Law Enforcement Technology

NOV 2016

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F IR E A R M S TA C T I C S GUNS, GEAR, TRAINING AND BEST PRACTICES Lindsey Bertomen A retired police of ficer and militar y small arms trainer, Lindsey Ber tomen has taught shooting techniques for over a decade, in addition to teaching criminal justice at Har tnell College in Salinas, California. Of f the clock he enjoys competing in shooting spor ts, running and cycle events. He welcomes comments at lber tomen@letonline.com. 28 LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY NOVEMBER 2016 www.officer.com W ith almost every agency in the indus- try issuing semiautomatic carbines, most in the AR 15 type of configura- tion, is there a logical place for the shotgun in police work? Yes. The answer will always be yes. The shotgun is often used to bridge the gap between the capabilities of a handgun and the long gun. There was always some overlap, but some believe that the shotgun should be employed between point-blank and 70 yards. The outer distance of the shotgun's capabilities actually comes from military practice, which is 70 meters. By the way, 70 yards is too far, unless the ordinance is slugs and the user practices with them. The shotgun is definitely a useful instrument, but not quite as versatile as we are led to believe. In order to demonstrate this, we built some walls then shot through them. Although we approached our duties scientifically, we simply do not have enough iterations of this test to be conclusive—with respect to the scientific method. In fact, it is expensive and time-con- suming to build walls and then shoot them. Our friends from Trident Firearms Academy helped us with this project by building the walls and providing expertise from their law enforcement and military experience. The walls were con- structed of sheet rock and 2x4 sections, typical of any interior construction. As we fired away, we attempted to capture the projectiles on the other side with ballistic gelatin. "Attempt" means we knew that projectiles fired from shot- guns have an immense amount of penetration, and they might over-penetrate. Why a shotgun? The shotgun cartridge isn't like a metallic rifle or handgun cartridge. Besides the construction of a plastic hull with a metallic base, shotguns don't fire bullets, they deliver payloads. A shot- gun's payload ranges from ¾ of an ounce to 1.5 ounces. The lead is usually softer than lead used in bullets. I can tell you that the shotgun doesn't really care about the nature of the payload, as long as it meets the weight parameters and fits in the shell. That is, if the payload is No.4 shot or 00 buckshot, the shotgun doesn't care as long as the weight (and other controllable factors) are the same. For the law enforcement officer, sending a one-ounce (437-grain) payload at close range is much more effective than a 55-grain bullet from a carbine or a 124-grain bullet from a handgun. The shotgun trumps most other tools when clearing hallways and stair- ways. The payload from a 12-gauge delivers a tremen- dous amount of foot pounds Shooting through walls Exactly how does a shotgun projectile stack up against sheet rock and some 2x4s? Our Mossberg 500 provided a reliable ser vice for all-day shooting. We found a large aperture rear site was the best choice for a law enforcement shotgun.

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