Reports have come out that the Russian-made Saiga-12 shotguns are being sold to US law enforcement agencies. For those not familiar, the Saiga-12 is a detachable-magazine-fed, semi-automatic shotgun that has a passing resemblance to the AK-47 rifle.
The Saiga-12 has been popular with three-gun competition shooters and firearms enthusiasts, but I have not heard of any US law enforcement agencies purchasing the Saiga-12 as a issued firearm.
While the Saiga-12 offers some advantages when compared to traditional pump and semi-auto shotguns, it also presents a number of hurdles that would rule it out for most police departments. Some of the disadvantages include:
- limited options available for securely mounting some models in a patrol car
- different manual of arms that what is taught in majority of police academies
- significantly more expensive that the classic Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 shotguns
- questions about the availability and speed of service and warranty work
- politically incorrect: not made in the US and resembles the AK-47
I’ve never felt under-gunned with a pump-action 870 and four rounds of buck with slugs in reserve. It is hard for me to imagine a department of any significant size stepping away from the defacto-standard for a shotgun that is largely unproven.
If an agency is looking for greater firepower, and they aren’t hampered by political correctness, I would expect patrol rifles to be a better choice.
Does anyone know of any US agency that
- currently issues or maintains Saiga-12 shotguns for any purpose,
- has ordered Saiga-12 shotguns for any purpose, or
- is seriously considering the purchase of Saiga-12 shotguns for any purpose?
If so, please send me an e-mail or post the information in the comment section. Also, if I’ve got it wrong, and the Saiga-12 is a great choice for a police shotgun, sound off below also.
Tip o the fedora to my friend Steve at The Firearm Blog for the information about the Saiga-12 and US law enforcement.