Shotguns For Home Defense?

Shotguns For Home Defense?

This is a discussion on Shotguns For Home Defense? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Conventional wisdom recommends a shotgun, frequently set up with short riot-length barrel and other tactical goodies, as the ultimate "go-to" gun for household self defense. ...

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Thread: Shotguns For Home Defense?

  1. #1
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    Shotguns For Home Defense?

    Conventional wisdom recommends a shotgun, frequently set up with short riot-length barrel and other tactical goodies, as the ultimate "go-to" gun for household self defense. I've long thought so too and have kept a short-barreled shotgun handy.

    I'm no longer so certain for the following reasons.


    -Repeating shotguns have long, bulky receivers. Only break open designs do not but they will feature no more than two shots.

    -Ammunition is bulky.

    -Only a notion, but I question whether shotgun shells are as reliable, shot-for-shot, through various feed mechanisms as metallic cartridges can be.

    -Jams can be a bear to clear.

    -Loading and operating most pump or auto loading shotgun mechanisms is slightly more awkward in my opinion than operating most rifles.

    -Lower ammunition capacity; which makes it an odd recommendation from those who must have 20 rounds on tap in their handgun (ammo capacity doesn't concern me).

    -Reloading is slower

    -Aim must be just as precise as with any other arm at household distances.

    -Recoil is more disturbing for some than many other arms.

    -May be (but not always) heavy and ill-balanced but If light and feathery then recoil is even heavier.

    One really important feature of the shotgun is that it may be used with ammunition that won't penetrate every object between here and the county line.

    Lots of trick gadgets are out there that folks enjoy buying to dress up their self defense shotguns but I don't see anything on the market that truly mitigates the above listed issues.

    The shotgun, in either 12 gauge or 20 gauge guise and with proper ammunition, is undoubtedly effective against human assailants. Even so, it isn't a sure bet as has been demonstrated in many LEO stories through the years.

    Lots of firearms forums jockeys like to recommend the shotgun for their womenfolk, many of whom aren't into shooting. This seems a huge mistake.

    The lever action carbines chambered for center fire revolver rounds to .30-30 type cartridges, basic uncluttered AR 15s, M1 Carbines, Mini-14s, or the carbines accepting auto-pistol cartridges and magazines look like effective, practical choices for home defense.

    Like many things in life it's a trade-out

    What are your personal views on the shotgun for home defense?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    I've long been of the opinion that a good semi-auto .223 rifle is a better choice than a shotgun for home defense. An AR type rifle gives you more ammo and quicker reloads (in the unlikely event a reload is necessary), in a shorter, lighter, handier package. Follow up shots are much quicker, and the gun is easier for smaller statured people to shoot. Loaded with a good frangible round (such as the Hornady TAP) the danger of excess penetration is probably about on a par with buckshot. The shotgun loaded with 00 buck probably wins on sheer terminal effect per shot, but the .223 rifle still packs a pretty potent punch.

    This isn't to say a shotgun is a poor home defense weapon, but I think the AR is a better choice.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array SatCong's Avatar
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    In close, shotgun only way.No4 or 00 buck is better then a 223. Do you have neighbors close, shotgun is bad enough, rifle is lot worse.Don't want to shoot your neighbors, could upset them.That's what we use to board JUNKS in Nam, 12ga stop the weed-monkeys fast.
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    This works HD for me...

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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SatCong View Post
    Do you have neighbors close, shotgun is bad enough, rifle is lot worse.
    That's not true if you've got a .223 and the correct ammo.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array SatCong's Avatar
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    That's not true if you've got a .223 and the correct ammo.
    If you have correct ammo. I seen what 223 & shotgun does to humans, take shotgun evertime at close range with other people close by.
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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post

    -Lower ammunition capacity; which makes it an odd recommendation from those who must have 20 rounds on tap in their handgun (ammo capacity doesn't concern me).
    Each pull of the trigger with a 12ga 00 buck is the equal of 9 rounds of 9mm being let off at once.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    Each pull of the trigger with a 12ga 00 buck is the equal of 9 rounds of 9mm being let off at once.
    12 gauge 00 buck is potent, but an individual pellet is nowhere near as potent as a 9mm. They are almost 9mm in diameter, but because they're spherical, they're much lighter (around 53 grains).

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    Lets see...Remington Hi-Speed Steel number 2's...140 steel pellets at 1550fps with a 3.8 mm diameter (.15 inches) at typical inside the home distance..say 20-25 feet.
    Need I say more..
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

  10. #10
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    "-Repeating shotguns have long, bulky receivers."
    I'm not getting that?

    " -Ammunition is bulky."
    Usually when fine motor skills go out the window bigger is always better and easier to handle with gross motor skills.

    "-Only a notion, but I question whether shotgun shells are as reliable, shot-for-shot, through various feed mechanisms as metallic cartridges can be."
    They are every bit as reliable.


    "-Jams can be a bear to clear."
    Few and extremely far between with a high quality pump and good factory shotgun shells. My Ithaca Model 37 has never jammed, failed to feed or extract.

    "-Loading and operating most pump or auto loading shotgun mechanisms is slightly more awkward in my opinion than operating most rifles."

    "-Reloading is slower"
    Just like everything else in life - practice makes perfect. It certainly is a bit slower than popping a fresh mag into a semi-auto but, is still decently fast with modest practice.

    "-Aim must be just as precise as with any other arm at household distances."
    That is true but, a good shotgun will point quite naturally right where you look.

    "-Recoil is more disturbing for some than many other arms."

    That is a true statement.

    "-May be (but not always) heavy and ill-balanced but If light and feathery then recoil is even heavier."

    Any lighter firearm will always have heavier felt recoil than the same firearm in a heavier version.
    The vast majority of quality shotguns are not "ill balanced" and exactly the opposite is usually true. Shot-gunners demand good balance in shotguns.

    "Lots of trick gadgets are out there that folks enjoy buying to dress up their self defense shotguns but I don't see anything on the market that truly mitigates the above listed issues."

    Actually there are highly innovative stocks available that negate most felt recoil.
    There are also recoil suppressors available (such as the Mercury filled ones) that will dampen felt recoil and also there are special polymer recoil absorbing pads that will greatly decrease any shoulder ouch.
    Also semi-auto shotties are extremely reliable once you find a shotgun shell brand that functions perfectly in that firearm and their felt recoil is mostly eaten up cycling the action.

    " Lots of firearms forums jockeys like to recommend the shotgun for their womenfolk, many of whom aren't into shooting. This seems a huge mistake."

    Usually that IS a boo-boo and for men also who are not into shooting at all but, there are smaller gages available that are much easier to handle than a 12.


    "The lever action carbines chambered for center fire revolver rounds to .30-30 type cartridges, basic uncluttered AR 15s, M1 Carbines, Mini-14s, or the carbines accepting auto-pistol cartridges and magazines look like effective, practical choices for home defense."

    They are AS WELL as a good shotgun. One of the great advantages of living in America is that we can all decide what we personally would like to use for home defense and buy and train with that.


    " What are your personal views on the shotgun for home defense?"

    Viable and incredibly effective if the shooter will do his/her part as with every other firearm.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    I think issues of penetration make a shotty with something less than OO buck a better choice. 9mm will penetrate 3, even 4 walls made up of drywall. .223 couldn't do too much less. SG shells 1 or 2 on the demonstration I saw.
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  12. #12
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    Hi QKShooter;

    I was comparing my Remington Model 11, Model 870, and Winchester Model 12 with guns like the M1 Carbine, Winchester Model '92 or similar sized Marlin Model 94, or any of the compact pistol caliber carbines such as the Kel Tec, Hi-Point, Marlin Camp Carbine or similar. These small rifles have more compact receivers and can have shorter overall length than the shotguns. Even a Marlin 336 or Winchester Model 94 is more compact than most repeating shotgun actions I can think of. An AR 15, SKS, or AK 47 however...not so much.

    Practice certainly does make perfect but many own these guns and don't practice. "Short shucking" a pump gun can introduce a whole new world of jams. I've not had enough jams in my life to condemn the breed but in a lot of dove, duck, and skeet shooting had a few occasions to clear a jam that required some determination. The few times that any repeating shotgun I've owned ever "hung up" it had something to do with failure to eject and seemed to be a minor chore to pry out the empty.

    I'd love to own and play with an Ithaca Model 37. Another admirable John Browning design.

    Just an observation but some folks can't do a handgun unless it is semi auto and has the ammo capacity of a quart fruit jar contained within its grip frame. It seems that the handgun must be of the "everlasting shooting" type in order to cope with every perceived scenario with multiple attackers but the same folks will accept as adequate the pump shotgun with it's six to ten round capacity and slower reload. That's ok, I'm happy with the capacity too.

    I'm not considering the relative point-ability of the shotgun to other firearms but the fallacious notion that the shotgun is effective if only pointed generally in the direction of the target.

    My imperfect observations are that the recoil reducers are more often used in competition than on the self defense models of shotguns.

    Shotguns made for field use may be well balanced for the purpose but I'm not too keen on most of the short barreled shotguns.

    The 20 gauge should be just as effective as the 12 gauge out where it counts. Probably more use should be made of the 20 gauge as a fighting shogun.

    I do prefer the auto loading shotgun for personal defense. I've had reliable function with the type and the "look Maw, one hand" capability might come in handy.

    I'm just picking brains and offering food for thought. I ain't the last word on the subject. I've been cleaning guns all day and pondering this.

  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    A shotgun is a fearsome weapon. Think of all the news articles and news reports where shots are fired from handguns and rifles. Thinks of how many bullets actually hit a person as opposed to the number of shots fired. Also, think of shooting in semi darkness. IMO, in a house, a short shotgun would be better. If a load of buckshot hits a human, it will probably stop them. Just my 2 cents.

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    The OP has some valid points.

    When I lived alone, my primary HD gun was a riot gun in 12ga. now things are different, becuase there are other users besides me in the house.

    The wife and I choose revolvers for home defense. She and I both have one.

    Why? Becuase the manual of arms is simple. Aim and pull the trigger. No jams, no clearing drills. You can leave one loaded nearly forever and it will still work, no springs to go bad etc. One is stainless and the other is titanium, so they are low maintainence.

    Easy to move with and not as easy for the bad guy to grab from two feet away. (although if you let him get that close in the first place you screwed up)

    Also the recoil from a 2 3/4 buckshot, out of a 18" barreled pump gun is quite considerable to say the least. expecially for a small person or the average woman.

    Now, we shoot shotguns more than anything else. (with target loads) My wife really only has "fun" shooting shotguns. She shoots pistols and rifles, and shoots them well, but flying targets are what she has fun with. She has many, many , many more rounds downrange from her shotgun than from pistols and rifles put together. However, a shotgun is still not our HD choice for the above reasons.

    It's also easier to secure hanguns from little ones than it is a long gun, IMO.

    I have no worries as to the reliability of shotguns or shotgun ammo, but other factors are important too.

    If some idiot called me on the phone and said, "hey, I'm coming over to your house for a gun fight, you can bet I'd be waiting with a shotgun, but for everyday considerations, a revolver is a better choice for me and mine.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  15. #15
    Member Array CRags99's Avatar
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    I like both rifles and shooties for HD but right now my alliance is with shotties because I can find shot shells everywhere - rifle ammo is a bit harded to come by. Also, up close a shotty has a better tolerance for bad aim.
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