After an open invite on the looserounds facebook page, this opinion piece was submitted by Mark Stanfill.
The Myth of the Shotgun
I have asked many times, what is the best home defense weapon. Over the years the universal answer always seems to be the shotgun. I, like many that have had “professional” time behind the trigger, tend to disagree.
The explanation always stays the same for those that have never been in a close quarters battle. The wide pattern of the shotgun, the less demand for accuracy, the simplicity of the weapon, the unmistakeable sound of a pump shotgun, and the universal fear of facing a shotgun at close range. While these may all be reasonable beliefs, they do not make the shotgun the answer.
Here are a few little tidbits of info that many people seem to overlook. In a self defense situation an individual’s visual acuity begins to decline along with a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure. The body is releasing adrenaline by the ton (so to speak) and fine motor skill and dexterity becomes almost none existent. Well, you may think that these are even more reasons to use a simple weapon that does not require aiming. Here is the truth of the matter, however. When you pick up a shotgun, it is nearly three feet long. Now, you must navigate dark hallways and rooms with your muzzle leading you by 36 inches. Add in the fact that you are losing fine motor skill and dexterity as well as bubbling over with fear and adrenaline, and you now have a bumbling, clumsy nightmare. You simply CANNOT effectively clear a corner with a shotgun because of the weapons length.
So, now you are asking how a pistol is any better, right? The answer is quite simple. Most people shoot their handguns regularly. They shoot them often and are intimately familiar with their operation. This alone is the short answer. When your brain starts to shut down, it will revert to doing what it “instinctively” knows how to do. Many people have practiced the self defense battle over and over, that is what their brain knows how to handle. Even without a “love” of firearms and familiarity with dozens of different weapons, people know their pistols.
The truth of the whole matter is simply when faced with a gun battle or deployment of lethal force, we stop thinking. Our brains generally cannot handle the massive data overload that it is facing. The truth is most people cannot effectively fight with a firearm. At least not without hundreds if not thousands of hours of training. I can tell you from experience that the first time you find yourself engaged in a gun battle you get scared. You forget everything you have learned and you fight ONLY for your survival. There is no technique or form that you will employ, only any means necessary to win.
On that note, when you are seeking out schools or firearms training classes, look for ones that will teach you about real life situations. You are not a private security contractor, or a Navy SEAL, or a hitman. Leave the fantasy camps to the wannabes. Train for situations that you may actually find your self in one day. Also remember that one class will not teach you how to win a gun fight. The class will merely give the foundation and basics of what you must continually practice once you leave the class.