I survived the shotgun class yesterday. The temps hit 104! Getting old and nursing a fractured wrist and ribs didn’t help any. Most of the shotguns in the class were pumps, but there was one other M4 and an M2. The M2 owner actually ran an M1014 during his service in the military and was huge asset figuring out the differences in manipulations during the malfunction drills and ammo swap drills. There was even a Keltec dual tube shotgun, that was constantly having issues if all kinds. Many instructors don’t teach shotgun classes simply because most people follow the myths that shotguns don’t need to be aimed and don’t seek training. They couldn’t be more wrong. The shotgun is probably the most intricate weapon system and as far as I’m concerned and requires the most training to fully take advantage of it’s capabilities. For the instructors, it’s also hard to show how to run every type of shotgun out there since there are so many variations and they function so differently. Even then their more extensive experience can make finding out a solution for your specific shotgun much easier than trying to figure it out on your own. This was a very intense class. Very dynamic and with very little interruptions. The heat just added to that. I went through two full Camelbaks to keep hydrated. The weight of the shotgun with full load out (8 in the saddle, 8 in the tube) was not an issue like many think. Even without being in shape due to the injuries I was still recovering from. I wanted to get more pics and even video but the fact that the class was nonstop made it impossible. The best part of the class was figuring out how to manipulate the shotgun during certain very nasty malfunctions. The worst of all was the reverse inserted shell in the mag tube between two correctly inserted shells. This made for a situation that seemed like it was going to be impossible to figure out. Try it and let me know how it goes. It did take much longer t figure out than with the pumps, but once the retired Mil guy and I figured it out, it was actually a pretty simple fix. Some will say it’s a dumb drill, because nobody loads shotgun shells in backwards. They may be right most of the time, but there is always that possibility under stress or in the dark, and you better damn well know how to solve it. Especially if you don’t have a secondary weapon to transition to. Swapping between ammo types with a full tube on the M4 is slower since the action doesn’t stay open. It requires a few more steps that make it slower. When the tube isn’t maxed out, it’s quite fast. All great drills to practice and get more proficient with because under stress it better be second nature to you or you’re going to fumble. The standard loading drills were very straight forward for me, but that’s something I practice a lot. For those that didn’t practice it, it showed. Fumbling with the shells and even dropping them was very common. Practice does make perfect. The day concluded with a small challenge/match they call rolling thunder. Everyone on the line starts with a fully loaded shotgun. Starting from left to right, you shoot the full load till you’re empty, and then call “next”! Next guy to your right starts doing the same, and so in down the line. Meanwhile the first guy has to reload his shotgun as fast as he can. When it gets to the last guy on the line, he calls “first” when he’s empty, and the line starts all over again. You keep doing this till one person can’t load fast enough to continue, and is eliminated. It doesn’t have to be a full load. It can even be one shell by the time the guy to your left calls next. At first it seemed like it was never going to end, until people start to fumble their reloads, which is usually around the third or fourth round. Then people start to drop faster and faster. I was proud to say I was the last man standing and took the win. 197 shells later and close to 15 minutes of nonstop shooting and loading. I only had 200 shells so it was a very close call! Guy next to me had a bucket with 500 shells and I figured he would take it. It was all about the reload, and that is something I practice a lot! Again, the weight of the shotgun was not an issue. Even for my old beat up ass. So glad I took this class. Helped me a bunch to figure out some of the more intricate manipulations. Best part, was that everything on the shotgun ran perfectly. Nothing loosened or failed. The Briley handguard took the beating and didn’t loosen up either. I so glad with my M4 and the way I set it up.