Thursday, March 17, 2011

Second Try...

Let's see if I can get through a second draft of today's blogpost without being ZAPPED by BlogPress' nonsensical "features!" BTW, yes, I treid another app, Blogger, but amazingly, I couldn't figure out how to enter text into it. Call me crazy, but wouldn't you think that entering text should be easy in an app for blogging? Oh well, maybe it's just me.

anyhow, I wanted to talk about a note I received after I talked about my preference for pump shotguns over semiautos. The writer noted that he would give up his home defense semi, a new Mossberg, when I gave up semauto pistols and rifles.

I thought, darn, he has a good point, but so do I, so I thought I should expand on it a bit.

I totally agree that modern semitautos like the Mossberg are far more forgiving than their earlier brethren. I have an FNH semiauto that is a tank, and the new Berretta defense gun that I shot was amazing...we ran tube after tube of mixed lot ammo -- ultra light target loads, high brass field loads, buckshot of various flavors and LE slugs -- without a burp. In fact, if you were adamant about using a semi, the Beretta ( ) would be my first choice.

However, this is in a home defense context. With a home defense gun, you're controlling the ammo (as my commenter said), etc. Let's think about this in a more macro context...a good pump, say an 870, will pretty much feed anything. Since I'm a competitor, I keep cases of light target loads around, plus some field loads, #00 buck and LE slugs for self-defense (my self-defense round of choice is Hornady TAPS buckshot) and some "exotics'" like short shells for various reasons. The exotics will choke my FNH and even a pump '97, but an 87 just digests it all.

Think abut a situation where ammo is in short supply or some types not even available...that can't happen, can it? Wait, t happened last year! If you've got to compromise on ammo availability, you can't beat a pump.

In the case of a really serious dislocation -- say the New Madrid Fault, upon which I've been sitting for the last couple of days -- goes Full Japan, the situation may well be ammo scrounging, and again a pump shines in this situation.

I can load a pump faster than a semi by single loading into the chamber, either cop-style up from the bottom or cowboy-style over the top. I admit that is largely a training long as you keep the semi's tube filled, you're good to go. However, IDPA teaches us that sooner or later, you shoot the gun empty and you need to get it back in action fast. Single loading a pump keeps you in the fight until you get to cover and can load the tube, if necessary.

Finally, in both home defense and larger area-wide disasters, I'm a big proponent of the "lowest common denominator" for defense guns...that is, all the people in the house should be familiar with the manual of arms, including malfunction clearances, for all the standard defense gun in the house. Jam clearance on a semiauto shotgun isn't hard, but everyone who has access to the gun needs to be up to speed on it. Ditto for the pump, but a pump is so darn simple it might make more sense in a case where the Spousal Unit or older children aren't handing the gun on a regular basis...


Unknown said...

your point about scrounging shells is very important. A pump can cycle a tube with buck, slugs and AA trap and skeet one after the other and Ill bet you that at the end of the hall, the rioter you shoot with them wont know the difference.

seeker_two said...

Michael, I agree with your reasoning....but not necessarily your conclusion...

A good double-barrel, two-trigger coach gun will do everything you're proposing...with the addition to having two separate firing actions. If one barrel goes down, you can keep fighting with the other. And a newbie shooter can get up and running with a double quicker than with a pump.

Also, if you run out of ammo, you have a pretty hefty wood-&-steel club to whack the goblins with.... :)

Frank W. James said...

Michael, your reasoning is all well and good, but there is one detail missing in your hypothesis, the experience of watching police officers qualify once a year with their squad car shotgun.

A good percentage of them SHORT-STROKE the 870 because it IS a pump action and I say that from observation and experience over just a few years.

A pump gun takes just as much dediction and training as a revolver shooter planning to shoot an IPSC match. Get the picture?

Otherwise, pick a semi-auto and find the ammo it works best with because I've seen that with the low experienced shotgun shooters semis are better than pumps, but then break-opens are better than anything. (We just don't put them in squad cars anymore.)

Just my opinion and your mileage may vary...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

1894C said...

I agree with Frank that the Mrs. and/ or the kids could short stroke the pump.

I like the SXS coach gun, exposed hammers double triggers.

The late great Col Cooper said it well....

"If house defense is your primary purpose, do not overlook the Lupara--a short-barreled double 12-gauge shotgun with exposed hammers. If your object is to defend your hearth and home, you can almost certainly do it better with that than with an Uzi or an M16."
---Jeff Cooper Feb 1990

Jerry The Geek said...

My home defense "when-I-can-get-to-it" firearm is a pump shotgun; the Mossberg 550. I keep it fully charged and next to the bed.

My "when-I-can't-get-to-the-shottygun" firearm is a Taurus M65 .. .357 Magnum revolver with a four inch barrel.

WHY isn't it the 1911 located in close proximity?

One word: SPRINGS

Ideally, we take the home defense firearms to the range frequently. This insures that the magazine (or tube) springs get a chance to relax, stretch out and don't go as limp as a retiree when you really need it.

More likely, this happens IN-frequently. Press of business, you forget, for whatever reason often that magazine or pump-tube stays fully filled with ammo for extended periods of time.

I replace the magazine springs in my competition pistols every six months ... and in between matches they are at least empty; often I remove the baseplate on the magazines to let the springs 'rest'.

And I still replace them semi-annually, because when I don't do that, sooner or later I'll get a Failure To Feed malfunction during a match. And that's just wrong.

So I use a revolver as my go-to gun, because the springs don't weaken.

And I'm thinking now that rather than the pump, or semi-auto shotgun (I don't have a semi), I should heed the wisdom provided here and start looking for a coach gun.

In the dark of the night, there's only one sound more intimidating than the sound of a home-owner racking a 12 gauge pump' and that's the sound of the big BOOM when the round goes off.

And there's NO sound more disheartening than the sound of the <'CLICK'> when the hammer lands on an empty chamber.

Michael Bane said...

OK, to be totally honest, I keep an ancient Stevens 311 coach gun 12 gauge readily available with the 870, because my Sweetie competes with a SxS. It's stoked with Hornady TAPS #00, and I have a Wilderness Tactical "Stretchable Shotgun Thing" filled with TAPS clipped onto the trigger guard and a lace-on buttstock shell holder with 2 more TAPS and 4 Remington LE slugs.

Frank, short stroking is a problem...the cure is to shoot a '97 for,s all blunt trauma, baby!


Anonymous said...

It is Hornady TAP, dammit, NOT TAPS ammunition!

Anonymous said...

Michael your rant sounds great but as the person said you can say the same for the best auto be it pistol or black gun...Man-up and admit it,I'm not saying you are wrong,I'm just saying that person isn't wrong either and he has a valid point.If you really want to get into it there is also the point that if scrounging around for any ammo in a unfamiliar place ,it may not be there .
Pumps and da revolvers only no semi's if you are going to get into that reliability discussion then the only truly reliable weapons would be knives & swords .

nj_larry said...

To previous post on knives....

That is why I argue for Bayonet training to come to GUNSITE and THUNDER RANCH...I would love to see Clint Smith do a video on that LOL....

Anonymous said...

All this hype about the newer semi auto's sounds great.
But can you get one for under $400 ?
Tom B.

Charlie said...

Potentially shooting with one hand, perhaps the weak hand is my reason for getting a Mossberg 930 "home security" gas operated auto.

Kansas Scout said...

The whole pump is more reliable than an auto shotgun is way way out of date with reality.
The only jam I ever had was with a defective pump.
My Benelli is flawless and in ten years never burped once.
I have yet to see a shotgun jam that was not broken.
If you have an auto you would not have the wrong ammo for it would you? No. You would have what works. My Benelli shoots it all.

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