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Police & military use semiauto shotguns but why?

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by mixflip, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    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?
  2. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Faster "follow-up" shots

    I am thinking of staying at a Howard Johnson's.

  3. PalmettoSharpshooter


    Oct 14, 2009
    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.
  4. Airborne Infantryman

    Airborne Infantryman 'Murica!

    Nov 20, 2009
    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.
  5. mkmckinley


    May 28, 2007
    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.
  6. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    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...
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  7. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

    Jun 14, 2005
    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.
  8. 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.
  9. Remington 870s and Mossberg semi autos for us...
  10. 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.
  11. greenman19


    Nov 6, 2008
    central NC
    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".
  12. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    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???
  13. 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.
  14. aippi


    Jun 12, 2009
    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.
  15. aippi


    Jun 12, 2009
    Janice6. Go to 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.
  16. Broiler Monster

    Broiler Monster

    Sep 1, 2004
    I have a Mossberg 930 next to my bed.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. USMC06

    USMC06 USMC Retired

    Dec 20, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    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.
  20. DonCT


    Oct 30, 2004
    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.