I’m still a proponent of the 12 gauge shotgun. I think in a home defense role, it’s a formidable weapon with no equal. It’s the best weapon for me during a home invasion situation.
I didn’t choose the shotgun based on any implicit bias, but through training, experience, and time. I’ve found it to be the right choice for me.
Having a shotgun, however, doesn’t mean much if you aren’t pairing it with the right ammo. And I’ve found that the right ammo is Federal Premium Law Enforcement loads with the FliteControl wad. Why?
The round solves most of the problems people seem to have with the defensive shotgun. At least as far as buckshot goes. If your problem requires a slug, that’s a different solution altogether.
Let’s look at the three primary issues people have with shotguns for home defense and tactical use.
- Low ammunition capacity
- Shot spread (you are accountable for every single pellet you fire)
Other complaints can be based around the pump shotgun itself like the tendency to short-stroke it, or the fact that semi-auto shotguns took a long time to be considered reliable shotguns in a home defense role. These days reliable semi-autos are more of the rule than the exception.
Federal’s Law Enforcement Tactical round with the FliteControl wad solves two of the above problems, recoil and shot spread. Low capacity will always be a trade-off, even when you are firing eight projectiles at one time.
Federal Law Enforcement Tactical, specifically the eight-pellet buckshot load, makes all other shotgun ammo seem somewhat outdated. At least as far as defensive and tactical roles go.
Why only 8 pellets?
Maybe it’s because I’m OCD and like even numbers. Perhaps it’s because eight-pellet buckshot is more stable and reliable overall. Yes, nine-pellet buckshot rounds give me one more pellet, but they also tend to throw a flyer. Not always, but with nine pellets, a flyer is more common.
In eight-pellet buckshot loads, that just doesn’t seem to happen. Federal’s FliteControl line has nine-pellet buckshot. However, the tendency for a flyer to occur is still there. It doesn’t happen all the time, so it’s not predictable.
Eight-pellet buckshot is just more predictable, and I like predictability when it comes to my guns. The ninth pellet in nine-pellet buckshot loads often sits in such a way that when fired, the other pellets strike the ninth ball. That deforms it and causes it to fly in an unpredictable manner.
What does the FliteControl wad do?
Federal Law Enforcement Tactical buckshot is loaded with Federal’s unique FliteControl wad. It’s a specialized wad that holds the pellets together better as they travel downrange.
The wad has fins and stays with the shot much longer than a normal wad. It remains stabilized and gives you much better longer-range as well as short-range performance.
The ‘Tactical” load I’m using has an 1145 feet per second rating with a 2 3/4 inch length with low(ish) brass.
How well does FliteControl work?
Let’s see how well FliteControl compares against standard shot loads. I used Winchester Military Grade OO buckshot and compared it to a blast of FliteControl. I fired from a cylinder bore shotgun with a 20-inch barrel at 15 yards. The results are self-explanatory.
Here’s the Federal Law enforcement with FliteControl:
And here’s the Winchester Military . . .
The FliteControl load is like a punch to the face on the target. At 15 yards, it’s one devastating hole.
If you could imagine this blast striking a bad guy, it would be lights out. It wouldn’t matter if it were a headshot or center of mass, that guy is having a rough day. At 15 yards, this makes the weapon slightly more rifle-like, and there is no worry about stray pellets since they are easy to account for.
The tightl spread is perfect for ultra-close quarter’s use at 15 yards or less. I’ve seen criticism that the load stays too tight together, and this reduces the effectiveness of the shotgun. That shot spread can be a benefit for a shotgun.
It’s easier to catch a moving target with shot spread and easier to hit a target in the dark as well, some argue.
Of course, in a home defense scenario, the quarters are too tight for trying to “catch” someone with spread. At 15 yards and in, it’s easy to hit any man-sized target, including one moving in the dark.
If you back off to 25 yards, hitting a moving target is more challenging, but the FliteControl has a somewhat decent spread at 25 yards. Enough so to give you a shot spread about the size of two fists. This allows you to catch a moving target, even at night, at these ranges. The question is, would you ever need to ‘defend’ your home outdoors at 25 yards?
Maybe not from a human attacker. I live in the country, and a shotgun is my go-to for four-legged pests. Coyotes and wild dogs seem to love chickens, pigs, and even horses and cattle. A blast from a shotgun tends to change their minds.
I’ve engaged a feral dog and coyotes with FliteControl at 25 yards and 35 yards on two different occasions. One was chasing my dog, the other was trying to get into the chicken coop.
The FliteControl spreads when it needs to and sticks together when it needs to. It’s a bit of the best of both worlds. Here’s the performance at 25 yards.
For fun, I took the ammo out to 50 yards and was still impressed at the round’s performance. It delivered an effective group on a headshot target.
I wouldn’t recommend, however, trying to explain a defensive gun use at 50 yards.
How much does it reduce recoil?
Fair question. I typically don’t buy the argument that 2-3/4″ 12 gauge shells are too much for smaller framed people. However, a lot of shooters claim the 12 gauge shotgun has too much recoil for some women or smaller individuals.
The Federal Law Enforcement FliteControl OO rounds are downright pleasant to shoot. If the 1145 FPS rating didn’t give enough away, you would be happy to know it’s plenty controllable.
It’s fun and comfortable to shoot out of a standard pump shotgun. Best of all, it’s still capable of cycling a semi-auto as well. It functions perfectly in my Mossberg 930 SPX without issue.
The shotgun cycles this easy-kicking stuff flawlessly.
To show how comfortable and easy this ammo is to shoot, I loaded three rounds into my Remington TAC 14 Hardwood and hit the range. My goal was to fire three shots in under 5 seconds with three hits on a torso target. I did it in under 3 seconds. Watch and see . . .
In a shoulder-fired pump-action shotgun, the FliteControl is wonderful and plenty controllable. Follow-up shots are fast and accurate. It won’t cause you to develop a flinch and will still decimate a target.
The ammunition runs reliably in every shotgun I’ve put it through, pump and semi-auto. It’s massively popular and easy to find. It’s affordable, light-recoiling, and stays tighter than any other buckshot I know of.
In my opinion, the Federal Premium’s Law Enforcement Tactical 8-pellet buckshot rounds with FliteControl wads is the best defensive and tactical shotgun round on the market.
Specifications: Federal Premium Buckshot With FliteControl Wad
Caliber – 12 Gauge
Shot Type – 00 Buckshot – 8 pellets
Shell Length – 2 3/4 and 3 inches
Price – about $5 per box or about .60 cents a round in bulk
Ratings (out of Five Stars):
Accuracy * * * * *
It’s shotgun ammo that stays together well beyond what’s normal for a shotgun. It’s incredibly accurate and consistent and gets you out to 50 yards if need be. At 50 yards the entire payload seems to drop a bit, but is still within reason.
Reliability * * * * *
I’ve yet to have a round fail to fire or eject in a Mossberg Shockwave, Mossberg 590, Remington 870, Mossberg 930 SPX, Tac 14 or any other shotgun I’ve put this ammo through. It fires, feeds, ejects and extracts with 100% reliability.
Shootability * * * * *
This ammo exhibits light recoil and is controllable in even small and difficult to shoot platforms. It takes most of the 12 gauge bite away. It does an excellent job of extending the buckshot’s range and giving it a tighter spread for close quarters use.
Overall * * * * *
I have zero complaints. It’s rock-solid ammo that is controllable, does what it advertises and goes bang with every trigger pull.