Breaching Shotgun | Primary & Secondary

Breaching Shotgun

Discussion in 'Shotguns, Subguns & Related Equipment' started by AndersonAUB, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. AndersonAUB

    AndersonAUB Newbie

    I have been tasked with coming up with a proposal for a new breaching shotgun to supplement or replace my Agency's 870 breaching shotgun.

    I'm looking for advice on a couple guns to look at and what equipment would have to come with it to make it effective.

    Shell holders, slings, sights, the works. Some opinions from guys who run breaching guns would be helpful.
  2. Mikey Strauss

    Mikey Strauss United States Postal Service Wat Cop

    We run 870s for breaching. All of them come from our property room. We do a form 4 on them and then cut them down, add a pistol grip and put them into service.

    Some guys put the shell holder on them and some don't. All add a bungee sling as its typically carried in conjunction with an M4 or some other tool for the entry.

    Some guys have been running a scabbard on the back of their vests but we are looking at changing that system now that we've seen the magnet retention systems that are offered by some companies.

    Good luck,
  3. Bill Blowers

    Bill Blowers Sausage Six Actual Staff Member Moderator

    Full size fighting shotgun first, with a minimum capacity of 6 rounds. (More is better)
    Proper Sling
    Effective white light
    Optics are a bonus but not a necessity
    It should have a standoff device.

    It is the ONLY long gun the cop should carry on a mission, and it is ONLY loaded with breaching rounds. This gives him proper motivation to get good with it. If he needs to shoot a dude, hit him with the breaching rounds. The picture below is a Def-Tec TKO in gelatin, 14" on the ruler at top.
    12 ga Def Tec.jpg
    I am happy with the Saiga we have, but it will be getting a T-1 instead of just the irons. Most breaching rounds (I've tested most) have an effective range between 7-10 yards. I need to know this so when I shoot the door AND it pops open, I am ready to engage anyone inside who needs it. A pistol grip, short barreled shotgun is very hard to shoot accurately, quickly. Mounting a gun to the shoulder and firing as normal is more accurate and generally faster. I want the increased capacity so if I run four on the knob/deadbolt or six on the hinges, I am not standing in the door with an empty or near empty gun.

    I used to use a modified Benelli Super 90. We had chopped it so it only held 6 total. I ended up on the down staircase of a split level on a warrant. I shot the hinges and the door fell in, there was nowhere for me to go but in the door and there was a bad man right there. Luckily he didn't need shooting, but I stopped giving the middle hinge 2 rounds after that so I at least had one in the chamber for that issue. We served a warrant last week where the breacher had to go up narrow stairs to a locked door. He shot the knob twice and the door opened, both crooks were in the room with pistols on the nightstand. He could not have retreated to let a guy armed with a rifle go first, so he went in ready to throw down with 8 more rounds in the Saiga.

    Specific recommendations are the aforementioned Saiga. But that bitch wasn't cheap with all the mods done by a competent gunsmith who TESTED it with breaching rounds to ensure it would work. I have not messed with a KSG-12, but I think it might be a great breaching gun due to capacity. It is a pump so it should run everything, but I have watched many a pump die hard choke a gun due to lack of training. Last, I use a Mossberg 930 in classes because I cannot possess an SBS outside of official duty. That gun holds 8 rounds and I have yet to see it choke on anything I've tried to feed it. It wont cycle bean bags, so extremely light breaching rounds like the plastic S&B's probably wouldn't cycle it. That's OK, because those rounds suck ass anyway.

    Regardless of the gun, semi or pump, the key to being successful is training with it. Birdshot is cheap and you can get a lot of work in with it. Dummy rounds to work on manipulations. I am messing around with an EZ8 shell holder and think it will work. Other options are side saddles, but check them on the Semi guns since some of them do not like the added weight. Velcro shell cards are pretty versatile and cheap. The typically fit into an AR pouch so if you're a breacher sometimes and an assaulter sometimes, you dont have to add/delete from your kit for the gun you're carrying. I carried a four round shell holder on the front of my belt for a long time and it was quick way to load four. When time allowed, I backfilled it out of a dump pouch.

    One man's opinion.
    T7534, nate89, Longeye and 1 other person like this.
  4. Mikey Strauss

    Mikey Strauss United States Postal Service Wat Cop

    I tried to edit mine originally but didn’t get it posted before the 5 minutes was up...;)

    Bill added a lot of good and relevant info, we also use the def tec tko breaching rounds and are happy with them and confident that they will put people down if you need to use your breaching shotgun for a lethal shot and recomend a qual course for just in case because everything comes down to litigation eventually! I’ve heard of others having good results with frangible 00 buck but I have no experience with it.

    We had one of the HK/Benelli 14”guns years ago that we tried to use for breaching but couldn’t get it to run on anything reliably other then slugs and 00 buck so we stay clear of the semi auto’s and just run the 870’s because they are stupid reliable and the whole dept uses the 870 for patrol which makes everything from the armor to parts etc easy.

    As far as our shortys all 16 guys on the entry team have one or can have one (the rest of the unit can have them also but only a handful of others have and carry them) and carry it and have the ability to be an alternate breacher because we’ve found through thousands of entries that buildings with multiple locked doors can use up the shotgun breacher pretty dang quick and it can severely slow down the team (not just on a warrant but think active shooter in a 2 million sq foot complex with people barricaded in hundreds of rooms that need to be breached etc yes that happened..... $30K plus worth of damage to breached doors and windows).

    Like Bill I’m a staunch believer in a full size breaching shotgun in the stack on warrant service and thats his only job while others fulfill other duties but we have also learned that at least one alternate breacher should be prepared to step up when Mr murphy is present. I don’t think the guns need anything other then a shot shell holder but if guys want to put a standoff, light or whatever on the gun I’m good with it just as long as its a quality piece of equipment. No other shotgun ammo on the breacher, no bean bags, no 00 buck, slugs etc so that there is no way a wrong round can be loaded into a breaching shotgun....

    Again, good luck and I hope we’ve helped,
    T7534, avtech850, TJ208 and 1 other person like this.
  5. Bill Blowers

    Bill Blowers Sausage Six Actual Staff Member Moderator

    ^^^Sheesh, did you try knocking or turning the knob? :)

    We have moved away from DefTec and use Royal Arms stuff now. I haven't shot any of those into gelatin but I suspect the black and orange caps will be similar. The green cap (Clayvon) round may not perform as well due to it's construction. Ill try to get it done and post results.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2015
    T7534 likes this.
  6. Bronson

    Bronson Fury Staff Member Moderator

    Bill - I edited your original comment to reflect the change.

    I'll add some thoughts on .mil breaching shotguns once work gives me the okay to do so.
  7. Bill Blowers

    Bill Blowers Sausage Six Actual Staff Member Moderator

    Copy direct, you can delete the additional post and this if you want. Looking forward to your thoughts.
  8. AndersonAUB

    AndersonAUB Newbie

    Thanks guys!
    After getting some reps in today I have realized two things. I like shotguns and I have a pretty good natural ability with them.

    A decision has to be made by me whether or not i wanna push for a new Mossberg 930 or add a mag extension to our existing 870.

    The 870 is a good weapon that I am most familiar with and it already has a royal arms breaching barrel with stand off on it. But that weapon is old and does not appear as though the team members from my agency have taken the time to maintain it and keep it up to date with the needs of the team.

    The 930 seems like a really good option. However a large amount of money has been burned up due to an investment in other operational capabilities for the team. (nods) The shell cards velcroed to the side of the receiver seemed pretty slick and with the addition of two surefire shell caddys, (one on support side and one on strong side) I could make that system work well.

    The other issue that I see is that for the most part my team runs the shotgun in the TL or ATL position only. I believe this is a choice based upon the ability of the TL to be available when the mechanical breach fails or when an interior door needs to be defeated. I am no where near a TL at this point in my tenure on the team so I don't know if replacing the 870 with the 930 is worth while if I wont even get the opportunity to use it. Additionally if i can spend 30 bucks and turn the department's 5 round 870 into an 8 round gun there is no need for a new weapon system.

    It appears as though the team is taking a different direction with the Boomstick and maybe ill get a chance to put action on a door. Either way I appreciate the feed back and will put together some info for the boss.
  9. Bronson

    Bronson Fury Staff Member Moderator

    Thoughts On .Mil Breaching Shotguns:

    The shotgun is a special purpose weapon, not a primary one. It is intended for use to ballistically breach locks/chains/hinges and other targets as needed in order to breach and secure entry. That being said, it is also considered a secondary weapon to kill bad guys with and to transition to, especially if a handgun is not carried.

    I believe that the shotgun is a fighting shotgun first - as such it needs sights and a light. A dedicated breaching light is also Value Added to minimize visual signature prior to breach. VIS Red / IR to illuminate target and structure is my preferred option.

    Ballistic breaching may be a better option if the Unit is not trained in explosive breaching, or has limitations using that operationally. (In OEF we ended up doing a lot of covert entry because it did not damage villager's locks/doors/gates.) This should clearly be delineated in a Breaching use of Force Continuum.

    I am not a fan of standoff devices on .mil shotguns due to the need to move distances on foot and over terrain features. Proper technique can be used without the aid of a standoff device and standoff devices, even when properly secured in a weapons catch or sheath, can tear you up.

    Status: Shotguns are carried with 5+1 in chamber. Weapon is on safe. The M500 safety is superior to the 870 based on location and ease of use, and also is difficult to inadvertently pace on fire.

    Shotgun Carriage: I do not advocate shotgun carriage being on your back. This involves needing to "fish" for it with one hand over your back, has a tendency to flag you and others, and typically requires 2 PAX to resecure. Shotguns make a large hole on entry. While I still like the old Eagle Industries Shotgun Scabbard and cross draw, lightweight magnets for retention are the new standard. Previously this option had a large weight penalty, today this is no longer the case. A single point sling and weapons catch can also work well, though both are needed to function efficiently. Without a weapons catch, the single point sling will wave the shotgun all over, especially when climbing and traversing obstacles.

    Ammunition: The issued Winchester 00 Buckshot round has terrible pattern density and spread. I also do not advocate it to be used for ballistic breaching due to increased risk of causing injury to self, fellow teammates, and unknown's inside. There are dedicated frangible breaching rounds in the system, however actual procurement of them can be difficult. Combined with not being authorized COTS ammunition to use, this becomes problematic and is a major reason why ballistic breaching in the GPF is not in common use (other factors being lack of training, lack of schools for ballistic breaching, lack of budget, training materiels, command influence.)

    Ammunition Carriage: I've been searching for this Holy Grail since 2007. The best option I have found to date includes industrial-strength pile Velcro on the shotgun itself and hook Velcro shotgun cards. RCS/Ares and Esstac Shotgun Cards are my preferred option there. These can also be placed in single magazine pouches and shingles. Just like magazines, shotgun shell cards are disposable items that require PMCS. Constant loading/unloading will loosen elastic. The new QD-C solution intrigues me as well, I'll be testing that when it is released commercially.

    TTP's: Not going in depth here. .Mil tends to see less traditional targets: a lot of gates, locks, chains that require breaching. Metal vs. Wood have different attack methods.

    Barrel Length: Shorter barrels are preferred; I've had .mil shotguns with 18.5", 16.5",14", 12.5" barrels. I prefer 5+1 Capacity, but I'll go down to 3+1 if there is another method of breaching available if the ballistic breach fails.

    M500 Force Mod: Rail on pump for attachment of lights. Rail on top for optics (RMR, low mount T1). In OIF I was using zipties on an E2D and an LED keychain light Velcro'd to the shottie. There are better, purpose built solutions and means of attaching them now thankfully.

    The M26 is absolute garbage. Weapons mounted to M4's are not a very good idea on principle (barrels not free floated, you are incurring a weight and footprint penalty, ranges do not support use of 40mm and 5.56 to allow Grenadiers to choose which weapon is more suited to the task at hand). The use and operation of the M26 itself is not conducive for Infantry use - it is not semi-automatic and requires straight pull bolt action. This makes incredibly slow for multiple shots on targets, especially when mated to the M4. The box magazines are 3 or 5 round, which is less capacity than the M500. It requires you to have more pouches on your kit to store them, and you cannot consolidate or manage ammunition (partial and empty magazines) as effectively. Gripping it is entirely non-intuitive and doesn't aid in recoil management for Push/Pull technique. This image alone says it all:


    We also had the opportunity to test the Crye Six12 and same issues I identified with it without seeing it in person manifested themselves live. It's just not suitable for a .mil breaching shotgun.

    The KSG-12 performed well, although I have reservations about Kel-Tec's track record, materials used in the KSG-12, long-term durability and reliability. lack of commercially available spare parts, and no armorer courses or support without sending it back to Kel-Tec.
  10. Bill Blowers

    Bill Blowers Sausage Six Actual Staff Member Moderator

    Like a lot of things, LE SWAT breaching is very similar in concept to what you wrote for .mil. There are differences however, and cops should use their heads about OUR mission and constraints vs. the military mission. And vice versa.

    Excellent write up as always.
    Longeye and Bronson like this.
  11. Lobsterclaw207

    Lobsterclaw207 Regular Member

    Maybe somebody "in the know" can chime in, but wasn't there a mall situation in Maryland within the past few years where a LARGE amount of doors/gates/windows were breached with the shotty? For my money in that situation, I'm much happier carrying the shotgun and a fuckload of breaching rounds than a ram, sledge, and halligan (all of which require physical exertion to use).
  12. ProvResearch6

    ProvResearch6 Newbie

    It seams like breaching a LE SWAT context is very similar to military needs, entry into a closed space with as much speed as possible to increase officer/Soldier safety while causing as little collateral and property damage as possible. The Military context still requires a mitigation of injury or risk to non combatants, having said that I recognize that the risk threshold may be lower for a LE agency and depending on the threat i.e. warrant vice Dallas shooter the acceptance of collateral damage to structures etc may vary
    Bill Blowers likes this.
  13. Bill Blowers

    Bill Blowers Sausage Six Actual Staff Member Moderator

    Its not the structure, I could care less about damage to the building. It would be the inadvertent injuring of occupants and how that would play out in civil action and potentially criminal charges. Especially if negligence/recklessness could be proven. Or failure to train / failure to supervise on the civil side.
    ProvResearch6 likes this.
  14. ProvResearch6

    ProvResearch6 Newbie

    Bill, do you attempt mechanical breach before ballistic or ballistic as plan A? I'm not opposed to using mechanical first because of lowered risk of occupant injury. My concern would be the loss of momentum and potential for the bad guy to get time to think and or set up. What criteria would you recommend for this choice? Is it just threat based?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Bill Blowers likes this.
  15. Bill Blowers

    Bill Blowers Sausage Six Actual Staff Member Moderator

    Threat and Intel based, most locked interior doors get ballistic though
  16. Fatboy

    Fatboy Established

    The decision to breach should be based on whether entry can be made safely and quickly on arrival. Try the door- unlocked and open? Then why waste time beating or breaking in? Sliding glass you need to enter? Maybe you need to make a hole in a wall? Safe quick effective should be the criteria, and not necessarily in that order.

    That should all factor in. I'm all for shock and awe effects on target. My opinion only, the biggest shock and awe is finding an open entry point and creeping silently through a structure until it's no longer possible. Barring that, it's always a crowd favorite to bust the door and go like your hair is on fire until the dust clears.:D
  17. ProvResearch6

    ProvResearch6 Newbie

    Great, Thanks for the feedback

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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