Question of the Day: Home Defense: Shotgun or Rifle? by Robert Farago | Feb 19, 2011 | 27 comments facebook twitter linkedin email comments Scott says: February 19, 2011 at 13:07 Both 🙂 Reply Trigger Discipline says: February 19, 2011 at 13:11 I agree with Scott: Ginger AND Maryanne. Reply Sean D Sorrentino says: February 19, 2011 at 13:17 For me, I’d rather an AR than a shotgun. More rounds, less recoil, less chance of hitting the dog or penetrating the walls. Reply 2yellowdogs says: February 19, 2011 at 13:26 What Scott says. Right now I have a Sub 2000 (Glockish) for my primary home defense gun. A soft shooter, inexpensive, accurate and ideal for the purpose. But I’ve also had a hankering to add something like a Mossy 500 Persuader to he arsenal. Guess I just like the idea of sending a volley of OO buck toward deserving marauders. Reply Chris says: February 19, 2011 at 14:21 Sean you think the shotgun would penetrate more then an AR? Reply Bob Owens says: February 19, 2011 at 17:36 Chris, it depends on what you load it with. Slugs, 000, 00, and 0 Buck all penetrate more than .55-grain .223, and I think #4 is close (don’t have that in front of me right now). the .AR bullet tends to yaw and fragment. Buckshot pellets retain their mass and just keep trucking. My personal choice for a shotgun would be pheasant loads, though a lot of “experts” insist on buckshot. Reply DevsAdvocate says: February 19, 2011 at 14:49 An AR-15 WITH a shotgun attached underneath. Reply Patrick Carrube says: February 19, 2011 at 15:04 I have both as well – my Mossy sits in the safe with #4 and #00 loaded, and Winchester PDX1 12-ga on the side-saddle. I keep a Magpul 30-rd magazine sitting full with 28-rounds of 77-grain JHPs sitting on the top shelf of the safe. Reply Brad Kozak says: February 19, 2011 at 15:15 I’m gonna take a contrarian position here. I agree with “both” as the right answer. But having given it a lot of thought, I’m as worried about what comes after (presuming I survive) than just the battle itself. So I vote for a lever-action rifle and pump 12-gauge shotgun. The lever-action is proven design, and it is to an AR or AK what a revolver is to a semi-auto: more or less idiot-proof. And if I’m groggy and not completely firing on all 8, I wanna have something I can’t screw up. A good lever-action will give me plenty of rounds to shoot. I’ll take my chances that I won’t need to reload. (Most gun battles are over with in under 30 seconds, anyway.) The pump shotgun (to me, anyway) is more reliable than a semi-auto, too. But it’s the after where this plan holds the upper ground. Let’s take two scenarios – you, with your black rifle with picatinny rail, tactical laser, light, holographic sights and extended magazine, and a semi-auto shotgun in mossy oak camo. Me, with a lever-action in, say .45 Colt, and a Wingmaster 870. Which one of us looks to the DA as if we’re normal folk, just trying to defend our home, and which one looks like a Rambo wanna-be who is spoiling for a fight? I want to survive a confrontation. But I also want to survive the confrontation AFTER the confrontation, and the legal one seems to be potentially more deadly than the physical one. Reply Aaron says: February 19, 2011 at 18:32 The confrontation after the confrontation? I think there’s a certain someone we just might be chatting with next week that may have an idear or two about that one… 🙂 Reply Thomas W. says: February 19, 2011 at 15:16 If you live in an urban apt. condo, or cookie cutter house, at least put frangible ammo in your rifle. Also how accurate are you in a dark house, half awake with an adrenalin dump? Shotgun with #4-6 birdshot at SD distances of less than 7yds, leave a hole the size of a baseball. With very little chance of overpenetrating. In a rural, country setting… I’d still stick with frangible ammo, and go to Reduced Recoil OOBuck. 9pellet. Reply Charles says: February 19, 2011 at 15:17 I agree with Scott, but if I had to choose it would be a suppressed 9mm carbine. Reply JOE MATAFOME says: February 19, 2011 at 16:17 I’ll take both with a 45 and snubnose 50 as additional backup, because you can never have to much firepower. Reply Bob H says: February 19, 2011 at 16:36 PS90 carbine. 26″ overall length, 50 rounds and my wife can handle it as well as I can. Though the FS2000 is only 3″ longer, and uses .223… Maybe someday. Reply Sean says: February 19, 2011 at 17:09 I usually have both ready. I would probably grab a rifle these days. I shoot better fast with one. A 1911 sits next to the bed, to fight my way to the rifle if needed Reply Roy Hill says: February 19, 2011 at 17:19 Brad, I understand your concerns about “what happens after.” However, where I live, the DA probably owns an AR with way more gee-gaws and doo-dads on it than I do. Arkansas state law is very clear when it comes to defense inside the home. I quote from Arkansas Statute 5-2-620 Use of Force to Defend Persons and Property Within Home (a) the right on an individual to defend himself or herself and the life of a person or property in the individual’s home against harm, injury, or loss by a person unlawfully entering or attempting to enter or intrude into the home is reaffirmed as a fundamental right to be preserved and promoted as public policy in this state. (b) There is a legal presumption that any force or means used to accomplish a purpose described in subsection (a) of this section was exercised in a lawful and necessary manner, unless the presumption is overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. (c) The public policy stated in subsection (a) of this section shall be strictly complied with by the court and an appropriate instruction of this public policy shall be given to a jury sitting in trial of criminal charges brought in connection with this public policy. It’s a very bad idea to unlawfully break into houses in Arkansas. Very bad, indeed. Reply Andrew Wiggins says: February 19, 2011 at 17:56 I’d say neither. A pistol caliber Carbine, semi-automatic or lever action, is just about the perfect home defense weapon for me. Reply Jamie says: February 19, 2011 at 17:59 I’ll take my AR, the PX4 is always within reach as well. Nothing wrong with a shotty though. Reply Ralph says: February 19, 2011 at 18:06 It looks like we finally found a use for the Red Jacket Firearms AR-15 Mounted Saiga-12 Shotgun “Master Key” thingamabob. Reply Buuurr says: February 19, 2011 at 19:58 Shotgun. Magnum rounds. I don’t want to hear any moaning about breaking into my home before OR after. Reply Joe says: February 19, 2011 at 20:03 With what I’ve got, I’d go with a Winchester 94; the 870’s 30 inch barrel is a bit much. Reply Bob H says: February 20, 2011 at 00:56 I suppose using a Bighorn .50 S&W Magnum lever rifle would be overkill? (I love this note on the 400 grain .50 S&W rifle bullet on handloads.com: “had 87% weight retention even after going through a railroad tie and hitting a .25” thick steel plate at 50 yards “) Reply supton says: February 20, 2011 at 07:07 I’ve been doing more reading about it lately, and I’m leaning towards pistol cartridge carbine at the moment. Less recoil, flash and noise than a shotgun, and probably more rounds on tap too (if semi-auto versus lever action). Shotgun with birdshot might work better at not hitting the neighbors house, but it’ll still go through interior walls and/or and possibly not deep enough into Mr BG. But really, nothing wrong with having both. I’m not sure what my neighbor was shooting last night, but I’m guessing a shotgun by the door makes good sense for anything outside. Reply Jake says: February 20, 2011 at 09:57 With where I live, and the layout/size of my house, a shotgun gets the nod. There are others at the ready, but an 870 24″ SuperMag is on 1st string. However, it is, and will always stay ready as a back-up for hunting. Including a camo dip suited for what/where I hunt, not because Col. Trautman gave me the go to draw first blood. “Are you still reading me? Company leader to Raven! Rambo! Acknowledge!” Reply Philip Maynard says: February 20, 2011 at 11:04 I would prefer shotgun, and model specific would be Saiga-12. Semi-auto with 10 round magazine loaded with #1 buckshot. Reply J Smith says: May 9, 2011 at 17:16 shotgun. better spray. plus the sound alone can be a deterent. i keep my mossberg 500 handy throughout the night with a BackUp bedside gun rack http://www.the-backup.com/ Reply Truckbuddy says: May 22, 2017 at 16:44 Got both, but a Glock 19 fits better on the coffee table. ? Reply Write a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.