As with all less-than-lethal weapons, the user is frequently left to estimate the optimum effective range of their weapon. Factory literature often exaggerates effective ranges and other features, which can be misleading and potentially dangerous in the deployment of the weapon. Using a modular combat shotgun and its three barrels, this study examined the accuracy of 12 gauge bean bag rounds in relation to barrel length. Accuracy was measured by point of impact and projectile spread in relation to the deviation from the point of aim. Our observations for the selected shotgun and bean bag rounds show that, at distances under 12 m (40 ft), the projectile was both accurate and reliable. At greater distances, both accuracy and reliability decreased. The 25 cm (10 in), 36 cm (14 in), and 46 cm (18 in) barrels can be used in close proximity from 3 m (10 ft)—15 m (50 ft) without a considerable loss of accuracy. This is of major significance as the use of shotguns during tactical room clearing is often limited by the length of barrel. These findings suggest that even the shortest length barrel tested would perform well if the targets are not engaged beyond 15 m (50 ft). Beyond this distance, the 46 cm (18 in) barrel is the most accurate performer and will reliably engage targets out to the maximum tested range of 24 m (80 ft).
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