Why Are Sawed Off Shotguns Illegal

Do you know why sawed-off shotguns are illegal? Do you know what a sawed-off shotgun is? If your answer to either of the questions is no, then this is the perfect article for you. Additionally, even if you know what a sawed shortening is, this article will give you in-depth knowledge of the history of sawed-off shotguns, how they function, and why they are considered lethal.

Sawed-off shotguns have different names, from a short-barrelled shotgun, Boomstick, short off shotgun, or to shorty. As the names suggest, a showed-off shotgun is a particular type of shotgun but with a shorter barrel. In most cases, it is below eighteen inches. That is an approximate length of 46 centimeters. Still, on rare occasions, these guns may have an even shortened barrel or lack one altogether.

Despite popular belief, barrels do not need to be shortened with a saw in the strictest sense. Being an alternative to standard and longer barrels, you can produce shorter barrels. Their lower profiles and lightweight feature makes them suitable for transport. The weapon’s nature also makes it easy to navigate in tight spaces. Its rising feature makes it a popular and dream weapon for military combat groups and the well-known SWAT teams.

One fun fact is that any sawed-off shotgun with a magazine tube might have a limited capacity because of the shorter barrel length. Additionally, the United States, Canada, and Britain passed a law that required a person to have a permit to own a sawed-off shotgun. The U.S.U.S. passed this law in 1930. The failure to have a permit when in a boomstick position led to a restriction depending on the jurisdiction. These guns, however, are widely used by police forces and military agencies all around the world

Illustration of a Sawed-Off Shotgun

why are sawed off shotguns illegal

Sawed-off shotguns have limited perfect ranges, unlike a standard shotgun because of their lower muzzle feature. However, the limited length does you much favor when it comes to maneuvering and concealing.
Military environments with close-quarters combat heavily rely on robust and light weapons ideal for tight spaces. Short-barrelled battle shotguns are used as auxiliary weapons for military vehicle crews. When breaching and accessing doorways in urban war areas, military entry teams access a homestead door with these shotguns.

Most jurisdictions in the country set the minimum barrel length for shotguns. The statutes shun criminals from utilizing these deadly weapons. From 1934, there was the prohibition of a barrel with shorter lengths than 18 inches. Most producers in the U.S.U.S. have not marketed these sawed-off shotguns to the public.
To comply with NFA regulations, any individual can fill out the Form 1 “making” form. It would help if you accepted a tax stamp worth US$200 for your respective shotgun. To legalize the possession, you need to minimize the length to at least 18 inches. You can do that by either replacing your barrel or shortening it.
The word sometimes describes the illegal weapons made by getting rid of a regular shotgun barrel. A shotgun that lacks a tube magazine might allow you to adjust to any preferred length.

However, the majority of pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns contain a tube magazine on the barrel underside direction. It limits the minimum barrel size along the magazine tube. It might be pretty challenging than trimming the barrel.

Box magazines on repeating-fire shotguns maintain their shell capacity when the barrel length shortens. They tend to be rare, unlike tubular magazines. Shotguns with shorter barrels than the legal minimum length are often classified as exceptional.

What are sawed-off shotguns?

Given the term sawed-off, the barrel length is an important aspect to consider. Its reduced length leads to a widespread of pellets. There is a popular misconception that minimizing a shotgun barrel length might significantly impact the pellets’ pattern or distribution. However, this is only valid when the barrel is reduced to less than half its standard length.

A typical barrel is 28 inches in length; this length is used to raise the weapon’s center of gravity. The center of gravity is distant from the body and utilizes an ergonomic heft. It as well allows the barrel to get closer to the shooter’s vision and aim at the target.

The cartridge’s design and structure applied alongside the choke available on the barrel muzzle play crucial roles in the pattern impact.

Why are sawed-off shotguns more dangerous?

Sawed-off shotguns are considered very dangerous since when the gun is fired in a close range, as is the intended purpose of all shotguns, the gun has widespread highly lethal pellets. The pallets become widely spread since the barrel is shortened, and the one that is left cannot adequately control the pallets. Despite the firearm being far more lethal, the sawing off part of the barrel makes the gun less accurate. The created inaccuracy makes it a requirement that the gun holder must get close to the victim to increase accuracy.
At close range, short-barrelled shotguns can be deadly. Solid slugs or multiple lead balls are known as “shot,” can be fired (hence the name shotgun). Buckshot (more giant balls), birdshot, small game shot, and goal shot are all available. The barrels are smoothbore, which means there is no rifling to leave forensic traces on the bullets, such as tool marks.

Sawed-off shotguns are also considered lethal since cutting off some part of the barrel makes it easier for perpetrators or malicious individuals to conceal the gun under a coat or inside a bag. They are simple to obtain, simple to make, simple to hide, and challenging to trace forensically. If the disposal is needed, it is also inexpensive.

The only limitation to them being lethal is that; The range of sawed-off shotguns is significantly reduced to about the length of a room; the second recoil is increased, especially on a twelve-gauge double that fires both barrels at once. Lastly, in comparison to a pistol, follow-up shots would be slower. Even among the criminal community, it’s a throwback to the “dangerous guy” era.

Why are sawed-off shotguns illegal?

Shotguns are deadly weapons to have within your property. Their shots propel faster, unlike most gun versions in the market. That is why most states in the U.S.U.S. ban the possessions of sawed-off shotguns.
Another reason for the banning of sawed-off shotguns is their concealable states. They tend to be life-threatening. There exist different laws that safeguard the public and personnel in peculiar situations.

Purposes for sawing off a shotgun

Unlike standard shotguns with a normal-sized barrel, a sawed-off shotgun has a muzzle with lower velocity. It enables a shorter efficient range. However, its shot is a bit wider.
Sawed-off shotguns are powerful and compact weapons that are most suitable to use in restricted regions. It explains its popularity for military groups and other law enforcement groups.
Other individuals utilize it as a breaching gun. What is a breaching gun? It is a type of gun with a unique design to enhance door breaching. Are you a fan of crime and investigation film series? Then I bet you have seen the boys in blue firing at the door to gain access to the suspect’s home. Most likely, the ‘acting police officers’ are using sawed-off shotguns.

You can fire a sawed-off shotgun within the range of 6 inches or even lower. Usually, you point out that the door hinges or doorknob area. These deadly weapons tend to disengage locks or knobs. You might wonder if using shotguns is life-threatening to home residents. Yes. The sawed-off shotguns set limits for the pellets not to go beyond the target entry. Once it hits the targeted object, it destroys it and scatters it into a safe powder.
A shorter sawed-off shotgun with 14 inches or below might need mere modification. You can either fully get rid of the buttstock or add a collapsing one.

You can even take the modification to an extreme level by adding a barrel with a muzzle brake. It becomes handy in directing pellets to the target. Hot gases that could hinder the recoils of the shooter are perfectly reflected in the front.

In most countries, the majority of the users belong to the authority groups. In other countries like the United Kingdom, it might be daunting to get handguns. Criminals in such nations might find the significant need for transforming the basic shotguns to the deadly sawed-off shotguns.

Most individuals discredit sawed-off shotguns due to their higher threats to human lives. However, its lethal qualities somewhat make it a useful weapon. With the sawed-off shotguns, you can make a shot when inside a vehicle or within the targeted building.

Their harmony to disintegrate pellets works outstandingly when at closer ranges with the target. The shots do not have sufficient time to withstand the velocity within the barrel. The pellets have to go through the muzzle at a fast rate.

Sawed-off shotguns Attorneys

Sawed-off shotguns, as mentioned above, are prohibited weapons in the U.SU.S. The least barrel length for most shotguns in the country is at least 18 inches. In the earlier years, sawed-off shotguns were a standard product in the market. Manufacturers used to release them straight from production centers without banned enhancement.

When the authority finds you in possession of this deadly weapon, you might face criminal weapon court charges or penalties.

Sawed-off shotguns belong within the class of Prohibited Weapons and Devices.
You can manually establish sawed-off shotguns. Most times, civilians modify the basic shotguns and transform them into more concealable criminal weapons.

Criminals in the country heavily utilize these items in robberies.

States like New Jersey might pose you a 3 to 5 years imprisonment statement for the possession of sawed-off shotguns. Also, the State bans the transport, sale, or manufacture of sawed-off shotguns.
If you happen to face a criminal charge concerning sawed-off shotguns, it would be best to contact a well-versed lawyer to defend you with the third-degree crime.

Reasons why sawed-off shotguns should be legal

why are sawed off shotguns illegal

Shotguns with fewer inches are undoubtedly the go-to weapons to have. With the illegal status of most sawed-off shotguns, what are some of the reasons why you think sawed-off shotguns need to be legal? Let us go through them below.

Better weapons for defense

Our safety, as well as those we love, need to be our top priority. You can achieve this by owning a sawed-off shotgun to act as a defense mechanism from robbers.You do not need profound skills to maneuver around with the sawed-off shotgun. The shotgun has pellets that widely scatter when getting out of the muzzle. It does not matter if you have amateur aiming skills. It would help if you, however, were extra cautious when aiming at your target.
When using a sawed-off shotgun in your home, you might ideally aim your target as well as other multiple targets. You might have to handle risks associated with the collateral damage in your neighbor’s home.

Simple to make

Sawed-off shotguns have a simple design and structure. Even your grandpa can come up with one. There are simple guidelines online that illustrate all steps of establishing a sawed-off shotgun.
Here are the steps involved.

  • Take a significant length measurement of your barrel. Ensure it does not surpass the required standard length.
  • Use tape around the sectioned areas for clear visibility.
  • Get several strokes with your hacksaw to initiate the cutting.
  • Gently, hacksaw and cut through the barrel. When in the end, support the barrel to eliminate any bending.
  • Upon completing the cut, take off the tapes. Use a solid file to polish the saw marks at the barrel end. Also, utilize a round file to remove the sharp edges on the barrel exterior parts. Contrarily, use sandpaper to destroy the sharp edges on the barrel interior section.
  • Finalize the process with freezing bluing on the barrel end to protect the cut.


Sawed-off shotguns are incredible weapons for most gun-lovers. They have a unique design that makes your shots exciting. Law enforcement groups are the legal and active users of sawed-off shotguns.

However, most states in the country ban their use due to their environment’s unfriendly nature. You might get yourself in real trouble when found possessing this deadly weapon.

I hope all this insightful information about sawed-off shotguns will brighten your day.