Friday, January 25, 2013

Biden Says Get Yourself a Shotgun

Yahoo News reports

Are you looking into buying an assault weapon for protection after a devastating natural disaster (or the coming Zombie Apocalypse) plunges society into deadly anarchy? You’ve got it all wrong, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday: Get yourself a shotgun.

Biden, doing a Google+ “hangout” to promote President Barack Obama’s proposals for battling gun violence, had been asked whether a new assault weapons ban might infringe on the Second Amendment rights of those who want one “as a last line of defense” to fend off looters after “some terrible natural disaster.”

“Guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer, a double-barreled shotgun, than the assault weapon in somebody’s hands [who] doesn’t know how to use it, even one who does know how to use it,” the outspoken vice president, a shotgun owner himself, replied. “It’s harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun. You want to keep people away in an earthquake? Buy some shotgun shells.”
Does that sound reasonable to you? A shotgun would be easier to aim and fire effectively, wouldn't it?


  1. No, a 12 gauge shotgun firing buckshot or slugs is much more difficult to handle than an AR-15 firing .223. Many women and dainty men can not handle the recoil of any shotgun that's practical for self defense.

    Biden is similar to you, Mike. You have no knowledge of the things you want to ban.

  2. Going to Biden for gun advice is like going to Rosie O'Donnell for dieting advice.

    Shotguns are like hammers. They do some things very well and a lot of things acceptably. They are part of any basic armory. But Biden's comment--and yours, Mikeb--displayed a deep level of ignorance about firearms and their uses.

  3. Feinstein's bill has a whole section on shotguns that will be banned too. The definitions are usually more strict for shotguns as well ( lower capacity limits, do not require a detachable magazine for it to be banned). It is rumored that the kel-tec KSG will be banned by name, which is pump action and tube fed- which I assume us what Biden means when he says "get yourself a shotgun".

  4. No, it is not inherently easier to use. Are they powerful? Yes, far more powerful than the round from a .223, though this sort of flies in the face of the logic of those who want to ban those "high powered assault weapons". Shotguns, especially those considered ideal for home defense, can have an amazing amount of recoil. They are also limited in terms of capacity, which is a potentially lethal limitation at 3 am with an unknown number of intruders in the house with you and your loved ones. I touch on this question here:

    Of course, Greg Camp put it best in his inimitable style. I can only add that the idea of taking gun advice from ANY person who favors significant gun control is preposterous. I ride motorcycles and I don't go to people with an active dislike of motorcycles and riders for advice when I look for a new bike. In years past my dad and I built and restored several houses. If we ran into structural or design issues we weren't sure about, we talked to architects, engineers and contractors. Oddly enough, we never talked to people who thought single family homes were a bad idea and should all be torn down in favor of multi-family dwellings.

    1. I agree that a shotgun is powerful. But, the power is mainly in the recoil. Those other rifles go right through people and walls, that's another kind of power.

    2. Wrong again Mike. The .223/5.56 round is really good at tearing up the flesh of the idiot that breaks into your home in the middle of the night, but is very frangible. If you miss the intruder, the bullet will most likely break up and disintegrate when it hits a hard surface like drywall or wood. 00Buckshot or a slug from a shotgun will penetrate most any wall surface other than concrete or a cinder block wall and go into the next room or into your neighbor's house.

      And a shotgun does have to be aimed just like a rifle or pistol to be effective.

    3. Mikeb, I sit here at my computer debating whether there's any point in trying to educate you, but I'll give it a go:

      Pistol rounds typically come out at less than 2,000 feet per second. This means that they have to do all their damage through mass and diameter--mass punches in, diameter tears holes. Hollow point rounds expand (but not always) upon impact, causing more damage, but also limiting the risk of overpenetration.

      Shotguns fire shot or slugs. Shot is a bunch of pellets--like BBs, only larger. The group of shot stays together for a good distance. The rule of thumb is that the shot pattern opens up about one inch per yard, depending on various factors. A slug is a big lump of lead. It makes big holes, but risks overpenetration. Shot stays in the target better, but not always--see Cooper's rule four.

      Rifles send rounds down range at more than 2,000 feet per second--except for rimfire rounds like .22 L.R. At that velocity, when the bullet enters a body, it causes a pressure wave in the soft tissues that creates massive damage well beyond what the bullet touches. That statement is true about all centerfire rifle rounds. The typical AR-15 round, a .223, just happens to be the smallest and lightest of the common rifle rounds.

      In every case, a gun has to be aimed. Shotguns aren't wide-beam phasers. Rifles don't listen to a person's intent--they shoot what they're aimed at. Handguns require practice to aim well. All three classes have their particular purposes, and people will feel more naturally comfortable with one, but not others.

      But please, don't make pronouncements about what gun is best for a given purpose. You don't like guns. My side does. We see guns not just as tools, but also as an appealing hobby, among many other things. Which of us do you imagine knows more about the subject?

    4. While it is true that a 12 gauge shotgun produces significantly more recoil than a .223, the remainder of of your argument is inaccurate.

      "The power is mainly in the recoil" does two things. First, it violates the laws of physics. If we equate the power of a round with kinetic energy, and that's the norm for firearms, then the greatest amount of kinetic energy is in the bullet, shot or slug expelled from the barrel. The reason is that kinetic energy is dependent on a couple of factors of which velocity is the greatest. Thus:

      kinetic energy = 1/2 x mass x (velocity x velocity)

      As you can see from this formula, while mass plays a role in kinetic energy, it is velocity that plays the greater role. This is why a bullet (or shot or slug) with a weight measured in grains has vastly more kinetic energy than the weapon itself with a weight measure in pounds. The weapon isn't accelerated to such an incredible velocity by the powder charge. In fact, the recoil is a function of the speed of the round exiting the barrel, the weight of the weapon, the weight of the round (bullet, slug, shot), the weight of the powder charge and the weight of the shell or cartridge.

      Second, "the power is mainly in the recoil", if true, requires that we find a way to turn the weapon around for it to be truly effective. To illustrate this, let's compare the muzzle energy of a 12 gauge slug vs 12 gauge recoil.

      According to Chuck Hawks a 12 gauge rifled slug (which traditionally weighs 1 oz) has, at the muzzle, a kinetic energy of 2222 foot pounds of energy. While I've been unable to find the recoil for a shotgun firing slugs, a 12 gauge firing 1 7/8 oz of shot at 1210 fps develops about 54 foot/lbs of free recoil, assuming a weapon weight of 7.5 lbs. So, the power of a shotgun (or any other firearm) is in the round expelled from the muzzle, not in the recoil. By comparison, a .223 round develops somewhere between 1100-1400 foot/lbs of kinetic energy at the muzzle. Assuming a weapon weight of 7.0 lbs firing a 62 grain bullet at 3025 fps, the shooter can anticipate free recoil of just under 4 lbs. The point? The .223 produces both less significantly less recoil and less kinetic energy potentially delivered to the target.

      Finally, "those other rifles" is inaccurate as the only round mentioned specifically in this discussion was the .223, which is the same round regardless of the weapon from which it is fired. In fact, depending on the powder and primer used, the .223 will carry more kinetic energy when fired from a bolt action rifle than it will when fired from something like and AR-15. The reason is that the longer barrel allows the expanding gases to accelerate the bullet to a higher velocity.

    5. Greg maybe you need to educate Mr. G. while you're at it. He seems to think a shotgun blast will go through a person or a wall and into the neighbor's apartment. Will you explain to him about the pellets spreading out and how unless he's at extremely close range, and maybe not even then, it just won't penetrate.

      Also tell him about the standard 9mm round or the .45 cal from a 1911 and the way it will often go through almost anything.

  5. How sure are you of this? Do you think you might want to double check that statement, Mike?

  6. In the interest of honesty... I do find some truth to the Vice Presidents comments. Not much truth, but here it is. A double barreled shot gun would be easier for an untrained person to use effectively. one trigger per barrel, you pull the trigger and it shoots with no chance of jamming. However, almost any measurable amount of training would quickly make an auto-loader Ar-15 a better choice.

    Doug R