Law Enforcement Technology

NOV 2016

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Page 28 of 43 NOVEMBER 2016 LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY 29 of force. Theoretically, a shotgun slug or shot payload has about 4 times the energy of a law enforcement handgun bullet at the muzzle. If all other things are equal, then the shotgun will pre- vent a threat from being threatening quicker and more reliably than any other law enforcement instrument. Every patrol car should have a shotgun. As demonstrated in a video Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch distributed, the differenc- es in maneuverability of a handgun and shotgun are negligible. However, the force option difference is measurable. Will walls stop a shotgun projectile? What will stop a shotgun projectile? Certainly not walls. Gene Whisenand of Trident Firearms Academy and I placed sheet- rock and 2x4 walls inline, followed by ballistic gelatin. We theo- rized that both the shotgun slug and buckshot would penetrate at least a couple of walls before capture within ballistic gelatin. I have some experience shooting through walls. Knowing that a couple of them would not be enough to stop any shotgun payload, we started by shooting through four. This did not stop the low recoil one-ounce slugs or the low recoil 00 buckshot. Consider the implications. When we pull the trigger, we are conscious of what's behind the target. However, we can't possi- bly know what is behind the interior wall in the next room. The buckshot continued to expand as it pierced the interior walls. By the time it exited the fourth wall, it was about a 300 percent spread. This is a much faster rate of dispersion than with a paper target. It appears that barriers likely increase dispersion. Now let's think about cover: Some of the pillars used in commercial construction, like the ones gracing storefronts in outdoor malls, are for decoration, not architectural support. Many of them are not weight bearing. Outdoor versions are a little more structurally sound than sheetrock, but not by much. Circle 59 on Reader Ser vice Card YOUR CALL PRAY OR SPRAY KILLS BED BUGS Gene Whisenand, far left, and Alex Frampton, center, of Trident Firearms Academy, built the walls while Rick Macchia, far right, provided technical expertise. We built and rebuilt the walls after shooting through them several times. If they don't bear weight, don't expect them to stop slugs. As a rule, any structural column is going to have more material toward the base than at chest height. The same goes for trees, by the way. To satisfy everyone's curiosity, I was unable to capture any brand slug fired through four walls in Clear Ballistics gelatin. In comparison, after four walls, buckshot penetrated between 17 and 20 inches of ballistic gelatin—a little further than nominal. Accuracy and dispersion Before our experiment, we looked at dispersion and accuracy. We used the average width of a torso, about 18 inches. And since the average law enforcement smooth bore shotgun barrel is between 18 and 20 inches, that's what we used. We theorized that as long as all projectiles stayed on our cardboard target the usable distance of the shotgun was reasonable. With 00 buckshot approximately 32 caliber and muzzle velocities averaging a little over 1,600 feet/ second, that makes each projectile about the ballistic equivalent of a .38 special. That's a lot of energy to transfer to a target. If a single pellet leaves the target, the consequences could be disastrous. After 15 yards, at least one pellet missed the torso-shaped target. Think about this, anything past 15 yards is not recommended

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