Here we’ll go over major parts of pump and semi-automatic shotguns. We’ll then cover stance and how to safely load and unload.
But before we do, now is another good time to review our safety rules.
- All guns are always loaded
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
- Keep your fingers off the trigger until your sights are on the target
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it
Parts of a Pump Action Shotgun
Here are the typical parts of a pump action shotgun.
From our Types of Guns article, you know that you have to manually pump the fore-end to load each shotgun shell. Here is a great video that goes over how everything in a pump action works. The reviewer is using inert aluminum snap caps to demonstrate loading and unloading
Parts of a Semi-Auto Shotgun
Here are the typical parts of a semi-automatic shotgun.
Semi-automatic shotguns use the energy from shooting to automatically load the next shell. The Benelli M2 uses an inertial system while other semi-autos may use gas or other systems.
Here’s a quick look at the inertial system with a creepy voiceover (just watch the first shot). You’ll see it’s a lot like the other semi-autos in pistols and rifles.
Here’s a quick video of loading and unloading a similar Benelli:
How to Shoot a Shotgun
Now that you know the major parts of both pump and semi-automatic shotguns, as well as how to load and unload, here are a few tips of how to shoot them.
- Hold the standard grip with your firing hand and place your weak hand on the fore-grip.
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart with slightly bent knees. I would recommend being a little more square with the target and leaning forward a little to mitigate recoil.
- Place the shotgun firmly in the pocket of your shoulder. This is important since if you don’t have a firm plant, you’ll end up really feeling the shotgun as it hits you.
- Get a good cheekweld on the stock
Here’s a quick primer on how to load and shoot a pump shotgun:
With some more details on how to reduce the recoil with some tension and stance:
These just begin to skim the surface of getting proficient at the shotgun. For more in-depth info, I would recommend signing up for a well reviewed course near you, or at the very least, picking up Magpul’s awesome DVD, Art of the Dynamic Shotgun.