Shotgun Shooting Drills
Practice is what makes anyone proficient in anything. You have to have training to the point where movements become natural, where your hands, fingers and eyes will know what to do without hesitation.
Always practice with the weapon that is most likely to be used in a confrontation. In the middle of the night, when it is dark and your stress level is high is not the time to be handling an unfamiliar weapon.
It is recommended for shotgun practice drills you use “snap caps”. Snap caps cannot be mistaken for live ammunition, and they allow you to dry fire your weapon without putting stress on the firing mechanism. They also allow you to practice handling ammunition and are an excellent way to practice loading your weapon without handling live ammunition. Practicing loading live ammunition anywhere other than a certified firing/practice range can be dangerous.
Practical drills are typically done at a firing range, where you get used to the sound and recoil from live ammunition. Practical drills allow you to focus on the weapon to become familiar with it. You will practice loading live ammunition using a belt or stock/receiver carrier. Fast loading is the key to containing and putting down any aggression against yourself or your home. You want your ammunition close to your hands while engaging an aggressor. A belt carrier/caddy is not recommended for a tactical situation.
During practice drills, you will fire a series of rounds down range at a fixed target, and reload using your eyes and then you reengage the target. Normally you will not practice tactical shooting unless the range is designed especially for that. One day of shooting will not make you proficient; it will however introduce you to the noise, the recoil, feel of the ammunition and the range and accuracy of your weapon. Practice and know your weapon inside and out.
Know your field of fire. What can you see from your bedroom door, your front door, and every room and doorway in your home? Keep in mind you may have to engage outside of the home, as well. Never conduct tactical shotgun drills with live ammunition. That is why it is important you use snap caps. Load the snap caps in your ammunition carrier as if you would live ammo to practice loading. It is important you pull the trigger in tactical shotgun drills.
You cannot use your eyes to load in a tactical situation. Your eyes must always engage the target. You cannot look down to check your footing or to look for ammunition; it must all be done by feel. You must be able to load while moving your weapon to engage additional targets, and to be able to engage any target your eyes must be on it. Hours of practice are what it takes to be able to load your weapon by feel as you move your weapon. Your hands must naturally seek ammunition as you move your body and weapon to seek cover or to reengage the threat.
You are defending your home but also remember you are defending yourself so you must also practice seeking cover. Do not confuse cover with concealment. Cover is protection from rounds whereas concealment means the aggressor cannot see you. You must practice engaging the aggressor from a covered position. You must begin loading as you seek cover, and then reengage. Your eyes must always be on the target, you simply cannot look down to load, or to seek footing. You weapon must always be topped off with one in the chamber.
Set up tactical shotgun drills in your home. Some may suggest setting up barriers to practice cover and concealment, inside your home, which is fine but unless you expect the furniture is going to moved around by the aggressor you should practice using the current configuration. Once you step out of your bedroom door at three in the morning, you must have eyes on the target. Your weapon must be loaded to capacity as you step out of your bedroom and as you fire, you must instinctively reach for ammunition as you move your weapon to engage.
The article mentions eyes on the target a lot. Failing to know where the threat is coming from means, you have lost, and you are now the target. You do not control the situation if you lose sight of the aggressor, and you cannot fire and contain any threat without a target in sight. That is why it is extremely important you practice loading with your eyes on the threat.