Curtis in IL writes:
A popular gun blogger has mounted his soapbox to dispel the “myth” that shotguns don’t need to be aimed. Bearing Arms blogger Bob Owens joined the crusade against the “morons” in gun stores and elsewhere who recommend a shotgun for home defense because, “You don’t need to aim a shotgun. You just point it towards the bad guy and pull the trigger.” Owens conducted a ballistic experiment to prove his point.
Clearly, the communication is breaking down and the truth is getting lost between the terminology and gun range jargon. Hang around a trap range long enough and you’ll eventually hear some salty old veteran telling a novice shooter, “You don’t aim a shotgun, you point it.” Of course, this is a meaningless statement without further explanation. I’ll let Gil Ash of OSP Shooting Schools do the ‘splaining:
You heard that right. Don’t look down the barrel. The fact is, hitting a flying target requires a completely different technique than hitting a stationary one. You need to focus on the target, not the front bead, and let your natural instincts bring the barrel to where it needs to be. And those who insist on aiming a shotgun the same way they would aim a rifle or pistol will never achieve an acceptable level of consistency hunting birds or busting clay targets.
What does pheasant or trap shooting have to do with home defense, you ask? Three things:
1) A shotgun can be an effective tool,
2) Speed is mandatory, and
3) Success does not require minute-of-angle precision.
So if you’ve elected to go smooth bore against home invaders, do you need to aim it? Does it need a rear sight? Maybe a red dot? If you have no experience with shotguns outside of that scenario, maybe so. But using sights will be difficult because during that adrenaline dump, we instinctively focus on the threat and experience tunnel vision. Good luck finding that rear peep sight or that red dot when you have milliseconds to mount the gun and get a shot off.
However, I submit that anyone who has spent much time hunting birds or shooting trap shouldn’t need to “aim” the gun. Anyone who can consistently hit an orange disk flying 60 mph at a distance of 50 yards or so without looking down the barrel should easily be able to put 9 pellets of 00 Buck in the bad guy’s chest from fifteen feet away.
Still not sure? All I can say is train like you fight. Practice timed drills shooting some bad-guy-sized targets at 10 yards or less with your home defense shotgun using various “aiming” or “pointing” techniques and see what you can do. The object is not to knock out the bullseye. We’re not trying to put a slug in the vital organs of a deer 100 yards away or blow the head off a turkey. The object is to shoot the bad guy before he shoots you. That is your aim.