I make no secret that I like to train with a diverse variety of instructors. I think this makes you a better shooter, and it also gives you a lot more perspective on what you see in classes. In this case, Green Ops was hosting Sentinel Concepts for a shotgun class. Sentinel Concepts is a one-man show run by Steve Fisher, who’s one of the biggest names in the tactical shooting community. Needless to say, I was excited by the opportunity to train with him, and signed up months in advance.
I’m not really much of a shotgun shooter. I do quite a lot of practice with rifles and pistols, but shotguns never seem to figure into the mix as much. This is generally because I shoot at indoor ranges most of the time, and they almost never allow birdshot or buckshot. Shooting slugs is an expensive, and often uncomfortable proposition. I know I am not alone with this problem.
IWI has announced on their Facebook page that they are now shipping the Tavor TS12!
You may recall that this was delayed due to alleged issues with properly cycling weaker shotgun shells. Whether this is fixed will be an interesting question to answer. On the face of it, the TS12 is a compelling option for home defense: semi-auto, large magazine(s) that are easy to cycle, fully ambi (including ejection), and already set up for easy optics mounting. I am not a huge fan of the full-length trigger guard or cross-bar safety, but those are minor complaints on the whole.
SDS Imports recently started bringing in the “Civet 12” shotgun, which is a modified Hawk 982 that takes Saiga 12 mags. Because I am an absolute sucker for guns that share mags with guns I already have, I picked one up. It cost me about $225. I tore it apart, and compared it to my “old Remington” 870. Haven’t had time to haul it to the range yet (UPDATE: see the end of the post), but I’ve got some preliminary thoughts to share.
I love competition. I have been slacking with doing it due to family commitments and taking up BJJ, but I’m hoping to do a bit more USPSA in July-September. Competition really drives the standard for speed, accuracy, and efficient movement, so I want to lead off the post by saying this isn’t some sort of variation on “competition gets you killed in the streets” or other nonsense. However, I just want to talk about how competition has had something of a negative effect on firearms development in a couple areas, because I think that has been inadequately explored.
First and foremost, I think factory compensated pistols have not been nearly as developed as they could be due to the fact that they dump you straight into USPSA Open division. Contrary to nonsense opinions on the Internet, good compensators make a noticeable difference with 9mm ammo, and I really think their downsides (cycling problems) could be greatly reduced if manufacturers spent some R&D time on resolving them.
Second, detachable-mag shotguns. As I think I’ve noted previously, Swearengen’s well-written 1970s-era book “The World’s Fighting Shotguns” extols the virtues of detachable-mag shotguns. He felt that if you were going into trouble, they were a superb weapon in almost any close-in environment (note that the book was written before the proliferation of effective body armor, though). While I readily acknowledge that they have logistical issues in a home defense situation, they put far more firepower on target in a sustained fire engagement (like 15+ rounds), can be changed from breaching to buckshot ammunition much more quickly, and provide certain benefits in gun handling and administration.
Unfortunately, that detachable magazine dumps your shotgun into 3 Gun Open (and maybe USPSA Open), which is a huge disincentive to their use in more casual competition settings (and makes pump guns with them completely unusable). Courses of fire and training classes are designed around the limitations (and sometime strengths!) of tube-fed guns. This leads people to downplay the advantages they bring, because they are never put into a situation where they need to use them. (I would suggest that shoot-load drills with more than three rounds are where detachable mag shotguns start looking substantially better.)
Honorable mention: IDPA is doing no one any favors by banning weapon lights. I don’t think this has significantly harmed the development of weapon lights, but it’s contrary to the IDPA “run what you brung” mindset.
Those are the two that come to mind. I’d love to hear if my readers can think of others.
Courtesy of the gents from BurstReviews, there’s now some new first-hand info from SHOT Show on what happened with the Tavor 7 and TS12.
The TS12 couldn’t cycle 2 3/4″ shells correctly, and had to be sent back for rework. It is supposedly almost ready for prime time.
The Tavor 7 had accuracy issues (2.5 MOA being the stated number in this video). They are still working that out, with no ETA. That’s unfortunate, but probably a good decision given the X95’s problems in that regard.
Something I’ve been mulling over for the past week or so were Tim Chandler’s comments on shotgun selection at the class I took with him. The advice he gave about avoiding detachable box mags seemed hard to understand to me at the time. Like, I get that you need a reliable gun, but people run guns with mags all the time for defense, so it had to be more than that. I think I now see where he’s coming from… and I think it stems from not really understanding that, much like a rifle, expecting one shotgun to do it all is not reasonable or viable.
I’ve been enjoying quite a lot of high quality training this year, but have wanted to see what the other quality instructors in the area have been offering. One thing I’ve never done before is take a shotgun class, so I was very interested in the Home Defense Shotgun class that Tim Chandler and FPF Training offer. Tim has been on the Primary and Secondary podcast, and enjoys an amazing reputation for his courses.
I was fortunate enough to be able to get in to it, and have an AAR for you… more after the break!