Biloxi, Mississippi (Ammoland) You don’t need a doctorate in history to realize that the saga of human conflict is cyclical. Consider the history of modern warfare.
One of the most noteworthy instances of the shotgun’s use in combat came from WWI and the infamous Winchester “Trench Guns”.
Every true gun guy knows the story of the feared shotguns and how the Germans were reportedly ‘terrorized’ by the use of scatterguns by U.S. Marines in close combat.
World War II was a slightly different story, with semi-automatic Garand rifles and Thompson submachine guns being the battlefield norm. Everyone remembers images of Marines clearing the jungles of Japanese held islands with the Thompson guns in hand or the GI bounding a hedgerow in Normandy with his Garand.
Although not glorified in the popular press, Vietnam combat veterans will tell you that the pump-action 12 gauge shotgun definitely left its mark during that particular conflict. I personally had one ‘Nam Vet relate to me that of all the sounds of combat, when he heard the distinctive blast of a shotgun he knew someone just got messed up. Today we are yet again embroiled in a conflict between good and evil and again the 12 gauge shotgun is carving out a niche for itself. A good friend of mine is a Marine Corps veteran of the April 2004 Battle of Fallujah. This man was a Machinegun Section Leader and his personal weapon during that fight was a 12 gauge shotgun. (A Section Leader oversees teams of Marines armed with the M240B 7.62mm machineguns.) My friend and I discussed the use of a shotgun in an urban combat environment at length.
He quite enthusiastically, with salty Jarhead expressions and descriptors, endorsed the 12 gauge shotgun for the kind of “in your face” fighting they were conducting.
The Combat Shotgun
Before we get into gun specifics, I feel it is important to ponder just why it is that we should consider discussing the shotgun in the first place. After, there are numerous handguns and carbines available. My previously mentioned comrade and I were members of a training team and we worked with military personnel on a daily basis. Of the small arms we taught, the shotgun was one of them. Our student base could vary greatly from little to no experience to those who had a good deal of hands-on with a shotgun.
Despite the experience or lack thereof I found that we are still running into some of the same old shotgun myths that have been allowed to perpetuate for generations. I cannot, in good conscience, proceed without addressing a few of the more prevalent ones head on….