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Basic Practical Shotgun Class at GAT Guns by Excel


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We've been seeing large numbers of people buying home protection shotguns off the rack right outside our classroom door at GAT all along, yet almost none of these fledgling purchasers ever get a chance to fire the guns in any practical way.

Most ranges don't allow shot loads of any kind to be fired, much less at a fast pace.  We wanted to provide an opportunity to do that.

Given GAT's large training facility, which we've been doing handgun classes at for over ten years now, it finally came to pass that this shotgun class got put together and on the schedule.

Drawing in part on our multigun match directing experience, plus some practical defensive shotgun training, we have a class where the practical shotgun owner can come and learn basic handling, loading, and shooting techniques and get some practical (i.e., fast) shooting on reactive steel targets.

Along with my estimable IDPA-guy colleague Perry Stevens, we run a class that focuses on safety and good gun handling, ready conditions and multiple target shooting, all in a three-hour class on Saturday mornings.

We will do our shooting in the 50-yard range, but not from in the booths.  Rather, we work from tables downrange with the steel plates at ten yards.

The typical round count for the birdshot portion is 36 or a little more.  #7 1/2 shot size or smaller is required and no steel shot is allowed.  We are also including a short section as time permits where the students bring a couple of rounds of their real-deal buckshot loads to fire at cardboard silhouettes to see the actual patterns they will get. 

So far, we've seen that more than half of our students have never even fired a shotgun in their lives, and this is the shooter we are most looking to serve.  Not that anyone can't stand a bit more full-speed trigger time.

A couple of things we've seen so far, just for information.  The students with Mossberg slide-action 500-series guns pretty much dominate in numbers and successful results.  If  you haven't purchased a defensive shotgun, take that as a tip.

Shooters with many semi-automatics find that low-brass, standard power shotshells won't run well in their guns.  Be sure to bring or buy the highest-power ammunition you can.  We had one poor fellow who'd gotten an AR-pattern magazine-fed 12 gauge import that hardly ran at all except with high-brass slugs.

The class is on the gatguns.com website in the Events page.  Typically we are running it on  the fourth Saturday morning of the month, 9am-12pm, and the class fee is $100.  October's schedule got a little out of the usual due to other commitments and range time availability.

The next one is scheduled for 9am Saturday, October 30th, and November's is set for 9am Saturday, November 27th.

Of course, our regular handgun classes continue, Intro, Women's Intro, Phase II, and Skill Builder Phase III (where we make you shoot your handgun fast and hard.  Fun class.)

Bill Zeller
Excel Training Group

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  • 4 weeks later...

The first three editions of this class have been a big success so far.  Nearly half of all of our attendees, for example, have no shotgun experience whatsoever.  One lady arrived with a Mossberg 590 still in the plastic bag wrapper in the box.  For the record, she did well, once she got the hang of mounting the gun.

Also, I can relate what we've learned so far from these groups: A Mossberg slide-action 500 or 590 with a conventional stock is the answer.  Everything else is clumsier, slower, less reliable, and even arguably less safe.

We had one AR-pattern auto that was pure junk, unreliable as heck.  The guy took the class twice and still couldn't get it to run.

The important features of the 500 series, the tang safety, the magazine unloading feature, and the simplicity of operation won out for nearly all of the shooters.  Two or three found it necessary to borrow our old 500 to finish the drills.

You can do well with other guns, but if you're starting new, get a 590.

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  • 8 months later...

I'm going to run this one back up to the top.

It's a year now Perry Stevens and I have been doing this class at GAT and the results have been highly gratifying.

More than a few of our attendees have fired a shotgun (or even any long gun) for the first time in this class.  Pretty much all have left amazed at how well they learned to handle and fire their shotgun.

We've been thinking about working out a Skills & Drills type event for people to get decent practice with their scattergun but the logistics and overhead costs still haven't come clear yet.

We do know that blasting away at the steel plates is something just about everyone gets a kick out of.

Excel Training

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