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Just read a very interesting article about a shotgun gauge near and dear to my heart. I grew-up hunting with 20 gauges. In fact my first firearm ever was my Grandpa's old Ithica Model 37, which he had purchased shortly after returning home from WWII. It was more than sufficient as a general purpose "farm gun" you could say.

Always wondered about using a 20 for home defense.


Consider the 20-gauge shotgun | Backwoods Home Magazine
 

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Love this. My dad and I took down our fair share of chukkar, pheasant and quail with a 20. I don't see why a 20 wouldn't work great in a home defense scenario. The key is having a shotty available quick. if you do your job...the 12 or the 20 should stop the bg.
 

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In some ways, depending on who possibly might use it, I think the 20 gauge could be a better choice for a home defense shotgun. Less recoil and, depending on the make and model it can be lighter than a 12 gauge. A woman of small stature (or man for that matter) might find it easier to manage. It certainly has enough power with the right loads. I used to hunt in what was commonly called "shotgun county" in upstate New York. It was called that because you could only hunt dear with a shotgun loaded with slugs in certain counties. Well on one pre-planned dear hunt with my 12 gauge unanticipatedly needing repairs and out of commission. I was forced to use my 20 gauge Mossberg 500. I landed a rather nice buck on that hunt with that 20 gauge. If it has enough stopping power to take down a 130+ dear at about 75 yards, it certainly (with the right load) stop the threat from a home invader(s).
 

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A 20 gauge is still pretty potent!
 

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I keep my old Rem. 870 20 by the bedside. I do not feel under gunned at all. It'll do the job just fine. Although limited in power and range, those limitations are
not a factor within the close confines of the home. I load #3 buckshot and that's more than adequate in stopping, or changing the direction of, any critter
not welcome in my home.
 

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I think the 20 gauge is a great choice for home defense (with the right load), but I've never thought the felt recoil was all that different than a 12 gauge. Enough maybe to tell the difference, sure, but it doesn't feel 55% gentler to me.
 

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The shotgun in the pantry is a 20 so my wife is comfortable in handling it and won't lose time worrying about a kick. I hunted with a 20, exclusively, until I was in my 30's and I know what they're capable of accomplishing. In the confines of the home a 20 will stop a threat.
 

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I took a combat shotgun course about 20-25 years ago, but I recall a mixture of 12's & 20's in the class. The instructor was a seasoned US Secret Service agent/firearms instructor. When the topic of which gauge to use came up he simply said "when choosing gauge you are essentially only choosing how many lead balls you want to send with a single pull of the trigger". I would not feel any less capable with a 20 than I would a 12. Even the modern 410 in an 18" shotgun is becoming more formidable with all of the self defense rounds being developed for the far less effective 410 revolvers.
 

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Massad Ayoob is a top notch writer. He is right on target with this article. The 20 gauge is a great home defense shotgun for several reasons. The only "problem" I find with it is that there are nearly 0 barrels made in the 18 - 22 inch range that would make it nearly ideal. Way back in the 1980s or 1990s some police departments experimented with equipping there female officers with 20 gauge shotguns instead of the 12 gauge. The results were very good for the 20 gauge but department logistics and resources won out and the 20 gauge was scrapped as a patrol shotgun. The departments didn't want to purchase 2 gauges of ammo and other necessary supplies. For home use with a short (18 - 22 inch) barrel the 20 will do everything the 12 can do and do it quite well.
 

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Massad Ayoob is a top notch writer. He is right on target with this article. The 20 gauge is a great home defense shotgun for several reasons. The only "problem" I find with it is that there are nearly 0 barrels made in the 18 - 22 inch range that would made it nearly ideal. Way back in the 1980s or 1990s some police departments experimented with equipping there female officers with 20 gauge shotguns instead of the 12 gauge. The results were very good for the 20 gauge but department logistics and resources won out and the 20 gauge was scrapped as a patrol shotgun. The departments didn't want to purchase 2 gauges of ammo and other necessary supplies. For home use with a short (18 - 22 inch) barrel the 20 will do everything the 12 can do and do it quite well.
Mossberg youth in 20 Gage has a 22 inch barrel. It's a little smaller and handles very nicely
 

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A single 00 from a 410, 20ga, 12ga move at the same velocity and impact the target with the same energy. The difference is in how many projectiles are available to impact the target. A 20 is plenty good for home defense if you hit your target. Just like a 12. It's just physics.
 

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I am unable to see ANYTHING wrong with a 20 gauge that is stoked with well chosen buckshot or slugs. It may not be quite as potent as a 12....but that's kinda like saying it's more effective to tow a trailer with 1 ton truck instead of a 3/4 ton truck. Yes....the statement is technically correct - but most of the time it simply doesn't make enough of a difference to matter.
 

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One of the best shotguns for smaller build people is the Mossberg 510 youth mini bantam with a 18.5" barrel and adjustable stock that a daughter has cool small shotgun .

I keep an ole mossy 500 12gr pump and for some time it was always filled with 4 buck but after doing some testing with a turkey load I used last year I changed my home defense load to a federal flight control wad 3" 2oz load of # 4 shot at 1150fps . Note- this is a 2OZ load . Found a gell test on it that was impressive too .
It hits hard , Recoil is impressive but so would the damage from this . I use a 20inch barrel with screw in chokes . Just changed from a turkey choke to improved for home .

 

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I use to love running those Combat Shotgun Courses.

I still believe to this day that the Shotgun is the perfect home defense Firearm. I have 1911 on the nightstand and keep a 870 on side of the bed.

Very Minimal Learning Curve with a Shotgun, and with modern rounds .410s will do the job for home defense.
 

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At inside the home distances there is no appreciable difference in the terminal effect between a 12ga & 20ga. Most of us mortals can shoot a 20ga faster than a 12 ga. Just my .02 worth:smile:
 

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I have no problem with 20s for defense. My main concern is getting proper defense ammo. There are a million 12 gauge loadings. 20? More than there used to be, but defense loads are still not as plentiful.

I run a 12 with reduced recoil Federal LE1321B (#1 buck with the Flite Control wad). Pretty decent load and the recoil is comparable to 20s because the gun is heavier and absorbs a bit more of it. Just what has always worked for me. BTW I run Hogue 12" LOP stock sets on all pump shotguns. That stock set makes a 12 gauge 870 shoulder as well as a junior shotgun. Great investment.
 
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