“In today’s world, everybody’s armed with AR-15s and machine guns”

Surely not everybody. Don’t call Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston Shirley. According to abqjournal.com, the top cop’s more than man enough to handle an AR-15. Which is, apparently, “A really big, powerful new gun.” What’s more, “if Houston and his undersheriff, Ron Paiz, get their way, the AR-15 assault rifle will replace the shotgun as the weapon of the future for all 270 BCSO deputies.” I’m thinking the Sheriff will get his wicked way in this. Ever since the infamous North Hollywood shootout, the country’s LEO’s have been AR mad. Well, fair enough. But pity the poor shotgun, a weapon whose effectiveness at short range is beyond question, especially in the intimidation department. But Paiz is bound and determined to consign the scattergun to history . . .

Paiz has been a fan of the AR-15 for several years. He tried to replace APD’s shotguns when he was with that department, but the idea was rejected. He calls the AR-15 a “more precise weapon that’s designed to do what it needs to do.” . . .

“The shotgun is still a great weapon, but I think it’s an obsolete weapon,” Paiz said. “Ultimately, I would like to replace all the shotguns here with AR-15s.”

He said the AR-15 is preferable because it can fire multiple rounds quickly and zero in on a target, while a shotgun tends to be more of a “scattering” weapon . . .

“In today’s world, everybody’s armed with AR-15s and machine guns,” Paiz said. “I looked at what I could do special for our guys when they start chasing these bad guys.”

Houston said he still hasn’t decided whether he’ll keep one of the AR-15s for himself. With a hectic schedule as the new sheriff, he said a week’s worth of rifle training is tough to commit to.

But if he does decide to pack an assault rifle?

“If I’m in the North Valley, the South Valley or the East Mountains, and something were to occur, I would have no hesitancy in responding,” Houston said.

As opposed to now . . . ?


  1. avatar Jeff says:

    There are more than a few problems that shotguns bring with them for LEOs. First, officers are typically held liable for all errant pellets, something that is a bit more than nausea inducing when considering the possible need to take shots at distances of over 25 yards with 00 buckshot. Second, the tube capacity of shotguns generally leaves a great deal to desire. Unless you’re running a Saiga with a drum magazine, which I couldn’t imagine any American police department ever doing, you’re stuck with what, 8 shots? It’s hard to justify that limited capacity when you could be shooting 5.56 hollow points.

    Truth be told, I don’t see the appeal for shotguns in the vast majority of applications, aside from their less-than-lethal and door breaching functionality. If I were a cop, I’d much rather bet my life on a P90, MP7, Kriss (I know, no department would foot that bill), or an AR variant.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      buckshot pellets are short range true, fut effective range is closer to 40 yds. they fall to the ground quickly when beyond that. spheres have very poor ballistic efficiency. an errant 223 projectile can travel miles. besides most cops use rifled slugs . accurate and dependable to 75+ yds and will not ricochet because they are soft lead. a 223 hollowpoint hitting heavy clothing many not expand at all, making it a very low percentage stopper.

  2. avatar Zealot says:

    Why do shotguns and carbines have to be mutually exclusive? In scenarios requiring the deployment of one of these, a partner carrying the other could be the ideal compliment.

    Some logs require a 3 lb. splitting axe, others a 6lb. maul… As a rule, if I’m bringing one to the job, the other comes along too. Some just get burnt whole in the fire pit out back, but that’s beside the point.

  3. avatar Richard says:

    As long as cops are train well with Ar-15s as they are with shotguns. Than I think great idea.

  4. avatar James Montgomery says:

    “Surely not everybody. Don’t call Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston Shirley. ”

    Don’t call him Shirley

  5. avatar TTACer says:

    “The shotgun is still a great weapon, but I think it’s an obsolete weapon,”

    Between this and the “machinegun” comment it is obvious that the sheriff does not know what he is talking about.

    1. avatar Jamie says:

      My thoughts exactly.

  6. avatar deadcenter says:

    I was more concerned with his “AR-15 is preferable because it can fire multiple rounds quickly and zero in on a target” Sounds like he wants to ‘recon by fire’ to me. “Just pull the trigger and hose her down there Bubba. You’ll eventually get something on the target….” We have banned all the urban commandos from our range for that reason.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Cops should have ARs. They should also have shotguns and handguns and non-lethal alternatives. The problem is training them to use all the tools at their disposal. It doesn’t happen now, and it won’t happen in the future, so expect that untrained cops with ARs will be even more dangerous than untrained cops with handguns. Scary thought.

  8. avatar Jeff O. says:

    A few years back the local sheriff of a large rural county, after a couple large pot growing and meth lab busts, decided his deputies needed better training and firepower.

    So they bought ARs but more importantly, they got training, and continue to train. So much so that they now train all the small town cops, cops from other counties and even some of the big city cops.

    The other sweet thing about this guy, he doesn’t think that civillian gun ownership is a bad thing. He’s got hundreds of miles to cover and few deputies. He even offers a civillian training class.

  9. avatar Jamie says:

    “Houston said he still hasn’t decided whether he’ll keep one of the AR-15s for himself.”
    Good for him, that’s his choice. I’ll keep all my AR’s for myself 🙂

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