There are a lot of talks about the effectiveness of shotguns. But we need to understand the role of the shotguns and what they can and can’t do.

Let’s see information about the shootouts where shotguns were used: North Hollywood shootout and 1986 FBI Miami shootout.

Brief description of the North Hollywood shootout (from Wikipedia):

The North Hollywood shootout was an armed confrontation between two heavily armed bank robbers and officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in the North Hollywood district of Los Angeles on February 28, 1997.

Local patrol officers at the time were typically armed with 9 mm or .38 Special pistols on their person, with some having a 12-gauge shotgun available in their cars. Phillips and Matasareanu carried fully automatic rifles, with ammunition capable of penetrating police body armor, and wore military grade body armor of their own.

The patrol officers were armed with standard Beretta 92-type 9-mm pistols and .38-caliber revolvers, and some also carried 12-gauge pump-action shotguns, but the body armor worn by Phillips and Matasareanu was strong enough to resist penetration.

The robbers were protected by body armor which could not be penetrated by the officers’ handgun and shotgun ammunition.

The ineffectiveness of the pistol rounds and shotgun pellets in penetrating the robbers’ body armor led to a trend in the United States toward arming selected police patrol officers with semi-automatic 5.56 mm AR-15 type rifles.

As you can see from the video, policeman used his 12 gauge shotgun from the distance of about 50 yards (he was behind the kiosk). Policeman saw that shotgun pellets hit the robber but had no effect. Robber returned fire.

So it is not a very good idea to use a shotgun (birdshot and buckshot) against the enemy with body armor. Especially on a long distance (20-50 yards). Slugs are more effective on such distances. But remember that shotgun is a Close Quarters Battle weapon. Shotgun is one of the most effective short range weapons and it is extremely good for a home defense use.

Brief description of the 1986 FBI Miami shootout (from Wikipedia):

The FBI Miami shootout was a gun battle that occurred on 11 April 1986 in Miami, Florida between eight Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and two serial bank robbers.

The incident is infamous in FBI history and is well-studied in law enforcement circles. Despite outnumbering the suspects 4 to 1, the agents found themselves pinned down by rifle fire and unable to respond effectively. Although both Matix and Platt were hit multiple times during the firefight, Platt fought on regardless and continued to injure and kill the officers. This incident led to the introduction of more powerful handguns in many police departments around the country.

Unfortunately, FBI agents didn’t have enough weapons. Only two of the FBI vehicles contained shotguns. Also, it turns out that shotgun pellets are not very effective against enemy inside the car. Another important thing to know is that it was difficult for the FBI agent to reload his shotgun able to use only one arm.

Do you know any other shootouts where shotguns were used? Please leave a comment.