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avoiding shotgun purchase mistakes

I was asked to accompany a prospective first-time firearm purchaser to a gun store in North Carolina. She just wanted someone to cover her six. Good thing, as it turned out. The half-wit behind the counter wanted to sell her one of those Hollywood-cool-factor wrist-cracker 12-gauge shotguns. I helped her get out of the store and told her to find a different dealership.

Even the much lower-recoiling 20 gauge pump-action shotguns I recommend would be uncomfortable and marginally controllable without the normal shoulder stock. If somebody is pushing the handgun-mode setup your direction, find a different somebody to work with. Much more recoil than a .38 Special is too much for beginner or intermediate handgun use. In shotguns, definitely a NO!

In a proper long-gun shooting stance, the gun stock is firmly planted in your shoulder, cheek against the stock and your dominant eye * comfortably aligned with the rear sight or shotgun tube. You now pivot your upper body as a unit to address the target.

The two hands fluttering about in the air waving a shotgun between handgrips could be called “Spray And Pray”, which is much better suited for watering your roses with a garden hose than doing anything safe and effective with a firearm.

While not a favorite of movie producers, there is a reason nearly all the shotguns sold have shoulder stocks as standard equipment. In the real world, they just plain work.

I am not going to repeat any more of the information from my popular post on 20 gauge shotguns. Go see it for more detail on my recommendation and the why of it all.

your first home defense firearm

* The dominant eye factor must not be overlooked. It is much more important for shooting accuracy than dominant hand, left or right. Trained rifle and handgun coaches always start there. Otherwise your eyes are always toggling between the one you are trying to sight with and the one your body prefers, which in turn, shifts your target SIGNIFICANTLY back and forth.

Start there. It might not FEEL as naturally comfortable, but you will quickly adjust to using your “off” hand. You will never consistently adjust to using your “off” eye. Even if you do train yourself to force the wrong eye to dominate while your are slowly, methodically target shooting, if you ever NEED to shoot something, under stress, your body will defeat your aim.

I’ll close with a STRONG RECOMMENDATION that you start with some coaching. It doesn’t take much to get the fundamentals down, but powerful defense weapons are not the place to learn by trial and ERROR. Back to the other article for making sure your proclaimed teacher is someone you want to learn from: your first home defense firearm.