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Part of my job involves attending training sessions held throughout the country. Most are police related, and police officers often attend them. The training typically revolves around carbines and pistols, but shotguns always seem to enter the conversation. Over the course of my career in law enforcement, that conversation has changed numerous times.

For decades, the shotgun was the primary long gun for police officers. Not until the sea change occurring after the notorious 1997 North Hollywood shootout (in which the LAPD expended thousands of rounds trying to subdue two well-armed and body-armored bank robbers) did the AR-15 become common in LE circles. Previously, administrators had refused to consider them, thinking they were “military” rifles with no purpose in police work. I recall asking to use the four M16s in our armory only to be told no. They were “parade rifles” and “cops have no business with combat rifles.” Today, agencies are doing their best to equip everyone with a rifle. During the transition, the shotgun was all but removed from the conversation. Now, thanks to the general economic crunch, the duty shotgun has come full circle, once again claiming a place in the conversation.

While carbines are great, they are not cheap. The police world is not exempt from the huge price increases of late. Agency spending on a quality rifle starts at well over $1,000 and can reach $2,000 with ease. Once a rifle is acquired, you need to feed it, and that is incredibly expensive these days. With agencies struggling to keep officers on the job, spending a few thousand dollars on a rifle has become difficult, if not flat-out impossible.

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