Double Barrel vs. Assault Rifle
According to Vice President Joe Biden the answer to defending your home, family and property in the wake of a catastrophe is a double shotgun. This strikes me as an interesting pick. On the plus side they are very simple to operate. They can also fire a variety of ammunition including slugs and buckshot. But there are negatives as well. Shotguns are short range guns, even when loaded with slugs. This is especially true of doubles since they are not available with rifled barrels which precludes the use of sabots. A double is inherently limited to two rounds. Reloading is not as easy or as fast as other action types due to the break-action design. It seems to me that firing twice then having to reload is a significant detriment in a home/self defense situation.
Biden claims that it’s easier to hit a target with a shotgun than an “assault weapon” (I assume he means “assault rifle”). Again, a shotgun is a close range firearm and is only easier to hit a target when some variety or another of pellets are being used. Since the context of Biden’s statements involve defense we can assume those pellets to be buckshot. Within the confines of effective buckshot range it’s awfully easy to hit a target with a rifle, assault-style or otherwise. If you can’t put a rifle bullet into the chest or head of an attacker at 50 yards or closer you aught to consider a visit to the optometrist.
VP Biden is apparently a shotgun owner. Maybe that’s why he is advocating shotguns for protection but he certainly knows nothing of assault rifles. There is a reason why the AR-15 has won the approval of varmint and predator hunters as well as competitive marksmen. They are accurate! It used to be that the bolt-action was generally considered to be the best action for accuracy but the AR-15 has changed that significantly over the past several years. And there is a reason why the AK-47 has become so prevalent world-wide and it isn’t the automatic capability or the 30 round magazine. It’s because it is absolutely reliable, maybe even more so than a double shotgun. Another key asset of virtually every assault rifle when compared to a shotgun is lighter recoil. Even firearms in the “battle rifle” class, which are usually chambered in 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester to us hunters) as opposed to the significantly lighter 5.56mm NATO (.223 Remington) cartridge or 7.62mm x 39mm that most assault rifles are chambered in, are considerably easier on the shooter than a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with combat-appropriate ammunition.
If I found myself in the midst of a large-scale riot and was concerned for the well-being of my family and property I would feel more comfortable with an AR-15 than a double shotgun any time. If Vice President Biden found himself in a similar situation and was armed with his trusty double scattergun I’m sure he’d change his mind in a hurry.