Using Shotguns as Less-Lethal Weapons

Shotgun repurposed to less-lethal weapon (LLW) through use of less-lethal ammunition. (source: KPTV)

Shotgun repurposed to less-lethal weapon (LLW) through use of less-lethal ammunition. (source: KPTV)

December 3, 2018 | Source: PoliceOne (via National Institute of Justice), policeone.com, Michele Coppola

When the Corvallis Police Department moved away from everyday use of shotguns in favor of patrol rifles, the shotguns were repurposed for use as less-lethal weapons.


Shotguns, long a staple of law enforcement departments, can be used to fire less-lethal rounds. When the Corvallis Police Department moved away from everyday use of shotguns in favor of patrol rifles, it decided to repurpose shotguns for use solely as less-lethal weapons.

In 2017, the department repurposed its 12-gauge pump action shotguns for use as less-lethal weapons by fitting them with orange stocks labeled “less-lethal,” and orange fore-ends, according to Lt. Dan Duncan, public information officer for the department.

The department uses a less-lethal shotgun round made of a polymer material that is designed to “pancake,” or flatten on impact. The shells of the ammunition are transparent with an orange band and label for high visibility.

“The less-lethal rounds have a transparent casing and the internal part is orange so they are blatantly marked that they are a less-lethal round, very distinct, which is another safety measure we wanted.”

Use of a standard size less-lethal shotgun round allows the shotguns to retain the capability to fire standard lethal ammunition.

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