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Does Joe Biden's Shotgun Tip Hold Any Truth?

A Washington state man recently arrested for the illegal discharge of a firearm tried to tell police that he'd been adhering to the Vice President's rather questionable self-defense advice.

The Problem
Recently a Washington man used Vice President Joe Biden's advice of, “If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun … and fire two blasts outside the house”—as his basis of defense when he was arrested for illegal discharging of a firearm. The local police department isn't buying the man's excuse, and the Veep did not rush to his aid.

Of course, NRA-trained, sensible gun owners don’t have to take Army Special Forces master door breacher Ronny Sweger’s opinion that Biden’s advice is ridiculous and downright dangerous. But out of respect to the man who was elected Vice President of the best country in the history of the world, I’ll look to the positive side of his statements on self-defense. Surely we can find some common ground, even in an era when anti-gunners think suspending an 8-year-old for biting breakfast pastries into the abstract shape of a gun is sensible. But I digress.

The Partial Biden Fact
If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun.

The Myth
A double-barrel shotgun is the best tool for home defense.

Credit Where Credit is Due:
Thanks, Joe. Fact is, nearly any shotgun—or any gun in general—can be used effectively for self-defense, depending on the scenario. Where Biden is misguided is his choice of shotgun. Why would any Second Amendment-abiding American specifically choose a shotgun meant for bird hunting when there are scores of others on the free market that hold 5, 8, or even 15 shells? I mean, even a dunce knows that if one shot is good, two is better, and that's a good reason to buy an AR-15. But if a double barrel is all you have or can afford, it's certainly better than a Louisville slugger, or vomiting on would-be rapists as Illinois state police recommend. But when true self-defense experts give advice on the ideal shotgun for protecting one’s self and family, grandpappy's old double is seldom their first choice. Or second. Or third.

Take the UTS-15, for example. It’s a bullpup-configured compact shotgun that holds 7 rounds in each magazine tube, plus one round in the chamber for a grand total of 15 shells. It feeds from each tube—either alternately, or from the tube of the shooter’s choosing. Therefore it’s possible to load 7 rounds of buckshot in one tube, and 7 slugs in the other, so you can shoot either when the self-defense scenario dictates. As a bonus, it can also be used for sporting purposes. I know this because I shot a nice gobbler with it this past spring. It handled beautifully, and, while I only needed one shot, I could have fired 14 more times if I missed or the turkey tried to get away. On the skeet field, I only had to reload once. Boom, times 25!

Of course there are other high-capacity shotguns available, like the dual magazine Kel-Tec KSG, the semiauto Remington VersaMax, which holds 8 shells, or the venerable Benelli M2 that’s stopped more bad guys than Batman.

The Conclusion
Biden had it partially right when he said shotguns are good for self-defense. Some are just better than others. But don’t follow all of Biden’s advice, or you may wind up in the slammer without any shotgun and with no Biden to bail you out.

To let him know how thankful they are for the advice, BullShooters’ readers are encouraged to get a shotgun. See one example below and feel free to send your own video in.

The Must-Watch Video Thank You Note

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10 Responses to Does Joe Biden's Shotgun Tip Hold Any Truth?

Patrick P wrote:
July 31, 2013

I personally can see both sides of the shotgun argument here; both double-barrels and larger capacity shotguns each have their strong points. And coming from a background with extensive training in building clearing, I tend to focus more on the tactical aspects. Double-barrels, as it has been mentioned already, are excellent close quarters weapons. Stoeger Firearms has made an entire line of double-barrels for that very use (with rail mounts on side-by-side and over-under models). With short barrels, they offer the gun owner the ability to move easier throughout a home where longer barrels that are found on most semi-automatic and large capacity shotguns might cause an issue (Yeah, I know you can get short barrels on them too but that would make them virtually useless for any other purpose). Most homes don't have gaping doorways and hallways; what use would those extras shells be if your barrel is wedged between you and the wall because you turn in a space too narrow. Plus, a short barrel means less barrel poking ahead of you as you break past the door plane into a room/hallway that someone can grab. Let's take it one extra step...what if for whatever reason someone does grab your shotgun? Double-barrel shotguns are short in overall length as well which again can be an asset in tight quarters. Plus they offer the ability to be broken down in a hands-on situation increasing the chances that at least the ammo can't be used against the owner if full control was lost. What if you had to reload in a hurry? A double-barrelled shotgun is a lot easier and faster to reload, especially with multiple rounds. Furthermore, there are fewer moving parts to fail when they are needed the most. Now...semi-automatics and large capacity shotguns. They do offer more ammo at your disposal without having to reload. You can stagger your rounds or, as it was mentioned in the article, load multi-tubed shotguns with different rounds. Having a variety and multiples of those varieties gives you a chance to tailor the round to the need. You can do different rounds with a double-barrel, but only one of each. What about the unfortunate chance someone grabs your shotgun? Since most semis and large capacity shotguns are longer, you get more distance between you and the attacker. Plus you get more leverage to use to your advantage to regain control of it back. And what about reloading on the fly? Just slap a round in and close the action (can be easy and faster than loading a double-barrelled shotgun but takes practice to get proficient). And let's not forget the sound of racking a shell with a pump that is intimidating as hell. What it all boils down to is that a shotgun is designed to do a lot of damage over a short distance (choking considerations aside). I know some of you are thinking 'with the right choke (or slug) I can drop them before they even get near'. True but if you are shooting that far away from you then they probably have a very, very low chance of doing you harm or you even hitting them at all or them you if they have a firearm. Studies show that most attacks occur within 7 feet of the victim, are over within a few seconds, and most tactically untrained people miss more than they hit which increases with distance and single projectile (slug) ammo. So distance can be your enemy here; and so can the drop of shot pellets at a distance. You need to train with, or at least be comfortable with, whatever type of shotgun you prefer. The weapon is only as good as the user. Move through your home with an UNLOADED shotgun of your liking and see what obstacles/hinderences you might face. Learn before you have to use it. Get some training dummy shells and practice loading and reloading on the fly. I personally can load a double-barrel and most semi-autos/large capacity shotguns with 2 shells in about the same amount of time...but only because I've trained and practiced. Know what different types of loads do at different distances. And as far as the VP's '2 shots in the air comment' (and legal arguments/ramifications aside)...why would I want to waste good ammo in the first place? Personally, I prefer a double-barrelled 20 or 12 ga. with a side of .40 cal S&W M&P. A lot of ammo and weapons to fit the need at hand (and yes I like slings on shotguns if you are wondering).

Gary wrote:
July 30, 2013

The Benalli Nova pump has a magazine cut off you are asking for.

Ken wrote:
July 30, 2013

I have had a Rossi Coachman for 35+ years. A double barrel(DB), 12 Ga., dual external hammer, twin trigger model for home defense and to carry in the car. That fire arm ahas quelled many, many disturbances that have occured where ever I have been. Especially with a bandolier of shells hanging from it. The fact that I and my wife an shoot clay birds with it pretty well ( more than two at a time) mighjt have something to do with it. But we used to live in a gang hang out area and after carrying this visably to the car and back in when I went places, had them come to me and ask me if I would really shoot some one with it. After seeing the flechet rounds they asked it it was cool to hang out down at the park if the park if they left us alone and made sure we were left alone. I never even had to demonstrate it. A DB is a great tight quarters (18 1/8' barrels) with a lot of wow factor, and will work if you just practice a little with it. Plus being considered crazy by the local gang helps a lot too. But I have to admit when the buzz was going around FB and friends were posting the JB comment, my better half asked one of the poster's who seemed to support his (dangerous and totally unsafe) recomendation, 'Now thaT I fired my 2 rounds into the air, what am I supposed to do with the other 18 rounds in the mag?'. She recieved a Saiga 12 for her birthday a couple of years ago, with 20 round drum. :D

Rich O wrote:
July 30, 2013

A shotgun is a firearm. It has a range and can kill. Just putting a loaded gun into the hands of a person who has no concept of its range and destructive ability is just plain stupid. Kinda what you'd expect from Joe B.

Harold wrote:
July 30, 2013

The one thing everyone over looked about Biden's 'excellent' advice is the fact that he and his family are well protected by the Secret Service, who them selfs well armed. Advice like this comes all so easy from those who do not have to worry about protecting them selfs.

Larry wrote:
July 30, 2013

The chunk-ka- chunk sound of a rapidly chambered 12 gauge shell in any pump action shotgun is a great deterrent.

Chuck wrote:
July 30, 2013

Unless one is going to buy one of the Turkish imports, a basic pump action Mossberg or Remington is cheaper than any double barrel shotgun that I am aware of. The days of H&R or some other maker of cheap double barrels passed along with buggy whips and carbon paper. I'm afraid like so many of his other ideas Joe's advice is out of date. My grandfather's double had Damascus barrels and fired black powder. Now there's an idea — black powder. The bad guys won't be able to see you after you let go with both barrels.

LarryC wrote:
July 29, 2013

With no respect for Biden, his advice will get the person killed. Or worse, an innocent person outside the door. Any credible armed intruder will most certainly have 5 times the capacity of Biden's gun on hand. And in many cases, he may have a well armed accomplice coming through the back door that will take out the homeowner. The average homeowner does not practice firing and speed loading with a double barrel fast enough to counter any armed threat.

NRA_NAGR wrote:
July 23, 2013

hey! what about a saiga 12g semi auto? also available in 20g and .410 styled after the AK-47 and fun as heck to shoot!

Charles wrote:
July 22, 2013

There is one high capacity shotgun you didn't mention. The Mossberg 590 Marine coat holds eight in the magazine and one in the chamber for a total of nine. With a twenty inch barrel and an aluminum alloy reciever it weighs 7.5 lbs. unloaded. That is a nice compact shotgun with nine bites to its bark! The only thing I would like to see is a magazine cut off like the old Springfeilds had in case you want to hand chamber a slug or vice versa.