Recently my friend and fellow scribe Richard Mann penned a piece for his website titled “Five Guns I’ll Never Own.” He said readers love this kind of stuff and that this was a blatant effort to drive more traffic to his website. One of the five was a shotgun—any shotgun—other than the Model 12 that belonged to his father. He considers himself a caretaker of it. I don’t know whether he generated much traffic to his website, but he started quite a discussion on Facebook with it.
Richard likes shooting rifles and pistols…a lot. Apparently he is not a devoté of trying to keep up with a bird dog in the nearly futile pursuit of feathered game. He stated elsewhere that leaning a shotgun next to a door jam just gives you something to trip over while trying to get to your rifle…or something to that effect. Obviously, he finds the shotgun a less-than-useful tool for self-defense. Opinions are like armpits; everyone has one or two, and they all stink. However—at least for the time being—we all have a right to our opinions.
Like Richard, when I think of shooting, the first thing that usually comes to mind is rifles and handguns. I’m kind of a stickler for accuracy, and the shotgun is not noted for pinpoint pellet placement. However, I do have a little English setter and she loves to hunt. And I do get quite a kick out of knocking down roosters over her. There aren’t any quail in Wyoming (dang it!), but I do dream of visiting a friend or two in quail country sometime soon. At one time I was a dedicated waterfowler and spent a lot of time chasing ducks and geese. I don’t hunt waterfowl much anymore; not because I don’t enjoy it, but because wading in a mucky pond or lake is too difficult with an artificial hip.
As for self-defense, I think keeping a short-barreled shotgun next to one’s bed is an excellent idea. Aside from the fact that it has beaucoup more stopping power than most any handgun; it is easier to operate—especially when rudely awakened—and it’s an intimidating thing to have one pointed at you.
So while I’ll agree with my West Virginia hillbilly friend that a DoubleTap pistol, an AK-47, a Glock and a Rhino revolver are very unlikely to take up residence here in my little Wyoming conclave (There are plenty more, but I won’t go into that now), several shotguns will always be welcome. If memory serves, I’ve got about eight 12 gauges hither and yon around here and a couple of 20s. I need another 12 gauge—a Winchester 1897 for Wild Bunch shooting—and I have a lifelong dream of a wispy 28-gauge sidelock that I may never see come to fruition.