Ask Foghorn: Shotguns for Home Defense?

Chris asks:

I have a question on the KSG for home defense, based on the length of the shot gun the muzzle blast and noise are a lot closer to your face, obviously based on that would you consider it dangerous based on the noise that would be trapped in a room?

From what I can tell there’s a two part question here; first is the KSG is any more dangerous to the shooter than a normal shotgun and whether a shotgun is the best for home defense. Let me take them one at a time…

First and foremost, in my personal opinion, ANY long gun is less than ideal for a home defense situation.

What you want is something compact, that you can easily control and that is damn near impossible to take away from you. And to me, a handgun fits that bill completely. A long gun just has too much barrel on the front of it and I keep seeing the assailant grabbing it and a subsequent wrestling match over the firearm not ending well for anyone.

With a handgun, I have much more control over the weapon and can keep it close to my body and out of reach of any attacker until I need to use it. Plus, it gives me more options for movement and concealment than a gigantic boomstick would.

Nevertheless, there are some situations where a handgun wouldn’t work. Like if you live in New York or Massachusetts. Or if you’re under 21. Or any other number of reasons. And in those situations, the shotgun is the next best choice thanks to its ability to quickly and efficiently lower organic matter to room temperature through excessive ventilation.

Logically, your question about barrel length makes sense. As my experience in blast modeling tells me, the force of an explosion falls off at the cube of the distance. Or, in English, the further away you are the better you will be. And that works perfectly in an open environment. But when you start throwing walls into the picture things become…complicated. And the upshot is that barrel length and the distance from your face don’t really matter all that much.

No matter if the shotgun muzzle is 18 inches or 24 inches away from your face, you will still be battered by the same reflected sound waves. Sure there might be a slight difference in the perceived intensity, but the overall effect it will have is so nearly identical as to be indistinguishable. Yards of distance between you and the muzzle might make an appreciable difference, but the difference between an 18.5 inch Mossy 500 and a KSG isn’t going to be much if any. Your ears will still be ringing something fierce at the end of the encounter. If you really want a shotgun for home defense here’s my article on which shotgun is the best. And no, its not the KSG.

Then again, your ears will be ringing no matter what gun you pick — rifles more than anything, though. Unless you have  silencer on your gun. Which is another thing I recommend, if only to be able to hear the officer that responds to your unsuccessful home invasion and know that its time to STFU and get a lawyer.

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