Swift | Silent | Deadly

The Shotgun Skills Gauge: The Perfect Shotgun Test?

By , on

I have been shooting a lot of shotgun drills lately, and today I’m back with another! The Shotgun Skills Gauge is a one-stage, 5-round test of your scattergun abilities. It is easy to setup, quick to run, and will tell you a lot about where you stand with your favorite social smoothbore. Let’s take a look at this excellent drill.

The Shotgun Skills Gauge

The Shotgun Skills Gauge was developed by father/son team of Rob and Matt Haught of SYMTAC Consulting. “Double-Aught Haught” as the pair are collectively known, are two of the most recognized prophets of the “gospel of the gauge.” By which I mean, of course, they are some of the most sought-after shotgun instructors out there. I have finally enrolled in a class (June ’24), and I am very excited about it. Let’s take a look and see how I do on the Shotgun Skills Gauge.

This drill tests a lot of skills, including pretty much everything you need and nothing you don’t. All distances are 10 yards or less – ideal for home defense. There is short-stocking, multiple-shot engagement, target transitions, reloading, and a precision shot. Scoring is anatomically relevant. To repeat myself this is an excellent drill.

To run it you need 10 yards and 2 IDPA targets. Place one target at 10 yards and the other at 3 yards. The close target needs to be offset about a target’s width; for right-handed shooters offset it to the shooter’s left. For lefties, offset it to the shooter’s right. The shooter stands centered on the distant target. The course of fire requires 5 slugs, four of which are loaded into the gun. The fifth slug should be in a side-saddle or other reloading apparatus. Let’s look at the course of fire.

Course of Fire

The Shotgun Skills Gauge consists of a single stage. The shooter should begin in the short-stock/CQB technique position. On the buzzer:

  • Fire 1 round at the 3-yard target using the CQB technique,
  • Transition to a shoulder mount and fire 3 rounds at the 10-yard target,
  • Emergency (chamber) reload and fire 1 head shot at the 10-yard target.

That’s it! Five rounds, and look at all the skills you just tested. Scoring is straightforward: rounds outside the -0 zone incur a 1-second penalty. Under 10 seconds is considered basically proficient. Under 8 seconds is considered solid, and under 6 is great – the Haughts award a coin to anyone able to do this drill in under 6 seconds in class.

If you haven’t shot this drill yet, get on it!

Keep Reading