Am I a little incendiary and clickbaity by using Bounty Hunter in my title? Yep, sure am, but this month I specifically targeted quals relating to the private industry that has to use government-mandated firearms quals. The State of Washington has a number of quals aimed at armed professionals outside of the Law Enforcement world. The Washing Criminal Justice Training Commission maintains and creates these standards. That’s where our Bounty Hunter Shotgun Qual comes from.
The Shotgun Qual isn’t just for bounty hunters. In fact, the words bounty hunter never come up. However, this qual is aimed at Security Guards, Private investigators, and Bail Recovery Agents. If you’re not clear on this, a bail recovery agent is the professional name for the more pop culture-inspired bounty hunter.
In my mind, security guards have handguns, private dicks pack snub noses, but bounty hunters carry shotguns. Thus, I’m calling it the Bounty Hunter Qual. Is this based on reality? Nope, just pop culture.
Gear for The Bounty Hunter Shotgun Qual
Obviously, we need a scattergun. The course assumes you’ll be using a modern pump or semi-auto shotgun. Since I’m using the term bounty hunter rather loosely, I’m also going to use the term shotgun loosely. I’ll be using a pistol-grip-only Mossberg Shockwave that is technically not a shotgun, but a firearm. I figure it looks like a gun you’d see a T.V. bounty hunter carry, so it’ll be fun to try and qual with.
Next, we need a mix of slugs and buckshot. You will need at least two slugs and ten buckshot. There is a stage where the shooter has to fire four rounds, and they choose slug or buckshot. It’s a sixteen-round course of fire in total. Don’t forget something to carry spare ammo, be it a belt, side saddle, or cargo pocket.
The Bounty Hunter shotgun qual calls for either a BLEA 1 or BLEA 2 target. These are simple silhouette targets. You could really use any silhouette. The BLEA targets are very generous in size, so if you want more of a challenge, use a smaller target.
Don’t forget the must-haves: your eyes, ears, and a shot timer. Things like slings and red dots are handy but not necessary. I’ll be using a red dot on my Shockwave because it really makes life easier.
Scoring seems to be very much a pass/fail condition. They emphasize no head shots are allowed, and all shots are to the torso. This means every pellet and slug must hit the torso and any misses would be considered a failure of that portion of the course of fire. Any failures would be considered a failure of the entire course of fire.
To me, this is a good standard to have. It forces shooters to know how their gun patterns with the load they plan to use. A single pellet missing your threat could easily seriously injure or kill another person. You are responsible for every pellet fired, and this qual enforces that.
The Bounty Hunter Qual
Before you can be a licensed Boba Fett, let’s explain a few things. First, every drill starts from the low ready. They refer to it as the ready position, but the description gives the impression it’s a low ready position. Every drill will have you load the gun with two rounds and fire four. This means the gun has to start each drill, except the first, with two rounds loaded.
Stage One: 25 Yards – Two Slugs
Twenty yards with slugs are child’s play…assuming you know a little about your gun. If you have a bead sight only, I suggest knowing how the slug hits at 25 yards.
You’ll start from the low ready, and at the beep, you will engage the target with two slugs. You have 10 seconds to do so.
Stage Two: 15 Yards – Four Rouds of Slugs or Buckshot (Shooter’s Choice)
Fifteen yards is a great range for buckshot or slugs. Anything inside of 25 yards is a buckshot problem for me. However, I wanted to change things up. I used rounds of buckshot followed by two slugs. The qual doesn’t say if this is allowed but doesn’t say it’s prohibited either. Remember to ensure your shotgun is loaded with at least two rounds prior to the drill beginning.
At the beep, from the low ready, you will load two rounds into the gun and immediately engage the target with four rounds. You get a generous 18 seconds to do so.
Stage Three: Seven Yards – Four Rounds Buckshot
Seven yards is the down-and-dirty range, where a shotgun is an anti-handgun response. It’s a great weapon for these ultra-close fights. Remember to start with two rounds loaded into your magazine tube.
At the beep, load two rounds into the gun, then fire four rounds into the target. Shooters have 12 seconds total to do so.
Stage Four: Five Yards – Four Rounds Buckshot
Don’t get the idea that being at five yards with a shotgun keeps you from having to aim. That’s a great way to miss with half your load. I probably don’t need to remind you, but ensure you start with two rounds loaded.
At the beep, immediately load two rounds of buckshot and fire four rounds total. You get 10 seconds to do so.
Stage Five: Three Yards – Two Rounds Buckshot
We are at dang near close retention distance. Still, you need to aim. At this range, your shot pattern is basically slug sized. You can miss big.
At the beep, you will aim and fire two rounds. You have two seconds to do so.
My Take on the Shotgun Qual
I did have fun shooting the Bounty Hunter Shotgun Qual, but it wasn’t very hard. There is some decent skill-building to be had. I do like that you use slugs and buck. I also like that the shooter can pick the load at the 15-yard line. The shotgun requires some thinking on the part of the user.
The times are very, very generous, all until the end. Two seconds is short and a sharp drop from 18 seconds at 15 yards. I never felt too challenged, even with just the Shockwave. Loading the Shockwave is trickier than you think because the weight and balance are so much different.
I passed the qual with the Shockwave and didn’t feel too challenged. I’m glad I had a red dot for those 25-yard slug shots. This could be a good tool for a beginner, but any journeyman shotgunner will blaze right through it.
In fact, I’d suggest if you know how to shoot shotguns and know how to shoot a PGO weapon, then try it with a TAC-14 or a Shockwave. Give it a try, and let us know below what you think about the Washington Bounty Hunter Shotgun Qual. (Aka the Security Guard, P.I., and Bail Recovery Agent Qual)