Primary Defensive Shotgun

(Requires Course Registration Form)

This course provides the fundamentals required to deploy a shotgun effectively in a defensive situation. The shotgun is perhaps the most efficient and versatile defensive tool in existence. Often overlooked as low-tech, difficult to use, or just not as sexy as an AR; the shotgun in the hands of a trained operator with proper ammunition is extraordinarily formidable. This two-day course will debunk many of the myths surrounding this weapon system and demonstrate the extreme utility of the shotgun.

The shotgun is remarkably capable at distances not usually associated with it. Here Bill Davison and some students are ringing a 4’ by 4’ gong at 300 yards.

Day one will be principally conducted in the classroom. Instruction will include comprehensive discussions on:

  1. Safety
  2. The history of the modern defensive shotgun
  3. Action types and gauges
  4. Accessorizing the shotgun
  5. Understanding why different ammunition types are so effective
  6. Ammunition recommendations

The lecture is followed by a comprehensive range session where the students pattern their shotgun with various loads at varying distances. Each shotgun handles specific loads differently and learning which loads the student’s shotgun patterns well is incredibly important. The students are also introduced to the fundamentals of efficiently loading a shotgun beginning with the load one shoot one drill.


Patterning various loads at different distances is the only way to become familiar with a particular weapon and its effective range with a given round.

Day two begins on the one hundred yard range testing and sighting in with slugs. The targets will then be moved down to the two hundred yard line to demonstrate that the shotgun can be used to effectively engage targets at that range. After returning to the classroom (thirty yards) range to re-confirm buckshot and slug zeros, the students will practice loading and shooting on the move drills. From there the students move to one of the tactical bays to practice shooting on steel plate racks. It is there that the students learn that they can indeed miss with a shotgun if excessive speed compromises shooting fundamentals. Man-on-man contests add pressure to the exercise. Before leaving the plate racks the students will be introduced to moving and shooting laterally. Stoppage drills end the second day of training.

The old saying “you can not possibly miss fast enough” is true even for the shotgun as demonstrated during plate rack drills.

The jungle run is an excellent test of all the fundamentals taught in the class. Both rousing and enlightening, the jungle run will expose those areas requiring further practice.

Equipment – Shotgun - New, untested, fresh from the gunsmith weapons are not recommend. Bring what you carry or use for home defense. All weapon types are welcome. The 12 gauge is recommended due to the huge variety of defensive ammunition available for it. The Remington 870 with a 20” rifled sighted cylinder bore barrel and a 6 or 7 round magazine extension is the most common weapon in the class. Any quality pump action or semi-automatic shotgun is acceptable as long as it functions reliably. 150 rounds of #6 or #7 _ birdshot, 100 rounds of OO buckshot, and 25 slugs are required as a minimum. We recommend the use of low recoil OO buckshot and slugs by any of the popular manufacturers, as the maximum loads tend to be hard on the shooter. A sling is recommended. A sturdy belt with one or more pouches that can carry between 25 and 50 shot shells each are recommended.

Equipment – Handgun - New, untested, fresh from the pistolsmith weapons are not recommend. Bring what you carry. All weapon types are welcome. We believe that most students are best served by a standard capacity (13 plus rounds) 9mm pistol. Fine examples include the Para-Ordinance P18.9, Browning Hi-Power, Glock models 17, 19, and 34. Loaners are available. Bring a minimum of 4 hi-cap or 7 single stack magazines. The typical round count for this class is between 250 and 500 rounds. Be certain that the ammunition you bring for the course functions well in your weapon before getting to the class. A sturdy gun belt, kydex or leather outside the waistband holster, and a double magazine pouch are required.

The weather in north Texas can be extreme. The temperature in the summer months can exceed 100 degrees. Dress in loose light colored clothing and wear a wide brimmed hat. During the cooler months the temperature can range from the low 90s to well below freezing. Be prepared for anything. We suggest dressing in layers. We shoot rain-or-shine so bring rain gear. Bring two pair of comfortable shoes in case one is soaked by rain, mud, or sweat. Kneepads and shooting gloves will contribute to your comfort. Eye and ear protection are required. Suntan lotion, Ibuprofen, band-aides, first aide tape, and a lawn chair are a good idea.

Consistent hits on the 200-yard line are the norm. The slug has more than ample energy even at that extreme distance to get the job done.

Immediate action drills require rapid transition to a handgun until time is available to resolve the stoppage of the shotgun.