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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:19 am 
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Summary: This is the first installment of a multi-part review of Cold Bore Tactical's (central Texas) Defensive Shotgun course. This is the overview part. I will be skipping around some, so I can get to the really good stuff sooner, but needed to post this part first to give a level set. Please bear with me though. The next part will cover Ammo Selection based on patterning and penetration at the kinds of distances encountered in a house.

Links:
Part 2 (Ammo): http://vepr.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1305
Part 3 (Home Issues): http://www.vepr.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1306
Part 4 (Range Intro): http://www.vepr.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1310

Overview
The subject line is a little misleading. The course I took this past weekend is a defensive shotgun course but is not specific to the VEP-12. The instructor, Mike Shaeper, asks that students tell him in advance what shotgun they will be using. He researches the guns and adapt the course to the weapons used. Since I brought my VEPR-12, he adapted the course to that.

Before taking the course, I had been looking for information on defensive shotgun use for months. One thing I found is that there is not a lot of information about using the VEPR-12 defensively. It's a great gun, as we all know, but it has not yet found its place in the U.S. gun community.

After seeing the excellent Magpul Dynamics™ "The Art of the Dynamic Shotgun" video (http://store.magpul.com/product/DYN005/177), with Travis Haley and Chris Costa, and reading a thread detailing a shotgun course that had been held elsewhere, I was well aware that the VEPR-12 is not considered to be the standard gun for those courses. Far from it. That is why I specifically asked Mike beforehand if my choice of shotgun was an issue. He had no problem with it. Actually, that was quite an understatement. He made me a better, safer shooter with the VEP-12 and over the course of this review, I will give details of how he did that.

I am by no means an expert at anything gun related. I am 56 years old and have owned and shot guns for 40 years but have had little formal training. I have no prior military or law enforcement experience but have gone through three Concealed Handgun License courses and two defensive handgun courses (about ten years ago). No long gun training, though. I have a membership at the local indoor range and often shoot several times a week, but am mainly a handgun guy. Even so, my VEPR-12 is my favorite gun to shoot and I have put 200+ rounds of rifled slugs (indoor range does not allow shotshells) through it recently.

I have modified my VEPR-12 with:
Ok, enough about me and my VEPR-12.

The course is offered by Cold Bore Tactical, LLC (http://www.coldboretact.com/). The instructor is Mike Shaeper--you can read his bio here (http://www.coldboretact.com/about-us.html).

The course description is here: (http://www.coldboretact.com/defensive-shotgun.html)
Here is the course outline. I will be covering each part in this review, but not in the order listed. As stated earlier, I want to get to the good stuff sooner.

From Cold Bore Tactical's website, here is part of the course description.

______________________________

Plan to spend about 3 - 4 hours in the classroom, and about 2 - 2 1/2 hours on the range.
In the Classroom we will focus on:
  • Basic shotgun safety; Loading, Unloading, Clearing, and Safe Storage
  • The Fundamentals of Marksmanship, and how they are modified during a defensive encounter
  • Strategies to make your home less appealing to burglars, and how to zone target engagements within your specific home to prevent injury to family members
  • Wounding Characteristics & Ammo Selection
  • A primer on Texas Laws and the Use of Force
  • Dry fire and reloading drills using dummy rounds
And on the range we will focus on:
  • Determining the pattern of your particular shotgun & defensive ammo combination
  • Single and multiple target engagements
______________________________

I should mention that I have no affiliation with Cold Bore Tactical. I found Mike by searching for local defensive shotgun training because I wanted to get more skilled with my VEPR-12. This review is written from the point of view of a shooter/consumer. I have never worked in the gun industry and have no prior military or law enforcement experience.

Basic shotgun safety; Loading, Unloading, Clearing, and Safe Storage

First, Mike is not shy about safety. Students are not allowed to bring live ammo into the classroom. It is irrelevant whether it is shotgun ammo or not, whether the student has a CHL or not. No live ammo. End of story.

Regarding loading and unloading, I think Mike took a departure from his normal course presentation here. If you have seen the Magpul video mentioned earlier, you realize that tactical loading (and possibly unloading) is a hugely important topic for pump shotguns and, for lack of a better term, "conventional" semiauto shotguns, in the context of defensive shotgun training. There are well-established techniques for keeping these guns well-fed during a gun fight and for switching back and forth between buckshot and slugs when a sudden change in scenario requires it.

Those techniques simply do not apply to the VEPR-12, though, because of its detachable magazine. I have no doubt that people who know far more than I could debate the merits of pump and "conventional" semiauto shotguns vs. AK-patterned shotguns for many hours, but I will leave that to others. My goal was to learn what my VEPR-12 is capable of and how to use it effectively, and Mike did an outstanding job of adapting the content to fit my needs.

Regarding clearing, we all know how to clear our VEPR-12s at the range, but this course was not in the context of a gun range--it was in the context of using a shotgun in the confines of a house to protect ourselves and loved ones from intruders. At the range, we know that we must keep our muzzles pointed down range at all times. What does "down range" mean in a house, though? For the time being, replace "down range" with the term "safe direction". More on that later.

Back to clearing our VEPR-12. Mike teaches a three point clearing method. With the bolt open:
  • Verify that the chamber is empty
  • Verify the mag well is empty
  • Check the bolt face.
What? We all explicitly do step 1, and step 2 without really thinking about it. But what's the deal with checking the bolt face? Mike puts that extra step in to force the shooter to slow down and make absolutely sure that the gun is clear. A negligent discharge is not an option in any environment, but especially in a home.

The "Safe storage" topic was where I saw Mike's adaptive approach to teaching clearly starting to kick in. I think most of us have our own ideas about safe gun storage and if asked what we recommend, we would probably describe what we do and maybe a couple of other ideas. Instead of telling me something like, "If you don't have a gun safe, get one!", or something similar, Mike asked questions to get a clear picture of what the minimum requirements are for my home environment. Questions like who lives in my home, whether I have kids living there or visiting at times, and so on. Like many states, Texas has laws aimed at those who negligently leave guns accessible to unsupervised minors. Instead of prescribing "the one and only way" to safely store guns, Mike's approach was to make recommendations based on my home environment. I am an easy case, though, because I have a safe and use it. Still, I appreciate the fact that his concern is that his students are doing the right thing for their individual situations.

BTW, I should mention that Mike pulls his course content from a variety of sources and clearly cites all of them. For example, some of the content is from NRA's "Personal Protection In The Home" course.

The next part will cover Ammo Selection based on patterning and penetration at the kinds of distances encountered in a house. Good stuff--I will post that tomorrow.


Last edited by VEPR12_fng on Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:07 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:20 am 
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Awesome review, There are many defensive firearms courses in the US, and personally, I am a big fan of the Frontsite Dry Fire guides, but literally nothing in the defensive shotgun course drills they offer are applicable to mag fed shotguns, as it is extensively geared towards the much more common tube magazine guns, be them pump or semi-auto. These are definitely a different beast, when it comes to combat, drills or otherwise. It is great that you found someone willing to tailor a training course to mag fed combat shotguns. I am looking forward to reading more.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:08 pm 
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Location: East Texas
Great write up! Thanks for sharing!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:46 pm 
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AdioSS wrote:
Great write up! Thanks for sharing!


Thanks--you too evilblkwpnz!

There is a lot of ground to cover, so please bear with me. This series is going to go at least 6 installments. I will do the best I can to give an accurate and thorough review and have asked the instructor, Mike Schaeper to monitor my posts for accuracy. What he teaches is too important to take chances on getting it wrong.

I hope everyone finds the information helpful.

And thanks to everyone here who posts info for the community. I continue to benefit from it greatly. Posting this series is my attempt at giving back.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:53 am 
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Don't thank me.... it was you who made the excellent contribution ;)

evl....

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:52 pm 
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I have a Vper12 that came with a welded folding stock. Did you have one and if so how did you remove it and add the one you have?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:18 pm 
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waldothegreat wrote:
I have a Vper12 that came with a welded folding stock. Did you have one and if so how did you remove it and add the one you have?


My VEPR-12 came with a fixed Tapco stock. I put a folding stock on it from Bonesteel arms. See this thread (http://vepr.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=739) for details on making the welded folded stuck functional. Also see this thread (http://vepr.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1237)

I assume that if you make the folding stock functional that it puts the gun out of 922(r) compliance, but as has been discussed in other threads, it's pretty easy to bring a VEPR-12 into compliance.

ETA: Sorry--I just re-read your post and realized I did not answer your question! I have not removed one of the folding stocks but can tell you that removing the Tapco stock was a bear! There were only two screws (top of the stock at the front, but after removing those screws that stock would not budge without applying a great deal of force and "rocking" it. Finally came out but it was a struggle. The Bonesteel stock was a breeze to put in. It's a direct factory replacement.

Others can answer your question about removing the folding stock better than I can, but if it is mounted using the standard two screws, and I'm almost certain it is, then do not be afraid to put some muscle into it and rock it up and down after you remove the screws. Since I just ordered another VEPR-12 with a folding stock, I will be watching responses to your post too.

I hope this helps.


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