Joe “Double Barrel” Biden has been shooting his mouth off again. After advising home owners to fire warning shots from a double barrel shotgun to ward off home invaders, the President’s point man on civilian disarmament told Field & Stream readers to unleash a scattergun blast through a door in an emergency. The Veep also defended his opinion that double-barreled shotguns are better than “assault rifles” for the fairer sex. “Most people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semi-automatic weapon in terms of both their aim and in terms of their ability to deter people coming.” I guess Joe hasn’t seen the viral video of female shotgun fails racking-up the views on YouTube. Or asked anyone who actually owns an AR-style rifle why they don’t have a shotgun instead. Or, I dunno, compared firearm genres at a range. But let’s think about this a bit more . . .
Joe is asking Americans to forgo modern sporting rifles for double barreled shotguns because shotguns are better in terms of their “aim” and their “ability to deter people coming.”
So, what does Double Barreled Biden mean by “aim”? Is he saying that a shotgun is easier to get on target than a modern sporting rifle? Then he’s wrong for [at least] three reasons.
The video mentioned above is no laughing matter. OK, it is (especially if you’re German). But recoil is a big issue when it comes to accurately acquiring a target.
If a shooter is “afraid” of the gun’s recoil, if prior experience has conditioned them to flinch (in anticipation of said recoil), their aim is going to suck. Even if it doesn’t initially, it may well do for follow-up shots. Shots that could be the difference between life and death.
Generally speaking (as we will in this post), a shotgun has more recoil than an AR-style rifle. Yes, there are smaller gauge shotguns with relatively less recoil than their big-bore cousins. And ammo makers sell reduced recoil loads. And it’s also true that plenty of scattergun owners train themselves to handle their shotgun’s recoil. But plenty more don’t.
That list of shooters who don’t cope well (i.e. aim) with shotguns is not limited to women, younger shooters, older shooters, smaller shooters and handicapped shooters. But they account for a large percentage of the recoil averse. Just sayin’ . . .
In contrast, an AR-15 is a pussycat. D’uh! In most cases, the rifle fires a slightly-larger than .22 caliber round—as compared to a fusillade of lead. Modern sporting rifles make a lot of noise, but they don’t have half the kick of a double-barreled 12-guage shotgun. Ultimately, that makes them easier to aim.
AR-style rifles have adjustable stocks (void where prohibited by law). They can be manipulated to fit a wide variety of shooters’ sizes and body types. This adjustability makes the AR-style rifle easier to hold, manipulate and aim. As do the modern sporting rifle’s dreaded [/sarcasm] pistol grip and fore grip (void where prohibited by law).
Shotguns, by and large, do not have adjustable stocks, pistol grips or fore grips (you guessed it: void where prohibited by law). If you’re lucky/rich enough to have a custom-made double-barreled shotgun, or can afford to modify a Benelli M4 with an adjustable stock ($600) and don’t live in California, good for you!
A good, experienced, able-bodied shooter can aim any firearm quickly and efficiently. Most Americans find the AR-15 style rifle the easiest to modify and, thus, bring to bear on a target.
Optics or sighting systems—from scopes to red dots—make a HUGE difference in a shooter’s ability to accurately aim a long gun. Which is why the vast majority of rifle owners, millions of them, mount optics on their modern sporting rifles. It’s a relatively simple process with enormous ergonomic benefits for aimed or directed fire.
Some shotguns accept optics. Most don’t. Their recoil makes optics generally unreliable and, if not, expensive. Besides, a shotgun is (again generally) a short-range weapon. At “combat distance” it puts out a spread of lead roughly the size of a softball. While you MUST aim a shotgun, it’s not as much of an aimed weapon as a rifle.
Does that make a shotgun “easier” to aim than a rifle? Nope. But it does makes a shotgun less accurate in terms of hitting exactly what you’re aiming at—and nothing else. In other words, setting aside “over-penetration” issues, a shotgun has more potential for creating collateral damage than a rifle.
I wonder if Double Barrel Biden thought about that. At all. Ever. ‘Cause Joe also said this . . .
We can argue whether that’s true or not [that a shotgun is easier to aim and more of a deterrent], but it is no argument that, for example, a shotgun could do the same job of protecting you. Now, granted, you can come back and say, ‘Well, a machine gun could do a better job of protecting me.’ No one’s arguing we should make machine guns legal.”
Joe should know. Anyone with any experience of firearms (as Joe claims) would know that a shotgun does not do the same job as a modern sporting rifle.
A shotgun unleashes a number of projectiles at once, making it a superb not-to-say devastating short-range weapon. It’s not bad at longer ranges, but nowhere near as effective as a modern sporting rifle, which fires a single projectile with terrific accuracy.
Don’t get me wrong: either gun can be used for short or long range distances. But both have their strengths and weaknesses. Sensibly enough, many gun owners have both platforms. Denying Americans modern sporting rifles because shotguns exist is like denying ice cream lovers chocolate because vanilla exists. Or vice versa.
As for making machine guns legal, yes please. Not because machine guns are more effective for self-defense than a semi-automatic rifle or a shotgun, but because We the People have a Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear [any] arms. Just sayin’ . . .
Finally, the idea that a shotgun is a better deterrent than a modern sporting rifle is just silly. Like 90 percent of what comes out of Double Barrel Biden’s mouth on the subject of guns. If you’d like to me to ID the 10 percent that does make sense, do me a favor. Give me a minute . . .