Saturday, May 1, 2021

A Low Light Match With Home Defense Guns

Shotgun in a Home Invasion Scenario
The April 2021
Sensible Self Defense Academy Low Light Match provided an opportunity for all participants to practice their low light skills. Everyone had a great time and learned a few things as well. This match’s theme was home defense and I encouraged shooters to use their everyday carry or home defense firearms.

This match permitted shotguns, pistols, and pistol caliber carbines (PCC). We had six shotgun shooters, eight shooting pistols, and two shooting PCCs. The match format was four stages, run two times with a total round count of 82 rounds assuming no misses. Two stages were home defense scenarios based on actual events that required movement and shooting from cover and two were standards stages, one focusing on running the gun skills and one focusing on reloading.

All shooters shot the match during daylight, then everyone shot the match once again in low light after the sun set with both scores added to produce the final score for each shooter. The fastest overall time went to the PCC with a score of 62.69, then the pistol with a score of 85.53, and then the shotgun with a score of 93.30. There was a bright, full moon so there was some ambient light for the match's low light portion.

Three of the six participants who were shooting shotguns had some sort of serious issue with their shotgun on at least one stage. All stated that they used their shotgun as their primary home defense firearm and those who had issues admitted that they rarely practiced with it. The match once again drove home the realization of just how powerful the shotgun is in trained hands and just how easy it is to fumble the manual of arms without consistent practice—particularly under low light conditions.

The shotgun’s primary weakness is the number of rounds the weapon holds. From a home defense perspective, although admittedly possible, it is unlikely that home invaders will stand and slug it out with a shotgun-armed home owner. Five or six buckshot rounds will probably solve a home invasion problem rendering a speed reload unlikely. If faced with multiple home invaders who do chose to slug it out, the competent defender should load via the “shoot one – load one” technique using proper cover and movement as necessary if there is a lull in the proceedings.

Of course, in competition we are on the timer. This adds pressure to use specialized competition shotguns, specialized ammunition carriers, or other devices that may not be present on the gun (nor practical) if you must use the shotgun to repel boarders entering your home. For me, the “not present” issue is of concern. I want to train and compete with the same equipment I will have in a fight. Therefore, in shotgun matches I keep the gun in the same configuration as I have it in my home. Although I cannot load as quickly as another competitor who is using specialized equipment, I am practicing with my go to gun.

Even so, I was satisfied with my match performance, placing second with the shotgun and winning one of the stages with the fastest time. The stage in question was a standards stage that required no movement nor reloading. It simply measured your ability to run the gun. 

Steve won the shotgun division with a time of 93.30. Steve was consistent with his daylight versus low light shotgun stage runs with a time difference of 1.98 seconds. The time difference between my shotgun daylight runs and my shotgun low light runs was 2.99 seconds. Click here for the video.

I find value in practicing under low light conditions. The Sensible Self Defense Low Light Match provides shooters the opportunity to test their low light skills in a variety of scenarios.

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