Bird hunters have all been there: a flight of doves rise from the ground, but only give hunters time for one quick shot before the remainder of the birds fly out of range.
The creators of the “Choke Hold” shotgun shell hope to change that dynamic. The Choke Hold uses a patent-pending set of sleeves that are designed to delay shot dispersal and increase the shell’s effective range. The shell does not require a choked barrel, and the company claims it causes less wear on equipment.
The inventor, Canadian-born Eric Van Der Eerden, conceived of the idea after becoming frustrated that he couldn’t change shot dispersal patterns without changing chokes.
“The idea for the Choke Hold was born after several of Eric’s friends and one of his sons purchased semi-automatic shotguns,” according to the Choke Hold website. “One was showing him that you could equip the barrel with a choke to narrow the shot dispersal. However, no matter the configuration, all shots would have the same dispersal pattern.”
With Van Der Erden’s invention, shooters can load in the same shotgun both wide-spread shells for close-range shots that minimize damage to an animal and long-range Choke Hold shells for birds that are flying away. Though none of the diagrams and illustrations depict buckshot, the same technology could presumably be used to target larger game at longer distances.
Choke Hold shells would also be useful in firearms that do not accept chokes like Henry’s new .410 Side Gate.
It’s unclear whether Van Der Erden has actually tested his invention in a live-fire setting. The website invites ammo makers to license and manufacture Choke Hold shells, but it does not provide any real-world information on shot patterns. Choke Hold did not initially respond to GunsAmerica’s request for comment.
There is evidence to support the efficacy of the concept, however. Federal Premium’s “FliteControl wad” uses a single modified wad to group pellets for a longer period of time after leaving the barrel, and it has been proven to shrink pattern sizes.
The Choke Hold’s design is different—it uses two sleeves to group pellets rather than a single wad—but ammo makers know that modifying a traditional shell design can have a significant impact on pattern size.
With manufacturers like Federal and Hornady unable to keep up with current demand, it’s unlikely they’re looking for new products to develop and introduce. But a smaller company might take on the project, and if the design works, we may see Choke Hold shells in local gun shops before too long.