Has Law Enforcement given up on the shotgun?

This is a discussion on Has Law Enforcement given up on the shotgun? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I see a growing number of LEO's on TV (documentaries and reality shows) that are now employing AR15's and some even sub machine guns, I ...

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Thread: Has Law Enforcement given up on the shotgun?

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    Member Array darebear's Avatar
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    Has Law Enforcement given up on the shotgun?

    I see a growing number of LEO's on TV (documentaries and reality shows) that are now employing AR15's and some even sub machine guns, I don't know if guns such as UMP45's fall into the PDW category but the UMP45 and guns in that class seemed to be littered in just about every documentary I see. I cant speak for all LEO in my area but it seems to be that in PGH city police are now outfitted with AR15's. In my small neighborhood our cops still carry a shotgun in their cruiser, well atleast they did 8 years ago when I did my senior project on a cop in my neighborhood.

    I know the devastating CQB power of the shotgun can not be replaced but when it comes to long guns has the tactical mindset of the L.E community changed? If so why has it changed? Without creating a "vs" thread can any LEO tell me what you prefer and why?

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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    The first thing to understand is that every projectile has a price tag on it. Shotguns have really became specialty weapons. As you pointed out, for up close and personal, nothing short of a 50 BMG trumps a shotgun loaded correctly. The maximum distance that you can guarantee that each pellet from a shotgun (read 00 Buck) is going to stay on a man sized target is 15-20 yards from most barrels. Buckshot has a tendency to do funny things as they fly along. Also consider that most shotguns hold 4-7 rounds of ammo where any AR holds 30.

    Criminals have evolved and you cannot count on the sound of your favorite pump shotgun to turn the badguy's blood to ice. Carbines specifically are more versatile than shotguns allowing precision shots. Criminals are now using rifles, therefore, unless you are loaded with slugs the BG may be out of range of the shotgun. The last 15-18 years on the job I carried an M-4 or an M-16. Shotguns shine for HD traffic stops at 0 dark 30 and clearing houses. I know a slug fed shotgun makes a poor rifle, but I also know that if I hit said BG with a 1oz Foster slug he is going down.

    There are subguns in use by LE, I really think that star has waned with the rise of the modern AR. An AR is easier to shoot, for me more ergonomic, and shoots a rifle cartridge. I had an H&K UMP 40 available, but for me the M-4 was a much better choice.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Good post 40Bob. I know a few patrol officers that carry both the carbine and the shotgun. With new loads like 50gr TSX, the 5.56 is becoming more versatile and more effective against vehicles, windshields and other intermediate barriers.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Member Array darebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40Bob View Post
    The first thing to understand is that every projectile has a price tag on it. Shotguns have really became specialty weapons. As you pointed out, for up close and personal, nothing short of a 50 BMG trumps a shotgun loaded correctly. The maximum distance that you can guarantee that each pellet from a shotgun (read 00 Buck) is going to stay on a man sized target is 15-20 yards from most barrels. Buckshot has a tendency to do funny things as they fly along. Also consider that most shotguns hold 4-7 rounds of ammo where any AR holds 30.

    Criminals have evolved and you cannot count on the sound of your favorite pump shotgun to turn the badguy's blood to ice. Carbines specifically are more versatile than shotguns allowing precision shots. Criminals are now using rifles, therefore, unless you are loaded with slugs the BG may be out of range of the shotgun. The last 15-18 years on the job I carried an M-4 or an M-16. Shotguns shine for HD traffic stops at 0 dark 30 and clearing houses. I know a slug fed shotgun makes a poor rifle, but I also know that if I hit said BG with a 1oz Foster slug he is going down.

    There are subguns in use by LE, I really think that star has waned with the rise of the modern AR. An AR is easier to shoot, for me more ergonomic, and shoots a rifle cartridge. I had an H&K UMP 40 available, but for me the M-4 was a much better choice.
    Thanks for your service and sharing. I used to think that the shotgun was more versatile without a doubt but after forcing myself to read up on the AR, trying to learn everything from Stoner to what's going on in the AR world now, I now think the AR/patrol rifle/SMG/PDW is more versatile than the shotgun. I am just one of the sheep and I don't live in a home in which the AR would be a good choice for defense, if not for these two reasons I would own a rifle. Fortunately I am able to save to improve my 870 and make it a bit more versatile and better.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Why do you feel the AR wouldn't be a good choice? With something like 75gr TAP from Hornady it is less prone to over-penetration that buckshot or pretty much any handgun round. I think it makes one of the best choices for home defense, but keep in mind my opinion comes from using the AR on almost a daily basis and rarely using a shotgun for the past decade.
    sgb, gasmitty, 40Bob and 1 others like this.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    Why do you feel the AR wouldn't be a good choice? With something like 75gr TAP from Hornady it is less prone to over-penetration that buckshot or pretty much any handgun round. I think it makes one of the best choices for home defense, but keep in mind my opinion comes from using the AR on almost a daily basis and rarely using a shotgun for the past decade.
    The AR has demonstrated less penetration in building materials than handgun rounds or shotguns rounds. A shotgun is not a bad choice, for several years I carried both. When it was all I had, it was loaded with slugs in the daylight and 00 buck at night.

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    Thread moved to Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    Why do you feel the AR wouldn't be a good choice? With something like 75gr TAP from Hornady it is less prone to over-penetration that buckshot or pretty much any handgun round. I think it makes one of the best choices for home defense, but keep in mind my opinion comes from using the AR on almost a daily basis and rarely using a shotgun for the past decade.
    Are you talking about over-penetration of a BG, or penetration through interior walls in the event of a miss?

    Data/testing to support?

    I ask because some testing I've seen indicates that, in the event of a miss, a ~ 60 gr buck pellet at ~1250 fps penetrates fewer layers of sheetrock than a ~ 55 gr 5.56 at ~ 3000 fps.

    What's so great about the TAP round? (I've got some laying around myself for my Mini 14 - I think in a lighter weight, though)
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    When I started my LE career in 1996 I was working for a county police department that issued 870s with extended tubes and rifle sights, but rifles were not allowed for anyone except the SWAT team. I carried the shotgun loaded with all slugs, but I still felt it made a poor rifle, especially in a jurisidiction where just about everyone had a .30-30 or .30-06 hunting rifle. I never once got the shotgun out of the car when I didn't wish it was a rifle. It wasn't until 2008 that I got a rifle for patrol, I changed departments, and was issued both a .223 rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun. I carry both in my cruiser, but everytime I have deployed a long gun in the last four years it has been the rifle.

    I don't have much use for shotguns, limited capacity, much heavier recoil than a rifle, much slower to reload, and significantly less accurate at anything outside close range. They do have their (limited) place, but for police work I don't see the limited advantages of the shotgun to outweigh the advantages of the rifle.
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    Member Array hi_altitude's Avatar
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    Look at the armored bank robbers in Cali years back. The officers in the area only had side arms and shot guns. Because that jurisdiction only let swat have the needed guns the robbers got to do a lot of destruction before someone was lucky enough to get a head shot. If they didn't limit the guns to swat only the outcome that day would most likely have been much different. After that, places across the country changed their policies to allow more patrol officers carry rifles.

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    Member Array Goldstar225's Avatar
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    I was one of the main players in getting patrol rifles allowed for our officers. On my shift I mandate that each officer carry a long gun on duty. Those who are qualified with both chose to carry the AR. I think several factors come into play, rounds avaiable (two thirty round mags vs. 5-7 rounds in the tube), weight, length, effective range and yes, recoil.

    My choice? Since we have plenty of rifles on the street I stick with my 870. Six rounds of 00 in the magazine backed by six rounds of slug in the side saddle. I'll agree the shotgun makes a poor rifle, but a slug at 50-100 yards is better than a handgun or buckshot.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    Are you talking about over-penetration of a BG, or penetration through interior walls in the event of a miss?

    Data/testing to support?

    I ask because some testing I've seen indicates that, in the event of a miss, a ~ 60 gr buck pellet at ~1250 fps penetrates fewer layers of sheetrock than a ~ 55 gr 5.56 at ~ 3000 fps.

    What's so great about the TAP round? (I've got some laying around myself for my Mini 14 - I think in a lighter weight, though)
    Over-penetration of interior/exterior walls. Compared to buckshot and handgun rounds, certain 5.56 rounds are less prone to over-penetration. They'll still penetrate, but will not be AS much of a threat once passing through.

    Now, something like TBBC or TSX, they'll penetrate similarly to handgun rounds or buckshot, but TAP, Mk262 and even some FMJ will not. Quite often though FMJ may not yaw and fragment as it's designed through walls and is not the best choice if over-penetration is concerned.

    The 75gr TAP is a great performer against soft targets. It's an OTM and creates a very impressive wound channel due to very early upset, typically within 3" while still penetrating adequately. It's also this explosive upset that causes it to be less of a threat once passing through interior/walls.

    Until recently, the TAP 75gr was at the top for defensive and offensive loads. It's especially effective as a CQB round and for long range precision, basically doing everything a Mk262 round will do while upsetting a bit earlier.

    TSX is also a very effective round, but it relies on opening at the tip instead of fragmentation. Being that it does not rely on fragmentation means a lighter load will be just as effective as the heavier loads. It's also an extremely good choice for short barrels. The 50gr TSX is one of the best for auto glass and other intermediate barrier penetration and is one of the best choice for patrol use where typical engagements are less than 200 meters. The 70gr TSX works nearly as well but the 50gr has an edge with auto glass, for example. 70gr is also a great choice for longer range shots and hunting where a little deeper penetration may be an asset.

    I'll dig up some links for you. A lot of this info comes from Dr Gary Roberts (DocGKR on m4carbine, Lightfighter and I think AR15.com) or Martin Fackler, both of whom are the highest regarded authorites on ballistics. Martin Fackler has done a great deal of research on m193 as well.

    Basically though, if you have a handgun (hollowpoints or not), a shotgun with buckshot or an AR, the AR will be the best choice if over-penetration is a concern as long as it's loaded with TAP or something similar.
    sgb and 40Bob like this.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40Bob View Post
    The AR has demonstrated less penetration in building materials than handgun rounds or shotguns rounds. A shotgun is not a bad choice, for several years I carried both. When it was all I had, it was loaded with slugs in the daylight and 00 buck at night.
    That's why I was curious about his post and the reason I asked why the OP felt the AR wasn't a good choice for him. It was this post that I was curious about...


    Quote Originally Posted by darebear View Post
    I am just one of the sheep and I don't live in a home in which the AR would be a good choice for defense, if not for these two reasons I would own a rifle.
    I wasn't sure if he was concerned about over-penetration or if his home was just hard to navigate with a rifle. I assumed it was the over-pentration though since it appears he uses a shotgun now and that's no easier to wield than a rifle.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Here's a great link that touches on penetration. All of Gary Roberts comments come from very exhaustive studies. I'm just not doing a great job finding the tests right now. All the Gabe Suarez and Box O' Truth stuff is neat and all, but Roberts and Fackler have basically dedicated their lives to the study of ballistics, so their testing is held in the highest regard.

    There is a ton of info to be learned from the link below.

    Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo

    This cuts directly to 223 and some info on barrier penetration. Also, read the sections right below this that talks about wound profiles of 193 and 855 and why it's not ideal. Great info in there.

    http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm#.223

    Keep in mind that even though OTM fragment and offer slightly less risk of over-pentration of interior walls, it will also quite easily defeat lever IIIa body armor. The way these bullets perform is quite different than what most are used to with handgun, shotgun and hunting rifle bullets.
    40Bob likes this.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    Interesting thread

    I believe that the need for a patrol rife will be different from location to location. I think a rifle would be of little use in a densely populated area, or an inner city of apartment buldings. While a rifle would be indispensible in a more rural area. Also rural police are more on their own and need a more complete set of tools. While police in cities, and good sized towns tend to have assistance and resourses available.

    Having used both rifle, and shotgun in policing, I base my opinions on my own experience, and training. I cant ever remember having to use, or want a rifle in any situation I faced in 25 years. However I did use a shotgun on a regular basis. But then I worked in whats probably the most populated city in this country. My department used Ithica 37's, and Savage 311's but have since transitioned to Mossburg 500's. The department rifle's were a mixture of winchester lever action 30-3's, remington 700's M-1 carbines, and maybe a few M-1 garand's. Of late they are using Mini 14 and some AC553's and M4 carbines and still the rem700's. The auto and sub-guns were M/4's AC553's and H&K MP5's.

    Is the shotgun still a viable police tool? Of course it is... it always has been. As are rifles absoloutly needed by the police.
    Hand-gun, Shot-gun, Rifle... Three different tools. Three different soulutions for three different problems.
    awoodpd13 likes this.

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