With a capable shotgun such as this FN SLP 12 ga. and the right slug ammunition, an officer can extend his effective range. Chris Rohling photo

Given the tendency these days to focus on rifles for law enforcement, the value of the shotgun is often lost in the latest trend. I am a strong proponent of rifle programs—they certainly have their place and their advantages—but many agencies are still fielding shotguns. Truth is, in a pinch a shotgun will do most anything a police officer needs to do, including engaging threats at longer ranges. And they will often do it at a lower cost. This is especially true if you keep it simple.

So what exactly is meant by “long range”? Well, it depends. For us, long range is usually 50 yards, with most engagements much closer than that. Even for police marksman, engagements beyond 50 yards are pretty rare in an urban environment. It’s easier to sell the new rifle program, however, if you put the occasional 100-yard need in the proposal. But, given that 100 yards is the longest engagement for most and 50 yards is the norm, the shotgun is still viable for many officers who already have one in their arsenal.

Loaded with a slug, a simple shotgun can be pretty accurate, especially at 50 yards and even at 100 yards. The new ammunition is more consistent, has less drop and is easer to shoot. With specialized equipment, a shotgun can make a nice cloverleafed group at 100 yards, but even with an out-of-the-box tactical gun, acceptable accuracy is not all that difficult. It is a bit different than shooting a rifle, however, and a bit of preparation is helpful.

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