From the Book of Dave Brown

Discussion for firearms and less-lethal equipment.

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Dave Brown
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:07 am

LOL! Well, if someone burns their hand on a hot barrel while speedloading, it might be prudent to hold their hand properly on the receiver, not the barrel. Plus, in tactical situation, you won't feel a thing anyway.

Strong hand speedloads are designed for the average shooter, not the tac officer practicing 20 hours a month. It is based on the fact that loading shells into the ejection port is a bit of a fine motor skill for those not living on adrenalin 10 callouts a week, and is more reliably performed by the average officer with the strong hand rather than the support hand. As the support hand pulls the pump back after hearing the 'click' of an empty chamber, it slides off the back of the pump and holds the left side of the receiver flat, with the port facing upward. This gives the biggest hole to aim for, plus it gets the shotgun held by its balance point on the receiver, not the barrel. As soon as the shell hits the port, the strong hand reaches for the stock and the support hand strokes the pump home.

The whole strong-hand reload is far simpler than the explanation. Once you try it, you will be hooked on its simplicity and reliability. To try it, hold the shotgun vertically with just your left hand (if right-handed) on the pump and see how much harder it is to hold it, plus hit that vertical ejection port. Now, slide the left hand back off the pump, and hold the left hand cupping the receiver with the port facing upward. Much easier to hit, and the shotgun is naturally balanced at its center of gravity. Plus, if you miss the port, your hand is right there and the shell still drops in.

Here are two interesting observations from years of training the strong-hand reload. Once they see it and try it, students appreciate the completely automatic response to a 'click' and the whole thing makes perfect sense to them. After all, as police trainers, everything we teach needs to make sense to the students. We don't force them to learn; we provide an environment where they learn for themselves. (The 'lightbulb' moment.) This is why good techniques are based on a whole lot of science and common sense.

This is why I disagree with the Chris Costa's of the world who try to make the shotgun so complicated. It is a simple weapon; the techniques should be simple. That's the beauty of a shotgun. I am not an operator, and the shotgun cannot be turned into a carbine by squaring a stance and using SWAT techniques to reload it. (In fact, in Chris Costa's Magpul shotgun video, you can actually see one of the instructors drop a shell on the ground while performing a weak-hand reload, while one of his students sticks to a strong-hand reload and does it faster.)

The second thing I have learned about training on shotguns for many years is that left-handed shooters can naturally find their own way to do this. Left-handed shooters tend to be more ambidextrous than right-handed shooters; some like to use a mirror image, strong hand reload, and others naturally adopt a grip where the shotgun stays in their left hand, they tilt it slightly, and drop the shell in with their right hand.

Some day, I should write a book.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Longarm9 » Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:40 pm

Some day, I should write a book.
You could call it The Book of Dave Brown

In all seriousness, I tried the technique of holding the receiver in my left hand and loading with my right using my Model 12 the last time I had it out at the range and immediately saw the benefit. I started by dropping a shell in the ejection port and closing the action, then loaded 6 rounds using the technique you mention, and it was immediately clear that this was the simplest, most effective way to do it - especially with a Model 12 which unlike the 870 takes a little bit of finesse to load since the shells are actually retained by the shell lifter. I just found that after slam firing 14 rounds through it, the barrel was very toasty and I had to be careful about where I put my hand lol

Now you make me want to see what goofiness Chris Costa is advocating with a shotgun, just for a laugh.
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:31 am

I began to research the strong-hand reload the day I began to realize that the average unskilled right-handed person with zero training ALWAYS loads the magazine tube of an 870 by holding the shotgun in their left hand and shucked the shells into the tube with their right hand.

Why train people to fight their instincts.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Longarm9 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:21 am

True, unless there's some specific reason not to, it makes sense to teach a more natural movement/technique than a contrived one.

Watched Chris Costa's shotgun combat reload. Seems finicky, especially the "under" version. Lots of potential for fumbling shells methinks.

Of course, Jerry's got us all beat:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXkyEbrqNGw
"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." -John Stuart Mill

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Burick » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:43 pm

How do you guys mount your spare shells? Right now I am just using one of the slip on carriers from Cabelas but the problem I notice is as soon as I need a shell it slide down the stock. I've looked at the receiver mounted carriers but I'm not sure if one hanging off the left side would help with a strong hand speed load.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby mack_silent » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:43 pm

There's also slings with shell holders.
I don't own any guns, but it seems logical that the closer to the breach the shell is, the faster + easier it would be to load.
Mind you the elastic on a sling holder may flop around more than an affixed stock holder.
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:35 am

Burick wrote:How do you guys mount your spare shells? Right now I am just using one of the slip on carriers from Cabelas but the problem I notice is as soon as I need a shell it slide down the stock. I've looked at the receiver mounted carriers but I'm not sure if one hanging off the left side would help with a strong hand speed load.

Image
Nice shotgun Burick. If that's yours, get some rounds out of it and start wearing off some of that blueing.

Shell holders are really a matter of personal taste. It depends on what kind of threats you anticipate and if the shotgun is racked in a vehicle.

For example, in bear country, my chamber is empty, the magazine topped up with slugs and I have another half dozen slugs loose in a strong side pocket. (That pocket must be empty of everything except shells.)

I keep five 12-ga bearbangers in a less accessible pocket (because you won't need to get to them in as great a hurry) and if I am in an area where there may be wild dog packs, cougars or other smaller dangerous animals, I keep a box of 00 Buck in another pocket.

Honestly, if I fail to stop a bear after 4 plus 5 shots, I deserve to get eaten.

When your threat is more the two-legged kind, it is not always practical to carry spare shotgun shells in a pocket, nor will every patrol car rack accept spare shell holders. I don't mind the receiver-mounted carriers when installed correctly, but haven't found one yet that didn't drop the odd shell onto the ground under recoil. I am now using Velcro-mounted shotshell cards attached to the left side of the receiver on some of my shotguns, so I can easily take it off for training or for carrying a minimal shotgun in bear country. The receiver-mounted shell carriers and Velcro shell cards have the advantage that your spare ammunition is always on the shotgun with you. It complicates the strong-hand speedload a bit, but doesn't really change any of the motions. I can carry 4 to 5 rounds of my primary ammunition in the mag tube (which for me is the slugs) plus 4 rounds of secondary shells (00 Buck) and 2 rounds of bearbangers. The bangers go in the elastic loops of the shell card base up, and the buckshot rounds go in the card base down.

If I were to carry a more urban tactical load, it would be buckshot in the tube, slugs in the shell holder base up and a couple of spare buckshot rounds base down. My fastest reload will always be the base-down ones first, but when I need a slug, it is not usually fractions of a second that count. Plus, the weight of slugs make them more prone to dropping out under recoil, and base up will stop that.

Those elastic cuffs on the stock also work. Yes, they move around a lot, but it is rare to lose it completely. One trick I use is to cut a small hole at the bottom of the cuff where the sling swivel screw goes into the stock. Then attach a sling swivel to the screw and your cuff will always stay put. (You don't need a sling if you don't want; just the swivel is fine to keep the cuff in place.)

The shellholder sling doesn't work very well on any defensive shotgun. The sling really gets in your way and it can really throw you off, especially the first time those heavy shells swing up between your legs and wack you in your nether regions while shooting.

So, spare shells are a matter of personal taste. For me, I will always prefer a topped-up tube and a couple of spare shells in a pocket, plus a spare box of buckshot and a spare box of slugs in the glovebox or kit bag.

But then again, keep in mind I am not an "operator." Nor am I Chris Costa. I am just an average guy, teaching other average folks how to stay alive.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Longarm9 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:18 pm

How does one mount the Velcro to the side of the receiver? Is it just stick-on, or is it a panel that screws on that has Velcro on it?

Dave, how are the shell carriers that mount to the receiver of the 870 with the takedown pin holes? I think a few companies make them. Any recommendations for the best brand/flavour of one of those?
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:25 pm

Longarm9 wrote:How does one mount the Velcro to the side of the receiver? Is it just stick-on, or is it a panel that screws on that has Velcro on it?

Dave, how are the shell carriers that mount to the receiver of the 870 with the takedown pin holes? I think a few companies make them. Any recommendations for the best brand/flavour of one of those?
There are both kinds. I prefer the ones that just stick on to the receiver with industrial-grade Velco. I have used the S& J Hardware ones, and never had the Velcro come off unless I wanted it to.

If you are going with the receiver pin mount, Mesa Tactical has some good aluminum shell carriers. They are available from a variety of Blue Line Magazine advertisers. Good quality product, and the newer versions are less prone to dropping shells on the ground under recoil.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Longarm9 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:17 pm

Dave Brown wrote:
Longarm9 wrote:How does one mount the Velcro to the side of the receiver? Is it just stick-on, or is it a panel that screws on that has Velcro on it?

Dave, how are the shell carriers that mount to the receiver of the 870 with the takedown pin holes? I think a few companies make them. Any recommendations for the best brand/flavour of one of those?
There are both kinds. I prefer the ones that just stick on to the receiver with industrial-grade Velco. I have used the S& J Hardware ones, and never had the Velcro come off unless I wanted it to.

If you are going with the receiver pin mount, Mesa Tactical has some good aluminum shell carriers. They are available from a variety of Blue Line Magazine advertisers. Good quality product, and the newer versions are less prone to dropping shells on the ground under recoil.
I'm hesitant to sick Velcro on the side of my gun lol Even if it is very solid, if I decide to remove it later, I fear it leaving sticky gum on it. I'll check out Mesa Tactical. Thanks!
"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." -John Stuart Mill

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby HiPowered » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:46 am

Longarm9 wrote:
Dave Brown wrote:
Longarm9 wrote:How does one mount the Velcro to the side of the receiver? Is it just stick-on, or is it a panel that screws on that has Velcro on it?

Dave, how are the shell carriers that mount to the receiver of the 870 with the takedown pin holes? I think a few companies make them. Any recommendations for the best brand/flavour of one of those?
There are both kinds. I prefer the ones that just stick on to the receiver with industrial-grade Velco. I have used the S& J Hardware ones, and never had the Velcro come off unless I wanted it to.

If you are going with the receiver pin mount, Mesa Tactical has some good aluminum shell carriers. They are available from a variety of Blue Line Magazine advertisers. Good quality product, and the newer versions are less prone to dropping shells on the ground under recoil.
I'm hesitant to sick Velcro on the side of my gun lol Even if it is very solid, if I decide to remove it later, I fear it leaving sticky gum on it. I'll check out Mesa Tactical. Thanks!
Goof Off will take care of the residue. I'm debating how to carry shells for 3-gun competitions now. I have the vest space for a pouch but I already miss my old OSOE COP rig. It was a great shotshell solution. I'm thinking of grabbing a S&J shotshell pouch.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Pete Broccolo » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:51 am

I am confused ( SHUT UP!) - I was supposed to load my pistol with AMMUNITION?!
I always thought it was a Pez dispenser!
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:32 pm

Racking an 870 in a Patrol Carbine Rack

Yes, it can be done.

Many vehicle racks that are sized for patrol carbines will also accept a Remington 870 Police shotgun, with certain modifications. A standard 14-inch barrelled or 18.5-inch barrelled 870 Police with the factory full stock will generally NOT fit in most patrol carbine racks. But with some stock changes, one can shorten the length of pull - ideal for heavier clothing and officers with shorter arms - plus hold the shotgun firmly with the pistol grip facing outward. This won't work on every rack, but for many, it solves the problem of what to do if your agency only installs a single long-gun rack in a police vehicle but not every officer is yet trained on the patrol carbine.

(In the ideal world of The Book of Dave Brown, every police vehicle would have both a patrol carbine and a shotgun in a rack, of course!)

Here are two ideas that have been tested to perform on par with factory OEM stocks. (Most aftermarket stocks are more for show, and actually hamper shot-to-shot and first-shot times. The best and fastest stock will generally be the factory full-stock, although good aftermarket stocks can solve specific problems.)

Mesa Tactical LEO AR stock adapter
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This adapts a collapsible AR stock to the shotgun. It is available in two heights, to better accommodate electronic sights if equipped. The LEO version is the lowest height. Once installed, one can screw on any AR buffer tube, either mil-spec or commercial, and any corresponding stock. Here I have used the very popular Magpul CTR stock. You can also buy Limbsaver buttpads that slip on the standard M4 buttstock, or a screw-on Limbsaver pad for the CTR stock, either of which I highly recommend.

In head-to-head speed tests against the factory full-stock, the LEO adapter faired well, not losing too much time to the OEM stock. The space between the front of the stock and the buffer tube caught my moustache on a regular basis but that will only affect those who, like myself, still rock the 70's porn stache.

Where I don't recommend the LEO adapter is on 870s with the factory bead sight, either plain bead or pedestal-bead. One CANNOT get a proper cheek weld with this stock, as it holds the head up too high. This means shots will always have a tendency to shoot high. (A proper sight picture with the bead dictates seeing NO barrel in your eyesight - only the bead or the pedestal and bead, resting directly on top of the receiver.)

The LEO adapter may work on rifle sights, but even at the lowest height, I would still recommend it ONLY for ghost ring sights, either factory or aftermarket.


Mesa Tactical Urbino stock
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This is by far my favourite aftermarket stock for the 870. It is very short, but does not knock me in the nose with every shot like most short aftermarket stocks. (And I have a BIG nose.) If you notice from the photos, the 870 with the Urbino stock is only about 1 inch longer than the Mesa LEO adapter stock full collapsed. Plus of course there is no need to pull it out and adjust the stock to suit.

I have long-ish arms and I shoot from the traditional half-blade shotgun stance for better recoil control and faster follow-up shots, and I still found the stock comfortable to shoot. I also found it nearly as fast as the factory Speedfeed police stock in head-to-head shooting tests.

One can also get a fast and precise sight picture with the factory bead or pedestal-bead sight, and you can even buy accessory cheek risers for ghost ring sights or electronic sights.

This is the shotgun that accompanies me in bear country. Short, fast and simple; it is carried in remote areas with four slugs in the tube, five extra slugs in a loose pocket on my strong side, five bearbangers in a high pocket on my support side, and a box of 00 Buck in behind my bear spray pouch if I am in a area with the risk of smaller dangerous animals.

My own mentor and instructor was a man named Rob Leatham and he always talked about how a person who shows up at a shooting match with five matched pistols and all the accessories on them should not be feared quite so much as the person who shows up with ONE pistol that he or she has nearly worn out from constant practice. One can translate that to shotguns too.

Don't fear the man with all the fancy shotguns and thousand of dollars worth of cheap parts; fear the man with one shotgun and all the bluing worn off from constant practice.

As you can see, I am part way there.

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Mind you, the ones who should fear me are only bears ... and they tend to stay away anyway - not so much out of fear, but out of mutual respect. Someone once asked if I travel the country to help people with bear problems, and I pointed out that we are in the bear's back yard, so I actually help bears with people problems.

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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Striker » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:34 am

Dave Brown wrote:I began to research the strong-hand reload the day I began to realize that the average unskilled right-handed person with zero training ALWAYS loads the magazine tube of an 870 by holding the shotgun in their left hand and shucked the shells into the tube with their right hand.

Why train people to fight their instincts.
I must be the freak then.
I'm right handed but I've always loaded the 870 with my weak hand. Butt plate on my right hip, barrel at about a 75 degree angle, bottom of receiver, shell carrier pointed to the left and head up..
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Re: From the Book of Dave Brown

Postby Dave Brown » Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:28 pm

LOL!

Okay maybe not a freak, but unusual. Are you cross-dominant by any chance?

Many people who are cross-dominant - usually right handed and left eye dominant - go through their entire lives doing many things left handed and not knowing why. In all the years I have been teaching shotguns, I have found 20% of the population is cross-dominant. I have also found cross-dominant people tend to be more ambidextrous than others, and left-hended persons are the most ambidextrous of all. This is why I rarely define how a left-handed person should speedload; I let them tell ME through their actions what is most natural for them.

If loading with the weak-hand is instinctive to you, stick with it by all means. Don't let me channel you towards something that fights your body's natural instincts. Not everyone is the same.

I would then say that most people instinctively load with their strong hand as it requires fine motor skills, especially when they are unfamiliar with the mechanics. And this is why I teach it this way to the average person. Remember I am not Chris Costa; I am not an operator and I'm not tac, practicing hours a month.

If you have ever watched the Magpul dynamic shotgun DVDs with Chris and Travis, you will see that he teaches a weak-hand reload, which is fine if you practice that a lot. But you will also see that both Chris and one of his students drop shells on the ground. And if you watch closely, you will see one student stick to the strong-hand reload, and consistently does it faster and more reliably than the others. (They really avoid showing that on camera though!)

This is why I advocate the strong-hand reload for patrol officers who might train and practice with the shotgun an hour or two a year, not for tac teams or "operators" who practice many hours a month. Even then, I would put any student I have taught the strong-hand reload to, up against any tac officer doing a weak-hand reload, in a head-to-head timed competition any day.

Ramp up the stress, and the strong hand works just as well. Ramp up the stress and the weak hand drops shells on the ground.

The shotgun is NOT a complicated weapon. It has been made complicated by trainers selling multi-day training courses. I take the opposite approach.


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