An excellent all around tactical semiautomatic shotgun is Mossberg's 930 SPX. This light weight shotgun incorporates an 18.5 barrel, ghost ring sights, and a Picatinny rail at a cost that is significantly less than comparable products by Benelli or Remington. Semiautomatic shotguns with a 7+ shell capacity are another item being targeted by anti-gun fanatics. Pick one up while they are available. This system provides a definite edge over any home invading criminal.
FM 3-21.8 The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad field manual provides the following Shotgun Ballistic Reduction methodology and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on how to reduce doors during breaching operations. Various shotgun rounds can be used for ballistic reduction. Breaching and clearing teams need to be familiar with the advantages as well as the disadvantages of each type of round. Leaders must also consider the potential for over penetration on walls and floors in multi-story buildings to avoid potential fratricide incidents or killing of noncombatants.
1. Rifled Slugs. Rifled slugs defeat most doors encountered, including some heavy steel doors. However, rifled slugs present a serious over penetration problem and could easily kill or injure anyone inside the room being attacked. Rifled slugs are excellent antipersonnel rounds and can be used accurately up to 100 meters.
2. Bird Shot. Bird shot (number 6 through number 9 shot) is used in close-range work up to 15 meters. A 2 ¾-inch shell of number 9 shot typically contains an ounce of shot (though it can be loaded to 1 ½-ounce with an accompanied increase in recoil). The major advantage of bird shot is it does not over penetrate. Therefore, bird shot poses little hazard to fellow team members in adjoining rooms. When used at close range, bird shot offers the same killing potential as buckshot, especially in a full choke shotgun intended for dense shot patterns. Another advantage of bird shot is low recoil. This feature allows for faster recovery and quicker multi-target engagements. A disadvantage with bird shot is rapid-energy bleed-off that reduces penetration at medium and long ranges. Moreover, the small size of the individual pellets requires hits be made with a majority of the shot charge to be effective. A hit with one-third of the number 9 shot charge may not be fatal, unless the shot is at extremely close range. These disadvantages are negated when birdshot is fired from a full choke shotgun where it will produce a pattern that is quite small inside of 10 meters. Inside 5 meters, all of the shot will be clumped like a massive single projectile.
3. Buckshot. Buckshot is used in close- to medium-range work, up to 30 meters. Because of its larger size, buckshot is more lethal than bird shot. A 2 ¾-inch shell of 00 buckshot contains nine .30-caliber balls. One .30-caliber ball of the 00 buckshot charge hit can prove fatal. Buckshot also retains its energy longer. Therefore, it is lethal at longer ranges than bird shot. A disadvantage of buckshot is over penetration. Because buckshot is typically loaded with heavier shot charges, it also has very heavy recoil. This problem becomes apparent when numerous shots have been taken and can result in fatigue.
4. Ferret Rounds. Ferret rounds contain a plastic slug filled with liquid chemical irritant (CS). When shot through a door or wall (drywall or plywood), the plastic slug breaks up and a fine mist of CS is sprayed into the room. The effectiveness of one round is determined by the size of the room on the other side of the door or the wall and also the ventilation in that room.
Door Target Points - When using the shotgun as an alternate reduction method to gain entry, shooters must consider the following target points on the door.
• Doorknob. Never target the doorknob itself because when the round impacts, the doorknob has a tendency to bend the locking mechanism into the doorframe. In most cases this causes the door to be bent in place and prevents entry into the room.
• Locking Mechanism. When attacking the locking mechanism, focus the attack on the area immediately between the doorknob and the doorframe. Place the muzzle of the shotgun no more than one inch away from the face of the door directly over the locking mechanism. The angle of attack should be 45 degrees downward and at a 45-degree angle into the doorframe. After breaching the door, kick it swiftly. This way, if the door is not completely open, a strong kick will usually open it. When kicking the door open, focus the force of the kick at the locking mechanism and close to the doorjamb. After the locking mechanism has been reduced, this area becomes the weakest part of the door.
• Hinges. The hinge breach technique is performed much the same as the doorknob reduction, except the gunner aims at the hinges. He fires three shots per hinge—the first at the middle, then at the top and bottom. He fires all shots from less than an inch away from the hinge. Because the hinges are often hidden from view, the hinge reduction is more difficult. Hinges are generally 8 to 10 inches from the top and bottom of the door. The center hinge is generally 36 inches from the top, centered on the door. Regardless of technique used, immediately after the gunner fires, he kicks the door in or pulls it out. He then pulls the shotgun barrel sharply upward and quickly turns away from the doorway to signal that the breach point has been reduced. This rapid clearing of the doorway allows the following man in the fire team a clear shot at any enemy who may be blocking the immediate breach site.
Door Breach SOP - When the assault team members encounter a door to a “follow-on” room, they should line up on the side of the door that gives them a path of least resistance upon entering. When the door is encountered, the first Soldier to see it calls out the status of the door, OPENED, or CLOSED. If the door is open, Soldiers should never cross in front of it to give themselves a path of least resistance. If the door is closed, the number-one man maintains security on the door and waits for the number-two man to gain positive control of the number-one man. The number-one man begins the progressive breaching process by taking his nonfiring hand and checking the doorknob to see if it is locked. If the door is unlocked, the number-one man (with his hand still on the door) pushes the door open as he enters the room. If the door is locked, the number-one man releases the doorknob (while maintaining security on the door) and calls out for the breacher, BREACHER UP. Once the breacher arrives at the door (with round chambered), he places the muzzle of the shotgun at the proper attack point, takes the weapon off safe, and signals the number-two man by nodding his head. At that time, the number-two man (with one hand maintaining positive control of the number-one man) takes his other hand (closest to the breacher) and forming a fist, places it within the periphery of the breacher and pumps his fist twice saying, READY BREACH. This action allows the breacher to see if a flashbang or grenade is to be used. Once the breacher defeats the door, he steps aside and allows the assault team to enter. He then either assumes the position of the number-four man if he is acting as a member of the assault team or remains on call as the breacher for any follow-on doors. He should keep the shotgun magazine full at all times. There may be numerous doors, and stopping to reload will slow the momentum of the assault.
NOTE: The shotgun should not be used as a primary assault weapon because of its limited magazine capacity and the difficulty of reloading the weapon.
Travis Haley and Chris Costa instruct the must know shotgun fundamentals in this outstanding instructional DVD. I've always been a carbine person, but this DVD has opened my eyes to the true lethality and proper application of a shotgun. Like other MAGPUL DVD's the instructors use of actual students in a live fire class is the ideal setting for learning by seeing how others improve their techniques. Topics covered in the DVD set include the fundamentals of shotgun manipulation, patterning, firearm's configurations, action types, ammo management while being exposed to realistic scenarios. This DVD is well worth your time and money.