Men, including (especially?) those who own firearms, are pretty hard on other guys when it comes to perceived weakness. This is frequently mollified by humor – we don’t try to be mean. It just sometimes works out that way. This is the reason so many young (and foolish) men bravely step up to shoot weapons that produce absolutely brutal recoil without having any idea how to handle it. It’s not that different from young men goading each other into eating just one more jalapeno pepper. Itss the unacknowledged price for belonging to the Man Club . . .
While at a gun store recently, I joined several other customers as the clerks were opening up cases of ammo from a recent shipment. The clerks were excited because it was some “managed recoil” 12 gauge shotgun shells crafted specially for home defense, a trendy item that was unseen locally before. We do that a lot in our corner of the country, by the way – read about new firearms products and accessories. It normally takes a while for them to make it to our particular area.
Managed (read: reduced) recoil shotgun rounds are designed to produce basically the same results as a stouter load, though with only eight double-ought buckshot pellets instead of the usual nine. I understand that more versions are being made for slugs and even the larger-sized birdshot loads.
As you’d expect, the new ammo uses less powder so velocity is decreased enough to produce softer recoil while still being effective. That’s the idea, anyway. We had all read reviews that said it was very viable option in a home defense shotgun and even some police departments were going to the new ammo because it’s basically as good as the higher-powered rounds while producing less kick.
So there we were, examining the new ammo when a middle-aged couple approaches, arm in arm. They listen to us talking and the wife says, “Honey, let’s get some to try out.”
We, as a group, turn and slyly eyeball the husband. He sees this and knows he is trapped. “We don’t need that – got perfectly good buckshot in the shotgun at home.”
“Oh, Honey, the last time you went shotgunning at the range with your brothers, you couldn’t move your right arm for a week!” We watch him like a pack of hyenas waiting for the young antelope to stumble. He can do nothing but swallow as his wife grabs two handfuls of the new ammo and walks him to the register.
We hear her poo-pooing his objections as they walk away and she says, loudly enough for all of us to hear, “My heavens, honey, we aren’t going to be using it on elephants or buffalo! I think reduced recoil makes a lot of sense. I mean, really, why should practicing be painful?”
Several of us snicker and one of us mutters, “That poor guy is whipped.” The group disperses and we each go about our shopping. Somehow, though, as we separately circle the store, each of us ends up back in the vicinity of the new ammo, where we individually stack up box after box before leaving. The large pile of ammo was reduced by about half. I thought, hell, might as well check this stuff out. Each of us studiously ignored the others as we paid and went on our way.
From my time on the range the next weekend, my take-away was, ”damn, but that stuff really, really works.” I had invited my daughter to shoot with me, but she was busy and couldn’t go. That meant I didn’t have any plausible deniability. Nevertheless, my membership in the Man Club was protected as it was a slow range day and, thankfully, I shot alone.