Tactical Use and Application

Tactical Use of firearms

Today the shotgun is being used by a wide variety of people as defensive weapon.   Police forces, Security departments etc. use it for personal protection and asset protection. A large variety of shooting clubs with various shooting disciplines are found all over the world that has led to the manufacture of all kinds of weapons made especially for those shooting disciplines.

Tactical Safety

Dealing safely with various situations where someone is shooting at you and you need to take defensive action to get out of the way of incoming fire.

Movement out of line of fire

Your action will depend on were the attack is launched from, the front, back, left or right.

This tactic will apply where there is no cover. This normally happens in a busy shopping Centre were your attacker is close to you and surprises you. To take cover in the prone position will not always help you if the attacker is too close to you.

Attack from the front

After you have identified the attack, move quickly to the left or right depending on the situation. In the same movement, you will draw, cock and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the utmost importance.

Attack from the left

After you have identified the attack from the left, you will move quickly to the front or back depending on the situation. If your momentum is moving forward you will keep on moving forward. To stop and move backwards can cause you to slip and fall. In the same movement, you will turn to the direction of the attack and draw, cock and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the utmost importance.

Attack from the right

After you have identified the attack from the right, move quickly to the front or back depending on the situation. If your momentum is moving forward you will keep on moving forward. To stop and move backwards can cause you to slip and fall. In the same movement, you will turn to the direction of the attack and draw, cock and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the outmost importance.

Attack for the back

When identifying an attack from behind, move quickly to the left or right depending on the situation. Then turn to the back and get your firearm into action. If your momentum is moving forward you will make a sudden stop and then move to the right or left. This action must be completed quickly. In one movement, you will turn to the direction of the attack and draw, cock and fire. Your grip, firing posture and all the other fundamentals apply. Speed is of the outmost importance.

TACTICAL APPLICATION

Why the Shotgun is used

The shotgun is a triple-threat firearm. It can be used as a rifle, shotgun and tear gas gun. These advantages are not available in any other firearm.

Greater firepower is available when needed.  Correctly loaded, the shotgun is an appropriate firearm for a variety of situations.  Projectiles have comparatively short range and are therefore safer.  For example: the 12-gauge number 2 shotgun shell has a muzzle velocity of 405 metre per second.  The energy in foot-pounds of energy has been reduced to 5.76 (0,796 kg).  The rapid loss of velocity and energy eliminates the penetration danger.  This is a great advantage in congested areas.

The number of projectiles and shot spread make a hit more certain with moving targets or in poor light.  This is the basic advantage of the shotgun.  The spread of the shot pattern would also enhance the ability to hit with a snap shot.  This is also true where there is insufficient light to take direct aim.

Ammunition Use

There are a variety of loads ranging from slugs to dust loads. In cases, such as directing fire from roofs or buildings, road blocks where fleeing motor vehicles may crash barricades, sieges of barricaded criminals, or the guarding of political dignitaries, the rifled slug accuracy and range would be suitable providing the target is within 68 metres.

In actions where dangerous armed criminals are awaited on plants or stakeouts, barricaded criminals when the officer is in the building and guarding of material witnesses, the load selection may be SG.

In crowd control situations, looters in the street, large groups of people attacking vital installations and use of skip firing to control large crowds of disorderly people bent on committing felonious acts, AAA may be used.

Training security officers to the point of competent use in firearms is more readily accomplished with the shotgun than with most other firearms.

Shotguns are comparatively inexpensive and have a long life.  Compared to the cost of other specialty firearms, eg. High powered rifles, the shotgun is relatively inexpensive with minimum maintenance, providing lasting service.

Psychological value.

In critical situations, the security officer’s shotgun is a symbol of power and authority.  The shotgun instils confidence in the security officer.  The criminal suffers a considerable lack of confidence with the appearance of a security officer armed with a shotgun.  The security officer feels and knows he will do well in the encounter.  The criminal has no such feeling.

Ammunition is suitable for reloading.  This makes adequate training and qualification firing less expensive.  When conducting extensive shotgun training many recognize substantial savings in ammunition cost, by reloading their own practice ammunition.  Shot-shell reloading devices make the reloading of shot-shells both easy and economical.

Static Guards

The shotgun is the most suitable firearm for static guards at security posts, especially in populated or restricted areas where bullet penetration could be disastrous.  Protection of these areas will normally involve short ranges and few protective elements, probably only one guard.  In view of its considerable firepower and minimum penetration potential, the shotgun would meet these requirements well.  An individual armed with a shotgun possesses approximately twenty times as much firepower as one who is armed with a pistol / revolver.

Vehicle Patrols

For this application, the shotgun should be mounted in a locked quick release rack preferably out of site of the public and within easy reach of the driver and his partner.

Protection against Riotous Mobs

The main factor to be remembered when considering shotguns for handling or controlling unruly or riotous mobs is that shot loads are never to be used in an offensive manner as a means of dispersing or intimidating a crowd.  In this situation, the firearm will only be used in lethal form in a defensive role to provide protection for peace keeping elements in the event of their lives being endangered.  Reference to the shotgun as an aid to crowd control should therefore be restricted to its non-lethal capabilities.

Defensive Fire

In situations where defensive fire becomes necessary, the potency of the firearm must be progressively modified to use the absolute minimum force necessary, as follows:

Ricochet Fire

On hard, smooth surfaces the firearm, loaded with birdshot, is aimed at the ground between 1 and 3 metres in front of the intended target.  Shots fired in this manner will be deflected by the hard surface to strike somewhere between the knees and ankles depending on the angle involved; i.e. the closer the point of ricochet to the target, the lower the wound area.  Wounds inflicted in this manner are usually spectacular due to deforma­tion of the pellets yet are almost always superficial due to the pellets having lost most of their inertial velocity after striking the pavement or similar surface.

Direct Fire

By varying the distance of engagement and the shot size used, the shotgun can be utilised in an either lethal or non-lethal manner.

Cover and Concealment

You need cover against return fire. If you don’t have cover you will almost certainly not survive.

  • There is an imaginary line from your target to you. If you take up cover you should not cross that line with your feet or any part of your body. As soon as you do this, you expose yourself. Place your feet on this imaginary line and lean to the side by placing more weight to that side. Remember the smaller portion of your body visible, the better the chances of survival.
  • If you are right-handed you will always shoot around the right-hand side of the cover if offered that opportunity. By shooting around the left-hand side of the cover will expose you more. It will also feel awkward shooting around the left-hand side over cover.         

Using cover

In an emergency or armed attack, you need cover against return fire.  Without cover the chances of survival is slim.

How to use cover

People should be trained to evaluate and use cover in a practical and realistic manner.  Changing positions frequently behind cover should be encouraged, whenever feasible, so as to train them to present the most difficult and unpredictable target possible.

When selecting cover, the position selected must:

  • Allow free use of the firearm in use
  • Provide cover from fire
  • Afford good view

Types of cover that can be used

  • Low banks and folds in the ground
  • Walls and buildings
  • Vehicles
  • Trenches and trees
  • Kerbs on side of roads
  • Fire hydrants
  • Mailboxes
  • Pillars
  • Use of darkness, misty conditions

A curtain is not good cover.

A plastic drum is not good cover

Moving and firing simultaneously

Shooting while moving is very difficult and dangerous.  Slipping, stumbling or falling can cause an accidental shot with serious consequences.

When moving:

  • Keep the muzzle in a safe direction
  • Move with small steps keeping balance and control
  • Make use of peripheral vision to identify trouble or obstacles

Cover (Barricades)

The difference between cover and concealment is simply that cover is some form of solid object through which you cannot be shot, like a solid brick wall.  Concealment on the other hand is something like a dense bush which conceals you but does not afford you any protection.  Shooting around a barricade is rather simple but must be practiced repeatedly to get used to the idea of placing your feet back to front. 

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