Why I Don’t Like The “Armed Citizen Project”

As a resident of the Tucson area, I have seen several local news reports about the “Armed Citizen Project,” an organization which plans to distribute free shotguns to low income residents of high crime areas. I looked into the project further, and do not like it. Here is why.

– The shotguns they choose are single shot break actions. The usefulness of this type of firearm for defense is debatable, but several of their stated reasons for selecting it are fallacious.

The single shot break action is chosen because it is supposedly of high value in defense, has a low risk of unintentional discharge, and would not be appealing to a criminal if it were stolen.

I beg to differ on several points. Criminals don’t particularly care about the quality or effectiveness of the weapons they use, and neither will their victims. In many cases, a firearm is to a criminal as much a tool for intimidation as it is for fighting. For the same reason that an intruder might be scared at the sight of a shotgun barrel, an unarmed, unsuspecting civilian would be scared of that firearm pointed at them by a random scumbag.

In addition, I am unaware of any statistics which show that a break action shotgun is safer than other types of firearms. From an objective standpoint, if the firearm is to be kept ready or semi-ready for defensive purposes, it must by design have a shell in the chamber.

Contrast this with a pump action shotgun, which may have a loaded magazine tube and an empty chamber. When the user is properly trained and familiarized with their firearm, this is probably not an issue. But that brings me to my second major problem with ACP.

– Only residents that take Armed Citizen Project’s “tactical training” will be given a firearm. However, the following is found on their site when describing the effectiveness of a shotgun:

I consider this weapon a hallway gun. If a home invader enters my home, this weapon is sufficient to cast a large spread that is capable significant damage, while reducing the potential of innocent bystander damage, due to the fact that the shot will not likely travel through walls or over longer distances without losing great amounts of energy. I can simply point 15 feet down my hallway, while aimed in the general direction of the intruder, and fire a shot that may take care of the problem.

What type of shot? Buckshot will penetrate plenty of interior walls, and birdshot is not sufficient to quickly stop 160-220lb mammals with dense muscle and bone. Even so, it’ll go through one wall with enough energy to cause injury on the other side.

No type of shot I have ever tested will spread enough inside the hallway of a small home or apartment to be fired in “the general direction” of an intruder with a reasonable expectation that it will incapacitate said intruder, let alone at 15 feet as stated on the ACP website. Doing so is a recipe for disaster, especially inside what may be a poorly constructed dwelling with multiple innocents in all directions.

The only example I have of this is something I shot several years ago. Even at 7 yards, the “loosest” buckshot is going to produce patterns barely larger than the size of a fist. And that’s a good thing!

Furthermore, any person who would make such statements and advocate such behavior displays an appalling lack of knowledge of and experience with firearms. I would not advise that anyone undergo training on use of force or even basic weapons manipulation from such an individual.

However well-meaning the people behind this project may be, they are going about this endeavor entirely wrong. If they manage to carry out their project, it is my opinion that the recipients – as well as their neighbors – will be put at risk, not protected.

14 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like The “Armed Citizen Project””

  1. A shot fired in the general direction of a target will simply result in a miss in the general direction of a target. Five minutes with some paper targets on the range is all it takes to figure this out.

  2. Not without significantly shortening the barrel, thereby rendering the shotgun illegal. Hollywood has really had a negative influence on peoples perception of what a firearm can or cannot do.

  3. Thanks for covering this. Its a stupid idea.

    I shot trap and skeet along with upland birds and I consider a shotgun a precision instrument no different than a rifle. You have (as in must) to aim it to hit stuff… the biggest pattern I’d ever seen from my improved cylinder M66 was around 20 inches at 40 yards. At 10 yards a round of #6 was in a less than
    5 inch circle. They just don’t scatter like claimed till you get down to under 16 inches or you use a rifled slug barrel with shot.

    Further a break action limits the number of shot should you miss. A double requires some experience as the barrels either sides by side or over under point differently then a single or a pump gun.

    Either way most people find shotgun recoil with high brass loads punishing and very hard to make a follow up shot. Also compared to trap loads a good 3″ 00 buck load would leave my shoulder bruised without a heavy pad.

    Myself for defensive work I’d grab the .22WMR bolt action as that had a 7 round magazine at least. It’s not any more effective but plenty more shots. Though anything semiauto would be better.

    Either way the first one you grab is the one you need to get to another maybe better one.

    Eck!

  4. Sounds like someone has been listening to Biden. Are these people for real, or is this a hyped up false flag of some sort?

    1. A single shot shotgun is sufficient 90 percent of the time, because 90 percent of the time no shot needs to be fired.

      Jeff Cooper suggested a single shot shotgun as appropriate for use by bodyguards, as I recall.

      Certainly, there are better choices, given unlimited resources and desire to learn. Those with those resources and interest will soon have those better choices.

  5. Maybe a more appropriate firearm would be a Hi-point 995 carbine in 9mm.

    Or if the magazine capacity of the Hi Point is too high and a blowback semi auto is scary how about a a savage axis youth .223 rem with a 3+1 magazine capacity.

    Or if .223 rem is a “scary military caliber”….

    Here I run out of ideas.

    What should we do which is cheap, low magazine capacity except not single shot, in a lethal caliber that isn’t a scary military caliber and is also non-semi-auto?

    The only thing I can think of that satisfies my concept of the mechanical requirements is a 9mm Largo Destroyer Carbine a bolt action Spanish police carbine that is insanely collectible.

    Maybe we should just give free training with a $800 voucher for the local gun store. That gives the knowledge that is the key part of being safe, and then lets them choose the right gun for them and their situation.

    I mean, if you wanted to create an army of carpenters you wouldn’t say “free carpentry course and one-size-fits-all hammer.” You’d give yourself tennis elbow with the wrong hammer.

  6. Didn’t see an email so I’ll leave this here:

    I you’re looking for some more pattern photos I have some buckshot/trap load ones from a 18-1/2″ barrel that I shot ages ago to get an idea of what the gun would really do. The trap loads are surprisingly useless. If you’d like them, Send me an email.

  7. 1. We have switched over to pump-action shotguns.
    2. If you don’t like what we are doing, start your own damn nonprofit. We are trying to create as many new responsible gun owners as possible.

  8. I’m sure the original intent was to limit cost in order to maximize the number of guns put into peoples’ hands. I hope it works out well but as Han Solo said, “Ive got a bad feeling about this.”

  9. If someone came out in support of raw milk or the permissable colors for painting your house, carping, quibbling detractors would chew it over. Tennis elbow??….. If you still credit the sincerity of the anti-gun crowd,you have not been paying attention for the last few years. The gg’s goal is the complete disarmament of the civilian population. Witness Obama’s assurances about not taking away sporting guns, while the 2nd is crystal clear….guns are necessary for the SECURITY OF A FREE STATE.
    As one of our fundamental rights, an individual’s choice to be armed is their own – sacrosanct, unquestionable. As to the dangers of having a gun in the house, our utterly biased and disingenious media says OK for me, but not for thee…..they jump all over any tragic gun story they can find, but somehow never talk about common people defending themselves with a gun in the most terrifying situations. For the record, armed people successfully defend themselves against robbery, rape and murder about fifty times for every tragic firearms incident.
    Contributing to ACP or being active in it is civil rights activism. we are going to give the lie to all the GG’s
    Neil Wampler Los Osos Ca.

  10. I LIVE IN PHOENIX, AZ. WHERE IF U WANT A GUN TO PROTECT YOUR SELF U CAN GO BUY 1. HOW IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO GIVE PEOPLE LIVING IN APARTMENT’S OR HOUSING PROJECTS ( where my wife and kids may live in the next room over by the way) GUNS THAT THEY DONT REALLY WANT. BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW IF THEY TRULY WANTED A SHOT GUN THEY COULD GOTO WALMART AND BUY A MOSBURG PUMP, FOR ONLY 199$ WHICH WOULD ACUALLY PROTECT THEM. IF KYLE COPLEN EVER WENT TO BEN AVERY OR ANY OUT DOOR GUN RANGE ( where there is no bullet prof divider wall) AND HAD A GREEN HORN NEXT TO YOU MUZZEL SWEEPING U ABOUT 3 TIMES A HOUR, OR JUST NOT ACTING CONFIDENT IN THERE ACTIONS WITH A LOADED WEAPON IN THERE HANDS IAM CERTAIN U WOULD THINK DIFFEENTLY. THEY COULD SALE THERE GOVERNMENT FOOD STAMPS FOR THE 199$ OR ASK OBAMA TO GIVE THEM ONE OR GO TO A PAWN SHOP AND GET A USED PUMP FOR 100$. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL THIS IS A GOOD IDEA. I wonder if kyle has ever visited the projects before because he has no idea how many kids live in 1 apartment at any time, there would be children killed by single shot gun fire in the dozens,
    weekly…..

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