Oops! (courtesy latimesblog.com)

“The Windsor Police Service is adding high-powered rifles to its arsenal,” cbc.ca reports. “The C8 patrol carbine rifle is beginning to replace the 12-gauge shotgun currently being used. The rifle is more accurate and fires more bullets with less penetrating power, thus reducing the chance of someone else being hit.” Funny that Vice President Biden is promoting shotguns for armed self-defense while every police police department from Truth or Consequences to Toronto is tooling-up with AR-15s. So what of Insp. Tom Crowley of the Windsor po-po’s contention that ARs are less likely to inflict collateral damage than shotties? I know a couple of California newspaper delivery gals who might beg to differ. You?

Recommended For You

58 Responses to Question of the Day: What’s Safer for Innocent Bystanders? Shotgun or AR?

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong but those women were purposely being shot at by overzealous police who didn’t really bother checking who was the target. So those police could have been using pistols or shotguns and those women would’ve still be in a WOS. Of course not many people are advocating banning guns for police for some reason *shrug*. Guess double standards aren’t supposed to make sense.

    • Given the circumstances of that incident, I propose that the 2 women would have beed justified in defending themselves from attempted murder by the LAPD. If they were legally armed, I think it may have been perfectly reasonable to shoot back in self defense.

      When anyone asks the question about mag capacity limits…..use this example……the LAPD shot 100 rounds into a car and still MISSED.

      • Come on, legally carrying in California? No way, no how.They’d have to be undercover law enforcement pretending to be news paper deliverers. Even then they’d likely be subject to some sort of disciplinary actions. California is the the type of place a person has to first get permission to say the word gun, much less print one, or own one. Those women aren’t just lucky to be alive, but also to not be in jail for having hundred illegal cop killing, heat seeking, armor penetrating, explosive tipped, high volume/power/capacity,super destructive assault rifle bullets of mega ultra child killing metallic death in their car despite them being put there by the police.

        I think instead of the magazine cap issue, it goes along the lines of proper gun use. I mean were they not aiming at all? If they were, they must have been jerking the trigger to the point of qualifying for lewd acts in public. Now if you mean why it is important to have for us to have magazines that hold plenty of ammunition because one day we might stumble on some crazed law enforcement officer(s) who can fire 100 rounds, then hell yes. But if you’re firing 100 rounds and not hitting the target you better be doing at least 1 of 2 things. 1) Firing at a hidden sniper, 2) Putting down suppressing fire. Anything else, should slow your roll and use the sights, they are on the firearm for a reason.

        • it was a hypothetical scenario. but it does prove that 7-10 rounds aren’t enough to those that would ask the question and invoke the “need” word.

          Actually……..the question as to weather cops should have guns is interesting, wonder how much training they get in behavioral science, human interaction, psychology, listening and patience and respect for the citizenry they get compared to firearms training physical compliance and situational control training.

          Either way, seems obvious that cops abuse the use of fire even if use of force in warranted. Not to mention that the average cop will never “have” to draw their weapon in the line of duty

        • While CCW from the Los Angelese Sheriff Department is hard (but not impossible) to get, in other counties it is given more freely. There are more CCW holders than you realize. And since cities can issue them as well, and there are some in LA county more friendly than the sheriff, it actually is quite possible, even if unlikely.

          You sound like a real dumbass. California doesn’t have great firearm laws, but unlike NJ we can own hollowpoints, ammo in the car isn’t illegal anyways, no permit needed to own a gun (whether handgun or rifle). Most of the laws apply to point of sale.

        • Defending your state’s firearms laws by comparing it to New Jersey isn’t all that convincing…

          The tallest midget…is still a midget…

  2. I’m not an expert, this is just my opinion. An individual 5.56 round that misses it’s target will remain lethal over a greater range than a single buckshot pellet will. In a crowded urban environment such as where I live I feel more comfortable using a shotgun as my go to long gun. Plus, I live in California, so any AR platform I get here would be limited to 10 round mags and those ever fun bullet buttons.

    I think that every police cruiser should have a shotgun and a rifle. What type of rifle is open for debate. Would a scout type bolt action chambered in .243 be a better patrol rifle than an AR?

  3. Im gonna have to go with the shotgun on this one. Less range, less penetration.
    Speaking in terms of the general buck shot anyway.

  4. 7.62NATO with frangibles. At 2900fps they do manstopping damage to ballistics gel & turn into high-speed dust after 2 layers of drywall. Sorry, no data that I can find on real-world shootouts with it.

    .223REM is a great cartridge for gofers. Part of me wants to tell you to go put a NOS sticker on your Honda Civic. The other part says “If they empty half a mag into the target, it might work…”

  5. Either one is fine. The problem comes when the person wielding the weapon doesn’t practice enough with it and doesn’t pay attention to the target and the background.

  6. The women who were almost murdered in LA during the Dorner hunt were not bystanders – they were specifically targeted for assassination. They were the target, not merely standing near it. That fact is something that should not be missed by news pieces and blog entries.

  7. Honestly of late I’m thinking the AR is “safer” in the most likely contexts for bystanders. After all of the hubub over them I started thinking about it, bought one (colt sporter 6920, for about 1100 bucks) and have blown about 1000 reloads through it in the past month in multiple-target scenarios.

    With the right bullets you can really control over-penetration through soft and hard targets. I can also engage multiple targets very quickly and accurately with the AR compared to my shotgun with 00 buck. What I think it comes down to for me at least is that I can use fewer overall hollow point or frangible projectiles in a few more (but faster) aimed trigger pulls and put them exactly where I want them, compared to my shotgun which is going to blast out 9 solids no matter what I need or want.

    I think this distinction is between the ability to use “appropriate force”, quickly metering it out in realtime as needed and the “all or nothing” approach. To me that is safer. So now, very recently, my house gun has become the AR. It’s a more civilized weapon, for a more civilized age.

    • I see what you did there, and I approve. The AR is not as clumsy or random as a shotgun, after all.

    • I recently took two of my brothers, non-shooters, with me to an indoor 25 meter range. I had them (‘let them’) shoot my Benelli M4 and Stag 3G. Both guns have sighted-in EOTech XPS-03 sights on them. Both brothers were awed by the roar of the Benelli and the shredded target (12 pellet OO buck) but were very very slow to put a second on target. However, they both fell in love with the AR, and were able to get it on target very fast and keep groups near the bullseye. One brother did double taps close to centered, because of the Geissele trigger, but, well, accidentally. For low-experience shooters, the AR is much more likely to be accurate and manageable. Both brothers want to go AR shooting again, so I see a “willing to practice” factor with the AR, which adds to the fact that many LEO’s have military experience with AR-style actions. I’d give them twenty round mags, given the LA newspaper delivery shoot up….

        • The Stag 3G comes with the Geissele Super 3G trigger. It’s excellent for anyone safe with a very short-reset trigger. I love it. I would say it has zero take-up and a very crisp break. The break is 1/8 inch from resistance and the reset is 1/16 inch. It’s an easy drop in installation, as I recently watched a friend put one in.

  8. Remember this too, that many police departments carry both slugs and buck. Whatever you’re thinking about the danger and capability of buck vs 5.56mm, go through the same arguments in your head with a 1oz slug going 1600fps and see if you come up with the same answers.

  9. AR is the over all safer weapon; as long as there is good trigger control; it’s easier to hit your target at the ranges one would normally be using in self-defense scenarios than with a pistol or shot gun. Which translates to less rounds miising your target and hitting an innocent person down range.

    Plus, there’s less over penetration when going through walls and doors since the .556/.233 tumbles and shatters much more quickly when hitting a barrier than a pistol bullet or a shot gun slug or pellet.

  10. I think it all depends upon the expected or likely range of engagement. So, they have a handgun for speaking ranges and need a long fun for yelling range, right? Presumably, engaging a target outside of handgun range means there is time to take up defensive positions and establish a perimeter. Hand gun for the “oh shit!” moments and a long gun for the “WTF is going on” moments.

    It seems to me (from what I read and see) that modern doctrine is to contain when possible and engage at some standoff distance, which is at least a half block away, and then call for SWAT. In these situations, having a patrol rifle makes a heck of a lot more sense for accuracy and effectiveness at ranges where buckshot is merely annoying.

    If the patrol officers are going to maneuver and close (old style) with a shooter, then I could see a case for a shotgun having value. But even in those situations, is there anything a shotgun can do that an AR cannot? Of course, the Marines still have shotguns for CQB, and I expect they know a thing or two about it.

    If I was going to be 20 yard from someone trying to kill me, I’d want a shotgun and buckshot. Any further, I’d want a rifle. But then I am not a Marine, or a cop, just a middle-aged white guy with way more guns than my wife thinks is reasonable.

    But like anything else, let engagement range and tactical doctrine rule.

    • I think we are all basically in agreement that if you hit the target and ONLY the target (not like the NYPD), then risk to bystanders is minimal.

      • Agree. The FBI (this is two years old data) had no record of a bullet of theirs hitting an innocent after going through a perp. I almost consider all this wall-shooting over-penetration talk an incitement to careless shooting. “Get an EOTech. Get an EOTech.” Common, Joe, say it.

  11. Considering that Windsor is right across the river from Detroit, I’m not surprised that the idiocy of politicians has a proven infectious trans-border result.

  12. The AR makes a better choice for active shooter response in a crowded area. I’d rather go with a precision shot, while knowing what’s beyond my target, than cutting loose with 9 pellets that will continue to spread out at unknown angles. The AR’s bullet configuration will determine penetration. I’m not a tremendous fan of the 5.56 and would prefer a 7.62 X 51. However, I know of a Alaskan wildlife trooper who swears by the 5.56, with steel inserts in the projectiles, to dispatch 1200 pound brown bears. However, t’s hard to beat the shotgun in close quarters.

  13. Any gun is unsafe for bystanders when the shooter lacks both training and discipline. Asking whether the shotgun or the AR is more unsafe in the hands of a poorly-trained, trigger-happy shooter is like asking whether it’s better to be mauled by a Polar Bear or a Grizzly Bear.

  14. It depends on the load. I’m 5-0, and I’m almost always reaching for the AR loaded with 64 grain Winchester Power Points and standard capacity mags. I don’t know the penetration capability of the round through ballistic gel, but it can definitely penetrate through soft body armor, auto glass, heavy clothing, etc. Our 12 gauge 9 – pellet 00 buck load spreads out pretty quickly, so I’m loath to use it in a potential confrontation outside of 25 yards. The AR offers much better aiming, long range, rapid fire, and ammunition capacity. I’ll take that 9 times out of 10.

      • Oh
        I spewed on that one.
        Personally, my in home defense gun is a 12 gauge with #4 buck. That and my XD-45.
        My truck gun is my ar with 50 grain hornady tap rounds.
        Tho I’m really liking the 300 blackout with 110 grain Barnes.

  15. I think either would be fine, just as long as they both fire chocolate bullets. Then everyone would be safer.

  16. So in the hands of the PD the things are once again Patrol Carbines. In the hands of DHS they’re Personal Defense Weapons. In my hands its an Assault Weapon? So here: I’ve got an organ, which for me is a Pipe Organ. If Hilly gets a hold of it, its a Hand Organ. If DHS gets to it, it becomes a Mouth Organ.

  17. I only ever hear “high-powered rifle”. What’s considered low-power? .22 lr? Is there such a thing as medium-power? Pistol caliber carbines?

    • To the anti-gun people, anything that moves faster than you could throw it is “high powered.” They pee their pants at the thought of airsoft guns.

      As for medium-powered rifles, the AR and AK would be the classic examples. Pistol-caliber carbines would be the low end of medium, and .243 and 30-30 would be the high end of medium. I think.

      (It was a rhetorical question, I know, but…)

      • Actually, for me it wasn’t rhetorical, because I’ve found myself wondering that in the past. When it relates to handguns, “high-powered” is pretty simple to deduce, and can largely (but not always) be determined simply by the first number in the caliber. But the same doesn’t hold true for rifles, as we’ve all heard AR’s referred to as high-powered, when most of us know that they really aren’t.

        I agree with your conclusions about “high-medium” and the like.

  18. Given the way I shot today at the local 3 Gun match, people would be entirely safe if I was blasting away with an AR.

  19. With the LAPD, not even a crossbow would be safe for bystanders. An AR just gives them more ammo (and a quicker reload) so they can spray and pray at a more rapid rate, for longer.

    If they knew what they were shooting at, and aimed before firing, then sure, an AR would do a better job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *