U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Shotgun in Police Work

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 30 Issue: 9 Dated: (September 1982) Pages: 16-21
B McLennan
Date Published
6 pages
Police recruits should first be trained to handle a sidearm and then advance to shotgun training, learning how to handle and fire the weapon safely, the pattern size of buckshot, and the types of shotguns suitable for law enforcement.
Hundreds of rounds of dummy ammunititon should be worked through the action, loading, unloading, and dry-firing until the recruits can grasp the mechanics of the weapon. When introduced to the range, several rounds of skeet or trap will suffice to give the recruit firing experience. The instructor should demonstrate the pattern of buckshot and the impact of the rifled slug, emphasizing the devastating effects of both. The final stage of training should be a course of fire using the shotgun and handgun in combination. Recruits should be graded on proficiency and their mistakes scrutinized. Every officer should realize the area buckshot covers at all ranges. Pattern size and point of impact vary from weapon to weapon even though they are of the same make and model. The shotgun is versatile enough to be loaded with birdshot, buckshot, slugs, or tear gas. In particular, the slug gives maximum stopping power and tremendous penetration, and increases the shotgun's maximum effective range to that of a carbine. The 12 gauge is the most practical shotgun for police use; various actions, such as the slide-action, are acceptable. The article lists and describes available shotgun makes, including models made by Remington Arms, O.F. Mossberg and Sons, Smith and Wesson. It lists the sizes of buckshot available. Photographs are included.