Traditional Weak Hand Loading Shotgun for 3 Gun
Loading shotgun from a caddie is old school. Tried & true, and fast enough once you get good at it. While it may be outdated and slow compared to a strong or weak hand dual or quad load, it still has its place in a match as there may be situations where you have limited movement or an awkward position and a quad load just wont work.
There are several caddies out there to choose from, one of my favorites is the AP Customs Classic 4 Shotshell Carrier. It takes up little real estate on your belt, and it’s low enough profile that it doesn’t really inhibit you from going prone. For the purpose of demonstration, we’ll be using the Classic 4.
Start out by positioning the caddie on your weak or support hand side. Place the shells in the caddie with brass facing rearward. Your strong hand will not leave its position on the shotgun, making it very quick to get back on target or remount if you choose to lower the shotgun into a more stable position.
That brings us to the next topic: Shotgun position during reload. You can either choose to keep it shouldered where it sits and fight a bit of the weight, or drop the stock and tuck it into your armpit for better stabilization. I recommend trying both, and choose whichever method yields best results while keeping a safe grasp outside of the trigger guard. If you choose to tuck it into your armpit, make sure a good check weld on the stock is established when you remount the shotgun to your shoulder.
After your shotgun is in position for reload, move your weak hand over the caddie. Start pulling the four shells with your Index and Middle finger. By the time the shells leave the caddie, the base of the brass should be resting naturally against your ring finger while your thumb is clasping them against your middle finger.
Move the rounds to your loading gate by “pointing” them in with your index finger. In the same motion, start to move your thumb towards the rear of the brass to push the first round onto the lifter and into the magazine tube. At the same time, you want to curl your palm enough to help roll the remaining shells forward, towards your finger tips. Be careful not to curl too much, or the shells will bunch up and you’ll start to yard sale.
Once you feel a solid shell catch engagement, your thumb moves back behind the next round and pushes it in with the same movement as before. Continue this process until all four shells are loaded up.
If you have a shorter thumb like I do, you may juggle the last two shells quite a bit. Repetition eventually works this little hiccup out, but if all else fails you can look into the shell caddies that only stack 3 high.
While you figure the process out, don’t be afraid to pull just two shells at a time to get the technique mastered.
After you’re comfortable enough with the process, it’s time to do it on the move. While speed seems important, it loses value if it’s all done stationary. A good load cadence while progressing down the stage is what will shave seconds off the clock, and you should work on that as soon as you get the fundamentals of the traditional weak hand load locked down.