A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Home Shotgunning

A light rain began as I was working through my shotgun program today. Because my last line of home defense is a shotgun, I practice with it frequently, taking shots from cover, from over and around barrels, at multiple targets in secession. I practice partial reloads on the move, and when my wife and Little Darling are out of the house, I practice negotiating doorways and hallways within my home.

These are not things to figure out once you must defend your home. They are things to learn now. A homeowner only has the home field advantage in a home invasion if he has practiced on that turf. If you are a homeowner who has a shotgun as a primary home defense weapon, train to use it effectively in your home now. Tomorrow may be too late.



Blogger Old NFO said...

Good practice, and I see you use the same ammo (Estate) that I do! If you never practice, you never know there is one door, step, whatever than either gives you perfect cover, or is a pain to deal with.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous CarolinaSon said...


Any thoughts on a good, not terribly expensive shotgun for a lady in her 60's? My mother has extensive experience with firearms, but usually rifles and pistols. She wants a shotgun for home defense now to go along with her .38 that she keeps in her bedside table drawer. I keep a Winchester M1897 in my own home as my defense shotgun, but I don't think this particular model is appropriate for someone like her or, really, anyone who isn't very, very used to the weapon.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I highly recommend the Mossberg pumps shotguns. If she is a little woman, a 20 gauge. A big woman, 12 gauge.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Brambor said...

Remmington express 870 can be had for under 400 and will last forever. Ymmw

6:56 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

How about something with which you can switch barrels? I'd like to keep a shorter barrel on it while at home, but then have the option to switch it out for a long one if I want to go hunting.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Mattexian said...

Mossberg's Maverick line is their economy models, but still as good. I've got one, paid right around $200 for it. Altho they only are available in 12ga, you can run 2 3/4" shells thru them instead of 3", for a slightly lighter recoil.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds great, I've always wanted to do that in my home too, and have tried. What specifically should I be looking for in the home though? As far as cover, concealment, (since walls can be penetrated by almost anything...)what do you look for?

Also, i've heard it said many times before that you should never clear your house, just get all the people present together in one room, shut the door, and wait with the muzzle trained on the door. What do you think?


3:05 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Keith, through purchasing $125 used shotguns, I don't have to swap barrels. Not everyone hunts.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Dan, in many situations, such as a typical home invasion, taking cover and waiting for the approach is the best option. Some situations are different though.

It's all about extra tools in your toolbox, and chosing the right ones.

What is cover and what is concealment will really depend on the construction of the house. Cover will stop a typical handgun bullet. Concealment will not. At least that's my definition.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carolina Son - You might take a look at Remington. They make a 7/8 scale 870 police model in 20 gauge. I use one with my smaller students and they deal with it well. The only downside to it is the plastic stock. Letely I've been giving some thought to replacing it with a cheap wooden stock so I can cut it down a bit to to shorten the pull and better fit students with shorter arms.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...


You might consider loading the rounds in your saddle brass up instead of brass down. That way, there is no chance of them accidentally dropping out during action. (After awhile, saddles wear and loosen up.) With a bit of practice, you can do a tactical reload from the saddle with sufficient speed to fight the weapon in total darkness (as in you don't have to see to reload) with no shells left in the tube.

This is the technique that Reitz teaches at ITTS. I have great respect for his opinion.

For myself, in my home, Miss Piggy (Mossberg 590) is the first line of defense. 7 rounds of buckshot in the tube, 6 slugs in the saddle, 6 more slugs in the stock pouch. When that runs dry(?!?), I'll dump the shotgun and go to the 1911.

You are right about the practice thing. Practice, practice, practice, like your life or the lives of those you care about depends on it! Practice tactical reloads with dummy rounds. Practice with your light (if you have one). Change sides. Imagine how an invader might try to defeat your defense. How will/can they enter your home? What if there are multiple invaders. How will other members of the house (2 legs or 4) react? Coach the 2 legged members on what to do. Even if you just think about this stuff, you've saved time if/when the $hit does hit the fan.

Thanks for a great post!
Best Regards.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Adam said...


I have a setup like that. I also have a mossberg 500 pump shotgun. When I bought it, it came with 2 barrels. I have a 28 inch field barrel I use for hunting, and a much shorter slug barrel. Changing the barrels only takes about a minute or 2, and doesn't require tools. You can get a used one with, say, a field barrel, and buy a ~19 incher for home defense.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous CarolinaSon said...

I'll take a look at the suggested models when I am next at the local shop. I'll try to drag her with me, though she'll resist--she has this old-fashioned idea that only men should be seen in gun stores.

Thanks to everyone for the advice.

10:28 PM  

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