Defensive Gun Use of the Day: Smoothbore Security Edition

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As Ralph sagely counseled yesterday, don’t mess with old guys. That’s advice two unidentified female hoods would have benefitted from, but they were too busy boosting a car and attempting a home invasion yesterday to have seen our post. And when ID’ing their target, they chose poorly, selecting the home of a suburban Houston gentleman with some snow on the roof and a 20-gauge loaded with buckshot. “‘They knocked on the door several times. There was no answer and at that time they obviously didn’t think anyone was there and they broke a window and gained entry,’ said Walter Stensland with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office. But they didn’t get very far . . .


After the two made it through the doorway, the homeowner — a 60-year-old man alone inside — shot them once each in the chest.

Both were seriously wounded but are expected to live, most likely at Texas taxpayers’ expense somewhere in which orange is the new black.


  1. avatar Hannibal says:

    Did they learn anything, I wonder?

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Likely not. Now they got street credit.

      1. avatar JohnF says:

        I think you mean “street cred,” not “credit.” Fo shizzle!

      2. avatar Kyle says:

        😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

    2. avatar JasonM says:

      Shotguns [email protected]#%ing hurt?

    3. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

      Lesson learned one will more than likely be a paraplegic and the other is hopefully going to lose their arm, which will make armed robbery a little tricky next time, but they will still breed at least one of them anyways. Tax payers on the hook for millions now, where another 1$ dose of buckshot would have been warranted and a tax break to Texans. Remember just like cops it is not what happened it is what can be proven. Arrange the scene to make sure the evidence matches your story before you call the police or take a chance at never getting out of prison for being naive and still believing you are innocent until proven guilty when we all know it is guilty until proven innocent.

      1. avatar Neminem says:

        NO. They ain’t worth the bullet.
        Prisons are like trash dumps — the cost of maintenance to keep the streets clean.

      2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        Uh….that’s one way to go. Or….you can make sure you’re in the right and acting lawfully in the first place, then call your lawyer and STFU. (The hypothetical shooter, that is, not you.)

        Arranging the scene is also known as evidence tampering. It’s kind of a big deal. Not only is that a crime in itself, but if the police suspect you of that, it will destroy your credibility with them and with the jury.
        And once the cops’ suspicions harden, you will face a jury.

        Even if you had originally been justified based on the facts, trying to bolster your defense with evidence tampering could well get you convicted of both crimes.

      3. avatar Matt in TX says:

        obvious troll.

      4. avatar Hannibal says:

        Considering he got two shots off accurately I think the 20ga choice was just fine. Anyone who tampers with the scene of a rightous shoot is an idiot. Anyone who tampers with the scene of an unjustified shoot is probably an idiot too.

      5. avatar Former Water Walker says:

        12 gauge slug

        1. avatar Gs650g says:

          12 gauge anything is preferable to a 20. Number four steel shot forms a nice depression too.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Two other things to know about old guys — we don’t practice gender discrimination, and we have shotguns.

    1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      OK, that made me grin.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      And we’re using shotguns because we don’t have time or patience for “caliber wars.”

      1. avatar Nick D says:

        Really? Cause this seems like the perfect time to argue the merits of various gauges of boomsticks.
        12g v 20g, anyone?

        1. avatar twency says:

          12ga? If you really care about defending your home you’ll use 10ga.


        2. He may not have been able to hit two well placed shots with a 12 gauge. The less recoil of the 20 gauge makes it universal for home defense where your kids or wife or elderly may have to use it. Personally, I like the 12 gauge.

        3. avatar int19h says:

          12ga is good.

          20ga is good enough.

        4. avatar ghost says:

          12 vs 20? Can I just haz cheeseburger? A 12 has some recoil, more like a gentle bump to me, a pump action with 00 short brass. Maybe I have been doing it wrong? The 20 has more snap than recoil, with #4 buck, little buggers are so cute when they bark. I do not want to know what either feels like from the other end. I am 5’4, or, 5’6 depending on who you believe, me or the VA. (I try not to think about how short I am). Was 120# when shooting the M1, M14, M16, few other calibers and attachments. Now 150# at 70 years old, there are some firearms I would rather throw at you than shoot them. But, not many.

      2. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        Disagree, 00-buck out of a 12ga would have led to fatalities most likely, thus saving the state from the expense and hassle of incarcerating the garbage. Still, I guess at that age getting that recoil in the shoulder could be particularly painful.

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          “At that age”? He’s only sixty, fer Pete’s sake. It’s not like we’re talking about a veteran from the Great War here.

        2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          I shoot trap every week with a diverse group, including 14-year-old girls and elderly men, all shooting 12 gauge and running 50 to 100 rounds through them in an evening. I understand that a defense load is going to kick harder than a target load, but I won’t go along with the idea that the 12 gauge is unshootable for the light weight, the young, or the elderly. Practice is the key.

          I’m not saying everyone should use a 12 gauge for home defense, I’m just saying it’s a viable option.

        3. avatar Gs650g says:

          Benelli M1 with a variety of loads. Less felt recoil more removal of problems

    3. avatar Another Robert says:

      I’m 59, but I do practice “gender discrimination”–mainly when I’m speaking Spanish or German, where it matters…

  3. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Got enough ads at the end of that article, geez.

    Anyways, don’t mess with old folks, they won’t fight you, they’ll just kill you… Or wound you really bad, if your lucky.

    1. avatar tom12121112 says:

      Oh my god i thought it was just me. Seriously, what’s with all the ads now in the “you may also be interested in…” section? It’s really impeding on my TTAG time. Most of my navigation happens through that list on the bottom.

      1. avatar DonS says:

        Apparently, TTAG is trying to look like HuffPo’s mobile site.

      2. avatar Kaleb says:

        Try using Google Chrome with adblock. It works wonders and even block commercials on youtube and other sites.

        1. avatar Taylor TX says:

          I forget that I run Adblock sometimes until I try to look at a TTAG article on my tablet and there are more ad pictures than words on the page it seems.

      3. avatar Drew in MI says:

        Ad’s what Ad’s I don’t see any Ad’s and I don’t see any pop-ups either
        What Ad’s are you guys talking about?

        Of course I use Firefox protected with this guys info Firefox Security and Privacy Settings

        1. avatar Drew in MI says:

          Oh the right side bar, box’s? the only thing i see over there is “Gear review” and a pic of KJW holding a Lever Gun and wearing a black CB hat.

          And to the STORY good shot, me thinks!

          a 20ga lean against the wife’s side of the bed and a 20ga next to each of the kids bed 13yo and 14yo.
          An 870 12ga w/ 8shot ext. sits next to my side loaded with alt 3″ rounds of 00buck and flechette, I live in the woods and some areas around here have dense foliage.

    2. avatar S.CROCK says:

      The amount of space that that the ads are taking up is literally more than the actual article takes up.

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    As an over 60year old I approve this message. Except I favor 12gauge 🙂

    1. avatar Michael in GA says:

      If this doesn’t end the handgun caliber war, somebody is not paying attention.

      1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

        I was just thinking, chest hit with buckshot at in-the-house distance, and neither one died? Wonder how common it is for someone to take a 20 or 12 ga buckshot blast to the chest and live. Regardless, I’d assume it would have a high probability of taking the fight right out of someone, which is the important thing.

        [edit saw below that there may have been considerable mass between the skin and ribs…]

        1. avatar int19h says:

          Suppose it was birdshot?

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      +1 especially a 3″ round.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Magnum 12 gauge buck. Two women enter, four women leave.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          That’s the way we do it at Thunderstick Dome.

  5. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    Shoulda used an AR-15.

  6. avatar JWC says:

    We are knocking them down in Texas this week. Dallas yesterday, Houston today…..The hits just keep coming.

  7. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    Tragic. Couldn’t he have offered them herbal tea and gluten-free cookies and just sat and talked it all out?

    1. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

      I like the sarcasm coming from you it illustrates the Liberal Logic very well. On the original story there was some diseased liberal saying the guy shouldn’t have shot them because they were girls that couldn’t steal more than twenty-five pounds of other peoples stuff and the cops would have found them in an hour. The old man did exactly what he was supposed to do and his twenty gauge almost did except for hitting the feral savages in the fat of their breasts instead of going up top. Follow up shots woulda been good it is Texas after all, which makes that legal.

    2. avatar Another Robert says:

      That’s what “Trixie” thinks (commenter at the original article). Liberals–they really are that stupid.

      1. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

        Hence it is a mental disease of hateful emotions that can’t be cured through logic or understanding. In the not to distant future if things keep devolving like they are I believe lead will be the only suitable treatment of that particular mental ailment. Winners write history and build a future where as Liberals forget about the future and only care about how they were wronged in the present.

  8. avatar bontai Joe says:

    20 ga. buckshot chest wounds and they both survived? A couple of very lucky “ladies”. At typical household range, that should have blown a ragged thumb sized hole clean thru them.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      This is partly speculative on my part, but I did watch the video of the EMTs rolling a heavily-laden gurney toward the helicopter.

      That buckshot had to pass through quite a bit of adipose tissue before it reached the ribcage.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      From the looks of the mounds on their way to the helo’s, I’d say that these women had sufficient body mass to absorb lots of damage before the buckshot penetrated into their vitals too far.

    3. avatar ropingdown says:

      Despite all the gel-test arguments for #1 buck, I still think sectional density is my friend, and the physics formula applies to round pellets just as it does to semi-cylindrical bullets. I don’t think I need 15 pellets rather than 12 (per ounce). I do think I’d like to be sure that one of those 12 gets through the leather, denim, and 12 or 14 inches of blubber….and still has enough gas to be effective. Maximizing “total frontal area of lead” at the cost of smaller holes and less penetration, just to gain three extra pellets, sounds like a deal a politician would make….for a fee.

      Oh, and 12 gauge. What’s two or four rounds of painful shoulder when a person’s unlikely to experience it more than once or twice in a lifetime. (For practice he could put on a pad and shoot light loads.) For those who hate recoil, including the elderly, a suitably furnished AR really does make a lot of sense. Or a Benelli M4, which produces very little felt recoil with 1 1/8 ounce loads…and does not offer short stroking problems.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I agree with the 12 bore and buckshot. I live in a 2 story so I have one stashed on each floor.

        But my wife is only 5 foot tall and not a die hard gunny. For her a .38 revolver and a youth model 20 bore. She really can’t reach the controls very well on anything bigger.

      2. avatar int19h says:

        At the distances we’re talking about, everything that a 12ga will do, a 20ga will do just as well. Maybe just slightly less messy.

        Also, at this distance, I very much doubt there’s any meaningful difference in penetration (including denim etc) between 00 and #1. Both would still be travelling bunched together.

      3. avatar Hannibal says:

        He had multiple home invaders and may have needed to shoot quickly. The 20 ga may have been exactly what he needed.

  9. avatar MattG says:

    > suburban Houston
    > house with some snow on the roof

    wait, what?

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      Uh, no. The shooter had “snow on the roof.” Euphemism for grey hair.

      1. avatar ghost says:

        I can not spell that, but, I think I resemble it.

  10. avatar Texheim says:

    Buck shot to the chest and both are expected to survive!!!!???? How big are these “ladies”?

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      Everything’s bigger in Texas.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        There went a mouthful of lunch!

      2. avatar Ralph says:

        Farago would approve of that message.

      3. avatar ghost says:

        Full disclosure, that is a skoal can imprint in my back pocket.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      Udderly failed to penetrate, that buckshot did.

  11. avatar Chris says:

    That’s my town! It’s pretty calm here, but lately we’ve been suffering an increase of crime. Maybe things will slow down again. Funny that I should hear about it here. Off to check the mass media.

    1. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      A few more righteous DGU corpses might help slow the problem down.

      1. avatar Gs650g says:

        A big hurricane hits Houston and many problems would move elsewhere

  12. avatar Gregolas says:

    One of them is paralyzed, maybe for life.
    Moral: Don’t do the crime if you ain’t got the spine.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      How do you know one is paralyzed? Story says condition unknown.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      Well, she doesn’t anymore…

    3. avatar ropingdown says:

      …or in this case “don’t do the crime if you still want a spine.”

  13. avatar Pascal says:

    “The homeowner was unharmed. So far, no charges have been brought against him, and none likely will insofar as Texas is one of thirty states with a “castle doctrine.” This is a law that designates a person’s home as a place in which he has certain protections and immunities permitting him, under certain circumstances, to use force to defend himself against an intruder.”

    What are the 20 states without a “castle doctrine.”?

    According to Wikipedia, its only District of Columbia, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Vermont

    1. avatar CentralIL says:

      “The homeowner was not injured in the incident and he is currently being interviewed by officials. Herman said the case will be referred to a grand jury.”

  14. avatar ADC USN/Ret says:

    I vote 7.62×51, or even x39. They wouldn’t be recovering.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Look at the neighborhood in the TV reporting. This is a dense, upper-end neighborhood. Launching rifle rounds hither and yon isn’t a smart move, unless you’re a cop and can walk way with sovereign immunity to your donut break and not give a rat’s ass who/what was shot by the overpenetration or any misses you racked up.

      1. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        JHP defensive rounds overpenetrate? I’d want PDX or similar for a home defense AK.

        1. avatar int19h says:

          Yes, even 9mm JHP rounds overpenetrate significantly, not to mention a proper rifle round. There’s just no way you’re launching that much lead at that high a velocity and not have it zip through.

    2. avatar ropingdown says:

      Aside from DG’s cogent reason not to shoot 7.62 x 51 in a crowded neighborhood, consider the effect on YOU: If you believe it is a good solution, seek a chance to shoot one indoors at night. I took the chance to fire a variety of SD items in a small room about the size of my home office. I can, without fear of contravention, tell you that you will wish you were shooting .45ACP rather than 10mm, and especially (with ARs) that you were shooting a longer barrel (18 inches in my case, with a flash hider, not a muzzle brake) rather than a 11.5 inch SBR. The nature and amount of muzzle flash and muzzle blast vary tremendously, and can have an incapacitating effect on the shooter, never mind the neighbors. 7.62 indoors at night is completely out of the question. The .45ACP 200 grain Gold Dots were tolerable, as was the 77 grain Federal Gold Medal Match from the 18 inch AR barrel. The SBR (no suppressor) was hideous both in blast and flash. There really should be a range with a room for people to test this stuff out. It is what matters, especially if you have multiple perps to deal with. Or so it seems to me. I’ve since put electronic ear pro in three convenient places in my home.

      1. avatar int19h says:

        I suspect that the perfect combo would actually be an SBR chambered in a pistol caliber.

  15. avatar Al says:

    The Appleseed folks have a great spiel about “Dangerous Old Men”.

    Even if you think you don’t need the training (you might be surprised), it’s worth going to hear.

    1. avatar Taylor TX says:

      That same story popped into my mind yesterday while reading the Old Guy comments, I had to google his name as I didnt want to provide misinformation, as the Samuel Whittemore story is a GREAT read.

  16. avatar JoeVK says:

    Since it’s Halloween, I’ll point out a good reason that these two “ladies” weren’t killed. The guy who shot them might have to spend the rest of his days alone in his house with their ghosts. ooOOOooooh!

  17. avatar ghost says:

    There is a reason I have a 12 gauge and load it with 00. But, I love a 20 gauge too. In my circumstance over penetration is not a major concern, but, I do not discount it either. Once you turn those things loose, can not take them back. I do have another advantage, a Scot Terrier that clears the house like someone trained him to do it. (he’s adopted). Altho, so far, his alerts have come up empty, he is not a barker in the night, he rumbles, and I roll out, glasses and shotgun with light, and off we go. Keeps us both on our toes.

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