Question of the Day: Which is More Deadly, Shotgun or AR?

Mossberg 500 (courtesy

“[Darion Marcus Aguilar] passed a state-mandated FBI criminal background check within minutes, paid $430 and walked out of the store Dec. 10 with the shotgun,” reports, “which authorities say he used Saturday to kill two employees at a skate shop in The Mall in Columbia before taking his own life . . . Maryland law does not place the same restrictions on hunting weapons such as shotguns as those that govern other weapons. A law passed last year banned the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and some said that change may have prevented Saturday’s shooting from being even more deadly.” True story?


  1. avatar John L. says:

    Answer: depends on who’se on the upstream side of the barrel.

    1. avatar Guy says:

      Precisely. You may as well be asking if a person killed with a shotgun is deader than the person killed with an AR. When both weapons are lethal within the range in question, it’s only down to shot placement.

      1. avatar Tomy Ironmane says:

        silly question, as I’m sure no one will be willing to volunteer to be shot with either.

    2. avatar Hobbez says:

      absolutely, it’s all up to the mind behind the trigger. I would go so far as to say that it doesn’t matter which one you are shot with, You are just as dead either way.

    3. avatar disthunder says:

      I think you’re right on, but I’d also add that it was very much the guy behind the trigger’s wallet that decided the weapon here- being under 21 and probably on a budget, I don’t think an AR wad even an option for the little douchebag.

    4. avatar ropingdown says:

      Is that AR a .45ACP AR?

    5. avatar CAGLS says:

      Neither without someone operating it just like a hammer, rope, cynide, knife.

  2. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Quick! Justify and rationalize the new laws, before the sheep start to think!

    To answer the question, it depends on range and skill, but for an unskilled shooter within 100 yards, a shotgun is absolutely more lethal.

    1. avatar Pat says:

      Well…thirty yards or so. At 100 yards, an AR with thirty round clip is vastly more effective. Far less recoil for follow-up shots, stupid accuracy, and plenty of power (twice the energy of a 357 magnum). Shotgun is more devastating at close range, but would you really want to get hit by an AR?

  3. avatar Javier says:

    It depends. Is it a ghost shotgun with 30 gauge clips per second?

    1. avatar Jandrews says:

      No, but the shoulder thing does go up.

      1. avatar Jon R. says:

        damn it, you just beat me to it, dag nab it…

        1. avatar Sammy says:

          My thing occasionally goes up, but it’s nowhere near my shoulder, though it would be interesting it it were.

    2. avatar Jon R. says:

      I heard it was one of those assault shotguns, with a barrel shroud, you know, the shoulder thing that goes up.

      1. avatar Timbo says:

        No No No, it was a Police style shotgun

        No, it was a Military style shotgun.

        No, it was an assault shotgun.

        Maybe it was a weapon of war?

        1. avatar Delmarva Chip says:

          I thought it was an automatic assault ghost revolver AR-15 gauge shotgun with a shoulder thing that goes up, a double-barreled grenade launcher, a serial detachable number, a one-time-use 30 magazine clip, a dust cover, and a bayonet.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Frack, DC. Now I need an aspirin.

        3. avatar LongPurple says:

          Did it have one of those “stacking swivels”? I think those devices have something to do with stacking up the bodies of the victims.

  4. avatar Danny C-W says:

    The FSA2013 doesn’t matter at all in this case. All the weapons that are now banned in MD required that you be 21 anyways. He couldn’t have bought a standard AR legally if he wanted to.

  5. avatar DaveL says:

    A law passed last year banned the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and some said that change may have prevented Saturday’s shooting from being even more deadly.

    Funny, they didn’t say that after the Clackamas Town Center shooting, in which a guy with an AR-15 and high-capacity magazines killed exactly the same number of people.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      The Clackamas Mall shooting never happened. Repeat: The Clackamas Mall shooting did not occur.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        He wasn’t ‘confronted’ by an armed shooter, some guy came forward later talking about he did absolutely nothing as if it was important.

        And it wasn’t a media blackout at the time, it just faded due to the next week’s horrific news.

        1. avatar natermer says:

          actually it’s fairly normal for a ‘mass shooter’ type to suicide themselves once confronted by any sort of resistance. It destroys their power trip and since they head in with the goal of dying they end up deciding enough is enough. More or less.

  6. avatar SirJames says:

    Bad people do bad things, end of story. Besides doesn’t a shotgun hold 5 rounds, sounds like he only used 3…

    1. avatar Hank says:

      IF he took the dowel out, it would hold five.

      1. avatar bontai Joe says:

        Mine holds 9 plus one in the chamber. I got a mag extension for when “they” come

    2. avatar Anon in CT says:

      I think it was mission accomplished for the shooter. He wasn’t there to run up a body count. He was not a spree killer – this was really a domestic murder that happended at a mall.

      He was there to kill his Ex-, and (I believe) the guy she left him for (or current BF, whatever), and then himself. He could have done with with a break-open Drilling gun, or even a Katana.

      The Washington Navy Yard shooter showed how a shotgun could be used for a spree killing.

      1. avatar Larey K says:

        If this exact same crime happened a block away from the mall no one outside that town would have heard about it,

      2. avatar Drew says:

        It could have been done with uncle joes double barrel. It’s not like that third shot hade to be especially quick. Hell, with shelter in place responses he could have killed half the mall with a .410 single shot for all of $75 from a pawn shop.

      3. avatar Conway Redding says:

        To date there is no evidence that Brianna Benlolo was Darion Marcus Aguilar’s ex, or that Tyler Johnson was the boy for whom Benlolo had left Aguilar, or if there is such evidence, the police have not released it. Right now, Aguilar appears to simply have been another profoundly unhappy and generally misanthropic people, who managed to keep his unhappiness and misanthropy hidden, until the day he took that shotgun to the mall.

    3. avatar Chad says:

      My 3 gun shotgun holds way more than 5. With the extended mag it holds 13- 2 3/4″ shells. Heaven forbid an anti gunner sees a comp shotgun in action.

  7. avatar Highwayman says:

    I don’t know, he did ventilate his cranium with plenty of ammo still on him. He did not kill others for some reason.

  8. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    After being shot 30 times from an AR or taking 45 00 pellets I’m pretty sure which is deadlier will be the least of your concerns.

  9. avatar Patriot says:

    If he had used a knife and stabbed the two people to death, would this even be a story? Nope.

    1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      Absolutely it would have been a story. The anti-gunners would have used it as an example of how, if not for the strong anti-gun laws, he would have gotten a gun and killed hundreds, if not thousands of people. The fact that he was forced to use a knife would have proven their point, they would conclude.

      1. avatar NJDevils72 says:

        Some guy in Queens today killed his girlfriend and her 25 year old daughter with a hammer while her four year old daughter was in the apartment. We won’t be hearing about this case in another day even though domestic violence is the cause here and in Maryland and in many other murders. Now, if a gun was used…

        1. avatar Chaotic Good says:

          Mingdong Chen killed his cousin and her four children in New York City armed with only a knife. That was off the front page pretty quickly.

  10. avatar Bruce L. says:

    In general, the AR-15. It has more rounds, therefore it can kill more people. But as all generalizations there are exceptions.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Does the car with the most horsepower always win the race? Does the boxer with the longest arms always win the fight? Does the heaviest wrestler always take the belt? Does the richest politician always win the election?

      wait, scratch that last one.

    2. avatar Julian says:

      Not if you keep reloading while shooting. Thankfully this guy didn’t know about that, but it’s easy to take a few shots then top off the mag tube and keep going.

      1. avatar Paul G. says:

        That shotgun doesn’t no stinking magazines.

    3. avatar Xanthro says:

      I couldn’t disagree more. Otherwise BBs guns or Paintball gun would be the most deadly, since they can fire hundreds of times before reloading.

      At close distance, quite simply, no firearm is as dangerous as a shotgun. Since attackers get to chose their engagement range, the lack of distance in a shotgun is not a hindrance.

      One round from a 12 gauge 00 Buck is 9 pellets, which is far more devastating that getting hit even a couple of time from a 5.56 round.

      1. avatar Denny says:

        “One round from a 12 gauge 00 Buck is 9 pellets”

        Agreed when speaking of 12 gage 2 3/4″ – 00 shells… A 12 gage 3″ of 00 is 15 pellets. More holes bigger mess.

        Same painful sheet of music though.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        Well then, don’t worry when the politicians decide to ban everything but shotguns. You’ll be fine!

        Comparing an modern rifle to a bb gun is much more absurd than comparing a shotgun to a rifle. Guess what, I’d be fine standing in front of a BB gun. Hell, I’ve done it as a kid. Not a big deal, it’s not going to kill you unless you’re the unluckiest SOB on the planet. A rifle can reasonably kill with one shot.

        This was part of the problem with a recent decision in NY; pro-gun folks want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to act like guns are just tools like any other (nope, the 2nd doesn’t protect hammers) and that standard magazines don’t provide a real advantage, but then complain when they get banned. Gotta get the message straight.

    4. avatar Bruce L. says:

      Yes Vhyrus, the car with the most HP does usually win, and the boxer with the longest arms does as well. As for reloading the shotgun, you do know you have a way to carry extra ammo for a quick reload of the AR-15? If you really think the shotgun is more dangerous then why are most soldiers armed with rifles, not shotguns?

      1. avatar Steve says:

        1) Shotguns are far less effective against the body armor worn by enemy troops
        2) Engagements frequently occur outside of a shotgun’s optimal range
        That being said, shotguns are frequently used by our military when mission appropriate (i.e. kicking down doors)

        1. avatar A-Rod says:

          Troops should have both in their ranks. The rifle is the queen of the battlefield but the shotgun rules the castle.

      2. avatar slicer87 says:

        The car with the best HP to weight ratio will win.

  11. avatar Defens says:

    Hey, spinners gotta spin. If the facts don’t support your conclusions, then make stuff up or erect sufficient straw men to obfuscate the issue.

  12. avatar James R says:

    Depends, does the AR have a pistol grip or a shoulder thing that goes up?

    1. avatar Troutbum5 says:

      Or the dreaded barrel shroud.

      1. avatar BTinAfghan says:

        don’t forget the dust cover and clips, guns will not shoot without clips.

      2. avatar James R says:

        Yeah that’s what I was talking about! Barrel shrouds! (that’s a shoulder thing that goes up right?)

  13. avatar MattG says:

    I’d say they are quite different firearms, but at the end of the day they can both be equally lethal in the hands of a madman and this just illustrates the futility & stupidity of banning certain classes of firearms based on how scary they look.

  14. avatar BTinAfghan says:

    Neither one of these “evil guns” is deadly or dangerous. The gun is a tool which can be used for either good or evil, the gun operates the same way either way. The variable that could make either one of them deadly is the person on the stock end of the gun. The person is the only dangerous/deadly variable. Personnel responsibility is obviously frowned upon these days; however it is the person who kills not the tool used.

  15. avatar Roscoe says:

    RF; did you really state “high capacity magazines” when you actually meant ‘standard capacity magazines’ over 10 rounds?

    Now even you are becoming subverted by the new propaganda vocabulary rooted in anti-gun rhetoric.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      That was a quote from the article. See the two little marks on either side of the paragraph? That means it’s a quote.

      1. avatar Roscoe says:

        My bust – missed that.

        Faith restored.


  16. avatar H.R. says:

    With a 12 gauge you’re firing 9 00 pellets or something like 27 #4 buck pellets with every trigger pull. We all know a shotgun is extremely dangerous in the hands of a bad guy. It’s not any less dangerous than an AR. The guy who shot up the Navy Yard last year didn’t seem to have much trouble using his to kill a lot of people, including one armed guy that he appropriated a second weapon from.

  17. avatar DanRRZ says:

    Perfect example of why banning EBRs does nothing. He had many more rounds, but only shot two people before turning the gun on himself. Had he used a 30 rounder or even a beta mag I’m not sure if this would have turned out any differently.

    Don’t get me wrong, some POS having to stop and reload after 5 shots rather than 30 can provide and advantage to somebody equipped to strike back. But if you are talking about a gun free zone, the shooter can wreak havoc and reload at will with no worries about taking fire until the cops arrive.

    1. avatar Xanthro says:

      You are forgetting an important aspect.

      A shotgun can be reloaded while firing, without a waste or rounds. Sure, you can tactically reload an AR, and save the magazine, but you can’t top off.

      With a shotgun, someone can shoot 3 times, still have 3 rounds left, put in 3 more rounds, and always have at least three rounds loaded.

  18. avatar Michael B. says:

    A 1 ounce hollow point slug is pretty damn devastating. I don’t know, but I don’t want to be shot with either.

  19. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

    AR-15: one trigger pull one .22 projectile
    Shotgun: one trigger pull fifteen .30 projectiles.
    Do the math.

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      FINALLY! Someone gets it. Additionally, I recently bought some OO buck rounds for close to $1.00 each. 5.56/.223 is still over $1.00 a round around here. Shotty is less expensive per tigger pull.

  20. avatar KingSarc48265 says:

    Funny how they arent calling it an assault shotgun. Yet.

    1. avatar MikeC says:

      Good thing it didn’t have a bayonet lug or flash hider, he could have killed hundreds.

  21. avatar Ralph says:

    that change may have prevented Saturday’s shooting from being even more deadly

    What an incredibly infantile statement by a gunhater. Okay, so I’m being repetitively redundant.

    1. avatar Jim Barrett says:


      The change may also have prevented an alien abduction or two. Maybe even a few tiger attacks. It almost certainly prevented a zombie apocalypse. Lookie – I can make shit up too.

    2. avatar Dave the dude says:

      “Okay, so I’m being repetitively redundant.”

      You can say that again…

  22. avatar mike w says:

    wait. one type of gun can make you more dead than another type of gun?

  23. avatar Roll says:

    Pretty much what everyone here says: It Depends. Distance and what type of ammo the shotgun is shooting(Birdshot, buckshot, slugs).

  24. avatar Nick D says:

    A Mossberg Persuader shotgun can hold 7+1 shells of 3″ buckshot. Each shell contains 15 .33 caliber pellets. Each pellet weighs 53 grains and moves at about 1200 ft/s. Each pellet has 172 ft-lbs of energy, which puts it between a single .32 ACP round and .380 for muzzle energy. Multiply that back out by 15 and you get 2580ft -lbs of energy. Multiply again by 8, the number of shells in a combat loaded Persuader, and you get 20,640 ft-lbs per magazine with a cheap $300 shotgun. The 62 grain 5.56 NATO round flies at 3100 ft/s, and has a muzzle energy of 1323 ft-lbs. Times 30 is 39690. This from a gun that costs at least $600, if you can find it that cheap, and is restricted in a lot of states. If I had to move somewhere where AR-15s were verboten, a cheap boomstick can still solve a lot of problems, up to 120 of them per loaded tube. And if I’m going to be ghoulish about it, if I want to go out with a bang on a budget, the shotgun is the answer.

  25. avatar LJM says:

    At combat distance, both are deadly, but the law of physics say getting hit with a full load from a shotgun is a wee bit more devasting. Sending 500-600+ grains of lead at 1300+ fps will do more damage than 50-60 grains of lead at 3000 fps. Being at the other end of the two is never advisable, however, in terms of one shot stops, Shotgun wins.

  26. avatar ThomasR says:

    When you pick a gun free zone; as the D.C. Navy yard mass murderer did; then kill the only armed individual that could immediately respond; as The navy yard shooter did; then have at least “8 minutes” to have a free fire zone where no one will be armed to stop the murderer; as the Navy yard shooter did; then use a standard capacity shot gun with 5 shots that can be leisurely reloaded; as the D.C. Navy yard shooter had and did; then you can murder “12 people and wound 8” with a shot gun as effectively with an AR-15 with as high a body count; as the Navy Yard Murderer did.

    So the Evil black gun with “high capacity clips” isn’t needed to be an effective mass murderer; just an innocuous 5 shot pump action shot gun (with the properly disarmed population as promoted by our “betters”), the gun promoted as the perfect self-defense gun by our eminent Vice-president Biden?

    Hmm, does this mean it isn’t the gun that makes a person an “unstoppable killing machine” but in fact, a regular man just has to have the intent to kill a lot of people and then he will find a way?

  27. avatar Accur81 says:

    Close in, the shotgun is the most deadly. Outside 100 yards, or for precision shots, the AR rules. I’ve got ARs, but would chose my Mossberg 930 with 00 for close in defense. I’ve got reloads on the stock with tactical slugs.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the planning of the truly depraved murderer or terrorist. The Oklahoma City bomber, the incendiary bomb bus murderers in China, and the 9/11 terrorists did a whole lot more damage than any single person armed with a firearm.

  28. avatar Excedrine says:

    Depends on how far away you are.

    Anyway, the Columbia Mall shooter was only looking to kill two people. If he wanted to kill a great many more, he very well would have simply for the fact that very well could have — regardless of the swiftness of the police response to his antics. It was over in less time than the Arapahoe High shooting, which also benefited from an armed responder who was already on-campus.

    He chose not to kill anybody else. The low body count had absolutely nothing to do with any racist, sexist, anti-rights, and anti-Huamnist gun control laws.

  29. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    A violent criminal could use either firearm to great effect in a spree killing. It would all boil down to location, tactics, and ammunition selection. Spree killers have killed virtually all of their victims at close range so let’s talk about that and assume that the spree killer is able to put all shots on “center of mass”.

    If the spree killer is “smart” enough to use sabot slugs, they could easily kill two to three people with each squeeze of the trigger in a crowd, say 2.5 people on average. (A 300 grain .50 caliber bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2000 fps is going to punch right through an average human with plenty of retained velocity, mass, and surface area to be plenty lethal to whoever is behind the first casualty.) If the shotgun has a standard 5 round tube magazine, the spree killer could therefore kill about 12 to 13 people without reloading. But keep in mind that the spree killer can also reload “on the fly” without rendering his shotgun inoperable. In other words he/she could shoot two or three times, add two or three shells to the magazine, and repeat until he/she has no more shells. However, the substantial recoil of a 12 gauge shotgun shooting sabot slugs would increase the time to come back on the next target.

    An AR-15 would probably kill one person with each trigger squeeze. If the spree killer were using standard 30 round magazines, then they could kill 30 people before reloading … and reloading would take less than four seconds for someone who is under stress and not practiced.

    I believe an average spree killer would kill a few more people with an AR-15 (with standard 30 round magazines) than with a 12 gauge shotgun (with a 5 round tube magazine) shooting sabot slugs. However, if victims are running around making shots to center of mass much more difficult, a spree killer using a 12 gauge shotgun with #00 buckshot could be more lethal than someone using an AR-15. Like I said, it all boils down to location, tactics, and ammunition selection.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      A standard shotgun holds five rounds in the tube magazine plus one round in the chamber. Therefore a spree killer using such a shotgun with sabot slugs could easily kill 15 people (2.5 on average per trigger squeeze) without reloading … and reloading “on the fly” without making the shotgun inoperable means they could kill as many as they want until they either run out of shells or someone stops them.

      This really is close to a toss-up.

      1. avatar Troutbum5 says:

        According to some reports I have read from Iraq and Afghanistan, most bad guys do not die from a single hit with a 5.56, and that it sometimes takes as many as 5 or 6 torso hits to stop them. BT, please correct me if I’m wrong. A chestful of buckshot is almost certainly going to be quickly fatal. So I would say shot for shot, the scattergun wins. Either way, if the shooter has any skill and is the only one packing heat, I don’t think it matters.

        1. avatar Excedrine says:

          I can personally vouch for the piss-poor performance of the M855 ball round, having stitched a bad guy up his right side from his ankle to his shoulder and still could not kill him. Not only that, but when he recovered from his surgeries, he walked around in detention without even so much as a limp.

          Had it been M193, however…

      2. avatar Pat says:

        An M1A or similar 7.62/308 battle rifle with 20 round magazine and armor piercing ammo could be ugly in a crowd.

  30. avatar Roscoe says:

    There are a LOT of variables. I’m guessing having more rounds wouldn’t have made a difference; the shooter appears to have accomplished what he was after, then off’ed himself.

    Don’t know if he was proficient with firearms or not. If he was not, having a pistol or rifle might have required more shots to accomplish his ends, plus with a shotty, you see the results immediately.

  31. avatar DaveL says:

    I think the question of which is deadlier is moot. The answer may vary depending on the circumstances, but against unsuspecting civilians at indoor distances, the fact is that both are more than deadly enough to inflict all the carnage seen here and much, much more.

  32. avatar nemsis says:

    Sounds like he had a personal grudge against these two people otherwise he could have continued killing with shotgun just like he could with a “assault weapon”

  33. avatar Frank McGhee says:

    Obviously, the AR has the advantage regarding ammo capacity, with a 30 round magazine. A 12 ga. shotgun with 00 buck or a slug hitting humans leaves massive destruction. 5.56 does not have a great reputation for instant knock down. I remember having to use multiple M-4 rounds in OEF/OIF to stop attackers, so in my experience I would NOT want to face a shotgun.

  34. avatar LJM says:

    Oh wait, what about the evil AR-15 Assault Shotgun?

  35. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

    Which is more deadly: Tiger or Hippo?

    Your question is just as silly as the one I just asked.

  36. avatar Tom in Wisconsin says:

    What is more deadly, a doctor or a lawyer?

    1. avatar mrvco says:

      Is Joe Biden a lawyer or a doctor?

      1. avatar Denny says:

        Not smart enough to be either,

        He’s only the V.P. of the US and only a double barrel shotty in his hand minus warning shot.

        Like a Dumb money penny clown

        1. avatar Denny says:

          Correction: Like a dumb Pennywise clown from “IT”

      2. avatar Conway Redding says:

        Joe Biden, like many professional politicians, is in fact a lawyer

  37. avatar SteveInCO says:

    For a single round? Shotgun, definitely.

    The AR, however, allows you to engage more individual targets with precision–30+1 of them. (A shotgun will take out two or more targets with one round only if they are standing close enough to each other to be in the same pattern.) Granted you might need more than one shot per target, but that could still be anywhere from 7-15 people if you are doing 2-4 rounds per target.

    So for this question to be meaningful, you have to decide what “deadlier” means. Number of people killed? I’d say the AR wins *with proper shot placement*.

  38. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

    The AR is more deadly. Every time an AR fires a child dies somewhere while shotguns create a magical protective forcefield when you fire two warning shots.

    1. avatar mrvco says:

      VOTE BIDEN 2016

      1. avatar Denny says:

        Excuse me! Projectile Vomit, oupps sorry man.

  39. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    “some said that change may have prevented Saturday’s shooting from being even more deadly.”

    Dumbest thing I’ve heard in a while. He had plenty of ammunition, and explosives at his immediate disposal. If he had wanted to kill more people he could have done it easily. He chose not to; the weapon used is totally irrelevant.

  40. avatar dwb says:

    These are exactly the kinds of questions we should be answering by conducting experiments with inmates on death row. Why speculate.

    1. avatar Troutbum5 says:

      Pretty sure a lot of pigs, sheep, dogs and costs have already died in the quest for these answers. I saw several creepy films from the 50s and. 60s about wound ballistics during my Air Force medical training. Creepy because they were black and white, and because of the almost cheerful tone of the narrator. Death row inmates might have been a better choice.

  41. avatar dwb says:

    By the way, the quote “some said that change may have prevented Saturday’s shooting from being even more deadly”

    was none other than our very own special kind of asshat, Vinnie DeMarco. We can only speculate why the Sun did not want to attribute that to him.

    thank god those shotguns only have 10 round clips too…

  42. avatar mike says:

    Whichever hits you first…

  43. avatar Gunr, from Oregon says:

    Way too many variables to accurately answer this question. Serves only for amusing posts.

    1. avatar dwb says:

      scientific studies show that people who died due to AR-15 type lead poisoning are just as dead as people who died from shotgun-type lead poisoning. The most important variable that predicted whether they died was whether they were shot in a vital area (r-squared = .9999). Other variables turned out to be loading the gun, and actually pulling the trigger, and aiming the barrel. But, those were correlated to hitting vital areas. Once fixed effects were accounted for, ammo had strong residual effect. Those shot with 1/4 oz of lead or less in a vital area were merely dead, those shot with more were definitely dead.

  44. avatar BDub says:

    I feel like slapping someone in the face with my weapon of crass disruption.

  45. avatar AZ47 says:

    people aren’t looking at this from the perspective of the troubled person. if the person plans to take their life, they are selecting a tool that will have massive damage for hope of it being quick and painless. if they plan to go on a rampage in hopes of being immortalized, they will likely choose a different tool. look at Adam Lanza.. AR to take out a mass of innocent people so he can be recognized in death where he failed in life. then a Glock 20 to kill himself and avoid capture. this troubled person in the recent mall shooting may have had a grudge based on spite where he wanted to cause anguish in retribution then take his own life. he wouldn’t need many rounds but would want them to be effective, so he chose a shotgun. even if an AR were available to him, I’m sure he still would have chosen the shotgun.

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      interesting theory. I wonder if Kurt Cobain and Ernest Hemingway used their shotguns in such a preplanned manner. Use of a shotgun for your own suicide guarantees results. .45ACP worked pretty good too in the case of Hunter S. Thompson.

  46. avatar Toasty says:

    The VA tech killer used two handguns with 10 and 15 rd magazines, he just used a lot of them. The guy in Norway used a Mini-14, which is legal in every US state, Canada and much of Europe. In the end, all that matters was who was on the other end of that gun operating it and the amount of planning they put into their attack. All of us here know this because we all understand how firearms operate, but we’re just talking amongst ourselves, we’ll never convince anyone that legitimately believes banning pistol grips on and threaded barrels on some rifles, but not others, will dramatically reduce crime and or the body count of mass killing, anything. Personal opinion though? Pump action shotgun. It will reliably feed and fire, has a good spread and its projectiles are deadly.

  47. avatar SdubM45 says:

    Shotgun. Synergy and velocity at close range. Lets take a box of Hornady TAP 12 Gauge 00 Buckshot. 2-3/4 inch, 8 pellet at 1600 fps. and 12ga 00 buck is about .33 diameter wise. In other words: 8 .32ACP sized rounds hitting the target at 1600fps AT THE SAME TIME. The human body has a difficulty coping with that much shock and trauma in such a short amount of time.

  48. avatar Ardent says:

    I think the real question is this, if all he could buy was a shotgun but he really needed an AR-15 to do what he intended, is the shotgun deadly enough to kill a cop in an ambush and retrieve the patrol rifle from the car?

    What prevents people from murder are cultural/moral prohibitions and consequences. Once suicide is intended consequences no longer matter. If such a person wants to kill people they will kill people and no law in the world can prevent it.

  49. avatar Hal J. says:

    In large (as in 95%) part, the deadliness of the weapon depends upon the operator. In the hands of an experienced shooter who continuously tops off the magazine and uses buckshot, a 12 ga. shotgun is going to be very deadly at close range, even as compared to an AR. In the hands of a someone with virtually no firearms experience (as is frequently the case with mass shooters), I’m going with the AR. Far less recoil, easier to reload, and easier to operate than a pump-action.

  50. avatar Shawn says:

    He walked around the mall for an hour before he knocked off these two. So, he had a mission. It would of not mattered what weapon he used.

  51. avatar jwm says:

    He bought the shotgun in Dec. and did hid murder in Jan. Did he have enough time and practice to make an AR an effective weapon in his hands? The simple pump shotgun has an easier manual of arms than the AR. Precision shots with a rifle take more time and effort to trrain for.

    In the mall either one will do the job, but the rifle has a range advantage(some malls have long, open spaces in them) that a rank amatuer may not have been up to using effectively.

  52. avatar Aaron says:

    Gun murders are common in Maryland. What’s not common is lawful gun defense, because the good guys are disarmed.

    what’s more deadly? when only criminals have guns, regardless of type.

  53. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

    Whichever one shoots a 45 ACP. That drops men dead in one hit.

    1. avatar Jason Lynch says:

      No, with a .45ACP just the sight of it makes men die of terror.

      It’s the Chuck Norris of calibres.

  54. avatar Guess Who says:

    The shotgun is much more deadly because amunition is easily available. .223/5.56 still isn’t abundantly available here. I can buy shotgun shells at any Walmart, sporting goods store, or gun shop in almost unlimited quantities. The cost is lower for both the gun and the shells – this shoud be an important point because many of the crazy killers aren’t rich. AR-15 habits are expensive.

  55. avatar JAS says:

    Up close the shotgun with 00. Getting hit with the full load is like getting hit nine times with a 9mm MP5 sub machine gun, all at the same time and in the same place. Over 25 yards the AR wins.

    Personal favorite up close is #4 buck in 20 gauge. 24 rounds of .24 caliber ammo hitting all at the same time, with less recoil. And the gelatin tests say it’s more devastating that 00 Buck.

  56. avatar jwm says:

    Who pays 430 bucks for a mossberg 500?

    1. avatar sacorey says:

      Exactly what i was thinking, if someone is that crazy i guess $430 seems reasonable for a maveric 88

  57. avatar Gregolas says:

    Too tired to read all the posts on this so if someone already said this, forgive me. In 1992, Dr. martin Fackler, head of the U.S Army’s wound ballistics lab, published his findings of a study. The study compared mass killings worldwide with shotguns and military “assault rifle” rounds, specifically, 5.56 & &.62×39. The score: shotgun, 76% lethality; military round lethality, 28%. This was over a ten year period.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      i believe that. if you get shot in the stomach with a .223, your day sucks. of you get shot in the stomach with 9 00bk pellets, the next 30 seconds will suck until you die.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      1 shot lethality is about 95% with a shotgun. 50% with a rifle and 5% for a pistol. First hit probability with 1 shot follows just about that same pattern.

  58. avatar S.CROCK says:

    this is a stupid question when there is the ar-15 military styled assault shotgun.

    1. avatar USNvet says:

      The Saiger is a great rifle for the price I did not try to shot gun type yet

  59. avatar USNvet says:

    I have an assault firearm 7.62 x 39 with 30 round clips great firearm for general purpose fire fights or deer hunting with a 5 round clip

    I also own a Bernili M-1 12 ga shot gun.

    If I was to pick the best all around defense and offence firearm the M1 is my first choice.

    Great out to 75 yards can hold 10 rounds of various types of ammo and using buck shot take out multiple targets with one shot or place on rapid firing take out crowds of criminals with a hail lead balls fired at them

    Of course the Benilli cost 6 times more then the Russian assault weapon but it has awesome capabilities

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