This is a discussion on Is a shotgun "useless"? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Stars come with time, Grasshopper. A shotgun at close proximity, regardless of the load, is pretty devastating....
Stars come with time, Grasshopper. A shotgun at close proximity, regardless of the load, is pretty devastating.
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"He went on two legs, wore clothes and was a human being, but nevertheless he was in reality a wolf of the Steppes. He had learned a good deal . . . and was a fairly clever fellow. What he had not learned, however, was this: to find contentment in himself and his own life. The cause of this apparently was that at the bottom of his heart he knew all the time (or thought he knew) that he was in reality not a man, but a wolf of the Steppes."
Close... Birdshot is very unpredictable and even at pretty close range can fail to penetrate deep enough to do any considerable damage to the vital organs or arteries. If someone has a considerable amount of muscle or fat, there's a chance it'll stop right there. Theres also a good chance though that'll it'll destroy it's intended target.
Of course there are exceptions, but I don't care about "well, in this one example...", I want something that is very reliable and will penetrate deep enough to do considerable damage to the organs, CNS and arteries, reliably, regardless of whether it enters from the front of the chest or has to pass at a downward angle through the ribcage first, with only the rare exception.
Just like 5.56. I can choose to load my rifle with 55gr m193, which is inconsistent, fails to fragment a good percent of the time, and when it does fragment, typically it doesn't even start the process until passing through 9" of the body, often exiting or stopping before fully fragment, often leaving a 1" wound channel, or less. OR, I can choose to run 75gr TAP, which fragments extremely violently and reliably, typically within the first 3" to 4", yet still penetrates up to 14", leaving a 4" to 5" wound channel. of course I'm leaving intermediate barriers out of this example, but the results are similar even with heavy clothing.
I have a choice not only in which weapon I choose but also the ammo I decided to use as well. Regardless if I'm using a 9mm, 45, 5.56 or 12 guage, I want the most reliable and effective ammo I can get for the situation.
For handguns, I want the heaviest standard pressure Winchester Ranger T-Series (not SXT or PDX 1) or Federal HST that I can get.
For 5.56 I want Hornady 5.56 75gr TAP T2 for use inside of a structure, 50gr Black Hills TSX for SBR use or any use where I may encounter intermediate barriers within 200 meters or 70gr TSX for longer range hog and coyote hunting and MK262 or back to 75gr TAP for longer range shooting.
For a 12 guage, and this is certainly not my area of expertise, I prefer Hornady Tactical LE Reduced Recoil loads. From everything I've read of officer involved shootings and from the couple officers I've talked to that used this load during a shooting, it seems to be extremely effective and decent handling.
So, there are many options and we need to do our part in understanding terminal ballistics, test the loads for function that we are considering and make an honest assessment of our needs and how the loads we are considering fit those needs.
For example, I like 147gr Winchester Ranger T-Series In standard pressure for my daily carry. T Series and Federal HST are some of the most reliable and effective handgun bullets when it comes to soft targets. BUT, at work I'm often in a vehicle and it's quite likely I may encounter a threat in a vehicle as well. Should this happen, Ranger Bonded or Federal Tactical Bonded (HST Bonded) will be the better choice, even though on soft targets they do not expand as much as their non-bonded counterparts.
I know a lot of people take this stuff lightly and have a good time making silly posts, as do I at times, but remember there are many, many more reading this than there are posting, and we need to post ONLY FACTUAL INFO that we can prove and back up with personal experience, experiences we've seen or dealt with first hand in one way or another (talking directly to the person with experience or at least reading their writings on it), or being able to link documents that explain the how's and why's. If we can't, maybe what we're adding to the thread isn't that important after all. Having fun is a good thing, but if it's a somewhat serious topic, the fun should wait until AFTER the question is correctly answered.
I was at the local shop last week and a Mother came in with her young son and she was looking for a home defense firearm. The salesman immediately went into why the shotgun was such a great choice, without fail mentioning the Internet nonsense that you do not need to aim and the sound of chamfering a round will scare all but the most ruthless murderers away. Well, if someone breaks into my home when I'm there, I absolutely MUST assume that he IS the most ruthless murderer currently in a meth induced psychotic state. If I assume anything less, I'm being very foolish. Ask me how I know this....
Anyway, let's take this stuff seriously. Has anyone here ever seen in person what happens when you shoot someone? It's entirely possible, even with the shotgun and a direct heart shot, that the bad guy may continue to fight for another 20 seconds to another few minutes. 20 seconds is an eternity in a fight like this. Please, for the love of God, get some training and learn how to effectively put multiple hits on your target. It may save your life.
For those questioning training and multiple hits, please Google search the Deputy Dinkheller video. Of the 16 rounds he fired, ONE hit the threat in the stomach. Then, when he's getting shot and screaming at his handgun to fire (while in slide lock due to running dry) he fails to go for a fresh mag. Officers receive little training though still more than most civilians. Without training, it's unlikely we'll survive a fight if it's anything more than a few rounds.
After reading the first paragraph above I can tell you've never used a decent choking system on a shotgun and by that can tell you haven't shot one very much.
I don't hunt birds, so I choose to use proper weapons and ammo for home defense and my job. Even if I did hunt birds, I reserve the bird hunting ammo for birds, not people.
I guess all the SME's don't know about the wonder chokes that make tiny pellets turn into man stoppers.
I hunt birds and have a dedicated HD shotgun The smallest shotsize that I would even consider is a BB, I like #4 buck, but #1 is also very good indoors. For general use I have 00.
When I use to work patrol the only long guns we had were shotguns and they were loaded with 00.
The problem with bird shot is that each individual pellet does not possess the mass to penetrate deep enough to hit a vital organ. But someone is still absorbing 1oz of lead and it will have an effect, it just might not put them down.
A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.
Shotgun useless? Try getting shot with one!
An LEO friend of mine related this story about his early yrs. The first apt. complex he lived in he was in a garden apt. This is a fancy name for a basement apt. There had been a lot of car break-ins in the neighborhood and he has a fancy new stereo in his not-so-fancy POS car. He use to park directly across a side-yard lawn at the curb on the street. One summer night he was awakened by the sound of glass breaking and when he went to his open window he saw a figure with his arm in his car window trying to open the lock. My friend took a comfortable stance resting his forearms on the ground outside the window and slowly cocked his service revolver. At the sound, the perp. slowly withdrew from the car and put his hands up. My friend called the cops and they took the young would-be thief away. The responding officers later told my friend the perp. had soiled himself. Familiar sounds can be effective!
"can" and the situation are the keys here. A car thief and a home intruder are two different things also, so we need to keep that in mind when talking about these things. I drew on a guy attempting to break into my home last year and he ran faster than Bolt... But, I didn't draw to scare, I drew to shoot. He just happened to run during the process.
My friend, his name is Rambo (you know, like the guy in the movies), he says that bird shot will instantly make a bad guy vaporize if you have a full choke. I believe him because he was a member of the Delta SEALs. One other time he shot at a guy and missed with his shotgun but because it was a 3 inch mag it sucked the paint off of his house and permanently turned the bad guys hair orange. <---It's true....no really he said so.
Jeff's video is good, but it also shows the problem with birdshot. 4" of penetration, maybe 6" total, is terrible. We want 12" to 14" which buck would likely have done. Anything but a direct shot to the front would not have penetrated deep enough to hit the vitals.
This is what Dr Roberts always talks about. As a surgeon, he's seen a fair share of firearm related injuries. The majority that involve birdshot proved to not be man stopping wounds.
In an ideal setting, it'll work of course. But it cannot be relied on to perform consistently and that's the key here. Consistent and reliable. If that shot into the meat hit a 200 pound man anywhere but in front of the heart or in the head, it would likely not stop the aggressor if he is under the influence or mentally I'll. It's been proven time and time again.
On a side note, I don't understand why the heck anyone would even consider birdshot in the first place. I was in a residence within the past year where 00 buckshot was fired at a man sitting on his couch. It impacted the couch, not him. Only a couple pellets exited the back of the couch and those stopped in the wall, clearly visible. In the same house two rounds of 9mm also impacted an interior/exterior wall, neither penetrating fully.
So, I just truly do not understand why anyone would chance this. How many instances do we hear of where a home owner fired in defense and the bullet then penetrated a wall, injuring a family member? Almost none? Yet many still make that the priority in choosing ammo, refuse to get proper training as the shotgun seems to be the only firearm that people do not need training on (??) and then won't look at the facts when presented with them.
Get training, know the layout of your home and what angles pose a threat to family, get the best firearm for your needs and for Christ's sake, buy the most effective man stopping ammo available for your firearm of choice.
Using weak/small game ammunition is on par with stringing your new tennis racket with a shoelace.