View Full Version : ITTS Shotgun 1 & 2 AAR

11-04-13, 14:16
So if you gentlemen don't mind I'd like to copy and paste the AAR i wrote as an e-mail to some of my close friends/range buddies.

I think ITTS is an excellent school and the instructors are polite and professional.

So here goes....ctrl+v

So, I would like to start off by saying that this is my first long gun
class. All the classes I have taken before have been for handgun. So
walking into the class I was a bit nervous just hoping I wouldn't be
that guy who is an idiot. But once I got there I put on my man pants
and carried on.

As usual we began the day with ITTS' famous safety lecture, the four
golden rules. Uncle Dane and Uncle Mark told us stories of officers
who have made stupid decisions involving guns. I told them from the
first part of the class that I have a very bad habit of leaving the
safety OFF on the shotgun. This comes from carrying the gun with bolt
locked open on an empty gun from station to station at Triple B. But
this is purely my fault. I am now determined to break that habit.

The first couple hours, was lecture about the shotgun, ammo selection,
deployment, manipulation and setup. How do you want your shotgun set
up? Load and unload, slug change overs etc. They told us stories of
their training in SWAT with the shotgun, which did NOT sound like fun.
I've had more than a few officers tell me that their shotgun classes
were not fun at all due to high round counts with full power loads,

We all walked up to the line with our guns, for the first part of the
class, we were thought to load and unload. They taught us a very
interesting way to unload both Remington 870 and Benelli without the
round going into the chamber. I thought it was very interesting, but
slow and difficult, once I got the hang of it, it was slow and

We did some drills bird shot on paper, shoot two, load two, combat
load and shoot. We took a break for lunch and when we came back from
lunch we had some fun. They brought out the metal swingers, when I saw
that I knew a good time was ahead!

We had to load four in the gun, shoot the swinger and then stop the
swinger from moving with our second shot. I of course shot too fast
and just kept it rolling! But we had a lot of fun with those targets!
We had to combat load one, shoot and then the second guy would do so,
then the third and so on .By the time the last guy was shooting,
shooter #1 had to be good to go. That was fun.

We shot some slugs at 50 yards to see where they were hitting on
paper, all of mine were centered on the target but I dropped one or
two into the 8 ring. We finished off the day with patterning buck
shot. My Remington Buckshot did just fine, although I usually run
Federal Buckshot in my guns. Remington was what the store had at the
time of purchase. Also I wanted all of my shot shells to be different
color. Red - Bird shot. Green - Buck shot. Clear - Slugs.

Certificates were handed out and I jammed home! I finished my day
exhausted and unwilling to do anything else that day aside from shower
and drive thru.

On to shotgun 2..

The day started off at 2 pm. Honestly I think I am over the 2-10
schedule. I'd prefer to get on the range nice and early in the
morning, get my shit done and go home early. With that being said, I
will probably never pass up an opportunity to shoot at night.

Uncle Mark was teaching shotgun two, a class of 13 people, half of
which were not there yesterday, so some of them took shotgun 1
beforehand. We of course began with the safety lecture, although I
could tell he was a bit frustrated, they had Advanced handgun and
beginner handgun going on the whole day, I'm sure someone pissed him off which some lousy safety discipline.

We got our guns, went up to the line and practiced some loading and
unloading. We shot some slugs at 50 yards on paper to see where the
guns were hitting. I had two hits, one dead center and one just to the
right of it about two inches. I am GLAD I brought that gun!

We moved out to the steel at 135 yards. I got three out of four hits
with appropriate amounts of profanity on my miss. Some guy knocked
over the 135 yard steel, so we had to shoot at 185 yards. I couldn’t
hear if I got three out of four or two out of four. People were
telling me that I was nailing those ****ers so I'll just assume they
were being nice and I missed two on the 185 yard.

The best part of the day was shooting the 180 target drill, where they
had four targets at your 9, 11, 1 and 3 'clock, the targets would pop
up when someone pulled on the rope, your shot would bring them down. This is where I had some equipment failures, attaching the light to my shotgun made it choke on bird shot, of course I found this out for the first time right there. It was my entire fault; I should have ran the
gun beforehand to make sure it works with everything and all the ammo I was using.

Attaching the light to my particular gun caused malfunctions because
it is inertia operated gun, when there is more weight on the gun there
is not enough inertia to cycle the bolt gun, so you must ditch
something, or use heavier kicking rounds. Since that was the only bird
shot I brought I chose to ditch the light. I’ll have to adapt using a
handheld light and a shotgun.

That 180 target drill took a while. We went over to some rolling
thunders split into groups for the best time. This is where I ditched
the weapon mounted light, went to a handheld flash light…oh that
reminds me, my head lamp went out too. So I had no choice. Handheld or Nothing!

My group was second to shoot the rolling thunder while timed. (Rolling
thunder is described above 6th paragraph). I am standing there at the
low ready, one round in the chamber, hand held light in the support
hand trying to figure out my strategy. Fire command is given, first
two shooters shoot, and I shoot. The gun cycles just fine, my hand
held goes in my mouth while I combat load one in the chamber go to the side saddle load one in the tube. It’s my turn to shoot again, two
shots the gun works just fine, gotta load three light in the mouth,
shoot three, light in the mouth load four, shoot four and done! Repeat
three times and were the only group to break one minute twice.

After that was the clanks….for those of you who do not know what the
clanks are, they are basically four or five links of anchor chain,
each link weighing approximately 30-40 lbs. with a rope attached to
the end, pick up the rope, drag the chain and shoot something, this is
jack up your heart rate and simulate stress.

We did this as a team and I was hoping to get partnered up with my
buddy Eric who joined me for the class, but groups were selected at
random. I was the last one to run the clanks.

Pick up the rope, drag the clanks approximately 75 yards, load four
bird shot, shoot the swingers. Drag the clanks to station two, load
three buck shot. One standing, one kneeling, one prone, load three
more while on the ground one prone, one kneeling one standing. Drag
the clanks to station three; load two slugs hit the steel, no more
clanks, on to station four. Two more slugs, two more hits on the
steel, I missed the last one and I was pissed about it too! Of course
I ran the clanks with lots of style and profanity.

We finished out the day with some moving drills, not spending too much
time on them as the 10 o’clock hour was approaching fast.

All in all, I had a great time. I’m very very, and I do mean very
****ing upset with myself with how shitty everything worked out for me
on the 180 degree target. If I knew I had equipment issues before
hand, I would have had adapted. I did just fine with the hand held
light on the rolling thunder, but that 180 ****ed with me. Who do I
have to blame???? Me? Yup!!! All I needed to do was run THAT bird shot
with the light on the gun. Buck shot worked just fine as that is more
mass coming out of the barrel creating more inertia cycling the
heavier gun just fine.

Also I am glad I have a Benelli. Remington 870’s were going down left
and right, which amazes me because I thought they were supposed to be king of the shotgun mountain as far as reliability goes. In shotgun
one, we had people having issues with both personally owned guns and
rented guns. In shotgun two we had people having all sorts of issues
from front sights falling off to barrel nuts coming off to extraction
issues. As stated above my gun had issues too, but guess what, nothing
****ing broke and I fixed my problem by adapting. How do you adapt to
the barrel falling off the gun?

Some of these 870’s looked ****ing new and they had problems, and what was really amazing was that some of these problem guns were in the hands of people who knew god damn well how to use them. So this really surprised me. One other Benelli had an issue in shotgun one, but
having that same gun I identified it as an ammo issue. Everything has
it’s draw backs and the Benelli will run 100% with heavier loads. Put
something too light in that gun and you will have problems.

I also need to work on my slug change overs. I am not clean on this
what so ever.



11-04-13, 21:08
I really, really want to take a class with Scott Reitz.

When you said the 870's were going down, can you speak to that a bit more? Were they the Express 870 HD packages? Police Magnums? Old Wingmasters that people had "converted"?

I've seen a lot more trouble with the newer Express shotguns, than the older Police models. And no firearms is immune from troubles.

Great hits on that walk-back drill. What slugs were you using for that? Were they just plain jane Remington slugs, like the buckshot you mentioned? What kind of technique did you use at 185 yards, and what advice were they offering to get reliable hits at that distance?

Thanks, it sounds like a lot of fun.

11-04-13, 21:47
Thx for the AAR. I need to take a couple night classes. Its been over a decade since my last long night shoot.

Did you see any Mossbergs go down. I'm a 870 man, never have problems with my old work horses. Been thinking about buying a mossy for shit and giggles.

11-05-13, 00:12
When you said the 870's were going down, can you speak to that a bit more? Were they the Express 870 HD packages? Police Magnums? Old Wingmasters that people had "converted"?

I've seen a lot more trouble with the newer Express shotguns, than the older Police models. And no firearms is immune from troubles.


Interested in this detail too.

11-05-13, 09:12
Yes, my mistake. I should have elaborated a bit more. The only 870 that I believe was a Police Mag was an issued Scattergun Tech. gun to an LEO that was there, and that puppy looked well used and well loved. Even the instructor made a comment on how smooth it was when he borrowed it for a demo. That gun ran just fine from what I saw.

One guy had a "upgraded to police mag gun" that the barrel came loose as he was loading, but I did not ask what base gun he was using. Another guy had a 870 that was not extracting spent shells.

The two rented 870's on the first day had some kind of issue that I could not properly identify. It was almost as if they were not going all the way back causing a short stroke. The rented guns, or those students were not there on the second day. Maybe all they needed was a good cleaning?

I'd also like to say that the front sight that fell off a gun was off a Mossberg, but I couldn't tell you what model it was. That was my mistake in saying it was an 870.

There were two guys who had issues with their 870s while doing a rolling thunder, since it was pretty dark all I could tell you was that they were pumping a lot with far less shooting. In retrospect I should have asked what was going on with those guns.

There was a guy there on the first day that had a a Benelli M3 that had feeding issues, having the same gun, I identified it as a ammo issue, but the class was over before he had a chance to try the bird shot I gave him.

11-05-13, 09:26
I really, really want to take a class with Scott Reitz.

Great hits on that walk-back drill. What slugs were you using for that? Were they just plain jane Remington slugs, like the buckshot you mentioned? What kind of technique did you use at 185 yards, and what advice were they offering to get reliable hits at that distance?

Thanks, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Scotty is a great teacher and he knows exactly what he is talking about. Well worth the money and you will learn...a LOT.

I wanted different color shells for a reason, red = Estate bird shot #8. Green = Remmi buck shot 9 pellet. Clear = Fiocchi 1 oz 1550 fps.

The first day we shot some slugs on paper to see where they were hitting. I believe I mentioned I dropped two in the 8 ring and I was probably tired. As we did on the second day where I got two in the "10 ring."

What technique was I using? Take your time, breath, front sight, trigger press, follow thru. And believe me, I took my time!
"Number 3! TAKE IT!" I'd get on the gun, breath, sight in, see the target, focus on my front sight, make an adjustment if needed, breath, trigger press, PING and then follow thru. Typing that was faster, but hits count.

They advised us to hold around the neck/shoulder line and we should get good torso hits. Breath, take your time and don't forget follow thru.

11-05-13, 23:28
Awesome - thanks for the followup, loupav. It sounds like the issues might have been a bad ejector on one of the 870's, and dirty chambers on the others?

I'm a fan of his book "The Art of Modern Gunfighting", and have heard he's working on the follow-up. I hope he releases it soon.

I've got a pair of 870's, one with an Aimpoint and one with rifle sights. I'll have to take them out to the range next week, and see what I can do at those distances. Should be worth the time and effort.

Thanks again, and stay safe.

11-06-13, 08:44
Yes, I thought it was very odd to see 870's have problems. The gun with the extraction issues was very odd. The ammo the student brought would not extract, but someone lent him some shells and those worked. Someone else lent him some shells and those didn't. So something in that gun needs to be replaced ASAP.

Uncle Scotty IS in fact working on a follow up to his book. He also mentioned that having Aimpoints on shotguns is the way to go. He'll soon have his rental and personal guns with Aimpoints.

11-06-13, 21:47
Outstanding news on the book.

And to quote someone I know: "I love an Aimpoint Micro on a shotgun, because my idea of a fair fight is clubbing baby harp seals." :cool: