The strung-out doper had knocked in the kitchen door, thinking no one was home, or perhaps realizing the only occupant was a frightened senior citizen (a rule of thumb here is the older the victim, the younger the criminal).
My friend’s twin sister was home. Her car was in the shop. Her shotgun was not.
As the big man rifled cabinets and tore apart the medicine cabinet searching for a drug he wanted, a determined 68-year-old widow racked the slide of her Remington 870. She stood facing the kitchen doorway, taking in the scene.
Her home had been invaded by a criminal. She asked him to leave in no uncertain terms. He took up a kitchen knife and advanced toward her. She later said his eyes were glowing with hate. He planned to continue his actions and took it personally that someone attempted to stop him.
A few weeks before, he had robbed a fast-food restaurant and attempted to rob a pawn shop. In each case, his mother posted bond. In one instance, he hid out with her for two weeks in a nursing home.
For the pawn shop debacle, the judge did not revoke bond for the first offense; for the robbery attempt, he reported that “nothing was actually stolen,” neatly ignoring the previous arrest.
This time, he would not appear before a magistrate. As he approached my friend’s twin sister, a charge of 00-buckshot took him in stride.
Born Upon the Tide
During another incident, a large shark was hauled aboard a trawler along with the catch. Thrashing and fighting, the shark gashed a fisherman’s leg. The captain grasped his old Marine-finish Model 1300 shotgun and rushed to deliver a lot of 00-buckshot into the primordial beast.
He ended the fight without badly damaging the deck.
Life on the Farm
A farm boy heard a commotion in the henhouse. He grabbed his well-worn Remington and three big shells. A coyote ran across the field, leaving behind a line of mangled hens. The young man laid the bead on the coyote’s shoulder, followed it, and pressed the trigger.
The coyote fell at a long 40 yards.
The Credible Shotgun
Whether you are a professional or interested student, the shotgun is a credible tool. And that is what each of the very different individuals in those stories have in common—the shotgun was a tool and nothing else It was not purchased as as a collector’s item or based on looks. It was purchased for its performance.
When you face an unexpected and overwhelming threat, the firearm on hand should be one that works, offers sufficient power for the job and is simple to operate.
Of course, you need to handle the weapon well and a shotgun is the obvious first choice. You must consider the intimidation factor yet, in the end, the shotgun is a solid performer offering proven and decisive performance.
The Remington 870
What makes a Remington 870, my choice, different from many others? There are thousands of short-barrel, shotguns-category” target=”_blank”>pump-action shotguns in service.
First, the Remington 870 is proven. It has been stored in the trunk of patrol cars and used by 10-thumbed, hell-for-leather cops for 50 years or more. The Remington has survived without maintenance and even thrown around like a ball bat.
That is not ideal, but imagine how the 870 will perform with a little TLC.
The 870 features dual-action rail bars. A single bar is not as well balanced or efficient. The action cannot be as smooth. The newest 870 in my safe is a black synthetic-stock version I like a lot.
- The stock and forend are models of ergonomic function.
- The stock features a recoil pad that works in absorbing recoil.
- The receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope or red dot.
- The bead front sight is very fast on target. It is all the rage to equip the shotgun with rifle sights. If you are certain that slug work is part of the equation and the likely problem, then shotgun sights are a good thing. Remember, a shotgun handles mostly by feel. At short range and always in home defense, the front bead offers real speed.
When you are looking for a defensive shotgun, you must realize the shotgun for personal defense is not a sporting gun. A black tactical shotgun with rifle sights and an extended magazine tube is a good defense weapon and must be understood.
A Bit of History
The first shotgun commonly regarded as an anti-personnel piece was the blunderbuss. The famous bell-shaped muzzle was not designed to spread the shot; it was to make loading easier. A shooter stuffed the blunderbuss with various lead balls or even tacks and nails. In the hands of just one guard, its awful efficiency was such that it could keep dozens of inmates in.
Later, 10-bore shotguns became popular, particularly in the Old West. A modern 12-gauge is about as effective as the old 10-gauge shotgun. The stagecoach gun, riot gun and other renditions also were popular.
Soldiers used the Winchester 1897 pump-action shotgun during the Philippine wars and extensively in World War I. That shotgun has a bayonet lug that seems never to have been used. Soldiers credited it for shooting grenades out of the air during trench warfare. That heady reputation led to the shotgun being adopted in great numbers by police. The Remington 870 pump shotgun has been proven in wartime, during police incidents and on game fields. There are few firearms as proven and effective. While the 12-gauge shotgun is a problem solver, it is not very effective if the person wielding it is not trained to use it.
In future installments, we will look at shotgun training and ammunition selection.
What is your favorite “big gun?” Do you agree that the Remington 870 should hold the title? Pop into the comment section and sound off. We want to hear you.