In addition to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that occurred 14 years ago today, there are many things that threaten our way of (traditional) American life and freedom to the point that it is almost impossible to list them all. One of these is the threat to privacy by privately-owned, camera-mounted hovering drone aircraft.
People are buying and using video-equipped hovering drones for purposes other than legitimate recreation. Near misses with aircraft taking off or landing at major airports are becoming more and more commonplace. A drone sucked into a jet engine could take a plane down. Aerial firefighting operations in western states are being hampered by aerial drones operated by irresponsible thrill seekers on the ground, thus endangering people’s property and the lives of those fighting the fires.
In addition to these downright dangerous uses of private drones, some operators are invading the privacy of neighbors via these high-tech aerial “peeping tom” systems—sending them over neighbor’s property to spy on their activities.
People are understandably angered by this potentially illegal type of invasion of privacy by others, since there is a reasonable expectation of privacy from the air, and there have been plenty of property owners who openly threaten to “shoot down” anyone who operates drones in potential violation of law or rules of decency. There has been at least one recent case of a man doing exactly that. When he caught a neighbor’s drone hovering in the air above his bikini-clad teenage daughter, he blew it out of the sky, and was subsequently charged with a crime. More on that later.
A shotgun is the only reasonable tool at hand to attempt to down one of these craft when it has crossed the borders of your property, when the operator seems to be engaged in remote-controlled aerial voyeurism. In order to make the most out of the characteristics of the shotgun and give the defender the best possible opportunity to down one of these things, the folks at Snake River Shooting Products have introduced their 12-gauge “Drone Munition” anti-drone load.
Drone Munitions are not a gimmick—no depleted uranium pellets or wire guided projectiles here. Just a healthy dose of good old-fashioned 12-gauge power nestled in a quality hull.
12-gauge Drone Munitions use a 3-inch Magnum, high-brass case with 1¼ ounces of either #2 or BB steel shot. Snake River sent me a box of their BB-loaded round, which I think is best suited for long-range drone interdiction.
I did my testing using a Mossberg 590A1 Tactical with M4 adjustable stock, fixed three-dot rifle sights, and an 18.5-inch barrel, cylinder bore. I chose a cylinder bore tactical shotgun because most folks don’t have enough shotguns laying around to dedicate one to drone invasion defense. No problem: Drone Munitions are more than capable for defensive use against aggressive human or animal invaders as well.
I did my testing using paper silhouette targets (since no one I know of would allow me to actually shoot their drone), firing one round from 40, 60, 75, and 150 feet, which likely represented the most realistic ranges that one would try to down a drone with a shotgun.
The results were surprising. First, I was reminded why I don’t shoot 3-inch magnum 12-gauge rounds recreationally, especially since I had the Mossberg’s stock adjusted to a minimum length of pull. The first round’s stout recoil smacked me in the cheek and caused me to lengthen pull for subsequent shots. However, I was rewarded with an excellent patterning on the silhouette that would surely have made mincemeat of any drone within that range.
The same results were repeated at the 60- and 75-foot marks. Remarkably, there were no stray pellets outside the silhouette at those distances.
At 150 feet, there were a few strays, and a pie plate sized center gap, but coverage for that distance was excellent, still leaving a likelihood of damaging a drone. Even if you never shoot at a drone with this ammo, you still have an outstanding 12-gauge self-defense load, with no need to change it out for other critical property defense situations.
Shooting drones from the sky is still an evolving issue. The reason that the aforementioned man defending his daughter’s privacy was arrested was that he fired his shotgun within city limits. So here is some cautionary advice:
Never shoot at a drone within incorporated areas. Unless someone has affixed a gun to it, a drone invasion does not have the same exclusions in the law that allow for personal firearms defense. Also, never shoot buckshot rounds into the air. The larger pellets carry way too far and would cause much more damage when they land. Steel BB shot is as large as you want to go.
Drone Munitions are a quality product. Snake River Shooting Products has some other quality ammo on tap and are not a “novelty ammo” company. In fact, they are sponsors of former SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor Foundation. Find out more at www.snakerivershootingproducts.com.