Tell me again how birdshot is an adequate load for self-defense.
A Round Valley Tribal Police officer was shot in the face by a man who fled on foot on Tuesday, but was not injured, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office.
A homeowner in the 22500 Block of Refuse Road in Covelo called Round Valley Tribal Police around 10 a.m. to report an armed man. Two tribal officers responded and, seeing the suspect holding a shotgun in the driveway, one confronted him and demanded that he drop his weapon.
According to the release, the suspect fired one round at the officer with a birdshot. The officer shot back twice, missing the suspect, who was hiding behind a car. The suspect put down his gun when witnesses yelled at him to drop it, then took off his shirt and put his hands in the air, feigning surrender, before taking off. Officers saw him running to the west, but lost him.
The tribal officer who had been shot at was not injured, since he was about 50 feet away from the suspect. The release said the pellet did not break the skin because it had dissipated before reaching his face.
The officer took a load of birdshot to the face from about 50 feet—roughly 17 yards—and it didn’t even break his skin, much less take him out of the fight. He instead engaged the suspect, firing two shots, before the suspect dropped his shotgun, feigned surrender, and ran off.
Countless dove hunters are “peppered” with birdshot every year, and unless the shooter is pretty close, the wounds are generally superficial. Even at in-home self-defense ranges where the shot column is no bigger than the size of a fist, the tiny pellets simply lack the individual mass to penetrate deeply consistently. The result of such wounds (and I’ve seen plenty of evidence photos) might be fatal, but just as often as not, they’re horrific but shallow wounds that can’t reliably stop a determined attacker. This especially applies when an aggressor is wearing heavy clothing, or hiding on the other side of some in-home intermediate barrier.
If you’re going to shoot at two-legged predators, I strongly recommend buckshot. My personal preference is Federal LE 132 1B or Federal LE 127 00 ((based on how those load pattern out of my Mossberg 590). I aim it like a rifle, and at my longest possible in-home straight-line shot, it leaves a single golf-ball sized hole (the tear to the left is the Flite Control wadding, the tiny holes are plastic buffer material almost as ineffective as birdshot).
If you want a slightly wider pattern, however, the less expensive and easier to find un-plated soft lead buckshot you can find at Walmart will provide that performance for most shotguns.
The suspect, 22-year-old Jeffrey Allan Joaquin, a convicted felon, was captured later and faces charges for assault with a deadly weapon.