Shotgun Defense Should Be an Easy Sell

There are many options for home protection, but shotguns should be an easy sell.

Shotgun Defense Should Be an Easy Sell

Shorter home-defense shotguns, such as this Mossberg Shockwave, have become more popular in the last few years thanks to their power and smaller stature for concealment capabilities. (Photo: Mossberg)

When self or home defense is the question, shotguns are the answer. Experienced shooters know this. First-time buyers need to understand it.

Shotguns are the basic firearm. Certainly, there have been advances in some areas like rifled barrels for slugs, but the smoothbore shotgun is the simplest of modern firearms. Many models are intuitive enough to operate that it doesn’t take a lot of study and training to be effective.

Overall, shotguns are relatively close-range instruments that are most often shot instinctively — that’s right: point and shoot. This means that virtually anyone capable of handling a firearm can operate a shotgun.

First-time buyers and others have gravitated toward models designed for tactical/defense applications because they are more mission specific in design and performance features, but the fact is that any shotgun is good for self and home defense. This is important to explain in situations where all of the tactical models have been sold out, yet a customer wants to get a gun for peace of mind.

For the most part, shotguns don’t present the social concerns that rifles, and pistols can. For example, most shotgun ammunition will not penetrate walls as well as many rifle and handgun rounds. And, generally speaking, the lethal range of shotgun ammo is much less than rifle or pistol ammo.

These are significant concerns when considering what is best for home defense, especially in high-density urban and suburban neighborhoods. In such areas, it can be impossible to know everything that is downrange should a shot miss the intended target. Hence, a shotgun can be a much better choice than a rifle or a handgun.

Yet, within the normal distance of defensive shots, shotguns are extremely effective, and what they lack in range they more than compensate for in close-up damage.

Selling Tools

With a little bit of preparation, it’s possible for customers to understand the handling dynamics of shotguns without firing a real shot. If we’re talking about defensive use, most stores are at least as large as most residential rooms. Hence, a valid scenario can be setup in the store.

All that is needed is a wall with some kind of aiming point (target, whatever) and 10 to 20 feet of open space between that wall and where a customer can stand with a fake gun (blue gun) or an inoperable gun (often referred to as a try gun).

If the try gun is equipped with a single-bead front sight, it’s easy for a customer to shoulder the gun and point it at the aiming point on the wall. A few repetitions of shouldering and pointing can give even a first-time gun handler an idea about how a gun is pointed and whether he or she can do it easily (most find it instinctive, which makes them feel even better about getting a gun).

Or, the gun can be equipped with a laser sight that projects a red dot. That way, the customer can see whether that particular design allows him or her to instinctively point the gun on-target. This is really effective if the gun happens to be one of those short-barrel rigs with a pistol grip like the Mossberg Shockwave.

Most people don’t initially point such guns right on target, but when they see the red dot on the wall, they can automatically adjust their point. Success breeds sales, so once they see that they can point the gun where they want to shoot, they can convince themselves that they should get that particular kind of shotgun, as well as the laser aiming device (two sales rather than one).

Ammo, Targets

Another nice thing about shotguns is that they shoot the widest array of ammunition in the shooting sports industry, and all of it will work fine for defensive purposes. This means an initial sale of a shotgun can open the door to repeated ammo sales downstream.

Another easy sales tool consists of three targets, each showing the pattern size at a particular distance. It is best if there are targets from full, modified and open chokes. Ideally, these three targets will have been shot from 10 yards to show how wide the shot spread is at that distance, which is about the maximum distance of most defensive shots.

The reason this is important is that many folks think a shotgun sprays a pattern 10 feet wide at a distance of 3 feet beyond the muzzle, or something like that. When they can see the actual spread, it helps them understand what they need to do to be effective.

The whole point is to simplify the thought pattern for customers and to educate them about the realities of shotguns. Once they have the information, it’s easier for them to take the next step and buy the right gun for their purposes.


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