Shotguns & select-slug drill?

Erick Gelhaus

Question about the Select-Slug drill … does anyone have a source to it being used in a shooting? Absent that, anyone who has done it in preparation for a shooting only to have gained the BadGuy’s compliance in another way?

Starting with Gunsite’s shotgun class in ’95 & Bill Jeans, I was taught it – it was reinforced during shotgun classes by both Awerbuck and Reitz.

I am looking for an instance of it being used, like the tactical reload and Dean Caputo’s experience.

Just to confirm we are on the same page, I am referring to (and this starts off with a fully loaded magazine tube) a) chambering a round of 00Buck, b) loading a slug into the tube’s open space, c) running the action to eject the 00Buck shell and chamber the slug, d) engage with the slug at distance or on a high percentage target.

In advance, thank you. (I’ll be posting it in several places).

Erick Gelhaus

As you can see, no one here provided any information. I received a fair number of responses in other places. I'll get around to compiling the feedback some time soon.

Erick Gelhaus

While there were other threads in other groups, here is what came up in the P&S FB query:

John Hearne That question was asked in 2004 when I attend FA instructor at FLETC. Their answer was "yes" as they had considered removing it from the curriculum until they had feedback that it had been done. They did comment that the instances they were familiar with all involved barricade situations in which the officers had plenty of time.
I suspect that the select slug is like boarding house rules. Has it been done before, yes but, it required prior knowledge to execute. If you are actively taking fire, you'll shoot what's in the gun. If you have cover and time, then it becomes an option.
My select slug drill is a lot easier - I just keep it stuffed with Brennekes and have more Brennekes on the side saddle.

JW Wineland My sheriff department trains that. But the only time it ever made sense was on a road block or barricaded gunman before carbines were issued.

Mick Lane Not to be intentionally off topic but I know of one instance in which an officer in mid fight swapped magazines (M4) to bonded ammo to defeat an intermediate barrier. It had been practiced for exactly that scenario and seems to me to be a close cousin to the select
Slug drill.

Erik Johnson The one time I know of it being done was finishing off a deer that had been hit by a car. Officer lined it up with 00B, and right as he was about to pull the trigger the deer got up and bolted. Officer did a beautiful S2S drill and dropped it broadside at 40 yards.
No anti-people use that I know of.
(Done by) Virginia (my agency), September 2016.
For background, we issue a mix of Benelli Nova's and 870's with the magazine and sidesaddle both stuffed with rifled slugs. Each car has a 10 round plano box with 00Buck and #6 for shooting animals, kept in the driver's side door panel. We don't have 24/7 animal control coverage, so patrol officers do plenty of the work. Officer rolled up, got his 870 out, pulled out two slugs and put them in his back pocket, and loaded up a 00B to shoot the deer, which was on its side just off the roadway. Then...see above.
There are core drills that should be a major part of your training. Draw/ Ready up to target, reloading, etc.

Then there are drills that are good to do occasionally. One handed reloading with the weak hand in the prone might be an example. Good to know how to do but it doesn’t need to be practiced that much. Select slug drill fits in this area.
I have used it a few times on duty. All of them were one of two scenarios. A: We were doing a high risk stop and I had a good backdrop so I selected slug knowing I would be shooting into a vehicle. B: Surrounding a building with a suspect who was armed or believed to be armed and my position placed me farther than I felt comfortable using buck and I had the time to select slug and then put at least one more slug in the tube.

Department policy says we can't have slugs loaded in or mounted on out shotguns for fear of someone mistakenly loading them. Luckily, the uniform I wear has a side entry chest pocket that is easy to access with my support hand so I keep 3 slugs in that pocket.

fortunately none of those incidents turned into a shooting but I can say that I have used the select slug drill in the real world. hope that helps.
To clarify, policy says we can use slugs they just can't be left loaded in the gun for patrol ready status. Officers have to make the conscious decision to load a slug.

Erick Gelhaus

... fortunately none of those incidents turned into a shooting but I can say that I have used the select slug drill in the real world. hope that helps.
Lutz, thank you. What you describe has been my experience & that of others - we have done the manipulation but never completed it on a scene, a call, etc.


Regular Member
While not exactly a select slug drill, I recall a barricaded subject call. Since I was some distance from the target location, I dumped the buckshot from my magazine and replaced it with slugs. No shots were fired.
When I rewrote the shotgun qualification course some years ago, I had officers engage with two rounds of buckshot, reload with slugs, and re-engage (at both fifteen and twenty-five yards). I felt this was a much more likely behavior in a firefight than an actual select slug drill. This was especially true as we had patrol rifles and the option of loading the 870 fully with slugs.