Shotgun classes and by association teachers of the shotgun are becoming a bit of a relic. Something that everyone from police agency’s to civilians are disregarding as either unnecessary or difficult to teach. Fortunately, there are some people out there still teaching the “Gospel of the Gauge”. Lee Weems of First Person Safety is one of the standouts. 

Lee has been an officer since 1999 and has served in several law enforcement roles, most recently Chief Deputy. He is a certified general topics and firearms instructor by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. His personal training resume includes Rangemaster, Shivworks with Craig Douglas, Ken Hackathorn as well as State and Federal firearms training. 

Class started Saturday morning with a brief intro, some of Lee’s credentials and the days subject matter. Afterwards, Lee started with a brief history lesson on shotguns and its adoption as a defensive tool. He described the shotgun as a “snowflake.” No shotgun being exactly the same, and different from most other common firearms.

Lee was very comprehensive during this, for lack of a better term,”classroom” portion. Before anyone picked up a firearm we went over safety rules and a medical briefing.

Getting Started

Manipulation started with everyone receiving a number of “dummy rounds” that Lee provided, and we began drilling several administrative tasks specific to our individual shotguns. Lee went through general loading and unloading of the shotgun, then more specific loading and unloading depending on brand or type. It was at this point I gained a nice nugget of information on my Beretta 1301 and administrative unloading. I had been struggling with administrative unloading since I disengaged my shell dump with an Aridus Latch and Shroud, and I had not known there was another quicker and safer method. 

After going over loading and unloading, Lee began to run us through some simulation fire drills. Pumps had an easier time with this drill since my semiautomatic required a round being fired to cycle. Lee had an answer for this, too. I had to run this drill by pulling the trigger would cycle action, and return to shooting position as if a round were fired. Once I had all shown a reasonable amount of proficiency, the live fire portion of the day started.

Rounds Down Range

Live fire began with working the same administrative drills as before, but this time with live ammunition. The first under pressure drill consisted of 4 shots, then an emergency reload and one additional shot. I ran this a number of times and then moved on to more complex drills. One of which was a load one, shoot one, load two (emergency reload, then one in the tube), shoot two, load three, shoot three.

One of the last of the drills we do was a version of “Rolling Thunder”. Everyone having to perform the previous drill one person at a time until the previous person completes their part. This added some stress as everyone was counting on everyone else.


With manipulation drills over, it was time to pattern our shotguns with our specific buckshot loads. This is very important to a defensive shotgun as, because every shotgun will pattern differently. Knowing exactly how your personal shotgun patterns with your personal loads is paramount to accurate hits at distance. Patterning my shotgun was done at 7, 15, and 25 yards with Lee examining what my shotgun was doing at each. Patterning marked the end of the class. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion Lee’s take on the shotgun was very comprehensive and very enjoyable. His extensive knowledge experience with the shotgun was easy for me to see. I both hope and look forward to taking more classes with Lee in the future.

James Lu
Freelance Writer, Photographer, Videographer, Gun Nerd, Training Junkie. Currently working for the Weather Channel in Atlanta, GA as a Cameraman and several other control room roles.