The mysteries of pump shotguns

I’ve been thinking of buying a pump shotgun, but I’ve never owned a gun so I stopped in a gun store and asked the guy how they worked. Either these things are unbelievably complicated, or I’m a lot stupidier than I thought I was, because I couldn’t tell what the hell this guy was talking about.

So, are these things that complicated? It wouldn’t seem so because in the movies the guy just pumps the thing and pulls the trigger. Also, if I can ever figure out how to use one, is this a pretty good choice for home defense?

I own a pump shotgun, a Winchester Defender.

It’s not complicated. You load shells through a port on the underside. Then when you are ready to shoot, you pull the slide back and then push it forward. You release the safety, aim and fire.

If this is too complicated for you, then I suggest you either avoid obtaining one, or maybe ask the gun seller for a short lesson.

As for home defense, avec moi, le deluge.

They aren’t complicated at all even though you might need 5 minutes of instruction to know the chambering procedure, how to load it, and how the safety works. Once you get the feel for it, you do indeed just pump it in smooth motions. However, as a first time owner, I would recommend some type of gun safety course because you won’t be able to just figure out everything for yourself.

I don’t speak French.

Yes, obviously.

If you haven’t bought one yet, you might consider an automatic.

But for ease of use, try a good old fashioned double barrel. I have a simple single shot as I have yet to need two shells to kill anything.

I don’t think they are complicated. Here is a link that explains pump shotguns pretty well.

Move down to the pump shotgun part and read and see the visual.

How do they work? Quite well actually. :slight_smile:
The shells are held in a magazine below the barrel. When you pull the slide back, it opens the breech and extracts the spent shell, if there is one. At the same time the mechanism allows a shell from the magazine to be pushed upward into position, so that when you push the slide forward, it is chambered, and the breech is closed. You are now ready to fire.

Slide-action shotguns are reliable, fast-shooting, and simple to operate. They are, however, NOT foolproof. You can short-stroke the action, and wind up with an empty chamber. It’s possible, on some models, to double-cycle, and wind up with a nifty jam. I, personally, like pump guns, but they’re not even remotely the only choice. There are semi-autos in a number of stripes, including gas- and recoil-operated weapons, as well as single and double barrel break-action shotguns. Also others more exotic than those. A pump gun is a very good choice, IMO, but whatever you choose, training is the key.

Everyone should know what happens next… C’mon, sing it along with me!

Theme song time!

Whatever you pick, get thee to the range, and practice, practice, practice. Practice until the guys at the range know how you like your coffee. Practice until they know the sound of your car, and have your coffee waiting for you. Practice until you’re sick of it, then practice some more. Practice until your hands have minds of their own when it comes to safe, accurate, correct handling of your weapon. Practice until it points like an extension of your mind. Then practice still further. If you’re going to own a weapon for defense - Or even if you’re NOT going to use it for defense, but are planning on using it at all, for any purpose - you are responsible for the safety of everyone around you, IRT your weapon… Practice until you are worthy of that trust.

Then practice some more!

I don’t think you need to practice that much.

50-60 rounds ought to do it.

You’re firing a pretty basic firearm, not piloting the space shuttle.

Learn how to load, aim and shoot. Learn how the safety operates.

That’s pretty much it.

There’s that little button by the trigger guard, that’s important. Everything else is gravy.

Good choice for home defense? That depends. What’s the layout of your house? Are you going to practice until you get used to the recoil? What are your storage options? How often can you practice? Do you like shooting them recreationally? Do you know who put the ram in the rama lama… Wait, that’s not right.

50-60 rounds with a 12-ga will get your attention. Expecially if you do it all at once.

But, basic weapon, or no, you want to be well beyond basic familiarity. You’re right - this is NOT the space shuttle. It’s more important. What are the odds of the space shuttle crashing on your house? What are the odds a mis-handled shotgun could be involved in an unhappy incident in your house?

Practice, practice, practrice, and the odds of one become a lot closer the odds of the other.

Then practice some more.

Oh, please.

This is what I hate about gun threads.

All the macho posturers come in and wank about how You Have Never Held So Much Responsibility In Your Two Hands EVER!!!.

It’s just a simple machine. Learn how to use it properly and be careful.

Just like your car.

Just like that backyard pool which probably results in more fatalities than gun mis-handling.

Nobody answered this, so I’ll give you an ambiguous reply. :smiley:

In one respect it is excellent, as it may be the most intimidating weapon. Anybody looking down the barrel of a 12 ga. will think twice, and most likely leave you alone.

Secondly, you have a better chance of hitting something than with a handgun unless you really become a good shot with loads of practice. If you have a problem with killing an intruder, you can aim a shotgun at the legs and disable them. Trying with with a handgun or pistol is not a good idea.

On the negative side, you can keep a handgun by your bed, under a pillow or nearby and grab it quickly and easily for defense. I’d not advice keeping a shotgun under your pillow. :smiley: Also it is longer, and therefore will take a few more milleseconds to get in a defensive position.

One of the things the guy said was not to forget to pull the trigger after doing something or other. (He wasn’t talking about firing it.). So when do I do this? I think he said something about not storing it cocked.

Zambini57 wrote

It’s funny, but I’ve managed to answer quite a few simple physics questions on this board and I never once needed to act like a prick. (This is GQ so please don’t think I’m insinuating that you’re a prick)

Sorry, but you are not as subtle as you think you are.

But my answer stands. If the mechanical aspects of a pump shotgun are beyond you ability to understand them, then you should avoid getting one, or if you do, then take lessons from someone who knows.

That’s pretty reasonable, don’t you think?

Heh, amusing comeback.

However, I must admit that I’m a bit puzzled too as to how anybody could find operatng a pump shotgun too complex to understand. All I can think is that the dealer with whom you spoke must have been 1. drunk, 2. retarded or 3. unwilling to sell it to youl

Try another dealer. Most of them are very good at explaining what they sell and more than willing to demonstrate until you get it. If you tell them what you want it for, they usually are very good about making suggestions and giving you the pros and cons of various weapons.

The salesman probably said something like “After you rack all of the shells out of the gun, and confirm that it is indeed unloaded, point it at something solid and worthless (not your BiL, no matter what you think of him) and pull the trigger. That way you can store the gun unloaded and uncocked.”

There is a little button by the trigger guard that Bobo mentioned that is very important. This button allows you to rack the slide without having pulled the trigger. When you rack a round into the chamber, the action locks the chamber closed. It unlocks after you fire a round or when you hold the button down. This is a safety feature that prevents you from firing the weapon with the chamber partially open, which would be hard on the weapon and not do you a whole lot of good, either.

I suspect that the confusion does not lie in the basic firing of the shotgun, it’s just point ‘n’ click, really. Loading isn’t all that complicated either, but unloading a pump can be odd. Once you get a shell in the chamber, you gotta push that little button to get the slide to release if you haven’t fired. Even if there’s no shell in the chamber and you fully close the action, seems that you still have to push the release (or pull the trigger) to get it open. (ETA - Or what Silenus said)

And it’s important to note that not all gun shop owners are highly articulate.

What model was it, anyway? I don’t care much for scatterguns, only have a Winchester 1300 and I wouldn’t use it for home defense unless it was absolutely necessary.

Spread on shotgun is only a few inches at any rational range, so aiming is just as important as with anything else. You can’t just shove it in the general direction and yank on the trigger if you expect to hit your target and avoid a broken shoulder.

I’d say the same about a chainsaw… Except that a chainsaw won’t reach out and injure bystanders in the next house over. A chainsaw can’t chop your leg off if you carelessly handle it whilst it’s not running. Etc. etc.

If you don’t realize that this is not macho posturing, but real life, with real life risks, then I don’t ever want you handling a firearm near me or mine. Your attitude is dangerous.

It IS simple, but it’s not “just” a machine - It’s a machine with potentially lethal impact far outside the normal reach of the wielder. How many people are within the lethal range of your weapon when you pick it up? That is how many people’s safety you are responsible for. If you’re not aware of that on basic, instictive level, I don’t consider you safe.

That is correct. That is what practice is for. Casual familiarity is not mastery. Mastery should be your target, if you’re planning on using a tool this powerful.

You wanna hear my song on cars? You won’t like that one, either.

I have a song for those, too.

I don’t live in fear. I live knowing that I know how to act safely. I live knowing that I am not going to go to sleep that night with a feeling of horrible remorse for something that didn’t need to happen. I sleep well at night.

This is a very bad idea.

Nearly everywhere, in order to be justified in using deadly force, you need to have reason to fear death or serious harm to yourself or others. By taking the care to fire at the legs, you are establishing that you did not really fear for your life. You would only be handing ammunition to the prosecutor that would most likely be used against you in a court of law. In other words, aim for the legs and you might wind up in jail yourself.

Further, if the intruder really poses a threat, then aiming at the legs will only put you and those around you at greater risk, since you are much less likely to actually end the threat decisively. What if they’re armed with a gun?

In any case, even with a shotgun a disabling shot to the leg might be difficult. Many people seem to think that shotguns produce gigantic and lethal spread patterns that make careful aiming unnecessary, but this isn’t the case. At fairly close ranges (such as would be encountered in a home defense situation) even birdshot will produce a very tight pattern. A shotgun is easier to aim than a handgun only because it has a much longer sight radius.