distances, will remove both bone and tissue from the bad guy. In summary, don't bring a handgun to a gun fight when you can bring a shotgun.
On a more serious note, the training I received was absolutely great. I know I have more to learn on running my Benelli shotgun, but I can state that I am much more confident with it than I was prior to the class. The instructors did a great job of transferring their knowledge to me. With continued practice and another 2 day skill builder course, I'll work on my DG rating so I can take the advanced tactical shotgun course.
If you get a chance, check out Front Sight. You'll be glad you did.
As I was flipping through the photos that Gary and I took, I realized that I didn't make any comments about the PAST Recoil Shield that I used during the course. You can see it in the above photo on my right shoulder. I was very pleased with the results. Nick, who was shooting a Remington 870 with one of those Knox recoil reducing stocks complained at the end of the course of his sore shoulder. In contrast, I couldn't even tell I had gone through several hundred rounds of birdshot, buckshot, and slugs. Perhaps some of it was also due to the Benelli's ComforTech stock. Regardless, I ran the four days without any recoil induced problems. I don't recall the model but the one I used provided a 1/2" pad. I bought two different models and my wife sewed the smaller one into my shooting vest (you can't even tell it is there unless you look on the inside). I shot a session with it and it worked just as well as the one in the photo. If you intend to shoot a bunch of healthy 12 gauge rounds, I would recommend you grab one of these.