Learned a big leason today! Very humbled (long)


June 16, 2012, 08:54 PM
This whole time I had nothing but false security sitting in my gun cabinet. Ok here is the background on my shooting experience. I have been shooting for 11 years now, mostly handguns, but shotgunning and rifle shooting too. Back in my single days I was shooting handguns 3-5 times a week and easily over 1,000 rounds a week. I was shooting a minimum of 2 local IDPA matches a month and I generally placed in the top 3 in the class I was shooting that match, generally SSP. But I generally shoot my shotgun and rifles occasionally and informally, never in any competition. A lot of my shotgun shooting was throwing some clays on my father in laws farm. I generally used an over under or a semi when I did this. So it was load and point and shoot nothing to think of. I was proficient enough that I figured if I needed to use a shotgun in a defensive situation I could since I could hit the clays.

Now my home defense shotgun is a Mossberg 500 pump that I use to keep loaded and ready to go without the safety on, in the gun cabinet that would be unlocked every night. I only shot about 10 rounds a year through this. About 3 years ago when my son was two, I made the decision to keep the mag loaded but the chamber empty and keep the safety on just in case. If anything would have happened my family would have been screwed because I am not skilled enough to use a pump as I learned today.

So most of my shooting which is now only once a month about 100 rounds in the spring and summer months, and it’s still mostly handgun. Today I decided I was going to shoot 50 rounds out of the Mossberg for the fun of it. I took off the 18" barrel and switched to the 28" and went on the farm and shot it. My father in law was releasing some clay, now I wasn't concerned with my accuracy as I hit my fair share. My problem was with my familiarity of the weapon.

I tried shooting it the way I have it in my house. I lost track at how many times I tried to shoot where I either had the safety on or no round chambered or both. I realized I was not familiar with this weapon and if I ever needed to protect my family with it, that I was not prepared. I realized today I need more practice with this platform before I can use it to protect my family. So for now, I will just use my handgun if I need to defend my family until I get some shotgun training and practice a lot more.

As to my main point, please learn from my own stupidity. Just because you are proficient enough in one platform please don't think you will be proficient in another platform.

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T Bran
June 16, 2012, 09:18 PM
I had a similar problem but in reverse. My first shotgun was a Mossberg 600 12 gague pump. I used this gun for many years before purchasing a Rem 1100 semiauto 12 gague. Every time I took a shot I instinctively tried to rip the fore grip off of the 1100 and spoiling any follow up shots. Pump it was so well fixed in my brain that the 1100 sat in the safe a long time before I finally decided to overcome the problem. After a few hundred rounds it seemed to get through my thick skull but I'm still more comfortable with a pump.
My home defence weapon of choice is always going to be a pump because under stress it is my default action.
Glad you found the problem before it was life or death. Stick to the weapon you are able to use in the dark under stress untill you get it sorted out.
Oh and please keep that safety on untill you are ready to fire.

June 16, 2012, 09:20 PM
LOL just go to the Range and practice.

June 16, 2012, 09:51 PM
And buy some snap caps to practice loading and cycling.

June 16, 2012, 10:56 PM
I had the same issue when I'd been shooting a semi-auto and single trigger double for some time. Swaped guns while shooting with my brother and couldn't remember to work that pump action of his for the life of me. Being that I don't much care for pumps anyway, I happily went back to my semi and simgle trigger OU. The semi is my house gun anyways, FN SLP which I'm quite happy with.

My house pistols are either a Ruger SP101 or a Glock 34 or 17L, both point and shoot interface. I am NOT a professional shooter, just an interested and motivated amature so I want to keep every thing as simple to use as possible.
I'm sure you can overcome your issue with training, but for me sticking with the semi or single trigger double works. I shoot either enough to be comfortable.

June 16, 2012, 11:47 PM
Just because you are proficient enough in one platform please don't think you will be proficient in another platform.

Wise words to be heeded.

June 17, 2012, 02:04 AM
This is part of why I believe in the KISS principle. Whatever you want, be it a revolver, 1911, Glock, shotgun, rifle, etc...if you're going to use it for the SD/HD role, it should be the same basic MOA as everything else in that role, and you should practice with it.

Personally, all my handguns are kept loaded, chamber loaded, with no manual safety, and my long guns are stored chamber unloaded, safety off.

With that said, if you know you have to use it, get it ready when you get it from the cabinet. Don't wait until you actually have to shoot to take off the safety and cycle a round.

June 17, 2012, 02:32 AM
No one will learn anything at all, unless one first will learn humility.
-Owen Meredith-

Humility is strong--not bold; quiet--not speechless;
sure--not arrogant.
-Estelle Smith-

Humility: it's not a bad thing.

For all firearms kept ready for defense of life and limb (whether on my person or inside the home), I often imagine a scenario where I would need to use that particular firearm and go through a step-by-step, from retrieval to use.

This may sound silly, but I do believe it assists in maintaining proficiency. When things get boring, shake things up by imagining more than one intruder at different locations or from more than one entry point.

Run through a mental checklist as to your actions after experiencing a catastrophic malfunction that necessitates the need to retrieve and use an alternate weapon stored in a different room.

This continually reminds the user what condition the firearms are kept in and what steps are needed to get them into action.

Certainly anything to keep the mind sharp plays in your favor.

hang fire
June 17, 2012, 02:38 AM
My HD weapon is a Ruger P90 DC in .45 acp, with one in the chamber under my pillow and ready to go. With no manual safety, only thing to remember is point and pull the trigger.

June 17, 2012, 05:46 AM
Under your pillow? GEEEZ!!!

June 17, 2012, 07:18 AM
You guys mean that you don't open carry while sleeping!!! :D That way right there means you have no need to reach for your handgun and possibly miss and drop it on the floor----OOPS.:scrutiny:

Yeah as said often, practice until it is second nature and then it will become automatic when all else fails you.

June 17, 2012, 07:45 AM
I do plan on training enough with that pump so that it does become second nature. Until I do I will stick with my Beretta 92 or Ruger SP101 since I can handle those platforms while in stress from firing to reloading to handling a jam, etc. The barrels on my OU and semi are way too long to use in my house.

Snowdog I more or less do the same thing as you when you stated that you imagine certain scenarios and walk through them. I realized a long time ago that I am not a professional no matter how good I am at a game like IDPA. I am not SWAT, Marine or Ranger, etc I do not have those skills. So I determined I would only clear my house as far as I had to in order to get everyone into a safe room. Once everyone is in that safe room, I am waiting for the threat to come to me, while I await the police to arrive. Again just a decision I made for myself.

Hang Fire that is hardcore keeping a fully load handgun under your pillow. The way I move when I sleep I would be too scared to. My cabinet is only two steps from my bed, which is good enough for me. You might want to look at crossbred as they make a product that holsters your handgun in between the mattress and box springs.

June 17, 2012, 09:48 AM
I just got a new XDs for CC but until I've actually spent some time with it on the range, it will not be carried. I know my limitations and realize that without practice, if SHTF, you don't want to be fumbling around with your gun!

Jim Watson
June 17, 2012, 09:57 AM
The pump shotgun is very frequently recommended for home defense. Powerful and cheap, what's not to like about it, right? Well, we see here what there is not to like about it.
You can have fun while you get valuable practice shooting a pistol or rifle. A riot gun, not so much, unless you get into 3-gun or similar. Just standing on the range, loading shooting and shucking at static targets is dull and uncomfortable. Maybe low gun Skeet would help.

June 17, 2012, 10:10 AM
A similar realization inspired me to retire my Mossberg from bedside duty and replace it with a 16" AR. I don't get much practice with the shotty, but I can run an M4gery in my sleep.


June 17, 2012, 10:22 AM
I have a Mossberg 590 that I keep the mag charged (5rds 00 buck, not the full 8), but the hammer down on an empty chamber. You cannot engage the safety in this condition and the hammer spring is at rest. Rack it and go. Joe

June 17, 2012, 10:28 AM
Just because you are proficient enough in one platform please don't think you will be proficient in another platform.

Kind of a related note.. with my newly-acquired Taurus PT-22. Though I don't have this gun assuming a defensive role, anyone who does will get no disrespect from me. But, here's the thing: being a blowback-operated weapon with a tilt-open barrel, there is no extractor. Should anyone have a misfire (in thousands and thousands of rimfire rounds fired, I never have.), racking the slide would only make things worse. It would feed the next round into the back of the chambered round, and there is no slide-lock to hold it open for you while you now clear your double-feed. So, your TRB drill becomes a FDTRB drill ((Flip barrel open, Drop round from it, Tap, Rack, Bang.)I found that out the first time I loaded it. I wasn't headed out to shoot it, so I was loading it to only try it out, and then unload it.

June 17, 2012, 10:50 AM
Wise words to be heeded.

Very wise words. Increasingly, gun owners own more than one type/platform of weapon. One might carry HIS/HERS most reliable or most familiar to them handgun all day every day and be very proficient but Murphy's Law is always lurking. Safe weapon handling and practice exercises on loading, unloading, clearing a FTF/FTE, etc on a regular basis can only decrease ones likelihood of an accident rearing it's ugly head. Safety and practice are the two most important words for a gun owner, IMHO.

June 17, 2012, 12:19 PM
For this very reason we only keep two kinds of weapons available for home defense: pump shotguns and semi-auto pistols.
Every one is kept in the same condition: mag loaded, chamber empty, safety off.
Every one requires the same drill to get into action: rack it, and pull the trigger.

KISS. And practice.

June 17, 2012, 01:01 PM
This is why I like the philosophy of using only firearms with a very simple the manual of arms for defense:

Load the cylinder, close it, lock it into battery, put the gun where it goes. Or, load the mag, insert it, click it into position, rack the slide, check the chamber, put the gun where it goes. No safety/decocker, no need to cock, just a nice, long, 6+ pound DA pull, every time.

But it also reminds me I need to get one of my BPSs to the range more often.

June 17, 2012, 01:05 PM
Hey, at least you'll be safe if your house is attacked by CLAYS.


June 17, 2012, 01:35 PM
“As to my main point, please learn from my own stupidity.”

This is one of my pet peeves. I personally do not like the word “stupid”. Stupid is when you know something is wrong and you continue to do it hoping to get different results. Sort of like the definition of insanity.

Ignorance is when you think something is “right”. Then through practice you discover it isn’t and you work to correct the situation. Stupid can't be fixed, ignorance can be corrected with learning.

You are to be congratulated for identifying your ignorance of having an adequate home defense setup and working to correct it. Never talk down about yourself. Thanks for sharing your findings, now I need to take my “pumps” to the range and practice. Just my 2˘.

June 17, 2012, 01:49 PM
Good thoughts regarding consideration and practise. My wife is small and has bouts of arthritis-like symptoms. We wanted to be sure she could handle whatever HD weapons we keep out. That came down to double action revolvers, in our case a Model 10 and a K-38 loaded with +P 38 specials. (We practise with my standard power reloads but use commercial ammo for HD.) She can use the pump shotgun but that is mostly for my use. She is serious about proficiency and has even practised when having a flare-up to be sure she can work the trigger.

Although Susan prefers her Ruger MKII and CZ 75B for fun, working the slide or clearing a jam can be a problem. That's why we went with revolvers. No slides, no magazines, no safeties, just 6 rounds in the cylider. Pull the trigger and hear the bang. (No kids at home so that isn't a consideration.)


June 17, 2012, 02:32 PM
Most have an illusion of competancy that does not match reality. The more systems the less proficient one will be in any given one. The fewer the better.

June 18, 2012, 02:29 AM
I would caution those on this forum that you can train too much. I used to keep a Security-Six beside my bed on the night stand. I had trained to the point that I could here a noise, sit up with the revolver cocked and aimed at the noise in seconds. One night as I finally come out of my daze, I realized my son was in front of me. He was about 7 years old at the time. I literally had to untrain myself. Now they are grown and gone. I sleep hard and the bad guy could be on top of me before I could react. Old age sucks.

Jim Watson
June 18, 2012, 09:28 AM
sit up with the revolver cocked

Or train wrong. That is not good practice with a DA revolver. I know of two bump in the night ADs from cocked revolvers.

I sleep hard and the bad guy could be on top of me before I could react. Old age sucks.

Well that's what burglar alarms are for.

June 18, 2012, 12:23 PM
I would caution those on this forum that you can train too much.

Looks to me like you were too focused in your training, and didn't include target identification in the process.

I too would be nervous about the gun under the pillow, no way I can know whether or not I might pop a round off in my sleep. The Ohai bedside holster from Crossbreed looks interesting, although I'd prefer to keep my gun hidden a bit better than that.

June 18, 2012, 12:42 PM
Just try to stay focused and make sure what you do do is done right and the same way every time. It's all about the fundamentals. It's up to you to know what's going on/the status/state of certain given things.
I remember one time my handlers wanted to show off some higher speed lower drag type to me. It was a hot range. He went to drill a seven yard target with a slung MP-5.. click, it was unloaded. Dropped it and went to his duty sidearm.. click no pows. Kinda surprised us by then not missing a beat and pulling out an ankle holstered J-frame. klickitynopow. Then this stud pulled out a fixed blade tanto and threw it at the target and cut himself pretty bad.
Missed the target too.
Anyway, to shoot a pump shotgun, it has to be loaded, the safety has to be off and it must by cycled very surely. Try to count the rounds/shots too.

June 18, 2012, 01:02 PM
Very wise advice. I spent 11 years shooting. In the last 2 years training I discovered I didn't know anything. If I had ever needed to defend myself in those first 10 years at my house I would have been more danger to others than the intruder.

June 19, 2012, 10:07 AM
Just because you are proficient enough in one platform please don't think you will be proficient in another platform.

So true. And a valuable lesson learned.

The reason I favor revolvers for HD is their utter simplicity. The manual of arms for a double action revolver is so simple that if I'm awakened in the middle of the night, there's nothing for me to fumble with in the dark.

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid

That's where I live. :)

June 19, 2012, 07:41 PM
I too have a Mossberg 500. It is my primary bird gun. But when at home I take off the goose barrel, remove the magazine limiter, and put on the 18" barrel. Locked, loaded and on safe every night.

June 21, 2012, 12:47 AM
I went through an analysis of what I wanted caliber wise and then the manual of arms for each category. I have DA revolvers from Taurus and S&W -- cylinder goes counter clockwise and the cylinder release is push forward. Colt and Ruger work different, so none of them.

First pistol was an AMT and then S&W, so all subsequent pistols have a safety you flick up to fire or have no safety (e.g. glock). No 1911's for me...

Rifles are Remington pump and semi auto. Shotgun was planned to be Rem 870. I'm a lefty and would like the lefty version, but I can't find a lefty trigger for the Rem 7400 and 7600. So when/if I get an 870, it will be the right hand version.

I now have an M1A and may get rid of the Remingtons. Anyone know of a shotgun with a garand style safety? A Ruger 10-22 and mini-14 would also work well with the M1A. Also thinking of a Mossburg 500 for the shotgun, but that will be a different safety position to learn.

June 21, 2012, 11:49 AM
I found that when shooting clays, I would put the safety on when I'm shooting and take it off when I shoot. Do it enough and it becomes second nature and then you'll never forget it.

June 21, 2012, 11:57 AM
That was always my attitude, Suemark. Hasn't worked out perfectly yet, but I'm starting with a new philosophy - one caliber and model for pistol (well, I'll get both the compact and full size), one for long guns.

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