Shotgun for Girlfriend?

Shotgun for Girlfriend?

This is a discussion on Shotgun for Girlfriend? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; While I've used guns all my life (handguns all the way up to howitzers!) my use of shotguns has been limited to sporting use. I ...

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Thread: Shotgun for Girlfriend?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array CEW58's Avatar
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    Question Shotgun for Girlfriend?

    While I've used guns all my life (handguns all the way up to howitzers!) my use of shotguns has been limited to sporting use. I live in an apartment, and while I feel safe enough there with my Sig P229 and Ruger SP101 I worry about my girlfriend. I often have to work nights and leave her alone, plus apartment doors tend to be even less strong than most house doors. Her knowledge of firearms is about nil (something I hope to cure with time) but in the meantime I worry about her safety when I'm gone.

    For these reasons I'm thinking about buying a shotgun for additional defense. It should be a lot easier to teach her to be proficient with a shotgun in a short amount of time compared to getting her up to speed with a handgun.

    She's not a big girl, so I'm thinking recoil is likely going to be an issue. I was thinking of getting a 20 gauge to lesson the recoil but after a quick search of the web I found there isn't much available as far as buckshot rounds are concerned for the 20 gauge.

    Are the "low recoil" 12 gauge buckshot rounds much lower than the non "reduced recoil" load? Do they still maintain a high level of effectiveness? Any thoughts on high quality recoil pads? Or should I go with a 20 gauge and just put up with having a low selection of defensive rounds?
    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array itschuck's Avatar
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    Remington makes 20ga buckshot rounds with a number 3 shot. Thats 20, 25 caliber pellets at 1200fps. Federal makes rounds in number 2 and 3 buckshot also.
    You may have to order what you want online but thats no big deal.
    Current collection: Too many according to the wife...

  3. #3
    Member Array adroitus's Avatar
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    The low-recoil 12 Gauge rounds are nice and easy-shooting for someone who is accustomed to shooting a shotgun, and can even group and penetrate better than full-power shells, but I think it might still be a bit much for a small woman. The 20 Gauge would be the preferable gun for your girlfriend.

    Buckshot choices for the 20 are a bit more limited than for the 12, but they are still out there. Like itschuck recommended, go with buckshot smaller than the "standard" 00 used by military and law enforcement. No. 1 and No. 2 are about optimal for situations like the apartment where you want good penetration on target but want to lessen the risk of over penetration.

    On the other hand, if you have the money to spend, getting a recoil-reducing Knoxx stock and putting it on a 12 and using reduced-recoil ammo would turn it into a pussycat that even your girlfriend would enjoy shooting, and you would have the best variety of personal defense ammo to choose from.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array SubNine's Avatar
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    There is nothing wrong with going with a 20 gauge shotgun, but as mentioned before there are reduced recoil loads that come in 12 gauge. There are also several recoil reducing stocks and butt pads available for popular shotguns like the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. I know the Knoxx Spec Ops stock is popular due to its recoil reducing capabilities as well as allowing the shotgun to fit different sized individuals.


    This is my 870 with the Knoxx Spec Ops stock, and it really does work as advertised!

    Sorry I couldn't resist showing off my 870 again!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Array highoctane's Avatar
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    Im going to start keeping a shotgun loaded for my girl to. Its not that she cant shoot pistols. Shes pretty good. Its that shes blind as a bat without her glasses on and if she was woke up and had to shoot she couldnt hit anything. Also note she is very safe and would know if its a bad guy she was shooting at.

  6. #6
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    My wife's favorite is my Stoeger Coach gun in 20ga. Very simple manual of arms and reduced recoil... She would be in our safe room behind a locked door... I don't worry too much about the limited capacity for this situation...
    "Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas!".... Sam Houston

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    I have some opinions on the topic, but here's the facts. Got to make some assumptions for total weight of the shot, wad, and buffer. Calculations with the Mossberg 500 in 12, 20, and .410 Ga (my wife has access to a 500HD in .410) Federal ammo.

    12ga low recoil OO buck recoil energy:
    33.4 Ft/lb at 3.8lb/sec

    12ga full power buckshot energy:
    43.4 Ft/lb at 4.3 lb/sec

    12ga #8 low brass birdshot:
    22.7 Ft/lb at 3.1lb/sec

    12ga 3" magnum slug (wow):
    78.7 Ft/lb at 6.0 lb/sec

    20ga #3 buckshot:
    23.0 Ft/lb at 3.1 lb/sec

    20ga #2 magnum buckshot:
    20.5 Ft/lb at 2.9 lb/sec

    .410 OO buckshot (the "judge" load from Federal):
    11.2 Ft/lb at 2.1 lb/sec

    .410 #6 birdshot, 1/2 oz load:
    6.2 Ft/lb at 1.5 lb/sec

  8. #8
    Member Array chiefrcd's Avatar
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    My wife has a 12 ga. Stoeger Coach gun as well and loves it. She prefers the Federal LE Low Recoil shells in 00 buck. It is her HD weapon of choice.
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    Member Array mjmoore's Avatar
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    '' Shotgun for girlfriend ''
    I was gonna say great trade and ask if you got any shells with it , but now I see I misunderstood .
    We live in a society where pizza gets to your house before the police

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEW58 View Post
    ...................She's not a big girl, so I'm thinking recoil is likely going to be an issue. I was thinking of getting a 20 gauge to lesson the recoil but after a quick search of the web I found there isn't much available as far as buckshot rounds are concerned for the 20 gauge..................
    Let me preface my response by saying that I'm not trying to debate the virtues of the 20 ga. shotgun. I'm only relaying what I have found to be accurate through my own experiences and my personal observations of others.

    Now, on to your question. I made exactly the same assumption as you when buying my son his first shotgun and I was wrong. I had never owned a 20 ga. but decided when my son was 12 to do him a favor and buy him a 20 instead of a 12. Bought him a Winchester Ranger 20 ga. and it was the biggest mistake ever. It will literally beat you to pieces. The problem is two-fold. Most modern 20 ga. ammo comes very close to equaling the 12 ga. counterpart. For home defense, look at a couple of choices. First, 9 pellet Federal Premium Vital-Shok Ammunition 12 Gauge 2-3/4". Those 9 pellets weigh approx. 484 grains at 1290 fps. Second, 20 pellet Federal Power-Shok Ammunition 20 Gauge 2-3/4" Buffered #3 Buckshot. Those 20 pellets weigh approx. 468 grains at 1200 fps. With projectile weights and velocities so close, it's easy to see that the recoil generated by the ammunition is going to be very close. The real kicker comes when you look at the guns in the different chamberings. Looking at a typical HD shotgun, the Remington 870 Express, you'll see that the 20 gauge version is 3/4 of a pound lighter than the 12 gauge version. This lighter weight combined with ammunition that is almost identical in recoil energy results in as much if not more felt recoil with the 20 than with the 12.

    So, my recommendation is to go with the 12 ga. unless you can find a 20 ga. version of the gun you want that weighs the same as the 12 ga. version. (I'd still choose the 12, but it makes your decision more difficult) Now, to getting her familiar with the gun. There is absolutely no need to practice with heavy HD loads. You should fire some just to pattern the gun and it wouldn't hurt for her to fire a couple of rounds just to know what to expect, but for general practice get some of the Winchester Low Recoil target loads. These are very mild loads and will work just as well to familiarize her with the gun as punishing her with heavy HD loads. And I'll make her a promise. If she ever has to use that shotgun with a HD load in an actual defensive situation, she'll never remember how hard the gun recoiled.

    Lastly, if you really want to make life easy on her and you don't mind the extra expense, look into a gas operated semi-auto like the Remington 1100 Tactical or the Benelli M4 Tactical (my dream HD shotgun)

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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    My daughter did not like the 12 gauge pump I got her,but she was shooting her M&P9c like she was born with it in her hand in her first range session.One thing about recoil is Semi's have less recoil than pumps,I got my wife a mossberg 930 semi and it will handle everything from low recoil to magnum loads
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    Member Array llongshot's Avatar
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    My money's on the .410 pump or semiauto. You can load it for the 00 or 000 or slugs and she's not going to develop a flinch with it. I believe Mossberg made a "Home Defense" model at one time that ought to be ideal. The .410 slug is roughly .45 caliber. The 00 or 000 is very nasty stuff. I doubt a perp would be able to tell whether he was shot with four or six or nine .32 caliber steel balls. Hold your fire! Lets see..... thats two, three, four, five, dang I lost count. And heck! Those look like .32 caliber holes in my chest I'm gonna keep going to see if I get three or four more!

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    My daughter did not like the 12 gauge pump I got her,but she was shooting her M&P9c like she was born with it in her hand in her first range session.One thing about recoil is Semi's have less recoil than pumps,I got my wife a mossberg 930 semi and it will handle everything from low recoil to magnum loads
    Absolutely agree. The one caveat I would add is, especially for an inexperienced shotgunner, to be cautious about an inertia driven semi. My primary HD shotgun is a Benelli M1-S90 and if you don't hold it very firmly or bury it solid into your shoulder, it can short-cycle and cause a jam. Not something you'd want an inexperienced shooter to have to deal with in a HD situation. The gas operated semis are great.

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  14. #14
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    It doesn't get much simpler than a coach gun...

    I have the 12 ga, but in a 20 ga...it would work for her.

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  15. #15
    Member Array TSKnight's Avatar
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    Recoil sensitive

    I have bulging discs in my neck due an accident in 1995 and am VERY recoil sensitive and often have migraine headaches following a short (5-10rnd) session with the shotgun.

    After the accident I made the mistake of getting a 20g Mossberg 500 and hated it. It "kicked" worse with buckshot & slugs than my 12g with standard Federal 2 3/4" 00 buckshot @ 1325fps.

    With that experience I started trying 12g 'reduced recoil' loads.
    To date I have found the Federal 2 3/4" 9 pellet 00buck @ 1140fps & Remington 2 3/4" 8 pellet 00buck @1200fps give me the best results with less "felt recoil" than the 20g did.
    The Federal provides a slightly tighter pattern than the Remington from the 18.5"bbl on my Mossberg 500; but the Remington gives slightly less "felt recoil".

    I also have a Remington 1100 that I have used for HD. The Federal 9 pellet RR buckshot will cycle the action while the Remington 8 pellet RR buckshot does not.

    The part #'s of my preferred 00 buck loads:
    Federal: H132 00(5rnd box)
    Remington: RR12BK-00(5rnd box) or RR12BK8-00(25rnd box)
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