This is a discussion on Home Defense 12 gauge or AR 15? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I think that your AO is going to determine which weapon is the better choice for you. Whichever you choose you need to be intimately ...
I think that your AO is going to determine which weapon is the better choice for you. Whichever you choose you need to be intimately familiar with how the weapon functions, how the ammo you choose performs and remember the basics of defensive shooting. Most important being 'know your backstop'. I live in the country and use my duty AR as my house long gun but if I lived in town or in an apartment I would probably choose a SG. Also whichever your choice is I would recommend a whitelight mounted on the gun as you can't hit what you can't see and spray and pray is not an option.
If the SG is your choice you will want to pattern your load to see how much spread you have at known distances. Penetration tests will also give you confidence in how effective your loads are. A side saddle or extra shotshell holder on the stock will give you the option of different loads like 00 and slugs. These guys have some characteristics that can come in handy when the BG is hiding behind the dryer;-) Whatever you choose practice some lurking around your domicile in the dark to see how it handles and do some strategic planning. Be safe!!
The most plain-jane 12g shotgun you can find is still a scary-good self-defense tool.
"If we loose Freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the Last Place on Earth!" Ronald Reagan
Last week I got myself a new Remington 870 Tactical, because I figured the reputation of the12 gauge aka "12 banger" was for a good reason... I heard many reports than just the sound of one being charged has changed many minds of street thugs... and its reputation on the battlefield is also well known as being a devastating close combat weapon.
Sig P220R/Sig P239 (9mm)/ S&W 640/ Ruger Single Six Hunter (.22LR/Mag)/ CZ 452 Varmint .22LR/ Lee Enfield No4 MK2 sporterized dated 1959/ Mosin Nagant M90-30 dated 1942/
In my mind, no question at all, 12 ga. pump.
1) Absolutely devastating at close range.
2) Large choice of ammo, from #8 low brass to 3 1/2 Magnum
3) Ammo failure, just wrack the slide again. AR--not so easy.
4) If you catch a window with an AR--look out cause it will travel.
5) Anyone looking at the business end of a 12 ga WILL be influenced.
6) Cost of the gun.
7) No magazine to dump.
8) Can point, don't have to aim.
I could come up with 25 reasons, but don't be fooled 12ga. all the way.
An ounce of lead is worth 200lbs of cop.
1. An AR is devastating at close range. Ask the guys fighting US forces in the Middle East.
2. Large choices exist for both .223 and 5.56, with just as many good personal defense loads available as exists for the 12 gauge.
3. Ammo failure on an AR, you cycle the weapon again. Same as you do with a shotgun.
4. If you catch a window with a shotgun, look out cause it will travel. Most non-FMJ .223 and 5.56 traditionally do poorly against glass. Lesson in this is try not catching a window with any firearm discharged in self-defense. 'Cause it'll travel.
5. Anyone looking at any home owner armed with any long gun will be influenced.
6. The cost of the shotgun compared to the AR is the first, and only valid argument made on that list.
7. No magazine to dump for the shotgun? What's that supposed to mean?
8. You aim every weapon. The only shotguns I've seen spread their shot significantly at inside-home distances are ones with barrel defects. The single greatest way to reduce risk of penetration through walls is to make sure you hit what you shoot at.
'Don't be fooled' indeed.
3---To cycle an AR requires that you move one of your hands from how you are holding the weapon, the pump does not.
4---hitting glass with a 12ga loaded with non slugs, maybe 50-70 yards travel, the 223 what do you think, several hundred yards??
7---Simple, the 12ga does not have a separate magazine that could fall you if it got bumped or not put in properly, also have heard some magazines don't feed as well as others, don't remember hearing that on 12ga's
8--I can hit moving objects i.e. clay pigeons about 50% of the time shooting from the hip (pointing) can you do that with an AR??
I do own an AR and like what little of it I have shot it, but in my eyes the 12ga is king for home defence.
An ounce of lead is worth 200lbs of cop.
Both..... then I have my choice on which one to grab first, and second.
Non sequitur. You can't fire the shotgun while cycling it any more than you can fire the AR while cycling it.3---To cycle an AR requires that you move one of your hands from how you are holding the weapon, the pump does not.
Are you willing to bet your neighbor's life on that? I know there are several good quality personal defensive loads for .223 and 5.56 that are poor performers against glass - that particular caliber is routinely poor against glass. Serviceable, but definitely not ideal. How many shotgun loads to you know of that are good performers against people but poor performers against glass?4---hitting glass with a 12ga loaded with non slugs, maybe 50-70 yards travel, the 223 what do you think, several hundred yards??
I've never had a problem with my magazines falling out, since they stay seated in the weapon when on house-duty. Any "bump" capable of removing a fully-seated magazine would arguably do significant damage to the weapon itself, and I'm willing to bet that a shotgun would suffer from that type of blow as well.7---Simple, the 12ga does not have a separate magazine that could fall you if it got bumped or not put in properly, also have heard some magazines don't feed as well as others, don't remember hearing that on 12ga's
50% of your shots from the hip are misses. You realize that, right? Why would I shoot from the hip if I can shoot from the shoulder?8--I can hit moving objects i.e. clay pigeons about 50% of the time shooting from the hip (pointing) can you do that with an AR??
To be clear, I'm not arguing against the shotgun as a home defense tool. What I am arguing against is the poor reasoning behind using a particular tool for this particular role. A shotgun is an outstanding weapon, and has a century of use to prove it. A rifle is an outstanding weapon, and has a century of use to prove it; the particular rifle in question excels in close-in combat. The AR15 is not the delicate rifle it's made out to be, nor is the shotgun the be-all, end-all it's made out to be. They are different tools that bring different capabilities to the fight.
Preference for one tool does not invalidate another tool.
Well-----If I had a gun, I know what it would be and now I know what yours would also be
It's always nice to dream about a free America that would allow us to have a home defence weapon.
In the meantime I will keep my wrist rocket under my bed loaded with marshmallows.
An ounce of lead is worth 200lbs of cop.
I once thought the 12 ga short barreled shotgun was the only way to go for home defense. For interior defense my choice was #4 or #2 in a standard load. The spreader choke seemed a good way to go as well, but you still only end up with about a 6" max. spread at 40'. The primary reason I chose the shotgun over a rifle was the lighter shot would not penetrate as deeply as a rifle.
Recently I have been rethinking to an AR type rifle, 223 cal. loaded with lightweight frangible bullets. These would dump max. energy into a BG and minimize penetration thru walls. The AR woujld have more rounds in one single clip, be more accurate and over all might be a little lighter and more managable.
Frankly, I don't think you can make a bad choice here as long as the 223 is loaded properly.
The shotgun has been the choice de rigor for a very good reason, and it holds its own well for the uses we would have it do.
On the other hand, there is a new kid on the block and the 223 is very capable of holding its own as well.
Chose well, the life you save, may be your own.
I have a Mossberg 12ga shotgun under the bed and a Saiga AK-47 in the closet for home defense.
The gauge, man, the gauge.
"...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."
Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.