The shotgun has a long history in law enforcement and security work, as it is often the first step up from the limited tactical effectiveness of a handgun. Aside from its effectiveness in bringing destructive energy to bear through a wide variety of loads, the shotgun can have a strong deterrent effect. Old West lawmen routinely carried a short, double-barreled shotgun on walking patrol, and it was the weapon of choice for stagecoach security riders. The “sawed-off” is far from being a museum piece, however. For example, mechanized infantry in Iraq have used short shotguns to prevent suicide bombers from clambering onto moving tanks and APCs prior to detonating their explosives.
In modern police work, shotguns aren’t displayed unless there is serious trouble in the wind, although they are routinely carried in many patrol vehicles. Short-barreled versions are not uncommonly carried by S.W.A.T. operators for breaching and clearing operations, or carried concealed by undercover operators. For concealment or close-quarters work in LE or security applications, short-barreled shotguns are slim over-and-under, slide-action or auto-loading models, such as those made by Bob Ford at Rocky Mountain Arms (RMA) in Longmont, CO.
The RMA “Stakeout” model is also known as the “Eraser,” after it appeared in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s action movie of the same name. The gun is a double-barrel 12-gauge over/under shotgun and was originally designed to meet the requirements of a Miami vice/narcotics stakeout team. With both barrels already loaded, the Stakeout folds in half and will fit inside an old-fashioned lunchbox or a small toolbox. It’s a great tool for police undercover work, as the Florida Narcotics officers intended. Over/under shotguns are quite narrow in comparison to their pump-action, semi-auto, and side-by-side counterparts, and tend to be more concealable under a jacket. Arguably, it’s a big Derringer. In addition, a short barrel in the 8- to 12-inch range makes it easier to conceal.