View Full Version : Police & military use semiauto shotguns but why?
I always wondered why folks talk so much crap about using a semi-auto shotgun for home defense when our military & police are trusting their lives to Benellis M4's and FN SLP's every day nowadays?
Why would a cop or soldier want a semi-auto shotgun over a pump? Just curious? I mean if they arent good enough for HD why use them in combat?
Are modern "fighting" semi-auto shotguns more reliable today than they were 10 years ago?
Do modern high quality semi-auto shotguns have more FTF's than semi-auto rifles and semi-auto pistols?
Faster "follow-up" shots
I am thinking of staying at a Howard Johnson's.
The only local department that I know of that used semi-autos dropped them. They were unreliable with tactical buck loads. All that I know of around here use pumps.
I'm not sure which units use the semi boomsticks here in the Military, but when in Iraq from Sep 07 to Nov 08, I used a Remington 870. I'll take a dual-rail pump over a semi any day of the week; just more **** to go wrong with the weapon...... but thats just my SHTF Infantryman mentality.
We have Mossberg 590's at work and I've seen 870's in other arms rooms but I've never seen a military issue semi auto shotgun. In reality we only really use them for breaching and as backup on a turret.
I've never seen a military issue semi auto shotgun.
I guess the Marines are the only ones using semi-auto shotguns so far? I thought some Police (probably SWAT?) were using semi-auto shotguns? I could be wrong. I am a veteran and a cop myself and have not seen any and never got training on any?
Looks like these Marines are having fun with Benelli's though...
A lot of factors go into the choice of weapons, and it's not easy to second-guess military procurement. Might be it's cost per weapn amortized over all the incidents where semi-auto was critical, cause that's how I'd do it if I was the heartless beancounter in question.
Semi-autos aren't quite as idiot proof as pumps, and full-autos are stuck in limbo.
Pump shotguns don't break often or cost much, and 'cost much' gets considered at some point. Not nearly often enough, says me, and often not in public or properly tasked to a productive result.
Semi-auto shotguns step on the toes of a box-fed SuperSaiga which we've been 'testing' for many years. I honestly think they're too scary to for procurement to approve of, but just having it 'in testing' lets them avoid the changeover to semi-autos.
And I said procurement, not 'combat troops'. Anecdotally, hearsay, I've HEARD that shotguns are greatly respected by our enemies. Kinda reminds me of that bit of history where the Germans in WWI complained that the shotguns were unfair. It caused the Allies to greatly increase the order for them..
If there's a weapon that scares the enemy, get LOTS of them. And if procurement is the bottleneck, get LESS procurement beancounters.
Pumps will cycle anything. Many semi autos have trouble with less lethal loads and low recoil loads. The added versatility of the pump makes it more popular with police and civillians. The military on the other hand uses pretty much only lethal and full power loads.
Remington 870s and Mossberg 500s...no semi autos for us...
Ancient history: the Air Force had some Ithica pumps back in late 1970's. Used them around bomb dumps and some dog handlers on payroll detail.
it may have something to do with training, when military units rely on a particular weapon, they carry it every day and they know what it's limitations are and know how to clear a malfunction. law enforcement qualifies once or twice a year and pulls it out of the car when absolutely necessary so their long gun needs to be more "foolproof".
So far the most logical and smartest answer seems to be the fact that the military can go with a semi-auto shotgun because they usually only use hi power full loads, they shoot them alot, and clean them alot and have billion dollar budgets vs the police and the average Joe civilian.
Cops need to use (on occasion) less lethal ammo and civilians often can only afford to train with birdshot...which all are not the most reliable loads for a semi-auto shotgun.
At least thats my interpretation so far???
as an army MP for 10 years, i have only ever seen and used the Mossberg 500. we too use some less lethal at times but not alot. use the less lethal 40mm grenades a bit more. SRT uses the shotguns with less lethal for standoffs and breaching.
There are some semi-autos being used by Military for special use but not as line weapons for combat. There are more pumps, 590's and 870's then semi-autos in Military use. But I don't give a rats tail about what the Military uses.
Any semi-auto relies on the round that was just fired to cycle the weapon. For this reason you are trusting your life not only to the weapon but to the ammo. If that round is just a tad short of powder then it will not cycle the weapon.
Also, others depend on blow back or inertia to cycle the weapon and have be fired from a perfect stance. Nothing is perfect in a fight and that is when guys find these weapon unreliable. Some of these semi-autos have to have the recoil action to cycle and police have found that a 220 Lb corn bread fed cop in full body armor leaning in to the weapon may have and issue with the weapon feeding.
Gas operated semi-auto shotguns need a solid shooting platform to cycle. Try firing them from the hip. You will see.
Now that 870 or 590 goes boom every time, you rack it and it goes boom again. That is why they are being carried out there on the streets and why they need to be your go to shotgun for HD.
Janice6. Go to www.blackhawk.com (http://www.blackhawk.com) and find the video on the SpecOps stock. Watch the two shooters, one with an 870 with SpecOps and the other with a semi-auto. If you want to see faster follow up shots keep your eye on the 870 in the video. Notice the lack of muzzel flip? Now look at the semi-auto.
I can fire 870's with either the SpecOps or Mesa LEO with Endine Buffer ( I have both), faster then I can my 11-87P.
Last week a couple state cops came up to pick up some 870's I built for their Department. One was their Firearms Instructor. They test fired the weapons on my range. That Firearms Instructor fired that 870 with a SpecOps on it like he was shooting a 22 pump. It was unreal. The muzzle stayed level with the ground through 7 rounds and he kept the sight on target. I was a little embarassed to be shown up on my own range so I guess I have to get a lot more trigger time, but it was a treat to see someone who really knew what he was doing shoot the SpecOps not only correctly but as well as I have ever seen it fired.
This is the biggest benifit of these type of stocks, reduced muzzle flip so you get that next shot off faster, and yes, faster then a semi-auto. So pumps can have faster follow up shots then semi-auto shotguns.
I have a Mossberg 930 next to my bed.
I saw one once at a demo. I think it was a Remington 11-87. It didn't cycle the low recoil buck. that said I have had the 870s break also.
Benelli and Beretta semi-autos have shown up in a number of LE hands, but usually teh hands were somewhat specialized. The pump is just more versatile and forgiving of bad handling, both of which are important traits in LE. My personal fighting shotgun is a Beretta 1201. With it I can put 5 rounds of 00Buck on a target in less than 1 second. My "here, grab this shotgun and help" gun is a Scattergun Tech Remington 870. Why the difference? I trained to a fairly high level with the 1201 and can wring every lest bit of performance out of it, while the 870 almost anyone can pick up and be using adequately with about 30 seconds instruction and not be a danger to themsleves or others.
There is finally a semi-shotgun that is combat worthy for many. Benelli M4s are proving their mettle. Marines are using M4s down range and L.A. is acquiring M4s also after the Marine experience.
I also see M4s take top honors at 3-Gun matches.
I realize a skeet field is not a battlefield, but plenty of shooters engage in competition shooting to hone their defensive shooting skills with pistols, rifles and shotguns.
That said, in a decade of competitive skeet and sporting clays competitions, my Browning Gold semi-auto has jammed exactly twice. My two Remington 1100s and my Benelli M1, which get shot less frequently, have never jammed.
I also go on several pheasant hunts a year and my gas guns, in several hundred rounds of 3dram loads, have never jammed. Wet, cold, dirty, they keep firing.
OTOH, I see pump shotguns jam daily. Granted, most of them are user-induced, i.e. short-stroking, but the fact is that trying to hit two clay birds, two ruffed grouse or two home invaders, users are more likely to short-stroke a pump under stress than they are to have a semi-auto jam. IMHO, semis are VASTLY more reliable than pumps.
Also, for all the "semi-autos jam" folks, would not that same philosophy mandate a revolver for self-defense? For decades, the police mantra was "six for sure" because everyone knew auto pistols jammed all the time.
Your post makes a very good point. I agree with you and your decade of shooting semi auto shotguns and my personal experience seeing shooters "short stroke" pump shotguns leads me to believe that semi auto shotguns are statistically more reliable than pump shotguns also. It sounds strange but with my own eyes I have seen people screw up on pumps more than a semi malfunctioning.
I dont know anyone that has 100% never experienced some kind of failure to load or eject properly, a pump shotgun some time in their life due to stress, or lack of experience ect ect.
I have a Mossberg 930 next to my bed.
A 930 SPX is my next purchase btw. I have no problem with learning to be proficient with a semi auto handgun or semi auto shotgun. I have a video on youtube that shows my S&W revolver malfunctioning during double action shooting. You gotta train to work through FTF on any gun.
then you have the answer...I think with the pump you take one more thing that is beyond your control (somewhat) out of the equation...will this load on this day function my semi auto shotgun...with the pump you are the operating system...bottom line is, know what you are shooting, its limitations and strengths and train with it enough to be proficient...if you do that, you are light years ahead of most of the world...professionals included...
I recently qualified and the firearms instructor told me I was the only guy who had no problems with the shotgun...(Mossberg 500 pump)...I told him I have been shooting shotguns since before he was born (isn't it nice to be the old guy on the department ;) )...and I try to pay attention...training and familiarization...good luck with your choice...
We made the switch to Benelli M-1's several years ago. Switched from 870's.
There were several reasons for it, one of which was related to what I was observing in training. Our people were consistently causing malfunctions with the pump guns due to operator error! No matter how much training and re-training we were able to provide, officers had problems cycling the pumps fully or not at all! We had just switched to semi-auto pistols so it made sense for us at the time, to switch to semi-auto's thus creating a "consistency".
You have to remember, most L.E. Officers aren't really "gun people". By having similar weapons systems we were able to teach similar techniques in training which allowed us to overcome the issues we were having.
Our Benelli's have served us well...easy to shoot and have been extremely reliable...even with low recoil tactical buck. We did have some issues with the "bolt-on" ammo holders so we removed them!
Another thing to consider is that for homeowners, it probably won't matter which kind of gun you choose. Unlike the military, where soldiers can fire thousands of rounds "for real," the average HD shotgun will spend its life sitting under the bed, waiting for a situation that will never happen.
Hypothetically, if you have two shotguns, one is 99.9% reliable, the other only 99%, then Shotgun A is theoretically 10x more reliable than Shotgun B. But let's say there are two groups of 10,000 Glocktalkers, each group exclusively uses Shotgun A (99.9%) or Shotgun B (99%)
Since 90% of HD shotguns will never get used for defense, it would make no difference which gun you had.
I would guess that in 75% of HD situations, the presence of the gun is sufficient to end the threat, making the choice of shotgun meaningless.
In a further 90% of HD situations, ONE SHOT will end the threat, making a pump or semi equally reliable.
Only on the rare occasions when a second shot is needed will Shotgun A's greater reliability come into play. In that situation, 99.9% beats 99%, but how likely is it to matter?
Shotgun A: 10,000 Glocktalkers x 10% use x 25% fired x 10% second shot needed x .1% failure rate = .025% chance of failure
Shotgun B: 10,000 Glocktalkers x 10% use x 25% fired x 10% second shot needed x 1% failure rate = .25% failure rate.
So 40,000 Glocktalkers would have to switch to a gun that was 10X more reliable for their entire lives before you reduce the chances of a malfunction at that critical moment by one.
If family safety is the #1 priority, you would do more to increase safety by getting rid of your backyard pool or moving to a ranch house (so you don't get killed falling down the stairs.)
If my math is off a bit, I think you get the point. For the military, reliability matters because that 1 malfunction per thousand rounds difference will show up every day. For a homeowner, not so much.
pumps only at my dept.
i think i might add a 930 to my 535 just to have options
I'd rather have a slick and smooth pump action like the Benelli Supernova.
I have been using Remington and Browning auto,s all my life for all types of hunting, and only had one malfunction due to a bad factory round, "Federal"
Had my share of pumps too, Rem and Winchester never no problems,
Personally I prefer the gas autos, So smooth.
I have no experience with the Benelli systems, myself, From what I hear it is a great system, But I,m old school and have no problem depending on the Rem 100-11-87 gas systems, or the old Browning,s A-5,s with my life,
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