Monday, 1 July 2013

Phase Line Green Tactical One Day Tactical Shotgun Course AAR

I do not particularly like shotguns in a tactical role. Shotguns are heavy, have a very short range and have limited ammunition capacity for a long fight. Even a properly configured combat shotgun, albeit more useful than a hunting piece, is a poor choice headed into a serious fight. Admittedly, I have had little shotgun training within the military and no formal training outside the work. I learned that Phase Line Green Tactical was hosting a one day tactical shotgun course at Grenville Fish and Game near Prescott, Ontario on the 2nd of June, 2013. Using the website form, I enrolled in an attempt to expand my understanding and skill level with the shotgun platform.

Earl Green, of Phase Line Green Tactical, designed the course to meet the requirements of the LEO/military operator with the civilian owner in mind. While concentrating on continuity between platforms, the instruction covered using the shotgun in operational setting.

Subjects covered included:

  • Shotgun Setup and Accessories
  • Ammunition 
  • Patterning limitations and Slug Work
  • Shotgun Fundamentals
  • Recoil Management
  • Loads and Reloads/Ammunition and Select Slug
  • Traditional Positional Shooting
  • Shooting on the move
  • Shooting from unconventional positions

During the Phase Line Green Tactical Shotgun Course, the majority of the students were involved professionally in public safety or national defence professions with a couple of civilian participants. While there was a significant level of operational experience within the class, there was little professional experience with the platform. Almost to a man, the students were there to fill a gap within agency or department training programs.

The class started with a safety brief, a review of the Four Firearm's Rules, and a emergency plan. Next, Earl, in an easy going style, discussed his experience with the shotgun platform, how it has shaped the content of the class and shotgun setup and accessories. The first shooting done with the shotgun was a confirmatory zero with slugs. 

Next we moved into patterning our shotguns with buckshot. This was done specifically to demonstrate the range limitations of multiple projectile rounds. The rest of the day was filled with various drills including "Rack and Top Up", "Cruiser Ready", "Select Slug" and many more. We covered movement drills and rapid turning engagements. The day finished with a Rolling Thunder drill which really pushed our skills in rapid feeding of the shotgun under time constraints.

Demonstrating Select Slug Drill

Demonstrating Recoil Management

Demonstrating Static Turns

Demonstrating Shooting on the Move

Two students shooting on the move
under watchful eye of instructor

Overall, the course was excellent. Earl Green's experience with a shotgun platform is undeniable. Many operators can run a platform well but few can truly instruct. Earl has distilled his experience to produce a strong relevant training plan. This was a weapon manipulation course with an emphasis on continuity between platforms. I learned many new subtleties to the shotgun platform and can now  exploit them to a tactical advantage. The Grenville Fish and Game Club is a phenomenal facility with multiple ranges that support traditional shooting sports as well as modern sports such as IPSC, IDPA and Cowboy Action. We felt very welcome at this facility. I still would rather go into a fight with a carbine rather than a shotgun. However, this course has taught me how to maximize the performance of a shotgun.


Safety. The safety brief, review of the Big Four and the emergency plan before any weapons were loaded or a round went downrange is excellent. Those of us in the profession of arms are used to this concept. By conducting a proper range brief  training was able to be started in a efficient manner with all participants understanding safety and their responsibilities.

Constant Post Engagement Drills. PLGT advocates a strong use of verbage and scanning in their program. After the first engagement drills, there was instant communication between partners in the profession. This was infectious and soon all participants were talking and scanning. 

Positive Learning Environment  Earl enforces a positive learning environment on his courses and clinics. There was a significant amount of operational experience on the range. Egos were checked at the door. 


Range Gear and Guns. Ensure when you arrive on a course that your gear and primary weapon are zeroed, clean and have been maintained recently. This was an issue for a few students.

Pack a Lunch. Less time spent running into town for food. More time spent on the range or informal discussions with the instructor during breaks.

Tool Kit and Spare Parts. Within the group that I regularly travel with to these events, we divide up responsibility for 'team gear'. This includes spare parts, tools kits, and even spare firearms. Not a bad idea should you have regular training partners or training group. Again, this was an issue for a few students.

Take care out there.

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