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Old July 28, 2014, 10:36 PM   #1
butler
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home defense: what do the professionals use?

All,

I know this topic has been beaten to death, both here:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=541527
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54693

And the internet, writ large:
http://www.recoilweb.com/ar-vs-shotg...ain-39177.html
http://www.shootingillustrated.com/i...us-m4-carbine/

But I have a very basic follow-up question that no one seems to address: if the "conventional wisdom" is that shotguns are the preeminent weapon in the home environment, why do professionals who specialize in short-range work (law enforcement SWAT, FBI HRT, special purpose military units, etc) rely on rifles (predominantly in .223/5.56) rather than shotguns?

I'm not talking about a bunch of Soldiers/Marines (or even Special Operations Forces, generally), who have to carry rifles since they may clear houses today but engage bad guys hundreds of yards away tomorrow. I'm referring to very specialized counter-terrorism/hostage rescue units with significant resources at their disposal, who train almost exclusively for close quarters combat in confined, complex, urban environments. Yet these professionals seem to favor the rifle for its accuracy, magazine capacity, and relative lack of overpenetration; the shotgun is used merely as a breaching/entry tool.

So, if the professionals favor the rifle in the home environment...should we, too?***

We know what some of the most respected people in the business use for their pistols:
Quote:
Massad Ayoob Glock 9mm (.357 Sig & .45)
Chris Costa S&W M&P 9mm
Jason Falla Glock 17 9mm
Paul Gomez (RIP) Glock 17/19 9mm
Travis Haley Glock 17 9mm (also 9mm M&P)
Michael Janich Glock 17 9mm
Kelly McCann Glock 19 9mm
Rob Pincus 9mm (recommends a variety of handguns in this caliber)
Dave Spaulding Glock 19 9mm (sometimes Ruger SR9c)
Andy Stanford Glock 19 9mm
Gabe Suarez Glock 17 9mm
Larry Vickers Glock 17/19 9mm
James Yeager Glock 19 9mm
http://www.thebangswitch.com/the-fading-40/
It'd be fascinating to know what these shooters (many of them veterans of the types of units described above) rely on for home defense.

very respectfully,
Butler

***Three caveats against this argument:
1. Working solo (dad protecting his family) is categorically different than working in a group (SWAT, HRT, Delta, etc)
2. Home defense (weapon aimed at door, cell phone dialing 911) is categorically different than professional work (moving from room to room to kill bad guys/rescue hostages)
3. Professionals often have access to LEO/military-exclusive (or near exclusive) tools such as suppressors, short-barrels, etc
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Last edited by butler; July 29, 2014 at 10:39 AM.
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Old July 28, 2014, 11:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Yet these professionals seem to favor the rifle for its accuracy, magazine capacity, and relative lack of overpenetration
You just answered your own question.

Quote:
So, if the professionals favor the rifle in the home environment...should we, too?***
That's dependent on the individual. some are die hard "shotguns are the only true HD gun" others will say that rifles and SG's are too long to manipulate in a house so they prefer pistols. I personally prefer my AR due to the reasons you stated. However, I'm not opposed to using shotguns or pistols either. I sleep with a pistol on my nightstand in case someone comes busting in my room but if I have time and have to bunker down. I'm grabbing my AR.
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Old July 29, 2014, 12:20 AM   #3
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Old July 29, 2014, 12:37 AM   #4
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Tony, we have exactly the same tribal rug.
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Old July 29, 2014, 03:21 AM   #5
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I don't think I'm qualified to give an accurate answer but I will tell you what I use. I have a few carbine length ARs and a shotgun with 18.5" barrel, but I use a handgun as my bump in the night gun.

I just find the corners too tight in my home to adequately employ the use of a long gun, even a shorter or more compact weapon. I opt instead for either a handgun with a manual safety or a DA revolver. I don't like the concept of either bring half asleep and fumbling a loaded Glock or accidentally grabbing if looking for my glasses.

Sometimes I will keep my bkackhawk in 45 colt too, for no real reason other than I like it.
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Old July 29, 2014, 08:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
what do the professionals use?
Quote:
You just answered your own question.
This is only partially correct. A lot of professionals use that with which they are most familiar. They are often going to use the same gear at home as they use on the job because it is that with which they are most familiar.

If you follow that "you fight like you train," then it makes the most logical sense to fight with what you train with and the professionals are commonly going to keep at home that which they use to train with in their professional lives.

Quote:
We know what some of the most respected people in the business use for their pistols:
Your list is a sampling and rather skewed. For those authors that are writers, if you follow their writings, you will see that some of them have claimed to use various guns at home or as preferred weapons.

Quote:
So, if the professionals favor the rifle in the home environment...should we, too?***
NO! You should NOT do something just because some professional does. Unless you are that professional, or have his/her professional experience, training, knowledge, situation, and resources, you should not do something just because the professional does. You need to go with gear that suits YOUR level of training, experience, knowledge, situation, and resources.

You certainly can look to the professionals to see what gear they are using and then evaluate that gear to see if it suits your situation. Keep in mind that a lot of the gear that many of the top name professionals write about and talk about using is SPONSORED gear. Some are more up front about that than others (e.g., Clint Smith and Ken Hackathorn both have spoken of being provided specific brands of guns during their classes). When I took a Hackathorn class back in the early naughts, he was sponsored by Wilson Combat and openly noted his gun was provided by them, that it was very good, and that there were a lot of very good guns on the market. At the time, he was not a fan of lasers on guns at all. Now, he is a spokesperson for Crimson Trace and their lasers. Go figure.

Depending on when you read Ayoob's writings, the 1911 is either an expert-only gun that is too powerful for women (in .45 acp) or is a good option for those who have trouble qualifying with other designs or because their hands are too small, such as women.
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ght=ayoob+1911

When Clint Smith was still in Texas, his HD rifle was either a .308 or 30-06. Sorry, don't recall which, other than the fact that it shocked the heck out of a lot of the class, especially the LEOs in the class. As Smith noted, he had no concerns about overpenetration from his home because there were no other houses around and he preferred the option of more power instead of less. He pointed out that it would be a poor choice for somebody in a trailer park, but that it was a fine choice for him.

And there is the lesson. You have to make the right decision for you and your situation. Learn from the professionals and use the information to make a better decision, but to not mimic them blindly simply because they are professionals. You are not them and they are not you.
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Old July 29, 2014, 09:27 AM   #7
Bart B.
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I like that ball bat. It's legal, won't penetrate walls, very quiet and doesn't need reloading. However, it should be painted flat black so the bad guy won't see it in dim light until it's traveling at very high speed and its "Louisville Slugger" logo is about 1/2 inch from his eyes.
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Old July 29, 2014, 09:53 AM   #8
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I still think of it this way even though no kids in the house any more.

"Handgun is Infantry, Shotgun is Artillery" Massad Ayoob

My handgun is secured at my bed and easily accessed if needed and the 12GA w/00 Buck loaded is in the safe where I would hunker down if needed. The wife will already be there, I hope and have the shotgun ready.

Mas Ayoob Shoot to Live 6/8

Shotgun discussion starts at 2:00.
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Old July 29, 2014, 10:23 AM   #9
butler
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All,

Please do not go off-topic; this is NOT a thread about what YOU use for home defense. Unless you are a member of the type of unit I described above, I (frankly) don't care.

I have two fundamental questions/issues that I wish to address in this discussion:

1. Why is it "conventional wisdom" that the shotgun is king of the home? Professional units that specialize in urban environments (counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, etc) primarily use rifles. So...is conventional wisdom wrong, are SWAT/HRT/Delta doing it wrong, or are we talking apples vs. oranges?

2. What weapons do these professionals use for defending their own homes/families/loved ones? (Does anyone know, first-hand?) Should we do the same?

Glockstar .40, Double Naught Spy,

Thank you for your reading comprehension, insight/perspective, and cogent responses.

very respectfully,
Butler
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Last edited by butler; July 29, 2014 at 10:36 AM.
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Old July 29, 2014, 10:47 AM   #10
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Shotgun is king because it is CHEAP to buy; ammo is always available, and many do not want to spend the money
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Old July 29, 2014, 11:25 AM   #11
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Mandatory disclaimer: I'm not any sort of tactical operator, nor even a remotely qualified wannabe.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way...
Quote:
Originally Posted by butler
Why is it "conventional wisdom" that the shotgun is king of the home?
Asides from what has already been mentioned...
  • Basic no-frills shotguns are generally quite inexpensive, new OR used.
  • Most popular HD shotguns are mechanically simple and relatively easy to maintain. This is arguably true of some modern military-style semi-auto rifles too, but folks who aren't active in the shooting community may not be aware of this (see below).
  • Most popular HD shotguns are based on designs that have been popular with American shooters for many decades. Many people are familiar with how to operate and maintain them, notably including people who may not be active shooting hobbyists, but went quail hunting with Grandpa when they were young. Some of these people undoubtedly still have Grandpa's old gun.
  • Shotguns have a relatively wholesome and traditional image. Even in states with relatively restrictive gun laws, the possession of commonplace tube-loading or break-open shotguns is minimally regulated- if at all- and is unlikely to be strictly regulated in the foreseeable future. Regulations aside, nosy neighbors are unlikely to freak out if they see you carrying a pump shotgun. These factors make shotgun ownership attractive to folks who wish to maintain a low profile. (As asinine as Joe Biden's infamous double-barrel shotgun comments were, they are a reflection of this image.)
  • Shot loads have inherently poor long-range ballistics, making them unlikely to seriously harm bystanders beyond a few hundred yards. This is one of the main reasons why shotguns were standard issue among law enforcement until relatively recently.
  • There is a widespread perception that shotguns are easy to shoot, don't require precise aiming, and are devastatingly lethal. (Note that I wrote perception. Although these statements contain kernels of truth, I don't agree with them at face value, and I believe that they're massively oversimplified.)
As you can see, a good deal of this ultimately boils down to that familiarity factor that some of the previous posters have discussed.
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Old July 29, 2014, 03:16 PM   #12
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As I read it the question is: Why do professionals rely on the same firearms at home that they use/carry on a daily basis at work, I would think that the very question is an answer.
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Old July 29, 2014, 04:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
why do professionals who specialize in short-range work (law enforcement SWAT, FBI HRT, special purpose military units, etc) rely on rifles (predominantly in .223/5.56) rather than shotguns?
A lot of special forces use 9mm sub machine the Heckler & Koch MP5 being a favourite. (Not rifles). Selective fire firearms not easy for civilians to get. The next best thing would be a shotgun.

Quote:
The SAS also uses a cut-down version of the MP5, with a shortened barrel and without stock, called the MP5k. The MP5k is small enough to be concealed beneath a jacket, making it ideal for undercover work as well as for close protection duties.
Quote:
The MP5 is a 9mm sub machine gun. It's compactness, accuracy and reliability has made it a favorite of Special Operations units the world over for more than 3 decades.

The MP5 was, for a time, the weapon of choice for US Counter Terrorist units such as Delta Force and DEVGRU as well as Navy SEAL boarding teams.

MP5s, of one flavor or another, are still used by US SOF units, particularly for personal protection and covert operations.

Various US Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams also use the MP5, as do some military tactical teams such as USMC Special Reaction Teams (SRT
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Old July 29, 2014, 04:48 PM   #14
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Bart B.,

I'm personally against black bats. They're evil and have no real use. Also, if I ever have to use it for self defense, a jury might look at the evil black bat and conclude that I was just out to hurt someone.

But to directly answer the original poster's question...I do not know what professionals use, but I can affirmatively say that I have never seen them use a black bat.

Ban all black bats.
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Old July 29, 2014, 04:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Ban all black bats.
Especially those with extended handles
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Old July 29, 2014, 07:34 PM   #16
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well to burst your bubble.

every gun article for best home gun

is an ar or ak varient

40 round magazine

16 inch barrel

SUPPRESSOR


yeah 556 and pitol caliber ar rigs have low recoild big capacties and are not hard to suppress.
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Old July 30, 2014, 07:58 AM   #17
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I'm an old "has been", I stayed in an REI tent and not the Hollow day Inn.

I wasn't swat but did provide the rifle training when our department started their swat team.

I did carry a shotgun and sniper rifle in my patrol car, Back then we did all our building searches (mostly alone). I only used my service revolver while doing building searches. Long guns got in the way. They require two hands, revolvers don't (yes I carried a revolver). You always have something in you other hand, flashlight, mirror, door knob, etc etc. Plus if you cant a bandit, trying to hold him and the long gun is a PITA.

At home I carried a snubby in my pocket as I do today. Always with me, and always out of reach of kids.

I'm still a certified LE instructor and conduct classes. I do a Ladys Only Firearm Safety and Defense class. I don't tell people what to use, I do provide a large variety of guns for them to try so THEY can pick what fits them best.

That includes rifles and shotguns. In the years of teaching, after trying the shotgun, rifle and pistols, I haven't yet found someone who wanted to go the shotgun route. A few rural people go for the AR for critter protection but all choose the hand gun for in home use.

I start my classes having the students draw a rough sketch of they dwellings to get an idea of distances they well be shooting. Very seldom do you find someone with more then 25 feet line of sight in their homes.

I point out it takes about 3 seconds to kick in a door, (at the beginning of the classes) I ask where they stage their home defense gun, and how long it takes go get from the kitchen to the gun, or from the couch to the gun, etc. Don't think you can get to it in 3 seconds if its not on your person.

If a home defense gun isn't on your person its not a home defense gun, its a run to gun that you hope and pray you make it.

Its just not feasible to carry a shotgun or rifle in your pocket. Unless your kid has been trained in pick pocketing, there isn't much chance of him/her getting your handgun out of your pocket without you knowing.

If I'm going to war I'd take a rifle in a heart beat, but I'm not going to war, I'm setting on my butt watching TV, playing on the 'puter, or eating dinner.


We're not pros. Instead of asking the pros what they use, get a bunch of ladies, house wives and mothers, let them compare a shotgun, rifle, and pistol at 25 ft and less and see what they want. I can tell you not, they wont be picking a shot gun.

Regardless of what they recommend, I really doubt the "pros" carry their long guns with them in their daily doings around the house.

Also mothers get radical about protecting kids, they don't want guns stashed all over the house for kids to find.

As I said, I'm a has been, but if for some weird reason I was to get back in the game, I'm carry my Model 28 service revolver building searches and general police work. I'd carry a snubby in my coat pocket in the winter (I was a cop in Alaska) and have my Sniper Rifle and shot gun in the patrol car for certain call outs.

Now my 642 is my constant companion and is always in my pocket regardless where I am.
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Old July 30, 2014, 02:06 PM   #18
Derbel McDillet
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Quote:
Why is it "conventional wisdom" that the shotgun is king of the home?
Decreased penetration of common building materials (in the event of an errant shot) by 5.56 bullets is a relatively recent discovery. Many people mistakenly assume a centerfire rifle bullet has greater wall penetration potential compared to buckshot.

Quote:
Professional units that specialize in urban environments (counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, etc) primarily use rifles. So...is conventional wisdom wrong, are SWAT/HRT/Delta doing it wrong, or are we talking apples vs. oranges?
There are many reasons why 5.56 is used:
  • A centerfire rifle bullet will easily perforate common soft body armor worn by a bad guy. Shotgun pellets won't.
  • Less recoil - ability for quicker follow-up shots and engagement of multiple targets
  • Increased ammunition capacity
  • Quicker ability to reload with a box magazine vs. tube magazine
  • Decreased penetration potential of common building materials by 5.56 bullets compared to buckshot
  • Weight and ergonomics
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Old July 30, 2014, 03:53 PM   #19
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The shotgun may have inadvertently earned that reputation as the king of home defense because of its ubiquitous nature. The practical difference between a Tactifool SWAT Remington 870 and a Duck Commander Remington 870 is essentially zero. Shotguns would also have a strong presence in families whose primary interest in firearms was for hunting, which I would guess describes most firearms owners until the 1990s.

Recent years have seen a slow switch, with fewer people hunting and more first-time firearms owners interested primarily or solely in personal and/or home defense. Thus, along with the liberalization of concealed-carry laws since 1988, the handgun is starting to rise to dominance as the home-defense choice.

The trend for more women to become interested in firearms for defense probably also has something to do with it. I am not a recoil junkie, and while I can handle a riot gun, it's not really anything that gives me a lot of pleasure. Sure, it's powerful, but the stiff recoil and low capacity make me glad I have handguns with triple the capacity.
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Old July 30, 2014, 04:50 PM   #20
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I've been lucky enough to discuss this with a couple of professionals. Their advice was for me to use what was most comfortable for me balanced with what is really effective. They both made a point of saying that their training and what they used in the field is highly unlikely to relate to my hd needs.
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Old July 30, 2014, 06:13 PM   #21
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Shotguns only real advantage is that they are cheap. And with "quality" shotguns going up and AR's prices falling that gap is small today. A quality semi shotgun is going to set you back more than most AR's.

Ammo prices. 25 rounds of buckshot is a lot more expensive than 223 ammo

Recoil. A 12 or even 20 ga with loads suitable for personal protection equal or exceed 300 win mag recoil. A 223 has about 1/2 the recoil of a 30-30. Most of us would skoff at the idea of a novice hunter starting with a 300 WM, but I've seen countless guys advise a novice shooter to buy a shotgun for personal protection.

Other than price the shotguns only other advantage is a wide pattern making hits on moving targets easier. At typical HD ranges a shotguns pattern is too small to be any advantage. You have to aim carefully with either. I'd argue the shotgun is best used outdoors at moderate ranges with multiple attackers. It is known as a "Riot Gun" or "Trench Sweeper" for good reason. Those qualities don't make it a good home defense weapon.

Over penetration. Shotguns are more dangerous to folks in the next room.

Weapon size. A 16" barreled AR with a telescoping stock is far smaller and lighter.

Quote:
A lot of special forces use 9mm sub machine the Heckler & Koch MP5 being a favourite.
A lot of special forces USED to use 9mm sub guns. They are falling from favor with the advent of short barreled suppressed AR's.

Of course I also agree with Kraigwy. A handgun is the first line of defense. Even with its disadvantages the fact that it is on you makes it paramount. If you have time the long gun is secondary.
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Old July 31, 2014, 10:03 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manta49
A lot of special forces use 9mm sub machine the Heckler & Koch MP5 being a favourite. (Not rifles).
Not as much anymore. A 5.56 carbine offers just too many advantages (and very few disadvantages) over a submachine gun that fires pistol rounds. Submachine guns and shotguns are being used less and less by special forces and law enforcement these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by butler
Why is it "conventional wisdom" that the shotgun is king of the home?
Others have already answered this question pretty well, but I'd like to add another answer: Myth and misconception. Many people have a complete misunderstanding about shotguns, especially pump shotguns. You'll hear them spouting myths like, "You don't need to aim a shotgun", "A shotgun won't pentrate walls", "A shotgun is easy to use for small women who don't know anything about guns", "You won't even have to shoot anyone, just the sound will scare them away", and other such nonsense. Add in the mythical "stopping power" of the 12 ga. shotgun, and all together they think they have a super-weapon that will stop any criminal immediately, no matter how inexperienced or inaccurate the shooter is.
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Old July 31, 2014, 10:29 AM   #23
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Here is a pretty good analysis of shotgun myths by a professional.

http://www.krtraining.com/KRTraining...eflonggun.html

Shotgun myths attract posers. And they can be dangerous. Mas Ayoob reports a guy who heard the noise outside. Went outside to rack his shotgun and scare away the demons with the noise. Well, it was the police looking for a crook. When he came out and did the macho display, he was shot.
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Old July 31, 2014, 11:34 AM   #24
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Just for the sake of discussion on the HD Shotgun vs. Rifle debate, Remington offers a little-known product that attempts to combine the beneficial aspects of both: the 7615 Police.

It's a .223 pump rifle that takes AR mags. Notably, it has a 16-1/2" barrel (shorter than the nominal non-NFA shotgun minimum), and is available with collapsible or short-LOP stocks to minimize overall length.

http://www.remingtonle.com/rifles/7615.htm

I'd argue that it's still inferior to a semi-auto rifle due to the need to manipulate the slide, and I don't think it's quite as short as a 16"bbl AR carbine, but it's a decent choice for folks who want a .223 HD rifle but live in a restrictive state or don't want to project an "Evil Black Rifle" image for whatever reason. I surmise that- with the mag out- most non-shooters won't be able to tell this rifle apart from an old-school riot shotgun.
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Old July 31, 2014, 01:53 PM   #25
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It was designed for police for two reasons:

1. To avoid claims that the departments were buying 'military equipment' and terrorizing the population with that appearance - real reason.

2. There would be positive transfer of training from pump 870s - assuming police couldn't handle the move to the terribly complicated AR type gun.
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