Stakeout Battle Axe

If you haven’t seen Part I and Part II of this series, you should go back and read them. As you recall, the shotgun is best used as a short-range weapon that allows you to take some shortcuts in marksmanship through its spread pattern. Therefore, a wider pattern is an asset, not a liability.

Here are the four final loads I patterned with my Stakeout at 3, 5, 7 and 10 yards.

Load 9: Hornady Black 8 Pellet #00 Buck, 1600 FPS

Hornady Black

This round featured a uniform, tight pattern.

Load 10: Olin/Winchester Military Grade 9 Pellet #00 Buck, 1450 FPS

Olin Winchester

This round had a moderately wide pattern. It also had a brutal muzzle flash when shot, especially with the ported Stakeout. The brightness was intense enough to distort my vision while shooting indoors.

Load 11: Hornady Critical Defense 8 Pellet #00 Buckshot, 1600 FPS

Hornady Critical Defense

Although not as extreme as the Olin, this round also produced a noticeably bright muzzle flash when shot from the Stakeout. Its pattern was rather tight.

Load 12: Federal Premium Personal Defense 34 Pellet #4 Buck, 1100 FPS

Federal Premium 4 Buck

Gabe patterned this load previously in a video. It patterned widely and uniformly for me. The recoil was also surprisingly mild. Although the Federal website doesn’t list it as a low-recoil round, many websites that sell it do. This round may not be perfect, but it’s darn good, and it’s what I now carry in my Stakeout.


Too-tight patterns were the main problem I encountered while testing loads, for a predictable reason: Most gun schools treat shotguns like rifles and instruct students to purchase buckshot with the tightest pattern possible. Therefore ammunition companies, listening to consumer demand, produce buckshot with tight patterns. You typically want to avoid this type of buckshot because it limits what you’re able to do with a shotgun, especially the Stakeout.

In general, #4 Buck works really well for this gun. It tends to provide a wider pattern and less recoil than 00 Buck, and has more pellets, which is ideal for riot defense. No matter which ammunition you choose for your Stakeout, you should understand what its niche is and choose the proper ammunition for that niche.

I will say that adding an RMR to your Stakeout is a huge force multiplier. It aids in getting quick, accurate hits on target, especially when you’re aiming for the face (which is where you should be aiming). There’s a natural tendency to shoot high with the Stakeout, which is caused by not bringing the pistol grip up high enough. The RMR eliminates this problem. Because it’s going to be used at close range, you want to use a larger dot—no 1 MOA RMR for the Stakeout. I personally have the 6.5 MOA adjustable dot on mine, but a larger dot will work just as well, if not better. Also, don’t worry about not having co-witnessed sights. They’re necessary for a pistol, but you don’t need them for the Stakeout because the dot is so close to your eye. I never have any problems finding the dot.

Understand, the Stakeout is not a weapon for weak, frail people. It’s a 12-gauge battle axe that takes some strength to wield effectively. But if you can handle it, the Stakeout is a weapon that will truly devastate your adversary in some of the most challenging situations.

To purchase a Suarez International Stakeout Shotgun, click here.

Photos by Terry Thompson.

Eric Tull is the Suarez International Staff Instructor for Iowa.
Find out more about training with Suarez International here