The Shotgun El Presidente Drill

Who doesn’t love the El Presidente? It ranks up there with the Mozambique drill for the classic cool factor. It’s a fun drill that’s been adapted from pistol, to rifle, and now to shotgun.

A training outfit called Justified Defensive Concepts has adapted the El Presidente to my favorite platform, the shotgun. It makes a few changes to the classic drill, and it does a great job of adapting it to the shotgun as a platform. The Shotgun El Presidente is one to add to your toolbox.

Breaking Down The Shotgun El Presidente

Justified Defensive Concepts retained the skeletal framework of the El Presidente and moved a few things around to form the Shotgun El Presidente. First, the turn to engage is removed. Obviously, it’s a safety concern when you are wielding a long gun to break the 180 without a holstered handgun.

You start by facing three targets, placed a target lengths apart. Usually, two yards or so works, depending on target size. I’m using Sage Dynamics printable targets that are quite small, so I’m placing them a good deal apart.

Facing the targets, you need a shot timer with a par time set to ten seconds. Load your shotgun with six rounds, with one in the chamber. At the beep, you raise and fire two shots into each target.

Now that you are empty, you’ll need to conduct an emergency reload. In fact, you are conducting three of them. Conduct an emergency reload and fire on each target. Do all this in under ten seconds.

Why You Should Run The Shotgun El Presidente

If you are a shotgun nerd, then the Shotgun El Presidente drill will work every essential shotgun skill. You’ll work recoil control, rapid-fire, target transitions, and reloads under stress. It’s really one of the better-dedicated shotgun drills out there. It also helps that the drill is rather fun and intense.

Chasing your time lower and lower can be quite addictive. I recently ran the drill with two shotguns, my beloved Benelli M4 and the warhorse we call the Mossberg 590A1. Both represent two of the best fighting shotguns on the market and are my two personal favorites. With the Benelli, I have a side-saddle; with the Mossberg, I use a Flash 5 Tactaload stock. Both give me the three extra rounds I need to reload and reset between each string.

My Personal Impressions

I did a few runs with birdshot to get used to the drill. The reason being is that, if you haven’t noticed, we are in a bit of an ammo drought. Buckshot, even cheap crappy buckshot, costs a buck or more per round. I warmed up and, off the bat, got a sub 10 second time. It wasn’t too hard.

What was hard was breaking 7 seconds. I did it with birdshot once loaded into the Benelli M4 with a bit of a scattered A zone hit, admittedly, so it wasn’t a clean run. After I warmed up, I switched to buckshot for my final few runs with each gun. Predictably my best times came from the Benelli M4. It’s semi-auto, softer shooting, and the gas-powered action reduces recoil a good bit.

My best Shotgun El Presidente run equaled out to 7.13 seconds with the Benelli M4 and buckshot. The Mossberg 590A1 delivered me a best time of 8.59 seconds. Admittedly that was a flawless run that I don’t think I could complete again. Most 590A1 runs equaled out around nine seconds on average.

My next goal is a sub 7 second run clean, with buckshot with the Benelli and a sub 8 second run with the 590A1. Lofty goals for sure, but they are measurable, simple, and accomplishable—something something about SMART goals and the like.

By the end of my range day, I figured out a better way to conduct an emergency reload with the M4. It’s easier to reach over the top, drop a shell into the chamber, and hit the bolt release with my middle finger at the same time.

Drills not only cause you to improve basic skills but also shows you new ways to do things.

Boom, Shuck, Boom

Dedicated shotgun drills are few and far between. It’s nice to see one that works the essential scattergun skills without a high round count or a very complicated setup and layout. Mixing an old but effective drill with the scattergun makes one helluva good drill. The Shotgun El Presidente drill does wonders for basic shotgun skills. Try it out and check out Justified Defensive Concepts here.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.