I get into a discussion with one of my superiors about shotguns.  I will say up front that the more I look into it, I am leaning against using buckshot for LE use.  (A whole 'nother discussion...)  But my superior points out the shotguns are/were being used with success in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, specifically against moving targets.  This was a verbal discussion, and so I didn't ask for any data points.

But I really want to call BS on this.

I tried to look up how many shotguns or how often shotguns were issued for patrols, and I can't find much.

Can anyone help out, with at least any anecdotal stories? 

Original Post

Early on in Iraq there were some guys using them as turret spare guns IIRC for where the guns couldn't aim. But mostly for breaching. 

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So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

Not mil, but I do have a story that I think is applicable. I'm sorry, but it's a little long.

Probably between 8-10 years ago, we go to a guy who is cracking off rounds outside his trailer (yeah, I know) here within the city limits. We're in Oklahoma, so a lot of gunshot calls are not, and some are. Our officers approach sneaky-like (it's night), but don't know exactly where BG is.  When they get withing 40-50 yards, they hear popping sounds and notice a lot of sparks and shit flying up from around their feet on the asphalt. After careful consideration, they realize they are being shot at, and not being missed by much. They get to cover/ concealment, and start trying to locate where the shots are coming from (they had a general direction). Everyone on shift goes. 

One guy/girl pair approaches where they think he might be. One has a rifle, one has a shotgun loaded with buckshot (slugs in the speed-feed stock as we issued them). Behind where they think the guy might be, there is a small wooded area, backed up with an apartment complex. We train at ranges over 15-25 yards, when there is a suspect, you select-a-slug in your shotgun. It's always been that way. 

So, as they're approaching, our team sees bad guy. Bad guy sees them. Bad guy is in a lightly wooded area with apartment complex behind him (bad for errant buck rounds to hit).  Bad guy shoots at them with his 9mm pistol, but misses. Female goes to select a slug, which she finds difficult while ducking and trying to not get hit by the gunfire. The guy officer (Army infantry vet, DM, lots of shootings under his belt in Afghanistan, member of SWAT team), shoots at dude 10x, hitting him 3. BTW - he really screwed up out shooting percentage numbers with this, but he puts dude down. Chick was still in the middle of selecting a slug, and the whole thing happened. She was using buck because that's what we issued and trained with. She didn't shoot because she was worried about apartment complex. I think that's reasonable, and is consistent with how we train. 

So, afterward, everybody was MMQB-ing the female. "I would have just shot with buckshot". "I would have selected a slug and put him down". The usual. Everyone who wasn't there could do it better, and would have. The whole incident from start to finish (when they saw each other to the time dude was shot) was just 5-6 seconds. Officers were cleared, everything seemed to be within policy and training practices, but the peanut gallery/shit-talkers were vocal on this. 

So within the year, I set up a drill at the range that I made everyone do. First, I took everyone to a qual target set up in an open area, and gave them a 2-second look at it. I then immediately asked how far it was. Nobody got close (later I heard "well, we didn't have time and we were unfamiliar with the area . . . . . and I told them, "right.").

Next, I held the "Mary drill" at the range. You have a shotgun with buckshot set up to cruiser safe. You chamber a round. I give you a 5-second target exposure at I think 30-35 yards (I can't remember exactly, I'm old). You had to either select the slug and hit the target and hit it, or hit the target with all your buckshot. We have about 90 shooters. I was able to select a slug in that time and fire (this was completely cold with no warning), and 2 had all their shot stay within the target (hit it where it would bleed). The rest either missed with one or more pellets (some many more), but the vast majority just had the target edge without firing a shot. Most were in the middle of selecting a slug.  The chief complaints of the drill were lack of preparation for the drill, the distance, and lack of time. I pointed out that this was exactly what Mary had faced - but while being shot at. Can't say it wasn't a realistic drill. It was exactly what she faced. Everyone shut up. BTW - the dude that selected the slug cold was out most senior firearms instructor, and used to be the range master. He is just slick with a pump-gun. 

Then we repeated the drill with a gun full of slugs. Everyone hit the target. So, we started recommending  those that carry shotguns just carry slugs. The over-penetration issue with slugs isn't as big a deal as you'd think (watch gel shots with LE slugs).

We issue everyone an AR15 with an aimpoint pro anyway, so over the years, the shotgun fell out of favor. By last year, 3 people were carrying shotguns. We then changed policy, and the only PD-issued long gun officers can carry on patrol are rifles. If they want to carry a shotgun, they provide it, and must qualify with it (we'll buy the ammo). Nobody carries a shotgun now, except as less lethal weapons and breaching shotguns. 

BTW - the only shotguns I've heard of being issued to the military are two people I know in the Marines (one being my son). During deployments, they had breaching shotguns with little training on them. I know the Marines have some iteration of the Benelli, but I thought those were more of an MP thing. I've seen them at gates for Pendleton. 

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It's easy to make assumptions about puppies strapped to missiles, but good science requires research.

 

Joined: 12-2005          Location: Central OK

Most Army GPF Units aren't trained in the shotgun. Less than 50% qualify with them. I would say 99% don't pattern a shotgun with their issued ammunition. USGI issued 12 gauge ammunition patterns terribly.

Most are used for ballistic breaching. I'd say less than 60% of GPF Units are correctly trained in the use and operation of them in ballistic breaching.

Less than 20% are used as Less lethal platforms. More Units should take a page from the LE playbook and mark them specifically for that purpose.

I've also seen and personally armed interpreters with full size shotguns. It can be a good way to have that capability in a squad / PLT without having your guys take the weight and portability penalties.

I kept a shotgun when manning a turret for less lethal (throw rocks at me, I beanbag your dick), covering turret gun blind spots, and it helped when tactically questioning personnel / covering prisoners.

If you talk with Mogadishu vets, they may speak of higher spread being desirable in certain situations (think waves of people massing in streets). I had similar thoughts when looking at refugee camps and riot control.

I had one as a secondary in lieu of an M9 in both OIF and OEF, mostly used for ballistic breaching.

I've killed two people with an M500 Mossberg shotgun. One was when preparing to perform a ballistic breach (target of opportunity through a portal, <5 meters) and another when clearing a compound. In the second engagement I was using the M500 to clear in lieu of my M14 EBR because fuck doing CQB with an M14 with that OAL and a 2.5-10x variable optic with a poor eyebox. Of note - the muhj in this scenario was wearing a chest rig with loaded AK steel magazines which partially defeated the buckshot round to his chest. The spread of USGI 12 gauge buckshot allowed for soft tissue penetration outside of that. The terminal ballistic performance of shotguns is extremely effective.

Urban combat (think Fallujah) would feature more use for shotguns, but the same negatives listed above still apply. I also believe a lot of .mil folks have false reporting on shotgun effectiveness because other people are shooting at the same target. Bead sights and lack of training are not a good combination.

Were I to go to war again (In'shallah...) I'd hand carry Federal Flite Control #8 and frangible breaching rounds and bring a shorty.

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

HazardZetForward posted:

SSnpyr- one question: of those 7 rifle rounds that missed, were they found down range?  Any unintended consequences, such as going into that apartment building?

None of them found that I know of. I imagine they're in one or two of the trees. I believe they looked at the apartment complex, and found nothing. It is a brick structure, so I imagine a .223 soft point hit would be relatively easy to find. But a bullet in a tree somewhere is this side of impossible.

I don't want to give the wrong impression about the rifle shooter - shooting at basically the muzzle flashes of a dude who's shooting at you and hitting him 30% of the time at 40 yards in completely reasonable. I'm just teasing him. I do the same to his face. He's missed more shots than the rest of our department combined in my career here.

But there was no property damage that I recall at all, and the only person injured was the shooter (he actually lived - two gut shots and one in the gun hand - he complained and moaned an awful lot while I babysat him in the hospital).  

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It's easy to make assumptions about puppies strapped to missiles, but good science requires research.

 

Joined: 12-2005          Location: Central OK

While I have often thought that GPF are not well trained on shooting moving targets, I have NEVER heard a tale of troops in Iraq or A'stan purposely using a shotgun to engage moving targets.  Maybe more recently in Mosul/northern Iraq to try hitting small UAVs until other countermeasures became available.

I'm with Mick - GPF are not well trained on shotguns.  I gave one to my terp (Mossberg 500, cat II terp owned a ranch outside of Austin...) and he would often 'casually' place it on a table, muzzle pointed directly at the local we were holding for tactical questioning.  Seemed to make them more compliant...

They were good alternate guns up in HMMWV gun turrets, and perhaps carried by some of my crews at the loader station on an M1A1.  We wouldn't have minded some less-lethal rounds for the kids throwing rocks.  Heck, a bird shot M9 round would have been slick for that role - somebody make that.

We got issued shotguns just a few days before deploying (along with M249s, PVS-14s, MBITRs, and some other nice kit that we would have liked to train with prior to entering theater).  We qual'd guys on the SAWs while in Kuwait, but we never had a qual for the shotguns.  For breaching - we had no clue, but we usually breached with a Bradley backing through a wall and dropping the ramp for 6 shooters to come pouring out of.  That was my little version of shock and awe when you did it fast enough.

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

I carried the Benelli/HK semiauto shotgun in Ramadi 2007 and again on Al Asad in 2008/2009, in addition to my M4 and M9 both times. I kept it loaded with buckshot but had breaching rounds available, just kinda kept it as a spare weapon to have around (that's what the platoon Sgt said when I asked for it to be issued to me, "shit I'll never tell a Marine no he can't have a gun") because nobody was using it. 

The Iraqi Police thought it was the coolest thing ever, some kind of supergun. They'd want to compare the shells to their 9mm rounds from a Glock, and they loved how big the shells were. 

 

 

 

 

 

Joined:      14 January 2010                Location:  MAINE

Yeah, while not a pistol, it did have a certain status with the Iraqis.

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

On my deployment, '04-'06, we had pistol grip shotguns for breaching. I never saw one used in an anti-personnel role. I have not had any conversations with anyone in GPF who mentioned a shotgun being used in an AP role.

There was a report of a Brit using a shotgun against multiple BadGuys, successfully, in one event.

As Chappy says: Cops Help Cops! 

Then, Don't Be A Blue Falcon

 

Joined: November 2002

Hmm MickFury doesn't post as much as he used to in my early days here.  But, when he does, it's pure gold.

Being former army doesn't make me an expert in anything (particularly shotguns and police procedures).  I will relate a police shotgun story that, for me, was educational.  I'm sure you guys have hundreds.

Background: up till approx the late 80s the RCMP  carried .308 bolt rifles in cars along with a 12 ga and sometimes semi auto MP 5s.  I had a friend on the force when they withdrew the rifles as being not required.  He made the argument that it filled a niche.  His superiors response was that he'd never run into a situation that couldn't be handled by a 12 ga or an MP 5.  He was new so no one cared what he thought.  Fast forward to the 2000s and 3 Mounties were killed by a scumbag wielding a Norinco M 14 clone.  They had nothing to respond with at hand (this despite the force recognizing the need for a 'patrol carbine' but dragging their feet implementing it).

The story occurred between these two events.  Early 90s, Mounties responding to a disturbance on the native reserve on the edge of Calgary.  On arrival, they are met by a woman standing in her doorway with a 30-30 lever rifle.  Decision is made to shoot her (she had fired at them IIRC).  Best tool at hand?  Shotgun loaded with buck (assume 00). 

I studied the pic from the aftermath and noted the location of those police sticky things you guys use to mark bullet holes.  They were on the left and right of the door.  Might have been one above.  Result: one shot, dead perp.

But, dead also - 6 year old kid standing behind her...and...dead unborn baby inside her.  As Harry Bosche says, "she dealt the play".  But, optics-wise, it sure looked bad.  The huge spread of the pellets really had an effect on me.

Edit:

Ow my head.  I've spent over an hour on google trying to find that pic.  I've found various articles and the report following the inquiry.  As a result I have victim/perp's name (Connie Jacobs age 37), her son Ty age 9.  Date: April 6, 1998.  Constable who made the shot's name.  Address of the house etc.  Even with all this data, I can't track down this stupid pic. It was in all the news stories at the time and now... It's as if it's being suppressed...

Joined sometime in 2008.                  Live in Canada.        

The "moving target" with buck is a fairytale that needs to OD on Fentanyl and die. The shooter still has to track, aim, lead, correct and fire. That has to happen with any firearm. With a shotgun, and any kind of conflicted background (Rule 4, remember?) one not only has to do those things, one most also keep in mind that one has a pattern that is not merely 5.56mm or 9mm in diameter to keep on target. That is a more complex firing solution than simply keeping the red dot in the center of the moving visible mass.

I had this conversation with DaggaBoy a while back when I decided to modernize our current policy of loading buck/slug/buck/slug in the patrol shotguns.

My thought was to go with slug only. I still lean that way.

However:
>>>DaggaBoy made a good case for what worked for him over the years (City PD). They issued 870 with Side Saddles and +1 mag extensions. The SOP was to load four 00 buck in the magazine (leaving room for one more round), and load the Side Saddle with 6 slugs. The shotgun was carried cruiser ready- chamber empty.
Buck was the default, and intended for building entry use mostly. If the scenario was a planned vehicle assault, the shooter would load a slug in the magazine behind the buck, cycle the slide, then load another slug. The 2 slugs would be fired to breach the glass, after two slugs the vehicle glass was likely defeated, and the remaining buck rounds could be used to deal with the occupants as needed.

The opposite was used on entries when buck is maybe better (close range, so very tight pattern, less individual energy in each pellet that misses). The 00 buck is fired until empty, then the shotgun is fed slugs from the Side Saddle, or slugs could be introduced if the subject found cover.<<<<

Caveat in this would be using a gauge in large structure. State bid 00 Buck might not be your friend in a long WalMart aisle or school hallway. This is part of the reason I lean to slug only... It is pretty versatile.

I might be inclined to use Daggaboys TTP, but apply it to slug/slug. For example; use hard cast slugs for vehicle work, and use standard soft Forster style slugs for everything else. So: Load the SG tube with Forster slugs, and store hard Brenneke slugs on the Side Saddle.

Longeye posted:

The "moving target" with buck is a fairytale that needs to OD on Fentanyl and die. The shooter still has to track, aim, lead, correct and fire. That has to happen with any firearm. With a shotgun, and any kind of conflicted background (Rule 4, remember?) one not only has to do those things, one most also keep in mind that one has a pattern that is not merely 5.56mm or 9mm in diameter to keep on target. That is a more complex firing solution than simply keeping the red dot in the center of the moving visible mass.

I had this conversation with DaggaBoy a while back when I decided to modernize our current policy of loading buck/slug/buck/slug in the patrol shotguns.

My thought was to go with slug only. I still lean that way.

However:
>>>DaggaBoy made a good case for what worked for him over the years (City PD). They issued 870 with Side Saddles and +1 mag extensions. The SOP was to load four 00 buck in the magazine (leaving room for one more round), and load the Side Saddle with 6 slugs. The shotgun was carried cruiser ready- chamber empty.
Buck was the default, and intended for building entry use mostly. If the scenario was a planned vehicle assault, the shooter would load a slug in the magazine behind the buck, cycle the slide, then load another slug. The 2 slugs would be fired to breach the glass, after two slugs the vehicle glass was likely defeated, and the remaining buck rounds could be used to deal with the occupants as needed.

The opposite was used on entries when buck is maybe better (close range, so very tight pattern, less individual energy in each pellet that misses). The 00 buck is fired until empty, then the shotgun is fed slugs from the Side Saddle, or slugs could be introduced if the subject found cover.<<<<

Caveat in this would be using a gauge in large structure. State bid 00 Buck might not be your friend in a long WalMart aisle or school hallway. This is part of the reason I lean to slug only... It is pretty versatile.

I might be inclined to use Daggaboys TTP, but apply it to slug/slug. For example; use hard cast slugs for vehicle work, and use standard soft Forster style slugs for everything else. So: Load the SG tube with Forster slugs, and store hard Brenneke slugs on the Side Saddle.

Those S&B 'Plastik' steel slugs?

Thanks to all who are contributing.  Classic LF sharing of tactics, techniques, what works and what might not.  

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“Speak softly and carry a big stick;  you will go far. “

 Theodore Roosevelt

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Joined: 29 May 2008          Location: AZ

My experience with the shotgun with multiple tours in Afghanistan is simple. Mossberg pistol grip shorty carried as a supplemental weapon 99.9% breaching and .1% physical presence intimidation when dismounted and every GMV had one in the turret and often times one velcroed to the back of the drivers seat. Beanbag rounds / rubber buck, breaching (compressed powdered zinc?) Rounds and slugs. Buckshot was available but I dont ever recall anyone loading out buck.

Throw a rock at the GMV and you had a 50/50 chance of catching a less lethal round or a frozen 1/2 liter bottle of water (that crap bottled water from UAE / Dubai that smelled like onions /garlic and tasted like hell).

Our terps normally carried an AK variant and a S&W Sigma. Some would occasionally swap out the AK for a shotty.

I don't ever recall the shotty being successfully used to breach.

If we couldn't throw a terp over the wall and have him open the door/ gate from the inside or yank it open with a recovery strap it would get a watercharge or the smokesaw.

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

Keep in mind if you do ballistic breaches in your AO, the enemy does adapt and you will encounter evolutionary counter-TTP’s.

We stopped ballistic breaching at the mid-to-tail end of the OEF deployment because bad guys started leaving HME by the breach points (doors, gates) that was bullet strike sensitive. If it was a chain we could mechanically breach it, if it was a lock we could pick it, for other targets we had to do explosive breaches just to sympathetic detonate that stuff which was a crap shoot because we couldn’t determine NEW or MSD which often led to us going way far out into (you guessed it) areas seeded with IED’s. 

I’ll toss up a pair of M500 shotguns tomorrow that I kitted out for Army purposes (full-size turret + people pacification gun & breaching shorty). 

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior

 

"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Shotguns aren’t part of an infantry unit’s table of equipment, but there were plenty around in OIF, especially during Fallujah.  Ordnance officers had a surprisingly effective way of getting them added to CMRs.  No one ever bothered to worry about training ammo, or training, for that part. But that’s how the USMC tends to do it sometimes.

Force Recon raid forces would roll out with them as part of their raid package when grabbing HVTs. Same as the MEU raid forces do, right along with sledgehammers riding in PVC pipe on body armor.

SSGT Bellavia is seen with a soldier carrying one in Fallujah.

Whenever I gunned in Mogadishu, I had an 870 on a sling strap around my neck, in case the MG went down and we were in close quarters with shitheads. I never used it though, nor did anyone else on our deployment.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

Anecdotally going waaaaay back... guy I went to HS with went USMC and was in Mogadishu when they were there prior to the BHD battle.  Intel analyst IIRC and apparently was issued a 590. Said the times he saw any action his  primary job was using slugs to turn cover into concealment on stuff 5.56 wasn't getting through. 

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So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

Some additional thoughts ...

I came from a pretty good-sized agency, and we pushed the employment of shoulder-fired weapons in higher-risk events. That said, I can only think of two patrol shootings during my time there in which shotguns were fired.

a) suicidal subject armed with a rifle (.22 cal), dad called and four deputies responded. Ultimately, the subject charged a deputy who later worked for me in a couple of roles. Deputy has the shotgun and is moving backward while firing as he's being charged. He runs dry and goes down hard onto his butt - both unplanned - after delivering more than one solid torso hit. He transitions to his pistol and ends the event - Classic Failure Drill!

b) armed suspect on a porch in a town shooting at deputies holding a perimeter on his home while waiting for SWAT. Two deputies returned fire, one with an AR - who got the sole hit 33% hit rate - and the other with a slug at distance unsuccessfully. 

Regardless of what one west coast surveillance team recently did - and they made the change because of concerns about suspects wearing armor - I am still a fan of the shotgun for vehicle take-downs. Not arguing the capacity or ease of shooting an AR in a sustained fight, just acknowledging the ballistic benefit of a shotgun in a take-down event.

As for Select-Slug ... it is a manipulation intensive skill that takes a lot of time to teach, reinforce, & sustain. I've asked here, on other forums, and on email lists plus checking with many peers, about select-slug drills. I have yet to encounter anyone with direct knowledge of someone doing a select slug drill and quickly / immediately taking the slug shot. I have found a whole bunch of people who have done the manipulation without having to take the shot. No matter how much we taught it, it seemed we had to repeatedly talk a "lot" of co-workers through when it came time for the qual.

I teach the shotgun in commercial classes as well as having taught it at my old office. I did the research & writing to allow us to carry individually owned shotguns on the road. That led to us   issuing everyone their own 870. That was foundational to us issuing everyone 14" guns starting in '04.

However, before retirement, I argued for & proposed starting to do away with shotguns and make them a special issue weapon - like rifles were in the early, mid-90s - while giving everyone a rifle. We just weren't able to shoot enough "live" ammo through them. The vast majority shot only frang 00B & Slug through their issued guns after new deputy orientation. The people need to know, be almost intimately familiar with their gun - pattern, zero, etc.

I'm teaching a low light shotgun class soon. A follow-on to patterning will be those great steel hostage targets with the swinging bad guy part. That can replicate what the San Diego copper encountered. It'll be enlightening ... I think.

Erick, given your experience and research about the viability of Select Slug,  your preference for SG on vehicle takedowns, and your observations of the two shooting events; what is your take on which should be the primary or default load in the tube: Slugs or Buck?

"On my deployment, '04-'06, we had pistol grip shotguns for breaching. I never saw one used in an anti-personnel role. I have not had any conversations with anyone in GPF who mentioned a shotgun being used in an AP role. There was a report of a Brit using a shotgun against multiple BadGuys, successfully, in one event." There was that one time during 3rd ID's Thunder Run in to Baghdad that injured soldier Pvt. Christopher Nauman sat up while being carried on a stretcher & smoke checked a Syrian Jihadi with his Pistol Grip Mossberg 500. I realize that this was a "black swan" event regarding shotgun use against the enemy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvhnO2RWMQc Start video @ 22:17.

"Enlisted men are stupid but they are sly & crafty and bear considerable watching."

Excerpt from the U.S. Army Officer's Manual 1884. 

 

Home: Anytown, USA

Thank you all for responding to my request.  I'm humbled to see the names I've grown to respect pop up on this thread I started.

I have been working on a thorough paper to try and exert some influence over my agency.  I started out being pretty neutral about it all, but the more I look into it, the more I'm against buckshot because of that Rule #4 thing.  Thank you Longeye for bringing that up without any prompting.

SSNYPR- one more question about that OIS - given that there were 7 missed rifle shots, did anyone suggest that the officer with the shotgun go ahead and launch the buckshot downrange?  I had that argument: missing with some is ok since we know we're going to miss anyway.  Here's what I think of that argument: 

I have data from the FBI Ballistic Research Center, and it's quite telling about buckshot, especially through barriers.  In short, buckshot becomes ballistically ineffective even when shot through something as simple as regular window glass.  I learned a lot about slugs too, mostly that they are not the penetrators I thought they were.  Foster slugs, the kind most of LE is carrying, flatten out very quickly when passing through material and turn into frisbees, which are then unpredictable.  But in that deformation they dump a lot of their energy into the target.

I'm not ready to give up shotguns, at least for my agency.  I have shot or euthanized almost every large North American 4-legged mammal, except the grizzly and polar bear, and I've done it all with 12 gauge slugs.  And ask the rangers in Alaska what they grab when they go into the bush: the gauge.  There's wisdom in that choice.

First off, this was long enough ago that I can’t be sure on all the details of what happened immediately after. I’m going to be long again trying to work through my thoughts.

The “you should have just shot” was brought up so much, that it became irritating. The simple fact is, people mostly will do as they are trained. From the time you went to the academy, you are made to be terrified of errant rounds, and are told that select-a-slug drills are the answer when you have a pump gun. We were also told that shotguns are the ultimate in LE long weapons. Period. Rifles were not needed, were dangerous, only useful at long range, and were “specialty weapons”. We gave everyone rifles, but if you took it out of the trunk, you were writing a report to justify why. No such restriction with shotguns. Those were normal.

This girl did what most do: believe the consensus of the instructors teaching her.  She did as we trained her to do like she was reading a script: estimate the range was longer than what was considered “effective”, add that there was a potential background conflict, and did what she thought was the right thing by trying to select a slug. She felt very guilty for not having shot - but even the dude with her told us she knelt, and started selecting a slug. She didn’t run away. She tried to solve the problem in the manner we told her. But by the time she enacted her solution, someone else had solved it. 

No, in hindsight, it was not perfect. It in fact could have gotten her shot (except the dude did not hit one single person - he was luckily just a bad shot). Do I personally think her shooting with buck would have been completely reasonable? Absolutely. But I never told her that. I told her that her thought process and actions were completely reasonable and not only within policy, but was exactly how we trained her to act. We second-guess and eat our own through 20/20 hindsight, so I felt she didn’t need to hear that any more from us.

I will also say that she has since gone from being a mediocre shooter to having shot 100% on her last 3 quals. She’s kind of a chubby chick, not terribly athletic, and she kinda talks a lot - but she worked her ass off and smokes most people at the range now. There is often a lot of creep from “I don’t like that person” to being overly critical of their performance that leads to “I like me, so I obviously would have done better.” Everybody does it - me included.  It often makes me happy to shut those critics up, when they’re wrong. I’ve been the victim of the “I would have shot them, you screwed up by not doing so” crowd. Oddly, I’ve shot more people than most of the people who have told me that. When I don’t shoot someone, it’s because I don’t think I need to or it’s not justified. I think it’s important to recognize that decisions made under stress have to go to the person under stress, not with cool, critical thinking while sitting on the toilet. 

It should be noted that at this time, we did not have red dots/optics on our patrol rifles. In fact, this incident is what got us our aimpoints (so a 70% miss rate in the dark under stress drove for improvement). So, this was very unpleasant for most involved, but it was necessary to make us take a real look at our training, equipment, and policies. We divorced ourselves from the “always load with buckshot” line of thinking. We realized that selecting a slug under stress is very unlikely, and tested it to find a ridiculous failure rate. In fact, if anyone asks me today what I think they should carry in a shotgun for LE patrol use, I say LE slugs. It made me really look at the terminal ballistics studies of buck and slugs. Slugs just don’t over-penetrate like I thought they did. Under realistic circumstances, slugs work fine at short to medium range (say muzzle contact to 100 yards). Buckshot - even flitecontrol still throws flyers - just not as often. Shotguns are harder to train with than rifles. People screw up the manipulation of shotguns all the time, since it’s a completely different system from your pistol (insert mag, chamber round, shoot as needed). 

You can only carry one long gun at a time, so people will gravitate to the one they prefer and really kinda ignore the other. Rifles ended up being somewhat naturally what everyone flocked to. We eventually got rid of shotguns not because we tried to, but because people, given a choice, preferred the rifle. So we quit trying to push it on people. If nobody’s going to carry them - why are we buying them and qualifying with them? So we stopped. If an officer wants to carry one - we’ll let him. So far, no takers (this started Oct 2019).  Some have acted interested in carrying their shotguns, but not enough to show up at the range and fill out the form to carry it. 

I don’t want anyone to think I think shotguns are useless - they just don’t fit our needs terribly well at this time. But I have the opinion that slugs in the mag makes life simpler, and people like simpler. 

Sorry for being long-winded. 

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It's easy to make assumptions about puppies strapped to missiles, but good science requires research.

 

Joined: 12-2005          Location: Central OK

Longeye posted:

Erick, given your experience and research about the viability of Select Slug,  your preference for SG on vehicle takedowns, and your observations of the two shooting events; what is your take on which should be the primary or default load in the tube: Slugs or Buck?

The AR was my default general-purpose long gun. I kept the shotgun loaded with Brennekes (we do a limited issue of them) in the tube and side-saddle; it was also in a rack upfront. For an agency, if I could not get them frequent time with 'live' 00B, I would recommend slugs only.

"spdsnypr posted:

 The simple fact is, people mostly will do as they are trained. From the time you went to the academy, you are made to be terrified of errant rounds, and are told that select-a-slug drills are the answer when you have a pump gun. We were also told that shotguns are the ultimate in LE long weapons. Period. Rifles were not needed, were dangerous, only useful at long range, and were “specialty weapons”. We gave everyone rifles, but if you took it out of the trunk, you were writing a report to justify why. No such restriction with shotguns. Those were normal.

This girl did what most do: believe the consensus of the instructors teaching her.  She did as we trained her to do like she was reading a script: estimate the range was longer than what was considered “effective”, add that there was a potential background conflict, and did what she thought was the right thing by trying to select a slug. She felt very guilty for not having shot - but even the dude with her told us she knelt, and started selecting a slug. She didn’t run away. She tried to solve the problem in the manner we told her. But by the time she enacted her solution, someone else had solved it. 

<snip>Do I personally think her shooting with buck would have been completely reasonable? Absolutely. But I never told her that. I told her that her thought process and actions were completely reasonable and not only within policy, but was exactly how we trained her to act. We second-guess and eat our own through 20/20 hindsight, so I felt she didn’t need to hear that any more from us.

I will also say that she has since gone from being a mediocre shooter to having shot 100% on her last 3 quals. She’s kind of a chubby chick, not terribly athletic, and she kinda talks a lot - but she worked her ass off and smokes most people at the range now. <snip>

I don’t want anyone to think I think shotguns are useless - they just don’t fit our needs terribly well at this time. But I have the opinion that slugs in the mag makes life simpler, and people like simpler. 

Sorry for being long-winded.

No need to apologize at all. Your posts on that OIS, especially regarding the training & performance is needed and well written. Hell, I'd like to see it as a longer, stand-alone thread. 

Regarding eating our own and realistically evaluating an event, not the players, there was one not too long where I knew both cops pretty well, one of them really well. When I looked at, viewed it, I had to stop using names and go with "A" and "B" because of the event & to try removing my inherent bias. It did not change my ultimate evaluation. 

A lot of the org issues you mention are things we went through as well. Shotgun deployment? no drama; pull the rifle out? write a memo.

spdsnypr, thank you!

As Chappy says: Cops Help Cops! 

Then, Don't Be A Blue Falcon

 

Joined: November 2002

Erick posted:

The people need to know, be almost intimately familiar with their gun - pattern, zero, etc.

That is an idea that often gets lost in the weeds.  

Every shotgun/ammo combination is a mystery until they are tested at various ranges.

Just curious, SPDSNYPR  do you think   Fed FC buck could have turned the situation in that shooting around?

They've given me a new look at the shotgun.

 

There is no left or right.

There is only tyranny or freedom. 

Prior to my assuming a leadership position in my former department's firearms training program, shotgun qualification was optional.  After handgun qualifications, the instructor would announce that anyone who wanted to stay late to qualify with the shotgun or an off duty weapon could do so.  God help any pedestrian walking past the driveway to the range thirty seconds after that announcement was made.

Noticing that many officers did not qualify with shotguns, but that many wanted a slide gun available during high risk situations, I mandated that officer at least attempt to qualify with shotguns.  Most did over the years with the exception of one female officer for whom the standard shotgun was too long and various command staff.  We had a limited number of 9mm AR-15 carbines (authorized only for sergeants and OIC's) until the Beltway sniper case which started our transition to rifles which were authorized for the great unwashed masses as well as shift commanders.  Today, as far as I know, any qualified officer can be issued a rifle or purchase an approved AR-15.  More recently, one firearms training coordinator considered pulling shotguns from the program, but I believe they are still out there.

I had considered transitioning our agency to slugs only.  They have long been an option.  Officers are given the discretion of loading either slugs or buckshot (though mixed loads were discouraged).  The fourteen round qualification course includes tactical loading of slugs after buckshot is expended, but no select slug evolution.  I share the doubt that officers will remember or  be able to perform a select slug transition at the moment of truth (props to Mary for responding to training).

My last cruiser was set up with a roof rack for the shotgun while the rifle stayed in the trunk.  I would have preferred the rifle up front, but I took comfort in the belief (hope) that if I needed a long gun immediately, it was likely a vehicle scenario and the shotgun might be the better choice.  I did keep buckshot in the magazine with primarily slugs on the side saddle and a mix of ammunition in my Eagle shotgun bandoleer.

I have great respect for the FBI,but we know some ranking officers move from respect to adulation of the Bureau.  The recent book, "Guns of the FBI" mentions that the Bureau has transitioned to slugs only and that new agents only fire the shotgun for "familiarization" rather than qualification.   An article ("American Rifleman") about the book mentions that the FBI had not shot anyone with a shotgun in about twenty years (until the pilot episode of "FBI" that I watched the night I read that article, but I believe that fictional hero was using less lethal rounds).

 

stray round posted:
Erick posted:

The people need to know, be almost intimately familiar with their gun - pattern, zero, etc.

That is an idea that often gets lost in the weeds.  

Every shotgun/ammo combination is a mystery until they are tested at various ranges.

Just curious, SPDSNYPR  do you think   Fed FC buck could have turned the situation in that shooting around?

They've given me a new look at the shotgun.

 

I think the flight control (however they spell it) are way better. Would it have changed this scenario? I honestly don’t know. I can’t remember if this was before or after we went to the flight control stuff. I think we had already, but I can’t be certain. I think the biggest issue was the level of emphasis we put on possibilities of errant rounds hitting poor little johnny downrange, and the simple fact that we tell people “at X range, you should select a slug”. We only shoot with buckshot to 15 yards on the state qual course. 25, 40, and 50 are slug. Most people don’t shoot much more than quals - especially so with the smoke pole because it hurts after very few rounds. Add night-time, stress, gunfire - I doubt it would have made her shoot the buck round simply due to unfamiliarity.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's easy to make assumptions about puppies strapped to missiles, but good science requires research.

 

Joined: 12-2005          Location: Central OK

We qualified to twenty-five yards with the shotgun.  When we changed to course to include buckshot at twenty-five yards, officer could usually keep Flite Control on the threat if they did their part.  My thinking, influenced by Mike Boyle at an IALEFI RTC, was that while you would eventually have flyers with buckshot, it wasn't going to penetrate very deeply.

jnc36rcpd posted:

We qualified to twenty-five yards with the shotgun.  When we changed to course to include buckshot at twenty-five yards, officer could usually keep Flite Control on the threat if they did their part.  My thinking, influenced by Mike Boyle at an IALEFI RTC, was that while you would eventually have flyers with buckshot, it wasn't going to penetrate very deeply.

But isn't that kinda the crux of the question?  

The hit rate for officers is low, I think less than 40%.  With buckshot, there's an even greater chance that 1 or more pellets will miss, and that percentage only goes up as distance increases.  So is it acceptable to basically miss on purpose?

Disclaimer: I am a firearms instructor for my agency, and I'm a police administrator too (don't hold it against me).

After much thought and consideration over the past 4 months this project has taken me, the answer is no, but I'm open to logical arguments.

jnc36rcpd posted:

We qualified to twenty-five yards with the shotgun.  When we changed to course to include buckshot at twenty-five yards, officer could usually keep Flite Control on the threat if they did their part.  My thinking, influenced by Mike Boyle at an IALEFI RTC, was that while you would eventually have flyers with buckshot, it wasn't going to penetrate very deeply.

This is a non sequitur.

Which is it? Terminal effect or not much penetration?

Picture a threat at 25 yards.  Behind and to each side of the threat are two kids... at say... 30 yards. Your state bid 9 pellet buck puts 7 pellets in the threat, and one pellet each in the kids, including one in a kid's eye. Do the kids care that the pellets didn't penetrate deeply? How about the threat? Is he seriously affected by the 7 pellets that didn't penetrate deeply enough? Does the threat stop?

See where I am going with this?

Making the argument that poor shooting or poorly patterning buck is OK because the shallow penetration flyer hits will buff out of whatever non threats they hit is... novel. I would not get up on a stand and testify that this concept was in line with agency policy, accepted practice, or even a half good idea.

The resulting civil suit against the agency would be eye watering, to say nothing of the blinded kid with frontal lobe damage and the other kid with a hole in his lung. What is your defense? "The two errant buck pellets only penetrated 2.7" instead of 12", so this wasn't that bad. It meets our agency standards for performance".

Longeye posted:


Making the argument that poor shooting or poorly patterning buck is OK because the shallow penetration flyer hits will buff out of whatever non threats they hit is... novel. I would not get up on a stand and testify that this concept was in line with agency policy, accepted practice, or even a half good idea.

The resulting civil suit against the agency would be eye watering, to say nothing of the blinded kid with frontal lobe damage and the other kid with a hole in his lung. What is your defense? "The two errant buck pellets only penetrated 2.7" instead of 12", so this wasn't that bad. It meets our agency standards for performance".

Exactly.  Thank you for saying my argument with better words.

When Bill Jeans (Gunsite, Morrigan Consulting) was teaching, his handouts included one on the death (blue on blue) of a San Jose officer when a cop killer was shot by a shotgun & one pellet missed. I scanned what Bill had in his student manual. I saw a post somewhere the other day that depicted the death of a 60s rioter/looter as well as a wounded subject downrange - again hit by a stray pellet.

Vang barrels and the Federal H132 9 pellet 00B (later the original LE132) was an awesome combination pattern-wise. Then there were the Billings Choke loads, which is the origin of the Flite Control wads/shot cups (the one that keeps all of the pellets together until impact is pretty cool). Now, we have Federal & Hornady flite control loads.

Attachments

Erick posted:

When Bill Jeans (Gunsite, Morrigan Consulting) was teaching, his handouts included one on the death (blue on blue) of a San Jose officer when a cop killer was shot by a shotgun & one pellet missed. I scanned what Bill had in his student manual. I saw a post somewhere the other day that depicted the death of a 60s rioter/looter as well as a wounded subject downrange - again hit by a stray pellet.

Vang barrels and the Federal H132 9 pellet 00B (later the original LE132) was an awesome combination pattern-wise. Then there were the Billings Choke loads, which is the origin of the Flite Control wads/shot cups (the one that keeps all of the pellets together until impact is pretty cool). Now, we have Federal & Hornady flite control loads.

Bill ran my carbine course in 97.  Good guy.

Joined sometime in 2008.                  Live in Canada.        

Definitely crappy articulation on my part.  I was not suggesting that "winging" someone with an errant pellet would be OK because it would not wound them that deeply, but that a pellet striking a house, tree, car, or whatever would likely not penetrate much further.

As I stated, we authorized the shotgun be loaded with buckshot or slug.While there was some pushback from one command staffer about loading with slugs, that was quickly squashed,  I did emphasize that officers should understand the capabilities of their weapon/ammunition when deploying.

This said, while we authorized buckshot when I was still relevant, I don't disagree with the concept of slugs only.  

Interesting read folks thanks. I have no clue about shotguns in modern combat. I also have no clue about AR's either. I did use an issued Stevens 311 once and it worked. The Stake Out Unit used the Ithaca Model 37 to devastating results in their many encounters.

Great discussion.  I wish I could add more, but all I can say is that in my time in Iraq and ASTAN, I never saw any reports of shotguns used for anti personnel work.  We did have one guy (our S-9 of all things) carry an M-500 outside the wire, but he never shot anyone with it. 

Also in my experience Mickfury and Tankersteve's comments about training or lack of it are true. We actually had a guy damage a M-500 by disassembling for cleaning and reassembling it wrong.  The MP BNs did do shotgun training.

We had limited ammo for the shotguns, mostly buck shot with a small amount of #6 that might have been acquired outside normal channels.

We did have an Iraqi Army solider shoot himself in the leg while walking, but I doubt that is of much relevance.

  

___________________________________________________________________

I'm either dead right, or horribly wrong. Either way the results should be entertaining.

 

"Shoot the MOTHERF$%^ER until he changes shape or catches fire"  the PAT ROGERS

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