Where Oh Where has the Shotgun Gone?

It hasn’t been that long ago that the simple pump-action shotgun was considered to be the “primary backup” weapon of choice in most if not all police departments across the nation. You only have to look at the news to see how many times police have been forced into using deadly force in a situation in which the suspect was NOT armed simply because they did not have a large enough variety of options to choose from.

What About the Bean Bag Launcher?

And, accordingly, if you watch the news from the big cities, officers are supposed to be armed with 40 mm shoulder-fired bean bag launchers or rubber bullets. But the problem with this thought is that far too few departments have this type of equipment on hand. This leads us to the question of why not bring back the good old-fashioned shotgun, the one that we have seen in patrol cars for decades?

Shotguns can be loaded with buckshot that when fired at the suspect’s lower extremities can cause injuries that are disabling yet not deadly. This seems like the perfect compromise and one that has served officers well since time in memorial. Think about it for a moment, don’t you think this would be a much better solution to coping with a suspect who is flailing around with a knife than shooting with intent to kill?

Almost Always Fatal

If you look at the average protocols in place during LEO training today, the call is for multiple shots to the suspects “center mass.” Odds are that under this type of shooting, the only possible outcome is going to be the death of the suspect.

Not that long ago, most officers were taught to use a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with #00 buckshot. This training often included teaching officers to “bounce” their shots off the pavement where possible to keep the shot more towards the legs of the suspect, thereby reducing the possibility of the killing them instead of wounding them. The idea was to keep the suspect alive so that they could answer to their charges in court and then pay the price for their crimes.

On top of all of this, even if you run of rounds with a standard 12-gauge shotgun, the gun can be used as a club. Butt-strokes smashes, and heavy thrusts can prove to be a serious deterrent to anyone who is behaving in a threatening manner.

Not Getting Softer

The one thing that no one can accuse LEOs of being, is being softer on suspects. If anything, the loss of the shotgun as the primary weapon may or may not offer more protection for officers. The one thing you can, however, count on, is that today’s officers are being placed in the position of being forced to use deadly force in far too many situations where a shotgun may have been able to prevent unnecessary loss of life. This is something well worth thinking about as you set out to equip your officers in the future.

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