Meanwhile, fans of the “classics” and traditions are also among a rather rather big group of shooters who are not engaged in hunting and practical shooting, which are conventionally called “self-defenders”.
And some of them are convinced that the best self-defense weapon is a double-barreled gun with short barrels and external triggers.
Such a weapon was once perhaps the most common means of defense, and it appeared under the name of a stage or coachman's gun, lupar and kooggan. It was successfully used by Russian coachmen, defending with it from “dashing people” and wolves, “mischievous” on the endless tracts of the empire, and cowboys, and sheriffs, and Sicilian shepherds, and many, many others.
During the civil war in the United States, a double-barreled barrel with shortened trunks was the favorite weapon of riders on both sides. Confederate legendary cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest claimed that the double-barreled gun was the best weapon of his riders.
I must say that the American cavalry, unlike their European counterparts, rarely used cold weapons, more leaning on the "firearms." They approached the enemy and fired at him with revolvers or double-barrels. The latter had the advantage that a shot sheaf was much easier to gallop on the enemy. Moreover, it was unlikely to shoot more than two times in a cavalry skirmish, when opponents gallop towards each other, and it was easier to reload the shotgun than a revolver. And finally, the revolver cost much more.
The double barrel, because of its “budget”, as well as due to its greater universality than the “master” revolvers and carbines, was popular among American migrants and among Russian peasants.
Almost until the middle of the last century, double-barreled shotguns with short trunks were used in some police departments, again because of their efficiency.
Fans of the "double-faced" claim that the "small charge" of the double-barreled gun is not really a problem, since in case of an attack of three armed opponents, the chances of the defender are zero. The statement, from my point of view, is by no means indisputable.
The strengths indicated are a better balance than those of magazine rifles, the absence of moving parts of automation and high reliability. The double-barreled mechanism is closed in the block and inaccessible for external influences, of which the worst is non-professional disassembly and cleaning. Two barrels and two trigger mechanisms provide a double guarantee, and failure of one does not block the system as a whole.
Discharge of the cartridge into the barrel occurs directly with the hand, which allows the use of various, including non-seamed, cartridges. Extraction is also extremely simple, even with an ejector pushing the cartridge from the open barrel and not through the extraction window.
The need for short barrels is caused not only by the desire to make self-defense weapons as compact and turning as possible, but it also provides a fairly wide spread of shot or canister at a distance of about 10 m from the muzzle. In this case, the gun should provide an acceptable bullet fight at a distance of up to 50 meters. For the 12 caliber, the optimal long barrel is 500 mm (this is the length indicated in the “About weapons” law as the minimum). And in the US, the length in 510 mm (24 inches) is standard for self-defense shotguns.
An important point for “self-defenders” is the presence of external triggers, which makes it possible to store or transport a rifle with cartridges in the chambers and with non-triggers, that is, maximum combat-ready, without the risk of “dropping” the spring or getting an involuntary shot. However, we note that the storage and transportation of weapons with a cartridge in the chamber is a violation of the law.
Today in Russia, perhaps, only one gun is produced that falls under this class - this is the MP 43 KN, produced by the Izhevsk Mechanical Plant. Barrel length - classic 510 mm, weight - 3,4 kg. The barrels are cylindrical drilled, optionally equipped with interchangeable muzzle restrictions.
It is curious that initially the gun was made exclusively for the United States; factory workers did not see any prospects for it in the domestic market. However, after a small batch came on the shelves of domestic stores, and it was “ground” immediately, they began to sell the gun in Russia.
Despite the usual complaints about the quality of Izhmekh's products, with respect to the MP-43КН, one often hears positive reviews that mark a good performance of the gun, a good fit of wood to metal. The gun has a good balance and is very compact. In a disassembled form it is easily placed in any backpack or travel bag.
It has quite a decent bullet fight at distances that are normal for a smooth-bore weapon, which makes it possible to use it at beast hunts. In addition, it is successfully used in quail hunting.
Among the shortcomings, perhaps, it is possible to note the automatic fuse, which is activated at the turn of the trunks and inherited from the intracurrent progenitor - Izh-43. On a gun with external triggers, the thing in my opinion is completely superfluous.
Strictly speaking, in a real self-defense niche, the double-barreled gun is still inferior to self-charging and “pumps”, many of which are not inferior to it either in compactness or reliability, but bypass in rate of fire and multiply charged ones.
Nevertheless, the “Lupara” continues to be in demand and even makes its way into the sport. In particular, in the USA she participates in competitions in “cowboy shooting” or “cowboy triathlon”.
In Russia, the popular “Makhnovsk-kulak and partisan shooting” is picking up - comic matches, where the organizers combine shooting competitions with a costume show. Since 2006, such competitions are held regularly, and the main weapon on them is the double barrel.