Home Defense With a Shotgun

Discussion in 'General Shotgun Discussion' started by 147_Grain, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. 147_Grain

    147_Grain New Member

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    Home Defense with a Shotgun: A few things I’ve learned over the years.

    For self-defense inside the home at short distances, the brand of ammo, type of choke, or size of (#1 or larger) buckshot isn't as critical as shot placement from a well-fitted 12 or 20 gauge shotgun with a simple weapon light (i.e. Streamlight TLR1 or etc...). An open Cylinder (C) or Improved Cylinder (IC) choke with Low Recoil (LR) buckshot is preferred for quicker follow-up shots.

    While #1 buckshot offers the best overall terminal performance for civilians, LE Agencies still prefer hardened 00 buckshot due to its superior penetration. Sales is the driving factor as to why there are not more #1 buckshot loads to choose from for civilians. The International Wound Ballistics Association advocates “#1 buckshot as being superior to all other buckshot sizes.”

    Shotgun Home Defense Ammunition, .357 SIG -- A Solution in Search of a Problem?
    Home Defense Shotgun Ammo
    12 gauge
    The Box O' Truth #45 - Shotgun Chokes and Buckshot Part Two - Page 1

    As for a shotgun, keep things simple! A lot of fancy stuff on a Home-Defense (HD) shotgun isn't necessary! A plain-jane / reliable pump or semi-auto shotgun with a short barrel will do just fine! (SIMPLICITY … and … RELIABLILITY are the operative words here.) An open-choked 18 1/2" - 20" barrel is ideal and an illuminated front bead sight provides the fastest sight picture.

    Make sure the rear stock fits you OK (shorter aftermarket stocks are available from Hogue, Remington, or Knoxx Industries). A shorter LOP (Length of Pull) stock might be needed so that things can quickly line-up (straight) using YOUR natural Point of Aim (POA).

    Pattern your shotgun at the range with buckshot. Practicing with #8 target loads is perfectly acceptable and saves a lot of wear and tear on the shoulder.

    Pistol grips and slings reduce your reactionary and follow-up times (They have proven to be a liability inside the home!). Slings are useful over longer distances outside the home, but get in the way in close quarters. If you insist on a sling, get a quick-disconnect model for removal inside the home. A full-size stock with a pistol grip is a better overall setup than just a small stub mounted to the receiver. Most civilians will do just fine with a standard OEM stock that fits their size.

    Federal's LE 9-pellet LE132-00 load @ 1,145 fps with LR Flight Control (FC) wads offers outstanding performance in and outside the home (civilian version is PD132-00). These hardened copper plated buckshot pellets penetrate plenty and full-power loads are not needed unless your semi-auto won't function reliably with LR shells or you need extended range in more open areas. The full-power version of 00 buckshot with FC is LE127-00 @ 1,325 fps.

    LE - Tactical Buckshot

    "Birdshot, because of its small size, does not have the mass and sectional density to penetrate deeply enough to reliably reach and damage critical blood distribution organs. Although birdshot can destroy a great volume of tissue at close range, the permanent crush cavity is usually less than 6 inches deep, and this is not deep enough to reliably include the heart or great blood vessels of the abdomen. A gruesome, shallow wound in the torso does not guarantee a quick stop, especially if the bad guy is chemically intoxicated or psychotic. If the tissue crushed by the pellets does not include a vital cardiovascular structure there's no reason for it to be an effective wound.

    "Many people load their shotguns with birdshot, usually #6 shot or smaller, to minimize interior wall penetration. Number 6 lead birdshot, when propelled at 1300 fps, has a maximum penetration depth potential of about 5 inches in standard ordnance gelatin. Not all of the pellets penetrate this deeply however; most of the birdshot will only penetrate about 4 inches."

    Shotgun Home Defense Ammunition, .357 SIG -- A Solution in Search of a Problem?

    The whole point of self-defense (SD) is to IMMEDIATELY stop the threat and a shallow wound from birdshot doesn't put as many odds in your favor as buckshot does! While still deadly at a slower pace, birdshot is more likely to leave the BG additional time to inflict harm (than buckshot). Use what you want for SD, as it's your life on the line. Most people want to put more odds in their favor and buckshot is more effective at preserving life than birdshot.
     
  2. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Weight Diameter
    #TriBall(12 Ga.) Buck 20.41 g (315 gr.) 15.24 mm (0.60")
    #0000 Buck 5.51 g (85 gr.) 9.40 mm (0.380")
    #000 Buck 4.54 g (70 gr.) 9.14 mm (0.360")
    #00 Buck 3.49 g (53.8 gr.) 8.38 mm (0.330")
    #0 Buck 3.18 g (49 gr.) 8.13 mm (0.320")
    #1 Buck 2.62 g (40.5 gr.) 7.62 mm (0.300")
    #2 Buck 1.91 g (29.4 gr.) 6.86 mm (0.270")
    #3 Buck 1.52 g (23.4 gr.) 6.35 mm (0.250")
    #4 Buck 1.34 g (20.7 gr.) 6.09 mm (0.240")
    #FF Buck 1.18 g (18.2 gr.) 5.84 mm (0.230")
    #F (TTT) Buck 1.05 g (16.2 gr.) 5.59 mm (0.220")
    #TT Buck 0.98 g (15.1 gr.) 5.33 mm (0.210")
    #T Buck 0.89 g (13.7 gr.) 5.08 mm (0.200")
    #BBB 0.66 g (10.2 gr.) 4.82 mm (0.190")
    #BB 0.57 g (8.8 gr.) 4.57 mm (0.180")
    #B 0.48 g (7.4 gr.) 4.32 mm (0.170")
    2 3.76 mm (0.148")
    4 3.28 mm (0.129")
    5 3.05 mm (0.120")
    6 2.77 mm (0.109")
    7.5 2.39 mm (0.094")
    8 2.26 mm (0.089")
    8.5 2.16 mm (0.085")
    9 2.01 mm (0.079")
    12 1.3 mm (0.05")
     

  3. Steve65

    Steve65 New Member

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    Cabela's just offered Estate brand 00 or #4 buck, 25 rounds, for $12.99. Gonna try some.

    Because of overpenetration concerns -- and because I'm far more likely to dispatch a garden-raiding groundhog with it than a bad guy (I hope!) -- I think some #4 birdshot will be the first load or 2 in my pump, then maybe buck. Hope it never comes to needing that. The last thing in the world I ever wanna have to do is shoot someone.
     
  4. Missileman

    Missileman New Member

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    Great advice--you are right on!
     
  5. 147_Grain

    147_Grain New Member

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    Steve65:

    The Estate brand from Federal in buckshot is probably not hardened nor copper plated like Federal's Tactical loads are, so standard #4 buckshot from Estate won't penetrate as much as one would think.

    While I strongly suggest buckshot versus birdshot, at least consider upgrading to the heaviest birdshot you can find.

    Happy Holidays!
     
  6. eliot-gunner

    eliot-gunner New Member

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    Awesome post! I joined just to comment and ask a few questions...

    I took a firearms course a few months back and it was drilled into us that a handgun should be used to fight your way to a long gun. I tend to agree. I would much rather fight it out with an intruder armed with my Remington 870 than any handgun.

    The question I have is, what sort of light should I use? I saw this LED flashlight at a gun show recently and the seller was dropping it on the ground, abusing it and had another one in water to show it was waterproof. I found the same light he was selling on Amazon and wanted to know if anyone has one or could offer suggestions, reviews or recommendations.

    I'm concerned with the switching on/off of the light. I figure most home invasions happen at night and a weapon light is a must have but I want something I can turn on/off without having to move one hand off of the firearm. Do you think the remote pressure switch would work with the pump action of most shotguns?

    I figure for $50 it is quite a bargain compared to a Streamlight without a remote pressure switch or other accessories.

    Thoughts?
     
  7. Steve65

    Steve65 New Member

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    I'm sure it is not hardened -- but the price is great vs. over a buck a bang for the other stuff. But I can't imagine any #4 or 00 buck not penetrating to a bad guy's vitals at HD distances. If I were hunting or shooting at bad guys at > 20 yards I would go for premium buck.

    I understand the birdshot tradeoff in penetration but again I'm playing the odds -- what is the chance I will have to use it in HD in the first place, and what is the chance that 1 1/4 ounces of #4 won't stop a guy at 7 yards or less and if so what is the chance a second load won't do it and I'd have to go the round 3 which is #4 buck?
     
  8. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

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    A police officer buddy of mine gave me some of the Federal tactical buck shot loads they carry. They stay in my 870 full time...I'm more worried about doing away with a bad guy as fast as possible than some kind of varmint in my back yard. Way I look at it is, more than likely the varmint I need to dispatch of will give me time to change loads...bad guy won't...you decide.
     
  9. pointblank4445

    pointblank4445 New Member

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    As stated above, use a pistol to fight your way to your long gun.

    Why a shotgun is BAD for home defense:
    - User's ignorance of shell loadings (penetration of buckshot, limitations of birdshot, etc)

    - 2 handed operation is necessary, which limits the use of illumination devices (flashlights). Although the accessory market for this has improved, but the user is responsible for being familiar with the manipulation of a weapon-mounted light (most won't).

    - most civilians do not understand the difficulty of using a long gun in a tight hallway or navigating a tight corner without compromising your self/weapon and maintaining a ready position

    - It is hard to have a shotgun in a ready position that can be easily reached from a lying position in bed. If it can be achieved, it is likely that the shotgun is much to easy to be accessed by everyone else when you are not around (burglars, children, anyone else)

    - Myths of "I only have to rack it for it to work" and "I don't have to aim" reduce effectiveness

    Why Shotguns are a good idea

    - affordable
    - simple to use
    - power

    When choosing a load for your HD shotgun, consider your layout, sleeping arrangements, proximity to neighbors, building materials. While I am not against buckshot, I am finding myself being more and more convinced that intermediate sized shot (BB, BBB, #4 Buck) made of heavier, denser material can be exceptionally potent as a general utility/defensive round.
     
  10. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    for very close range load really doesnt matter. the lenght of the hall or width of a bedroom shot dispersal really doesnt reduce effectiveness all that much.

    personally im not a fan of illumintion on a firearm. im of the school that believes it gives your defensive position away more than helps. if your looking or see in the dark get some nvds.

    im of the opinion that one shouldnt be exploring the home if you suspect a burgler call 911 and wait for help in a defensable location.

    as opposed to any other fire arm you own?? mine are easy to get to but camoflaged. walk into any room in my home and you would have a tough time finding anything much less a shotgun lol. if your worried about children get a safe.

    shotguns in 12ga are still the best weapon for in the home defense. easy to use easy to point when your tired and bleary eyed. pistols take a lot of skill and concentration to use under the best of circumstances. shotguns erase a lot of those issues just by their very nature of ease of use.
     
  11. pointblank4445

    pointblank4445 New Member

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    night vision? Are you f^^^^^^ serious? While I am fully aware that good shooting can be done in very very low light conditions, but when I am responsible for target identification, I at least want to have the option to do so. If you use light CORRECTLY, it should not be a hindrance.

    And while holding a defensive position is ideal. Say I have a toddler asleep down the hall. I sure as hell am not going to leave him down there and hope he goes undiscovered.

    Again, it all depends on YOUR situation. Think this stuff through and decide what will work best for you.

    While it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 and all that macho junk, no one wants to have to tell a jury:

    "Well, I used my (insert gun) cause a member, SuperNinjaZombieKiller69, told me to."
     
  12. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    turn on the lights then.

    then take up a defensive position fter securing the family in one location. unneccesary home clearing should be left to the police.


    no one saying you HAVE to use a shotgun. use a paintball gun or 50bmg if you want. its just that the shotgun is the best all round close quarters defensive gun there is for noobs and experienced people alike. thats why there is one in just about every police car in the country. i would wager you ask any defense firearm instructor what to pick for home defensive most will say consider the 12ga shotgun first.
     
  13. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    I read up on different shotgun loads when I first got my Rem 870 18",and my first pick was the #1 buck,I read that it's about the diameter yet half the weight of a .22LR round at around the same velocity,my uneducated mind thought,hmm,each pellet would have to penetrate walls about as much as a .22 short,yet with 41 pellets,most of them hitting my target,I would stop a threat and protect innoccents in other rooms-then I went to Walmart and the lady throws some 00 buck on the counter-"that's all we have"pretty much so I got that,I just been too lazy to go to our specialty sporting goods store 20 miles away to pick up some #1.
     
  14. Esteban

    Esteban New Member

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    I have one loaded up with reduced recoil buckshot .
     
  15. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

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    I don't have to worry about over penetration being that big of an issue at my place, it's just me my wife and our dog. My shotgun is in the bedroom so if I do have to use it the odds are that my wife will be close by so I won't have to worry about hitting her in the next room. No close neighbors either, and the dog...well I love my dog but if he gets caught in the crossfire I guess I'll have to live with that. That's why my shotugn is loaded with 00 buck...in an apartment or duplex situation I'd probably use a little bit lighter load.
     
  16. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    Disreguard some of what I just said,I was thinking of #4 buck is what I wanted,not the #1,not that I wouldn't use #1,I think with a 12 gauge ammo is much less sensitive than handgun ammuntion for defense,I surely would rather take a .45 to the chest from 2 feet than a 12 ga with just birdshot!