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“When you get out of a car with (a shotgun) and you hear the sound of the racking action, everyone knows the next thing you’re going to hear is an exceptionally large bang. It’s a confidence thing. It means business.” – Sgt. David Bonenberger, president of the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association explaining reason for the SLPD’s move back to shotguns

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  1. Agreed…nothing makes the body “pucker” like the sound of a racking 12ga. My FN TPS and Mossberg 590 are at the ready to scare or “scatter” away any ill-focused intruder!

  2. Baloney. The intimidation factor of the “racking sound” is pure Hollywood fabrication. But, folks sure do buy into the notion (of scaring off bad guys) with just the sound.

    That’s not to mention the folly of giving away your position to the bad guy.

    • That’s not necessarily true. I once scared the living poop out of my FTO when I shucked one into the chamber behind him.

      Giving away your position is really a non-issue in LEO work considering you already have a giant moving billboard on four wheels. Additionally you typically have it “cruiser ready” and rack one into the tube as soon as you get out of the car.

      • I was mainly referring to home defense. I’ve heard many fellow civilians claim that they’d scare away intruders by chambering a round in their pump shotties. When I suggest that’s Hollyweird fantasy, they insist it’s true to life.

        I suspect when an LEO chambers a round, it’s not to intimidate the bad guy. It’s so he can fire the gun.

    • Agreed…. all hollywood…when tunnel vision and hearing kicks in you don’t hear much of anything…

    • No baloney or Hollywood
      3:00 AM – So Cal wildfires 2007, loading vehicle preparing to leave home after wind changed directions.
      Car without headlights on coming down the street stops, when the 3 people exit vehicle the dome light doesn’t come on and they start towards neighbors house.
      Lit them up with Surefire and asked what they were doing, mumbled some thing about just here to watch fire
      I suggested they leave, they continued towards the house, racked slide on 590 and sound does travel at night.
      Back in vehicle, made u turn and left

    • The intimidation factor of the “racking sound” is pure Hollywood fabrication.

      I used to think that.

      About ten years ago, I came home from a pleasant afternoon shooting clays, I walked in the door, said hello to the roommate, and on impulse, pulled the shotgun out of the case and racked it, expecting no more than a perplexed and somewhat annoyed “why did you do that?” reaction.

      What actually happened damn near cost me a good friend. The guy jumped about three feet in the air, turned white, and generally acted like he needed fresh skivvies.

      The intimidation factor of the sound is not pure Hollywood. Hearing that sound when you’re not expecting it will trigger an adrenaline dump- I’ve seen it firsthand.

  3. If you read the article, it points out that they are returning to the shotgun after using Beretta Storm 9mm carbines, and cite the greater effectiveness at likely engagement ranges. Also, supervisors will be receiving .223 carbines.
    Makes more sense in light of these facts.

    • Agreed
      From your center console shooting 10 to 15 feet outdoors, on the side of a busy road a shotgun makes sense. If the suspect runs into a building grab the carbine from the trunk and head after him.

  4. Based on my admittedly amateur evaluation of the Laurel Canyon incident and other circumstances where LE engaged determined crooks at some distance, id make the claim that a good lever action in 30-30 would be a better choice than a Shotgun. A 12 gauge is an effective weapon, to be sure, but a lever action is much more effective at long range. Its been said before, but if the LAPD uniformed officers had access to a good Marlin 336 on that day in 1997 those robbers would have been put on their arses, body armor notwithstanding.

    As far as intimidation goes, a determined suspect with ammo and good trigger control won’t care what the officer’s armed with.

    • I’m also a big fan of leverguns for LEO. For one, they are quicker to get into action than an AR. Unfortunately, they require far more “training” and many departments barely have enough time to get their officers qualified let alone provide decent training.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I love lever guns, and I’ve used them in the field. I don’t think they are faster than an AR, but they do offer a great combination of speed and stopping power.

        • Overall they are not faster than the AR nor do they have the capacity, but working the lever is a lot faster for me than doing the “charging handle chop.”

    • I think a good airstrike or helicopter gun ship should be on the list of options, a MOAB or even a satellite death ray. It’s all about law and order these days.

  5. I think a shotgun is fine for indoor home defense. I think it is a poor choice for law enforcement officers unless they think they need a slug for very large animals. Buckshot would spread way to quickly to be a safe shooting choice with citizens all around.

    If law enforcement officers need an offensive weapon (their handgun is a defensive weapon), I believe a carbine would be the best choice. That said, I think a carbine in 9mm is only marginally better than a pistol in 9 mm. A carbine in .223 would certainly be better.

    I wish someone made a carbine in either .357 Magnum or 10 mm. Ballistically speaking I think a .357 Magnum carbine would be superior to 10 mm but I don’t know if the cartridge would be conducive to magazines. Can you imagine a 158 grain bullet coming out of a .357 Magnum carbine at something like 2000+ fps? That would be plenty good out to 100 yards. I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of it!

    • This is why my “camp rifle” is a Marlin 1894c. Handy little package that covers a lot of bases and doesn’t have a shoulder thing that goes up so even in less gun-freindly locales people are unlikely to freak out.

      • I camp with the family in remote forest locations a lot and I really wish I had the cash to purchase one of those. For now my “camp rifle” is a .30-30 Winchester lever action rifle that I inherited. Certainly adequate but actually almost too much rifle. For one the report is much louder than I would like. And the Marlin 1894c holds more rounds of ammunition. (I believe it holds 9 rounds versus 6 or 7 in the .30-30 Win. ???)

        • Yeah 9+1. 10+1 if you load it with .38s.
          I bought it for exactly the reasons you cite. Low recoil, lower-than-most report, good capacity, great cartridge that will handle any defensive situation one might encounter outside of grizzly country. It’s like the last bowl of porridge. Just right.

          I have a reflex sight on it, and it comes onto target reeeally quickly. It’s become by far my favorite long gun.

    • A slug has the advantage against body armor as well. Yes, it won’t go through level IIIA soft armor, but the impact will kill the wearer. There is a warning on my vest “Not for protection against shotgun slugs. The blunt force of a slug is lethal.” Hard armor doesn’t matter as hard armor will stop rifle rounds as well. On top of that, Brenneke has developed a hardened slug that will go through soft armor if you want to kick it up a notch.

      • Although there is a warning on your vest, it has more to do with the back face deformation when complying with the NIJ standard assuming it is a standard lead slug. The impact will be no more than the recoil you feel firing the shotgun (just focused at a point). It will likely cause internal bleeding and trauma, but not likely to be lethal.

    • Can you imagine a 158 grain bullet coming out of a .357 Magnum carbine at something like 2000+ fps?

      Imagine a lever rifle with 10 rounds of .454 Casull, 240 to 400 grains of “hot lead.” That’s my CAS “1892” rifle although of course I just shoot target loads of 45 Colt. However I once calculated that the full power Casull load from a 20″ barrel, at power factor 640, could stop any N.A. wild game (moose, brown bear, etc.) that was close enough to hit using the iron sights.

    • H&K used to chamber their MP5 in 10mm (as an NFA weapon though). Semi-auto with a 16.5″ barrel? That’s a dream come true.

  6. WTF is a Titan B/SL and why are they $1800 per when they’re buying 45 of them? Versus the $400 870s they’d better shoot the bad guy by themselves and write the report…

  7. Personally, I like the idea of cops carrying shotguns in citys for the same reason states like Indiana are shotgun and muzzle loader only. Fired level to the ground from shoulder height (60 inches or 5 feet), a shotgun slug or load of buckshot will only travel 200 yds or so before hitting the earth. A .223 fired level to the gound will travel 500-600 yds before hitting the dirt. A miss, therefore, is far less likely to travel several city blocks and kill someone a quarter of a mile away. There is a bystander safety issue to it as well.

  8. The best long gun for a black and white is a pistol caliber carbine chambered in the same caliber as the duty handgun. It gives the officer a range advantage over the bad guy. A .223 is too much firepower for most situations. If you need a rifle then you need SWAT and .223 is not the round I would chose. Giving uniformed police an AR is just encouraging them to go all SEAL Team 6 on you.

    The police are not humping around the bush with an 80lb pack. An AR-10 or an M-1A is a better choice for an urban enviroment when you go against a SWAT appropriate target. You don’t want to your firepower to be equal to the BG. You want more so when his AR goes Bang he gets a Boom in return.

    • While I disagree with the first part, where I used to work had the 223 not work sufficiently well enough during patrol use. Unfortunately, the administration nixed the 308 due to “liability issues.” Cost was not a factor since LEO could buy original L1A1s and FALs from Century at the time for $275.

    • Question for both officers: How often do you encounter an AR or other long gun toting bad buy when you are on patrol?

      • It not as uncommon as you would think. I’ve only seen two myself, but it occurred fairly frequently across the department I used to work for.

  9. Sometimes, the best gun is the one that makes you feel that you have the best gun. I can see a shotgun doing just that.

  10. You know, it’s weird but…all of my guns make loud noises when i rack them, not just my shotguns. Perhaps mine are defective?

  11. Where I work we use 870s, M4s and UMP 40 SMGs. I never even take out the 870. UMP for Urban and traffic stops, M4 for patrol outdoors.

    Although to be completely honest, I’ve fallen in love with .308. I can’t help it. If I had to have ONLY one gun, on patrol or otherwise, it would either be the SCAR 17 or the LMTMWS, both in 16″ barrel configurations. You could mitigate overpenetration to a certain extent with ammuniton choice in an urban environment. It does require a different approach to training through.

  12. Shotguns are versatile and can fire many types of ammunition that will not travel too far. I would say cops should have rifles as well. I do think .223 and .308 will carry too far for police work, but something along the lines of a Marlin 1894 in .357 or .44 might work well.
    Actually if the officer had a .357 revolver and an 1894; that duo might work well.
    I personally was never quite sold on the idea that a super 9 was really that much better in the real world than the .357 revolver as defensive side arm; unless spray and pray is involved.
    I suppose a .45 carbine and .45 pistol or revolver would work as well.

  13. Way back when I was a youngster (and before I had read all about what a great bad guy deterrent racking a shotgun was alleged to be) some buddies and I thought it would be cool to sneak up on a old trailer another friend slept in and start beating on it and rocking it back and forth around midnight. He yelled out that whoever it was better get the hell away or he’d start shooting. We just laughted and then heard him rack his 12 gauge he used earlier that day dove hunting; we immediately left the area. This was in rural Texas back in the late Fifties. That was when I realized that hearing a shotgun being racked when you may be the target sounded quite different then when you were the one with the gun. On the other hand, this was balanced out you might say years later when I worked for a particular police chief who said that he had gotten just the receiver and slide from an old beat-up 12 ga. pump and gave it to his daughter, telling her she didn’t need a ‘real’ gun for home protection, just rack the slide and the intruder would make tracks. That was when I found out that disagreeing with your chief might not be the smartest thing to do.

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