Less Lethal 12 gauge rounds.......


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Jeff White
December 27, 2002, 12:38 AM
This has come up on another forum and on the AR15 mailing list recently, so I thought I'd post my thoughts here.

Many people who keep a 12 gauge shotgun as their primary home defense weapon have contemplated the use of 12 gauge less lethal ammunition. This ammunition is available from a couple commercial sources as well as the traditional police supply houses. You may well have received a Blammo Ammo Company or Firestorm catalog in the mail and wondered about these rounds. On the surface, they may seem to be the answer to defending your family without actually killing an intruder. Lets look at this for a minute.

In police terminology, these are referred to as
LESS LETHAL rounds. That's right, not non-lethal or un-lethal (not even sure that's a word ;) ). They can be lethal. Police departments only use them in a situation where use of deadly force is already justified. So loading the old 870 or Mossy with beanbags or rubber batons won't give you leave to shoot in a situation you couldn't ordinarily. You can't use them as the modern version of the mythical rock salt (that I have never known to be actually used) to teach the tresspassers a harmless, but painful lesson about not coming back. All the rules that apply for buckshot and slugs apply here.

The 12 gauge less lethal options available are not very effective. I know of at least one State Police Agency that will no longer employ the 12 gauge less lethal muntions. Because they are so unreliable as stoppers, you have to backup the person employing them with deadly force, should the less lethal option fail to stop the attack and even escalate it. This makes employment of them a team activity. So you'll have to train your spouse or significant other to back you up if you intend to use this option. So what happens if you have a break in while you're home alone and your shotgun is loaded with beanbags? What will you do if your first shot has no effect but to anger your assailant. How quickly can he be on you from the length of your hall or across your room? Can you load a lethal round and fire it in that amount of time?

Then there is the problem of controlling your intruder after you've shot him. Say it was a good night, and you made the perfect solar plexus shot with your beanbag and you've knocked the wind out of your assailant and he's laying on your hallway floor with the wind knocked out of him...Now what?? You've created another interesting problem for yourself. What do you do with your intruder? In a few moments he's going to recover. Will he sit quietly and wait for the police to arrive, or will you have to "shoot" him again? And what if the less lethal round doesn't have the desired effect this time? Do you have to add restraints to your home defense arsenal? That's not a good idea. More peace officers are injured handcuffing then almost any other activity they engage in. So slapping the cuffs on the guy you just stunned isn't the smartest idea either...besides the fact that in some jurisdictions, you may be charged with Unlawful Restraint for doing that.

In short...the next time you walk in from the mailbox with your catalog from one of the specialty ammuntion companys and you flip open the pages to the neat 12 gauge rounds, don't look at those beanbag, rubber shot, rubber or wooden baton rounds as the answer to your home defense problem. If you are in a position where you must use deadly force to protect your life and others....use deadly force.

Jeff

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itgoesboom
December 27, 2002, 02:09 AM
Although i am not a real fan of less-than-lethal rounds for a shotgun, there are a few solutions to a couple of the problems you stated.

First:

"So what happens if you have a break in while you're home alone and your shotgun is loaded with beanbags? What will you do if your first shot has no effect but to anger your assailant. How quickly can he be on you from the length of your hall or across your room? Can you load a lethal round and fire it in that amount of time? "

Answer,

Only have your first round be a beanbag. That way, if it fails, then you have a effective backup with a standard load, such as buckshot or birdshot or even slugs. I can see no reason for a civilan to have a shotgun loaded with more than 1 round of beanbag. If your attacker/target doesn't respond to the first shot with a beanbag, then a second or a third is a waste,kinda like warning shots. If it takes more than 1 beanbag, you should be employing something stronger. And if there is more than one attacker, then don't worry about the second attacker not get a less-lethal shot, you are at a disadvantage, hit him with what you got.

Second:

"Then there is the problem of controlling your intruder after you've shot him. Say it was a good night, and you made the perfect solar plexus shot with your beanbag and you've knocked the wind out of your assailant and he's laying on your hallway floor with the wind knocked out of him...Now what?? You've created another interesting problem for yourself. What do you do with your intruder? In a few moments he's going to recover. Will he sit quietly and wait for the police to arrive, or will you have to "shoot" him again? And what if the less lethal round doesn't have the desired effect this time? Do you have to add restraints to your home defense arsenal? "

Answer,

Forget the restraints. And once again forget the second round of beanbags. So you make the first shot, and the BG is down temporarily. And now he is thinking of standing up again. Remember what i said before, about only having the one round of beanbag, and have all the other rounds be "real" (for lack of better term)? Let the BG know, that the first round was a bean bag, the next will be 00buck. If he stands up again, he will become a threat again, and you will respond with lethal force this time.

And if you do have to follow up with a "real" round after a less-lethal round, at least a jury will see that you tried to end it without loss of life.

Just my opinion ofcourse.

I.G.B.

Dave McCracken
December 27, 2002, 05:30 AM
Standard ammo is quite effective in threat level reduction. Less lethal is per se less effective.

If I have to shoot at all, the survival of the perp is not significant, while the survival of my family and self is.

I see little need for L/L ammo....

riverdog
December 27, 2002, 09:24 AM
I agree with Dave. If #4Buck is less lethal than slugs then I'm already using a less lethal load.

HS/LD
December 27, 2002, 11:13 AM
Anyone entering my home or initiating hostile behaviour to me and mine will not get the "less-lethal" option.

The reason I bought the Shotgun as my primary HD weapon is because it is MORE-lethal than the secondary HD weapon a .40 Handgun.

I cannot understand the rationale behind the less-lethal round for a civilian??:confused:

The only focus should be on eliminating the threat, regardless of the level of force .

Regards,
HS/LD

C.R.Sam
December 27, 2002, 02:57 PM
Good Jeff.

If it is a legal and justified shoot with "less lethal" ammunition...
Then I want the best and quickest STOPPER available to me.
Sometimes you get follow up shot opportunities....
And sometimes you don't.

As to explaining to the critter on the ground that your next shot will be "more lethal".....likely to have communication problem.

Language, deafness etc.

Sam

Correia
December 27, 2002, 04:38 PM
Excellent post.

I agree totally.

I look at it this way. If I was an armed intruder, and somebody shot me with ANYTHING I'm going to immediatly shoot back. So for the argument of using one bean bag, and then having buckshot, what if you hit me with the bean bag and then I immediatly shoot you in the head? Second round being buckshot is kind of a moot point now.

As for telling the injured BG on the floor that the next round is buckshot, I don't buy it. See point one above. And if that doesn't happen don't assume that you are going to be able to have a rational discussion with the injured bad guy.

I have seen some video of people being shot with bean bags. I have been less than impressed. Anybody else see the video of the crazy guy with the samurai sword?

ARGarrison
December 27, 2002, 04:55 PM
If you are at a point wher you need to shoot, the threat is an immedite threat to you, or someone else. I do not want to wound; I do not want to injure; I want to stop the threat and NOW!

Most Police or Military use of Less Than Lethal ammunition are Roit/crowd control. Simpley to dispurse a crowd. The other use of LTL ammuniton is to force compliance, but most always the officer firing the LTL ammo is backed up by an officer with real ammuntion.

cordex
December 27, 2002, 05:18 PM
Exactly, Jeff.
You can load your home-defense 12 gauge up with "less lethal" beanbags or batons, or (going the other direction) DragonsFart(tm) SuperDuper-Bolo-Flechette-Rhodesian-Jungle-Exploding rounds ... or you can use something that's been proven to work and that you'll be able to afford to practice with ...

dfariswheel
December 27, 2002, 07:40 PM
The law is: If you are justified in shooting someone, LEGALLY it doesn't matter if you "hurt" them, wound them, or kill them.
Moral justification is up to the individual.

Someone doing something bad enough to justify being shot with anything, just "punched his own ticket".
There is no fault on your part, nor any expectation that you will risk your life and you family's life to give the attacker a break.

To quote the late, great Bill Jordan: "If you have to shoot somebody, shoot 'em GOOD. There's no such thing as shooting somebody just a little bit".

itgoesboom
December 27, 2002, 11:12 PM
Like i said in the beginning of my post above, I am not a fan of less lethal rounds in a shotgun for myself. I just figured i would throw out some arguments for the other side.

I.G.B.

WhoKnowsWho
December 31, 2002, 05:16 PM
My wife would like a shotgun for home defense rather than rely on accurate placement of a shot from the Sig, but also, she would like the first round to be a less lethal shot. Any thoughts or ideas on good less lethal ammunition? The only place I have seen any is the delta force catalog and their website. Any ideas are much appreciated.

HS/LD
December 31, 2002, 06:31 PM
There is another thread here recently:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=596

That deals, somewhat, with your questions.

Be aware of the downsides of using a less-lethal rounds first in the SG. It could cost your wife her life.

My "less-lethal" round is:
Winchester 2 3/4" 9 pellet 00 buckshot .
After that they get "more-lethal" :
Winchester 3" 15 pellet 00 buck.:evil:

Happy Hunting!

HS/LD

HSMITH
December 31, 2002, 07:05 PM
If you need to shoot I certainly hope you use the most effective ammo available to stop the threat that caused you to shoot in the first place. I just don't see it as an opportunity to try anything less than STOP the threat.

4v50 Gary
December 31, 2002, 11:14 PM
Law enforcement can buy a variety of "less lethal" munition. These are generally bean bag rounds fired from the shotgun. Target zone is below the nipple line and above the belt buckle. Mind you, improperly used, these things have killed.

Don't know if you'll be able to buy this stuff. It may be a LEO only and your best bet then is to find a friendly rangemaster who wouldn't mind losing a few to a "bud."

WhoKnowsWho
December 31, 2002, 11:28 PM
I made the same argument with the wife, if she needs to pull out the Shotgun, she probably needs it to kill, not to sting.

I will most likely just never order the L/L rounds for her, rather, I will get a good flashlight mount and a flashlight for mounting onto the shotgun. And I'll leave a rubber band gun for less lethal usage.

Thanks for connecting these posts HS/LD.

Roadkill Coyote
January 1, 2003, 12:40 AM
Before I say anything else, let me point out that I agree with the above points regarding the general unsuitability of 12 ga. less lethal rounds for home defense. I am my department's instructor in their use, and I wouldn't do it myself. If you choose to however, there are a couple of other things you should look into.


All 12 ga. less lethal rounds are not the same. Some companies make several different beanbag rounds for different applications, shoot someone at hallway distance with a beanbag designed for 60-90 feet, and your probably going to kill or seriously injure them. Some rubber buckshot is designed to be direct fired at 25 yards or more, some for direct fire at shorter range. Once again, the difference could be deadly. the difference in accuracy between a folded beanbag, and a sock type is dramatic. Don't use a round unless you know its capabilities, and have practiced with it.

Be aware, this stuff is nothing but an impact weapon, so if you wouldn't carry a baseball bat that you can only swing once, then you probably shouldn't carry a less lethal set up with only one round of less lethal available. If you know anyone in your personal experiance that could shrug off one swing with a bat, then you know someone who could probably take a thump and keep coming under the right circumstances. IIRC, most law enforcement shootings with less lethal involve more than one round.

Let's face it, we live in the era of litigation, and your looking at handing the other side a HUGE issue to play with by putting lethal and less lethal ammo in the same gun.


Hope the info helps

Marshall
January 1, 2003, 01:31 AM
You all might want to look into Mini Shells. I believe they are
1 3/4" in length, Aguilla is the manufacturer I believe, mainly made for pump guns and come in slugs or mixed shot.


Aguila Mini Shells (http://www.aguilaammo.com/minishells.htm)

CMichael
January 3, 2003, 08:57 PM
Very interesting Jeff.

Thank you.

Jeff White
January 4, 2003, 01:36 AM
Michael,

Glad to see you made it here.:)

Jeff

Badger Arms
January 4, 2003, 01:42 PM
Didn't read all of this. Got a question, WHY!!!!!?

Let me put it this way, why would one want to point a shotgun at somebody they did not intend to kill. When somebody points a shotgun at me, I will resist with deadly force. If I point a shotgun with anything less than a lethal load at somebody, they have the right to defend themselves with lethal force. Save the beanbags for bleeding-heart pansies that sue homeowners when they defend themselves, I prefer 00 buck 12 pellet loads myself.

eXe
January 4, 2003, 01:52 PM
Good thread. I too have been wondering about less than lethal rounds for my HD shotgun. I was thinking about getting a few "just in case".

Right now my shotgun has 00 in it, but being that I also keep a set of handcuffs near my bed (again just in case) If I were to knock someone down with a less than lethal round I could always cuff them.

Another question on LL rounds.. why the heck are they so expensive? I have seen them on sale for 20 bucks for a box of 5. That just seemed crazy to me.

Gary H
January 4, 2003, 01:55 PM
If you want less lethal then just never practice. Most likely, your shot will be less lethal. Of course, the other person might be a bit more skilled. Good luck.

CMichael
January 7, 2003, 01:02 PM
Thank you Jeff. Although we often disagree on political issues, your posts are always very thoughtful :)

Hey you can't be right all the time ;)

CMichael
January 7, 2003, 01:04 PM
Actually my less lethal around would be 2 3/4" #8 instead of 3" #4 turkey load.

MrAcheson
January 7, 2003, 03:20 PM
One of the big things to consider with less than lethals is ballistics. Bean bags are not shotshells, they don't spread out with range. Furthermore most beanbags don't fly straight if you have to use them at any significant range whatsoever. This means your easy to use shotgun is now doubly inaccurate and less likely to hit someone than a rifle.

If you want to use them use them, but keep in mind that you are giving the intruder an advantage which s/he can use against you.

Dave McCracken
January 7, 2003, 07:57 PM
We kicked this around on TFL, maybe the best HD load would be a specialty load that was good and effective, but of lowered energy and payload.

I posit something like a 2 1/2" shell, loaded with a good shotcup and filled with 6 00 pellets, driven at a nominal velocity of 1100 FPS. Slightly less than a 3/4 oz load, and sped just slightly over the speed of sound.

00 would be the pellet of choice for better penetration at that speed(lots of mass) and the thing would still beat the heck out of any reasonable handgun cartridge for energy, with great controllability and effect.

1100 FPS because expansion will hinder overpenetration, and pure lead deforms best and transfers energy best above 1000 FPS. And, the muzzle flash would probably be much less. Those of us who haven't tried our "Serious" ammo under low light conditions are entreated to do so NOW. Don't wait for an unpleasant reality check...

And a 2 1/2" shell not because of greater mag capacity,but for easier transit through the feed path under stressful and hazardous conditions. I've never had a problem shortstroking,but this would possibly help there too.

Also,it's slightly less likely to cause the mag spring to "Set", when stored for a while loaded.

And while still a pure D "Stopper", it may be a "Less Lethal" load. How much difference that would make in a court of Law is a hard call.

Finally, the low kick and fast repeat shots may make this suitable for all those we live with that are NOT shotgunners, but may have need for defending themselves and our families.Kick is why Mrs McC isn't a shotgun fan...

And for those 20 gauge owners, a similar load of say 1/2 oz and same speed would fill the niche. Make those #3 or 4 pellets.

Of course, these are close range loads only, and I'd want a nearby supply of normal stuff if the action moves outside, but IMO, this is a need the ammo makers aren't filling.

How about it?

Jeff White
January 7, 2003, 08:36 PM
Dave,

My defensive long gun is my Colt R6920 LE Carbine and I have to admit I haven't looked at the 12 gauge shotgun as anything more then a special purpose weapon (breaching, gas launching etc.) in several years. So I'm not really up on the latest in buckshot loads. (NOTE: I'm not interested in turning this into a which is better thread, everyone should decide what weapon best meets their personal needs and situation)

At what velocity does the 00 buck in a normal 2 3/4 inch load move?

Would you need a choke at anything longer then across the room distance? Or would it drop velocity too fast to be of any use?

Have you shot this load into test walls made of say 2 layers of sheetrock with 2x4 studs (simulating an interior wall) and one with sheetrock 2x4 studs, R11 or better fibergalss insulation sheathing (plywood or particle board) and siding (vinyl or aluminum)?

How about calibrated ordnance gelatin?

Why do you say it may be less lethal? Here again, I would recommend that you stay totally away from the term less lethal. I'm not a lawyer, I've never played one on TV, but I don't think it's a good thing to use a deadly weapon and expect it to perform otherwise. If you aren't willing to accept the moral and legal consequences of killing the person you are pointing the shotgun at, maybe you shouldn't be pointing it.

Lastly you speak of the low kick and fast follow up shots. How much lower recoil would it have compared to some of the low recoil police loads out there?

Jeff

Dave McCracken
January 7, 2003, 09:04 PM
Jeff, agreed on no which is better debate.

Standard buck moves around 1250 FPS in the real world, R/R stuff 1150 to 1200, IIRC. Some may be slower or faster. Magnum means slower due to greater mass,unlike rifle Magnums where velocity's increased.

Choke is meaningless across the room. The load hits as a semi solid or solid mass, like a Glazer Safety slug of .73 caliber.

I haven't done any tests, but some were done by someone(I think CR Sam) on TFL, and the Federal database had some stuff on walls, gelatin, walls and gelatin, walls, gelatin and clothing, etc.

Few absolutes exist but some general trends do.
Big pellets keep their energy better regardless of whether they're moving through air, water or biomass than smaller ones. Greater speed means more penetration to a point,then lesser because of greater deformation. That's energy transfer at work, a good thing in most cases.

Naturally, the engineer types would R&D this to get maximum benefit, I'm just throwing some ideas out there.

This ammo would still be quite lethal, and any use of it will constitute Deadly Force.

Lastly, best guess would be about 40% less free recoil, going on 1/3 less weight and maybe 10% less velocity.

Jeff White
January 7, 2003, 09:26 PM
Dave,
I knew choke was meaningless across the room. I was referring to why you wouldn't want to use this load outside.

I'm pretty familiar with the physics involved, although I didn't know that a magnum shotgun load was slower.

I'm curious as to what advantages your load has over some of the new Federal offerings (well new to me anyway)?

Jeff

Dave McCracken
January 8, 2003, 06:38 AM
Jeff, even big pellets run out of steam PDQ, and these would be started slower. Still these should work out to 25 yards, and the slower speed will probably mean tighter patterns.

As for advantages over what's on the market today, less kick, less chance of overpenetration, faster recovery times, etc.

CMichael
January 8, 2003, 04:08 PM
How fast the pellets go is on the box. If it says 1200 feet per second, I assume it's approx. 1200 feet per second.

Even though there are bigger pellets there are less of them. So 1 1/8 oz of big pellets is the same weight as 1 1/8 oz of small pellets.

Also if indeed the pellets are heavier that can be compensated with more powder.

Jack-in-TX
September 17, 2009, 11:45 AM
I'm willing to kill to defend myself and my family.

I would prefer not to kill while defending myself and my family.

My M2 is loaded with 2 rounds of shotbag, 1 round of rubber slug, and then 3 rounds of 00 buck.

Since I practice, I know I can accurately deliver those rounds at any self-defense range in far less time than it can take to close that range on me.

If that fails, my wife is behind me with the .45, and she's not as nice as I am.

ArmedBear
September 17, 2009, 11:58 AM
If that fails, my wife is behind me with the .45, and she's not as nice as I am.

Unfortunately, she'll have to dodge a rubber slug bouncing around the house...

Bottom line? If you aren't morally and legally justified in killing someone, you should not pull the trigger. Any of those projectiles can kill someone at in-home ranges.

If you ARE facing an armed assailant, and you have to shoot, you want them down, for good, before they kill your family.

BTW here are the projectiles you mention: http://www.deltaforce.com/catalog/lesslethalammo.html

Here's the warning: this ammo is lethal at close ranges.

In the 1970's the U.S. Army Land Warfare Laboratory conducted research and published a report on blunt impact weapons which resulted in a finding that impact energies between 30 and 90 foot pound are 'dangerous', i.e. contusions, abrasions, broken ribs, concussions, loss of the eyes or superficial organ damage, whereas 'Severe Damage' occurs if impact exceeds 90 foot pounds. (ibid., p.337). 'Severe Damage' includes serious skin lacerations, massive skull fractures, rupture of the heart and kidney, fragmentation of the liver, and hemorrhages. This ammunition has a high probability of being lethal or producing Severe Damage as defined above at less than 12 feet.

rbernie
September 17, 2009, 12:04 PM
Using a seven year old thread for research is A Very Good Thing. Dragging it back from the dead just to make a statement is not.

If y'all really wanna debate LTL loads, the Legal forum is probably a better place to do it (since the purpose for using LTL loads has nothing to do with the technicalities of Shotguns)...

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