TAMING a 12 Gauge
BY KENT TURNIPSEED
The first thing one has to understand is balance.
The author is the developer of the Turnipseed Stance (formerly the Turnipseed Enhanced Weaver Stance) technique of shooting handguns, rifles, shotguns and submachine guns. Based on balance and skeletal alignment, the Turnipseed Stance allows people of all sizes and statures to effectively wield firearms and shoot them accurately, according to Turnipseed, who teaches classes on his methods to beginning, intermediate and advanced students from law enforcement and military occupations as well as civilians. For more information contact the author at 610 N Alma School Rd. Suite #18-213 Chandler Az. 85224; phone (480)802-0346—The editors.
Imagine observing the following demonstration. The instructor is standing on one foot ready to shoot a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with Magnum slug and 00 buckshot rounds. The shotgun reports. The instructor neither falls backwards, nor loses his balance.
He fires again and yet again and still maintains his equilibrium and control. He then proceeds to sit on a chair, placed on uneven ground, from which he rapid fires a 5-shot volley. Nothing disturbs the shooter. He remains comfortably positioned upright in his chair, the muzzle constantly in a straight line having gained perceptively little to no rise from recoil.
Not yet sure that he has convinced the viewers that it possible for anyone and everyone to shoot a shotgun with such ease, control and minimal muzzle rise, the instructor calls upon his assistant to replace the instructor’s non-shooting arm with that of his own. Thus, the assistant is now holding the shotgun gently against the shoulder of the instructor who pulls the trigger, firing off a combination of Magnum slugs, 00 buckshot and BB rounds with very little muzzle rise, very little indeed.
The instructor reclaims the shotgun, slides off the chair, goes to his knees, rapid fires three shots, reloads, rolls to his side, addresses multiple targets, flips over and continues to address targets from his weak side. The operative comment here is the minimum movement of the shotgun barrel throughout the entire routine.
Next, the instructor calls upon one of his assistants followed by one or two of his "repeat students" usually present in his shotgun classes to demonstrate some of the same and more. They can all fire while advancing, shoot from their knees, shoot from a reclining position and shoot from a chair. They –male and female alike- do all of the preceding using full load Magnum shotgun shells. In fact, in advanced shotgun classes, students shoot a minimum of 150 rounds –all slugs or 00- with no adverse effect to the shoulder area –if done properly.
How is all this accomplished? The first thing one has to understand is balance. If a person is not in balance, he is always trying to get there. This is automatic. We are in balance while we walk, while we stand, while we sit, while we lie down, while we climb stairs. If not, we would not be able to make these movements. If you do not believe this, just try to lie down, sit down, stand up, climb stairs, etc., while out of balance. You will not be able to do so.
When one is in balance, in alignment (skeletal), one does not need superfluous muscle force to function. Obviously, we must use muscles to move –otherwise why would we have them? What I am referring to is excess muscle tension.
When you shoulder a firearm, if you tighten your arms, shoulders and torso muscles, you are going to transfer all the energy of recoil right into that tense body. The result will be pain, bruises and fatigue. This is the same in other endeavors. Try to ride a horse, play tennis, skate, etc., with tense, flexed muscles. You cannot. So it is with the shooting in the Turnipseed Stance.
Detraining—The most difficult problem is that of detraining. Most of the students who have never shot before are able to get into the stance quickly. They always comment that they feel very little or nothing at all in the way of discomfort.
The second thing one must understand is skeletal alignment. The skeleton is the frame to which the muscles are attached.
Fortified with this knowledge, let your skeleton do the work. The skeletal-muscle group is designed to absorb shock (recoil). If you do not understand or believe this, think about the following, but please do not actually try it. Stand on a curb, lock your muscles (tighten them all) and jump. Your hard, tense body would fall about six inches! Injury could occur if one were foolish enough to attempt such a stunt! Let us examine the spine. Its form is a gentle sweeping S curve. It moves in all directions –being more flexible in certain directions than others. All the joints are designed to absorb shock. Use only enough muscle to hold the shotgun in place and let the body absorb the recoil.
When you couple balance and skeletal alignment with the rest of the elements of the Turnipseed Stance –foot position, body position, hand position, arm position, etc.- you will have a technique which will work with any shotgun with a suitable stock.
I have had classes during which students have requested that I demonstrate using their shotguns and their ammunition. They, somehow, do not always trust my word that I use only full power rounds. The requests come most often from Benelli owners. However, the results are always the same. Remington 870, 1100, 11-87, Benelli, Winchester, Ithaca 37 or Mossberg –they are all handled in the same manner. The same results are always achieved. Of course, a pump has to be activated if the firearm has a pump action!
Although the results are always the same no matter which firearm one uses, in my opinion, there is no finer shotgun available today than the Remington 11-87. It is lightweight, ergonomically designed, comfortable to hold, accurate and dependable.
Now, let us address the non-shooting hand. The hand is placed with the web of the hand in the form a of a V with pressure being applied between the first finger and the thumb. The non-shooting elbow finds a comfortable position under the shotgun. Most pump actions require one’s reach to be out too far. Generally, auto-loading shotguns are easier to handle. The Turnipseed V of the non-shooting hand will allow a straight pull into the shooting shoulder. The shooting hand gently pulls into the shooting shoulder utilizing an equal amount of pressure as with the other arm. When using an auto-loading shotgun, the non-shooting hand stays in position.
Regarding pump shotguns, the non-shooting hand pulls straight into the shooting shoulder applying approximately 15 pounds of pressure. The V of the hand pinches the pump forearm. At the time of shooting, if one is doing everything correctly, the action will be activated and ejection will take place. One must pull a little harder with the shooting hand into the shoulder; and, the non-shooting hand will shove the forearm back into the starting position. This will commence the sequence all over again. The pump shotgun I prefer is the Remington 870. It is easier to use than any other I have tried.
‘Body Action’ –I would like to address "body action." When you start to walk, your body will automatically bend at the waist. This bend is approximately 2 percent. It puts one in a balanced position for movement. This takes place while sitting, standing up, walking up or down stairs. If you insist upon bending at the ankles rather than at the waist, you will lose balance and will not be able to move about freely. You will have no ease of movement.
With practice, one can perfect anything no matter what the activity may be. The Turnipseed Stance, whether used for pistol, rifle or shotgun, is so easy that it is hard. Once one has truly experienced the stance, which results in ease of movement, balance and control, the feeling is a thrill. When you can shoot 150 rounds of Magnum slugs and 00 buckshot in the Advance Shotgun class and not be mauled by the shotgun, it is truly a thrill.
The 12 gauge shotgun is a great teacher. If you understand the Turnipseed Stance and let it work for you, you will be rewarded with speed, accuracy, and freedom of movement. This will mean no discomfort after shooting Magnum loads all day long.
I demonstrate the 12 gauge shotgun in almost every Basic Pistol class. This demonstration inspires a myriad of comments. Here are a few which cover a wide range of experience, training and sport and field shooting uses of the shotgun:
"I want to expound on your shotgun demonstration. My mouth fell open when I saw you stand on one leg, the other raised from the ground, and shoot a 12 gauge shotgun using Magnum 00 buck loads. You didn’t move or lose your balance, not once, but several times." –Clarence Johnson, Rangemaster/Armorer, El Monte, California, Police Department.
"He sometimes demonstrates his technique by quick-firing slugs through an unmodified Remington 11-87 while standing on one leg. His methods are communicable. I observed one of his students, an un-athletic housewife, advance on her targets at a trot while accurately discharging slugs as fast as the gun would cycle. Her muzzle never left horizontal." –Gary L. Crumrine.
"The absolute beauty of the Turnipseed system is that the same technique used with a handgun works with long guns and shotguns. It works standing, sitting, or lying down. Today, I dump eight 3-inch Magnum slugs out of a Benelli auto and don’t feel a thing. It works!" –Stuart H. Hirsh.
"His system would appear to be modeled after the Weaver Stance, but similarity ends there. Kent’s method uses skeletal alignment and natural body ergonomics which produce a firing platform I estimate to be at least three to four times stronger than a standard Weaver Stance and probably much more for an Isosceles Stance.
"I have never seen or studied a system which has such potential for speed, stability, and accuracy as the Turnipseed Enhanced Weaver Stance." –Sgt. Ronald E. Burnes, U.S. Army National Guard Active Duty Trainer, U.S. Army Special Forces Light Weapons Sergeant (7 years), former U.S. Marine.
"Your…stance is far superior to all shotgun techniques I have tried. After a full day of Magnum loads (250 plus rounds), I felt no pain in the shoulder, and suffered no bruising the next day. This surprising outcome followed both your Basic Shotgun class and the Advanced class where I shot from kneeling, sitting and laying down positions." –Watt W. Webb III.