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I’m working on the Chapter Four of my tome How to Defend Your Home With Shotgun. It was going great guns when I came to the gun part of the program. The book’s designed as a sort of “Shotguns for Dummies.” I want to recommend “a” shotgun: one weapon for the average home (which includes women and, yes, children). I’m leaning towards the little-known, singular Mossberg HS 410. It’s inexpensive, light, wieldy, user-friendly and deadly. I know some shotgun gurus consider the .410 shell a too wimpy for home defense. But thanks to the soaring popularity of the Taurus Judge, there’s a new, more deadly round in town: Winchester’s Supreme Elite® PDX1 .410 Buckshot. And there’s no rule against shooting a life-threatening home invader twice, if needs be. .410 dissers would also do well to consider this from . . .

The delivered energy at the defense ranges considered here are greater than a .357 Magnum revolver cartridge, but the longer barrel and greater weight of the shotgun results in less than half the noise and recoil. More important, the shot pattern is about 8 inches in diameter at 20 feet (full choke), and does not generally penetrate a wall, whereas a .357 Mag bullet pierces walls easily…and unintended victims on the other side.

With a good home defense plan, so-called over-penetration isn’t a huge issue. But plans often go wrong. So it is. In fact, what happens after ammo leaves the barrel of a gun is always an issue . . .

Police say the man was showing his girlfriend his newly-purchased 9 mm handgun when he accidentally fired it into the floor of this home.

“It went right through the floor, passed through some drywall downstairs and into an adjacent room where the boy was playing. So, it actually passed through a floorboard and some pieces of drywall before it struck the boy,” Merritt said.

The little boy in the downstairs apartment was playing in his room at the time, and the round went into his hip.

This report from re: our IGOTD illustrates an important clarification of the “never point a gun at something you don’t want to destroy” dictum. Be the bullet. Know where you’d end up if you were the bullet.

In a basement, point the gun down.

On the ground floor with a basement, make SURE there’s no one in the basement and point the gun down. If there is someone below, either go down to the basement, or point the gun at the corner. That’s the part of the building with the most reinforcement.

On the top floor, point the gun up.

If you’re in between, again, go to the lowest floor or topmost floor before handling your gun. If you can’t, again, point the weapon at a corner.

A responsible gun owner knows that a negligent discharge is always a possibility. Despite keeping their finger off the trigger, despite making sure a gun’s unloaded before handing, they assume that it WILL go off. Because that’s the only safe way to behave around guns.

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