Today I participated in a Defensive long gun class put on by KR Training in central Texas. The class is oriented toward home-defense type scenarios and includes about 90 minutes of classroom discussion, 5 hours of range time, and about 30 minutes of close quarters-simulated home defense scenarios using "blue guns" (fake plastic guns). EQUIPMENT I brought my Mossberg 930 SPX, although most people in the class chose to use AR-15's. Out of 16, there were 4 shotgunners including me (the other 3 used pumps, either 870 or moss 500), 9 AR-15's, 2 G-36's, and 1 Hi-Point 9mm. Let me just take this opportunity to say that I am extremely pleased with the 930 SPX. This is my second defensive shotgun course (1st with KR) and the 930 made the experience much better than what I had with my 870. It's a personal preference I'm sure, but I found the 930 to be utterly reliable, firing roughly 200 rounds without a hiccup, birdshot, low-recoil buckshot, and reduced & full power slugs. In firing approximately 450 rounds through the 930, I've had a total of 5 failures to feed, but they were all within the first 150 rounds. I attribute most of these to overlubrication and/or break in, this gun just wants very light oil or grease, otherwise it will gum up in very cold (below 20 F) weather. In addition, I'd estimate the recoil from the gun was at least 30% less than that of a comparably sized pump. I also found my 3 gun gear side saddle and Eagle Industries Butt-Stock Shell-Holder to be great, it was very easy to snag rounds from them and put them in the magazine for fast reloads, even though we didn't focus on reloads too much in this course. The light is a streamlight TLR-1, mounted on a streamfire remington 870 mount which fits the mossberg too, and attaches between the stock forenend and magazine extension. BRIEFING The first hour of the day was spent in the classroom. First, we discussed the standard safety rules. Next we reviewed everyone's choice of weapon for the course, and talked about the pros and cons of carbine/rifles/shotguns, and the various accessories (lights, sling, pistol grips, lassers, red-dots, ghost rings, etc). We also discussed some recent home defense cases, and listened to our instructor relate advice from people who had been in actual gunfights. After this, we headed out to the range. BASIC SHOOTING TACTICS The range portion started out with basic transitions from low and high ready to firing position, and getting shots off quickly when transitioning from ready. We shot from 10, 25, and 50 yards, observing patterns and making sight adjustments if necessary. I used birdshot at 10, buckshot at 25, and slugs at 50. For most of the course the shotgunners were left to shoot whatever type of ammo they felt like, since targets were all paper. I got a decent 5" group with my slugs, offhand at 50 yards, but the group was a few inches right of bullseye, so I adjusted windage accordingly. After each course of fire, it was emphasized that we "scan the area" by swiveling our heads side to side, which is something that continued to be reinforced throughout the day. Next we introduced shooting from cover using barrels at 10 yards. In this exercise we started out with sights on target, had a timer go off, then had 5 seconds to take 3 steps forward, go to a kneeling position behind the barrel, lean out, and fire 1 shot. Eventually we worked our way up to 1 shot standing, transition to kneeling behind cover, then 2 shots from cover. To follow that up, we practiced shooting from behind barricades at 20 yards (6 foot tall cardboard mounted on 2x4's). In this exercise we worked on shooting from the right and left side of cover, in addition to shooting with the oppisite hand (start out with gun shouldered normally directly behind cover, when "fire" is heard, transition gun to weak side shoulder, lean out, and fire 2 shots with weak hand's trigger finger). I used some buckshot and some slugs on this, so I could get a good gauge on how accurate I was shooting left-handed. Most of my 00 pellets and all of my slugs hit the target although I tended to shoot a little bit low and right. I was probably slapping the trigger, and need to concentrate on smooth trigger pull a bit more. Before lunch we worked on firing from the hip at 5 yards. We transitioned from high ready to a firing position with the buttstock tucked between our upper arm and torso. I found out that birdshot makes a pretty solid hole in cardboard at 5 yards . We did this about 8 times, and the shotgunner's targets were not pretty. Aiming this way seemed fairly intuitive and there was about a foot wide diameter hole in my target at the end. SIMULATED HOME DEFENSE SCENARIO Next came the simulated home-defense scenario using a fake plastic shotgun. We worked with a partner and the scenario took place inside part of the classroom building which had been setup and furnished like a regular house (I think it's a bunkhouse for the instructors). We were told by the instructor to lay on the bed in the master bedroom as if we were asleep for the night, not expecting company and to put the long gun in a place similar to where it would be in your house. He then informed us that when we heard the front door slam, that would be an indication of a break in. My partner went first, and I observed from an adjacent room. When he heard the door slam, my partner grabbed his gun, peered around the corner of the bedroom door, and proceeded into a hallway in an attempt to confront the burglar. As soon as my partner emerged from the bedroom, the burglar (instructor) had him in his sights and "shot" him. Then came my turn. My scenario was the same as above, however in my case my partner acted as "my son" and I was told he would be asleep in a different bedroom across the hall. When I heard the burglar break in, I grabbed my gun and ran across the hall to the "son's room" ASAP, telling him to "stay behind me" and shutting the door to his room with my foot wedged against the bottom of the door. I then shouted to the burglar "LEAVE NOW" that I had "called 911" and that the police were on their way. He told me he was going to take all my stuff, and I just repeated "LEAVE NOW, THE POLICE ARE ON THE WAY". Eventually the burgluar attempted to open the door to the son's room where we were hiding, my foot only budged enough to allow the door to open a little bit, he stuck a handgun through crack, at which point I "opened fire". Granted I had the benefit of watching my partner go first, but the instructor was generally complimentary of my course of action. INTERMEDIATE TACTICS After this, we practiced firing on the move. We lined up 4 at a time, and starting at 20 yards advanced on the targets, firing as we walked. We built on this by combining it with the firing from cover in the next exercise, which consisted of shooting two targets from 20 yards. We took one shot at each target from behind a barricade, advanced toward a barrel setup at 10 yards, firing two to four shots while advancing, then firing two more "head shots" from kneeling behind the barrel. The last exercise of the day got even more complex, with 4 targets set up at different angles and 3 pieces of cover. This course of fire involved firing from both the left and right sides of cover, advancing on a 3rd target and firing while walking, then turning 90 degrees and firing from behind another barricade at the last target. The same course of fire was set up symmetrically on the other side of the range, so we got equal amounts of practice shooting to our left and right. DEBRIEF AND CONCLUSIONS At the end of the day we de-briefed and discussed areas for improvement, and things to think about, especially in regard to the simulated break in. Overall I would give this course very high marks. I found the instructors to be very friendly and personable, willing to work with whatever equipment you prefer to use for home defense, and knowledgeable about real-world use-of-force situations. The shooting exercises were practical and had direct real world applications. However, the simulated break-in might have been the real high-point of the day because it focuses on the real reason (aside form just plain fun) that we were taking the course. If I had to pick a downside is what that there was a fair amount of waiting around because we had 16 students and only 8 at a time fired; the benefit of this was that no one got too tired. Reloads are not covered too much, but that is because the instructors feel that most home defense scenarios only involve a few shots, and that even the 6 or 7 rounds in a typical HD shotgun will be sufficient for the duration of the engagement. By the time that those rounds are expended, one side of the conflict will have retreated or have been incapacitated, in their view (most of the time, anyway). I hope this helps anyone considering this class or another at KR training. In my opinion it is a professional, first rate course which will significantly enhance your skill with a shotgun (or rifle/carbine) even for those with minimal weapons experience.