The Myth "Just fire the shotgun through the door" is good advice to protect your home.
The Origin When interviewed by Field and Stream magazine for his thoughts on guns and why he's pushing for bans on magazines and AR-15-style rifles, Vice President Joe Biden reiterated his advice to a town hall meeting participant who asked how he should protect himself.
In the Field and Stream interview, Biden said that he told the gentleman: “Well, you know, my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.”
The Dangerous Truth As responsible gun owners know, what Vice President Biden said flies against nearly every NRA gun safety rule. As an NRA Certified Firearm Instructor, I teach students to always identify their target and know what's behind it. But, as I am not an expert because I have not fired an actual shot in self-defense, I will defer to one.
The Expert Deferral "Anyone who pulls a trigger has a moral, and often legal, obligation to identify exactly what they are shooting at. If blindly 'shooting through the door' is acceptable, we must plan on maiming Girl Scouts selling cookies, pets trying to get inside, the FedEx man, family members that have misplaced their keys, and so on. An obvious and rare exception to this is if Jack Nicholson's character in the movie "The Shining" is chopping through that door.
"As a former Special Forces Breacher and Assaulter, I know most of the variables that come with shooting through doors (most of which knowledge is classified). On a technical level, before breaching any door I step back and ask myself questions about the door's location, construction, ammunition type on hand, and the threat's skills and knowledge.
"But instead, I suggest that our great nations' firearm owners outright ignore the Vice President's dangerous advice and stick to their own common sense, which is:
"Know your target and shoot for center mass. It is America’s grassroots, common sense approach to threat control that is advisable and not the ridiculous thinking of the Executive Office that will protect us.
"As for anyone planning to go over to the Biden’s home, please reconsider; knocking on his door may be your last mistake."