Racking a Shotgun

racking a shotgun

This is a guest post by Andrew Betts

There are a great number of folks that advocate racking a shotgun for home defense. Is this a viable strategy? Should you do it? Take a look at this video and see if it changes your mind:




Okay, so the sound of a shotgun racking will not actually cause any physical damage, but can it scare a bad guy out of your home? The guy with the greasy John Deere hat at the end of the gun counter says that the sound is “universal” and will make a bad guy soil himself. We can only assume he based this assessment on a properly controlled peer reviewed study of a statistically relevant sample of house burglars. Or he just repeated it because it sounded good.

The truth is that the sound of any firearm being chambered is likely to cause fear in a rational person and a rational person might respond to that fear by leaving. Rational people do not break into occupied homes, though. If you rack the slide on your pump shotgun, you might cause the bad guy to flee in fear or you could cause him to panic and empty his Hi-Point 9mm blindly into your daughter’s bedroom.

Then again, it might inform him exactly where you are and he may take a more measured approach and come to shoot you. That would be foolish, of course, but remember the part where people who break into your home are not rational? You will likely win that fight if you have trained well, but there is a possibility that you could be injured or killed.

Racking the slide on your pump shotgun is obviously a very bad idea, no matter what hillbillies and Hollywood tell you. As a side note, you can usually bet that any time hillbillies and Hollywood agree, the “advice” should be avoided. Keep your home defense gun loaded, with the safety engaged. Learn and live the four rules of firearm safety and keep your guns secured when they are not in your immediate control.


Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan. Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.


Photo credit – Pride Ops

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