shotgun training, shotguns fired, Anti-Terrorism

Shotgun (also known as a scattergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge known as a shotshell, which usually discharges numerous small pellet-like spherical sub-projectiles called shot, or sometimes a single solid projectile called a slug. Shotguns are most commonly smoothbore firearms, meaning that their gun barrels have no rifling on the inner wall, but rifled barrels for shooting slugs (slug barrels) are also available.

Shotguns come in a wide variety of calibers and gauges ranging from 5.5 mm (.22 inch) to up to 5 cm (2.0 in), though the 12-gauge (18.53 mm or 0.729 in) and 20-gauge (15.63 mm or 0.615 in) bores are by far the most common. Almost all are breechloading, and can be single-barreled, double-barreled or in the form of combination guns.

Like rifles, shotguns also come in a range of different action types, both single-shot and repeating. For non-repeating designs, over-and-under break action shotguns are by far the most common variant. Although revolving shotguns did exist, most modern repeating shotguns are either pump-action or semi-automatic, and also fully automatic, lever-action or bolt-action to a lesser extent.

Preceding smoothbore firearms (such as the musket) were widely used by armies in the 18th century. The muzzleloading blunderbuss, the direct ancestor of the shotgun, was also used in similar roles from self-defense to riot control. Shotguns were often favored by cavalry troops in the early to mid-19th century because of its ease of use and generally good effectiveness on the move, as well as by coachmen for its substantial power. But by the late 19th century, these weapons became largely replaced on the battlefield by breechloading rifled firearms shooting spin-stabilized cylindro-conoidal bullets, which were far more accurate with longer effective ranges. The military value of shotguns was rediscovered in the First World War, when American forces used the pump-action Winchester Model 1897s in trench fighting to great effect. Since then, shotguns have been used in a variety of close-quarter roles in civilian, law enforcement and military applications.

The smoothbore shotgun barrel generates less resistance and thus allows greater propellant loads for heavier projectiles without as much risk of overpressure or a squib load, and are also easier to clean. The shot pellets from a shotshell are propelled indirectly through a wadding inside the shell and scatter upon leaving the barrel, which is usually choked at the muzzle end to control the projectile scatter. This means each shotgun discharge will produce a cluster of impact points instead of a single point of impact like other firearms. Having multiple projectiles also means the muzzle energy is divided among the pellets, leaving each individual projectile with less penetrative kinetic energy. The lack of spin stabilization and the generally suboptimal aerodynamic shape of the shot pellets also make them less accurate and decelerate quite quickly in flight due to drag, giving shotguns short effective ranges. In a hunting context, this makes shotguns useful primarily for hunting fast-flying birds and other agile small/medium-sized game without risking overpenetration and stray shots to distant bystander and objects. However, in a military or law enforcement context, the high short-range blunt knockback force and large number of projectiles makes the shotgun useful as a door breaching tool, a crowd control or close-quarters defensive weapon. Militants or insurgents may use shotguns in asymmetric engagements, as shotguns are commonly owned civilian weapons in many countries. Shotguns are also used for target-shooting sports such as skeet, trap and sporting clays, which involve flying clay disks, known as “clay pigeons”, thrown in various ways by a dedicated launching device called a “trap”.

Shotguns come in a wide variety of forms, from very small up to massive punt guns, and in nearly every type of firearm operating mechanism. The common characteristics that make a shotgun unique center on the requirements of firing shot. These features are the features typical of a shotgun shell, namely a relatively short, wide cartridge, with straight walls, and operating at a relatively low pressure.

Ammunition for shotguns is referred to in the US as shotgun shells, shotshells, or just shells (when it is not likely to be confused with artillery shells). The term cartridges is standard usage in the United Kingdom.

The shot is usually fired from a smoothbore barrel; another configuration is the rifled slug barrel, which fires more accurate solitary projectiles.

The typical use of a shotgun is against small and fast moving targets, often while in the air. The spreading of the shot allows the user to point the shotgun close to the target, rather than having to aim precisely as in the case of a single projectile. The disadvantages of shot are limited range and limited penetration of the shot, which is why shotguns are used at short ranges, and typically against smaller targets. Larger shot sizes, up to the extreme case of the single projectile slug load, result in increased penetration, but at the expense of fewer projectiles and lower probability of hitting the target.

Aside from the most common use against small, fast moving targets, the shotgun has several advantages when used against still targets. One of them is, Shotguns has enormous stopping power at short range, more than nearly all handguns and many rifles. Though many believe the shotgun is a great firearm for inexperienced shooters, the truth is, at close range, the spread of shot is not very large at all, and competency in aiming is still required. A typical self-defense load of buckshot contains 8–27 large lead pellets, resulting in many wound tracks in the target. Also, unlike a fully jacketed rifle bullet, each pellet of shot is less likely to penetrate walls and hit bystanders (though in the case of traditional 00-Buck, overpenetration of soft and hard targets may be an issue). It is favored by law enforcement for its low penetration and high stopping power.

On the other hand, the hit potential of a defensive shotgun is often overstated. The typical defensive shot is taken at very close ranges, at which the shot charge expands no more than a few centimeters. This means the shotgun must still be aimed at the target with some care. Balancing this is the fact that shot spreads further upon entering the target, and the multiple wound channels are far more likely to produce a disabling wound than a rifle or handgun.

In the US and Canada, shotguns are widely used as a support weapon by police forces. One of the rationales for issuing shotguns is that, even without much training, an officer will probably be able to hit targets at close to intermediate range, due to the “spreading” effect of buckshot. This is largely a myth, as the spread of buckshot at 25 feet averages 8 inches, which is still very capable of missing a target. Some police forces are replacing shotguns in this role with carbine rifles such as AR-15s. Shotguns are also used in roadblock situations, where police are blocking a highway to search cars for suspects. In the US, law enforcement agencies often use riot shotguns, especially for crowd and riot control where they may be loaded with less-lethal rounds such as rubber bullets or bean bags. Shotguns are also often used as breaching devices to defeat locks.

Shotguns are common weapons in military use, particularly for special purposes. Shotguns are found aboard naval vessels for shipboard security, because the weapon is very effective at close range as a way of repelling enemy boarding parties. In a naval setting, stainless steel shotguns are often used, because regular steel is more prone to corrosion in the marine environment. Shotguns are also used by military police units. U.S. Marines have used shotguns since their inception at the squad level, often in the hands of NCOs, while the U.S. Army often issued them to a squad’s point man. Shotguns were modified for and used in the trench warfare of WWI, in the jungle combat of WWII and the Vietnam War. Shotguns were also used in the Iraq War, being popular with soldiers in urban combat environments. Some U.S. units in Iraq used shotguns with special frangible breaching rounds to blow the locks off doors when making a surprise entry into a dwelling.

Shotguns are a popular means of home defense for many of the same reasons they are preferred for close-quarters tasks in law enforcement and the military which is:

  • without much training, even a numbnuts will probably be able to hit targets at close to intermediate range, due to the “spreading” effect of buckshot, which I suggest you stay away from the ones who holds Shotguns.

From my point of view, Shotguns users are usually an easy to trigger person, well mostly, no offense, don’t shoot me.

Compared to handguns, shotguns are heavier, larger, and not as maneuverable in close quarters (which also presents a greater retention problem), but do have these advantages:

  • They are generally much more powerful.
  • The average shooter can engage multiple targets faster than with a handgun.
  • They are generally perceived as more intimidating.
  • On average, a quality pump-action shotgun is generally less expensive than a quality handgun (self-loading shotguns are generally more expensive than their pump-action counterparts).
  • When loaded with smaller shot, a shotgun will not penetrate walls as readily as rifle and pistol rounds, making it safer for non-combatants when fired in or around populated structures. This comes at a price, however, as smaller shot may not penetrate deeply enough to cause an immediately incapacitating wound; those who recommend birdshot for minimizing wall penetration also suggest backing it up with a larger buckshot if the first shot fails to stop the threat.

During its long history, the shotgun has been favored by bird hunters, guards, and law enforcement officials. The shotgun has fallen in and out of favor with military forces several times in its long history. Shotguns and similar weapons are simpler than long-range rifles, and were developed earlier. The development of more accurate and deadlier long-range rifles minimized the usefulness of the shotgun on the open battlefields of European wars. But armies have “rediscovered” the shotgun for specialty uses many times.

Shotguns are far less common in military use than rifles, carbines, submachineguns, or pistols.

There are many types of shotguns, typically categorized by the number of barrels or the way the gun is reloaded.

Fully automatic shotguns also exist, but rare.

scary shotgun, 1/1,000,000 second, shotgun shot sequence

Most shotguns are used to fire “a number of ball shot”, in addition to slugs and sabots. The ball shot or pellets is for the most part made of lead but this has been partially replaced by bismuth, steel, tungsten-iron, tungsten-nickel-iron and even tungsten polymer loads.

Since shotguns are generally used for shooting at small, fast moving targets, it is important to lead the target by firing slightly ahead of the target, so that when the shot reaches the range of the target, the target will have moved into the pattern.

Shotgun Ammunition/ Shotgun Shell Variants:

  • Shotshells are the most commonly used round, filled with lead or lead substitute pellets. Of this general class, the most common subset is birdshot, which uses a large number (from dozens to hundreds) of small pellets, meant to create a wide “kill spread” to hunt birds in flight. Shot shells are described by the size and number of the pellets within, and numbered in reverse order (the smaller the number, the bigger the pellet size)
  • Buckshot is similar to but larger than birdshot, and was originally designed for hunting larger game, such as deer (hence the name). While the advent of new, more accurate slug technologies is making buckshot less attractive for hunting, it is still the most common choice for police, military, and home defense. Like birdshot, buckshot is described by pellet size, with larger numbers indicating smaller shot.
  • Slug rounds are rounds that fire a single solid slug. They are used for hunting large game, and in certain military and law enforcement applications. Modern slugs are moderately accurate, especially when fired from special rifled slug barrels.
  • Sabots are a common type of slug round. While some slugs are exactly that—a 12-gauge metal projectile in a cartridge—a sabot is a smaller but more aerodynamic projectile surrounded by a “shoe” of some other material. This “sabot” jacket seals the barrel, increasing pressure and acceleration, while also inducing spin on the projectile in a rifled barrel. Once the projectile clears the barrel, the sabot material falls away, leaving an unmarked, aerodynamic bullet to continue toward the target. The advantages over a traditional slug are increased shot power, increased bullet velocity due to the lighter-mass bullet, and increased accuracy due to the velocity and the reduction in deformation of the slug itself. Disadvantages versus a traditional slug include lower muzzle momentum due to reduced mass, reduced damage due to smaller bullet diameter, and significantly higher per-unit cost.
  • Brenneke and Foster type slugs have the same basic configuration as normal slugs, but have increased accuracy. The hollowed rear of the Foster slug improves accuracy by placing more mass in the front of the projectile, therefore inhibiting the “tumble” that normal slugs may generate. The Brenneke slug takes this concept a bit further, with the addition of a wad that stays connected to the projectile after discharge, increasing accuracy. Both slugs are commonly found with fins or rib, which are meant to allow the projectile to safely squeeze down during passage through chokes, but they do not increase stability in flight.
  • Grenade rounds use exploding projectiles to increase long range lethality. These are currently experimental, but the British FRAG-12, which comes in High Explosive (HE), High Explosive Armor-piercing (HEAP) and High Explosive Fragmenting Antipersonnel (HEFA) forms, is under consideration by military forces.
  • Breaching rounds, often called frangibleDisintegrator, or Hatton rounds, are designed to destroy door locking mechanisms without risking lives. They are constructed of a very brittle substance that transfers most of the energy to the primary target but then fragment into much smaller pieces or dust so as not to injure unseen targets such as hostages or non-combatants that may be standing behind a breached door.
  • Flexible baton rounds, commonly called bean bags, fire a fabric bag filled with birdshot or a similar loose, dense substance. The “punch” effect of the bag is useful for knocking down targets; the rounds are used by police to subdue violent suspects. The bean bag round is by far the most common less-lethal round used. Due to the large surface area of these rounds, they lose velocity rapidly, and must be used at fairly short ranges to be effective, though use at extremely short ranges, under 3 m (9.8 ft), can result in broken bones or other serious or lethal injuries. The rounds can also fly in a frisbee-like fashion and cut the person or animal being fired at. For this reason, these types of rounds are referred to as less-lethal, as opposed to less-than-lethal
  • Rubber slugs or rubber buckshot are similar in principle to the bean bag rounds. Composed of flexible rubber or plastic and fired at low velocities, these rounds are probably the most common choice for riot control.
  • Rock salt shells are hand loaded with coarse rock salt crystals, replacing the standard lead or steel shot. Rock salt shells could be seen as the forerunners of modern less-lethal rounds. In the United States, rock salt shells were and are sometimes still used by rural civilians to defend their property. The brittle salt was unlikely to cause serious injury at long ranges, but would cause painful stinging injuries and served as a warning. British gamekeepers have used rock salt shells to deter poachers. Rather than get into a physical confrontation, they stalk the poachers, making themselves known by a loud shout of “Run!” just before firing, to avoid hitting the now-fleeing subject in the eyes.
  • Gas shells spray a cone of gas for several meters. These are primarily used by riot police. They normally contain pepper gas or tear gas. Other variations launch a gas-grenade-like projectile.
  • Bolo rounds are made of two or more slugs molded onto steel wire. When fired, the slugs separate, pulling the wire taut creating a flying blade, which could theoretically decapitate people and animals or amputate limbs. However, many active shotgun users consider this to be overstated, and view bolo shells as being less effective than conventional ammunition. Bolo shell rounds are banned in many locations (including the US states of Florida and Illinois) due to concerns about their potential lethality. The round is named in reference to bolas, which use two or more weighted balls on a rope to trap cattle or game.
  • Flechette rounds contain aerodynamic darts, typically from 8 to 20 in number. The flechette provide greatly extended range due to their aerodynamic shape, and improved penetration of light armor. American troops during the Vietnam War packed their own flechette shotgun rounds, called beehive rounds, after the similar artillery However, terminal performance was poor due to the very light weight of the flechettes, and their use was quickly dropped.
  • Stinger is a type of shotgun shell which contains sixteen 00-buck balls made of Zytel, and is designed as a non-lethal ammunition ideally used in small spaces.
  • Flare rounds are sometimes carried by hunters for safety and rescue purposes. They are available in low and high altitude versions. Some brands claim they can reach a height of up to 200 m (660 ft).
  • Dragon’s breath usually refers to a zirconium-based pyrotechnic shotgun round. When fired, a gout of flame erupts from the barrel of the gun (up to 20 feet or 6 metres). The visual effect it produces is impressive, similar to that of a short ranged flamethrower. However, it has few tactical uses, mainly distraction/disorientation.
  • Bird bombs are low-powered rounds that fire a firecracker that is fused to explode a short time after firing. They are designed to scare animals, such as birds that congregate on airport runways.
  • Screechers fire a pyrotechnic whistle that emits a loud whistling sound for the duration of its flight.  These are also used to scare animals.
  • Blank shells contain only a small amount of powder and no actual load. When fired, the blanks provide the sound and flash of a real load, but with no projectile. These may be used for simulation of gunfire, scaring wildlife, or as power for a launching device such as the Mossberg #50298 marine line launcher.
  • Taser International announced in 2007 a new 12-gauge eXtended Range Electronic Projectile or XREP, which contains a small electroshock weapon unit in a carrier that can be fired from a standard 12-gauge shotgun. The XREP projectile is fin stabilized, and travels at an initial velocity of 100 m/s (300 ft/s). Barbs on the front attach the electroshock unit to the target, with a tassel deploying from the rear to widen the circuit. A twenty-second burst of electrical energy is delivered to the target. This product was expected to be released to market in 2008. They were used—despite still being subject to testing, in breach of the supplier’s license—by Northumbria police in their standoff with Raoul Moat in 2010.

Globally, shotguns are generally not as heavily regulated as rifles or handguns, likely because they lack the range of rifles and are not easily concealable as handguns are; thus, they are perceived as a lesser threat by legislative authorities.

bullpup shotgun, DP-12, ambidextrous gun

DP-12 Shotgun

a bullpup 12-gauge pump action double-barreled shotgun designed by Standard Manufacturing.