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Like President Obama’s thinking on gay marriage, my views on the home defense shotgun have evolved. Despite owning all three of the Benelli shotguns shows above, I’m no longer convinced a scattergun should be a home-defender’s go-to firearm. Don’t get me wrong: a 12-guage shotgun loaded with 00 buck offers the best chance of a one-shot solution. We’re talking about a firearm that unleashes eight .33-caliber, 53.8-grain pellets, each packing about 172 foot/pounds of energy. That’s roughly equivalent to shooting eight rounds of.380 ACP at Mr. Bad Guy in one go. Yes, well, amongst the downsides . . .

A HD shotgun requires two hands – in a situation when you need a hand to open doors, grab kids, call 911, etc. Shotguns are easier to grab and deflect than pistols. Ammo capacity is limited. Safe storage (with practical access) is difficult. You’re less likely to practice with an HD shotgun than a pistol. Over-penetration is an issue. Reloading under stress is problematic. Handing a shotgun to a family member probably won’t be as effective as a quick pistol share. And one blast without ear pro will deafen you for life. I reckon my Benelli M4 is the gun for a defensive, waiting-for-the-cops position. Otherwise, a GLOCK 19 with night sights does bedside duty. Am I wrong?

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  1. I’ll still take my TAP ammo that produces 1296 ft lbs of energy, is more accurate, with faster follow ups, and 30 rds out of my shorter, lighter, AR. Which I can also suppress so I don’t blow out my eardrums.

  2. I have many guns to choose from, all over the house. I actually carry one much of the time indoors. Any of those guns might be the one I wind up with in an emergency, but a lot is going to depend on the situation and what else is going on.

    The shotgun is in a rack near my bed, with a set of electronic ear muffs hung on the barrel. If I have the need and the time to go for THAT gun, I should have the time to slip on the muffs. If not, such is life. I’m already 60% deaf, and being 100% deaf would still be preferable to being dead.

    And anyway… didn’t we already have this discussion a few days ago? Maybe you need to take a poll of the readers to come up with some different questions of the day.

    Here’s one I don’t remember being discussed here (may have been, I just don’t remember). Are you aware of the danger of lead contamination after shooting – especially at your local indoor range, and what have you done about it?

  3. All this teeth gnashing chest clutching angst over what to do when the bad guys show up is funny. Any gun is better than none. The argument that 9MM is a crap round could go on for decades. The point that handguns are only for shooting your way to your rifle can fill reams. Ultimately its all comes down to one thing, no matter what firearm you choose: can you pull the trigger when the time comes?

    • Like your comment. It depends on what you can put lead on target dependably with.

      In my rural situation were response times are 5 hours to never, I need a weapon which can reach out to 300 yards in low light. It needs to handle varmints up to the 300 pound range. My AR platform handles this duty quite adequately. My wife backs up with the Mossberg.

      At our home in the Phoenix valley, close quarters dense packed housing, The 9mm with interchangeable magazines serve the purpose quite adequately.

      There is no right choice for every person. There is only the need for a tool that meets the ability of the operator.

  4. May I suggest a pistol caliber carbine? I wish now I’d gotten the 9mm, but… my JustRightCarbine .45ACP (Glock mag) is just amazing at in/near-home distances, incredibly accurate. MUCH quieter and more maneuverable than a shotgun. I realize it will be louder for interior work but I hear the bolt cycling more than the muzzle report at the range. And, yes, I have done all the factory parts replacements so it is also quite reliable. And so much darn FUN!! I just need some frangible ammo so as to lessen the chance if a round escaping the house and it would be perfect (I use 40 grain frangible varmint loads in my AR now.).

    • I have a JR in 9mm, and used it for HD for all of the reasons you listed. Then, I got a keltec Sub2K, and it’s now the HD gun. Shorter, lighter, can be fired one handed easier, equally accurate. Now the JR gets to the range more

  5. I vote for AR-15 over shotgun. There are some nice AR-15 pistols, some don’t even have a recoil buffer (like the Extar). And in a close defense position, I wonder why more shotgun people just don’t use slugs, though.

    • Maybe because the slug will go through the bad guy, through your wall, through your neighbor’s wall and into your neighbor?

  6. Valid points Robert but I will say you are disounting “Auditory Occlusion”

    But I’m in the camp of a good AR or pistol caliber carbine. Especially with the wide variety of ammo available now to tailor to your particular house/property.

    • Auditory Occlusion when shooting isn’t a thing, unless you are talking about shooting with ear plugs in. Guessing you are trying to talk about Auditory Exclusion, which does nothing to protect your hearing.

  7. You use the gun you are the most capable and comfortable with. For my wife that means an M4 with a LASER, flashlight, and red dot. For me it means a 9mm Walther PPQ. And for my 8year old boy it means a bolt action .17HMR should it ever come to that. We can use them all without much thinking which means we have more room in our stressed little brain to think about how to handle the situation at hand.

  8. I agree with all the points against using a shotgun. Yet a short barreled 12 ga sits in our front closet ready to go.

    I’ve been shooting a 12 ga since I was 13, I now 56.

    The number of deer I’ve killed with slugs out of a smooth bore 12 ga is somewhere between 70 and 80 ,some over 100 yards, and many on a full run much closer back when we drove a lot.

    I own 5 12 ga shotguns shoot a lot of slugs and 00, I know how to run them well , I’m comfortable with that.

  9. Just about any gun will do the business for home defense, even a Ruger 10/22 or other semi-auto .22LR, which have the added benefit of not blowing out the defender’s unprotected eardrums. Shotguns are powerful and scary and have settled more than their fair share of disputes as well. But in the end, I’m a huge proponent of home carry, and home-carrying a long gun is inconvenient at best.

  10. Unlike the president, my views on marriage have not devolved, and neither have my views on shotguns for home defense. Those .33 cal/53 gr pellets are closer to a standard 32 ACP than a 380 load. Because of their relatively low sectional density and round shape, the energy of these pellets quickly bleeds off, which will reduce the chance of over-penetration in the home. At close bedroom range the shot spread is minimal (so be sure to aim it, not hip shoot it). Avoid slugs indoors. They penetrate as much or more than a rifle. Reduced recoil 12 gauge defense loads or 20 gauge #3 buck can mitigate some of the blast and improve recovery time between shots, but any firearm discharged indoors is deafening. Hearing protection is a double-edged sword because it reduces your ability to detect sounds such as people moving about. Perhaps an electronic device will work better, but if you reach the point where you must shoot, hearing loss is the least of your concerns. A suppressed firearm is bulky, and indoors it is not a good substitute for hearing protection. Few people are aware that you can spend a long stretch in the federal pen for misusing a suppressor or other National Firearms Act (NFA). This situation could occur if a judge/jury determined you acted improperly. The federal time is an add-on sentence. The shotgun is a very intimidating firearm, but sometimes awkward in narrow confines, so keeping barrel length as short as practical will help. Pistol-grip-only shotguns also are very awkward to use, and they reduce both firearm retention and recovery time. I always recommend a solid stock (it’s also great for butt-stroking a perp if necessary). A properly employed flashlight on a shotgun helps identify friend form foe, can blind an opponent, and makes a good impromptu aiming aid in the dark. Those are some of the pluses of using a good pump or SxS. As for the semiauto, I don’t recommend it over the pump or SxS, even though the Benelli is one of the very best of that breed. It introduces more operator issues and the greater potential of a malfunction.

  11. I thought that if you racked a pump shotgun the criminal instantly wet his drawers and dove out the nearest window begging for mercy.
    I was also told that shooting a shotgun “blast” into the air will cause anyone with character issues to run for their lives.

    In truth both a shotgun and a handgun have advantages/disadvantages. I think mainly people should be competent with their chosen firearm.

    • I actually caused a guy to un ass my home by racking a pump shotgun. Is it still an urban myth if it has happened?

      You know another urban legend. The noise of racking a shotgun gives away your position and the well trained and equipped group of bad guys ridlled you unmercifully with full auto fire. Didn’t happen.

      Dude split. I didn’t have to fire a shot.

      • I believe you. I sure would not stay uninvited in another man’s house if he racked a shotgun. However someone high on meth/heroin or someone with evil on the mind just might. One would hope that people would run if they heard the rack on an 870.

  12. Everything in life is about tradeoffs. Different gun designs exist because people assign different weightings to the pros and cons (capacity vs. stopping power vs. portability, etc) based on their experience, lifestyle, and perceived threats. Understanding the pros and cons is good, but obsessing about them is not. There is no “best.” There is only “good enough,” and you will never know whether your choice was “good enough” until you actually have to use it to deal with a threat. And even then, you don’t know whether it will be “good enough” to deal with the next threat. There is no sure thing in life.

    Whatever weapon you choose, YOU are the weakest part of the system. Understand the gun’s capabilities and limitations, and understand YOUR capabilities and limitations, and practice, practice, practice.

  13. We just saw a story here of a woman who had never fired her gun until she repelled boarders. And the maine lobsterman actually shot his intruder.

    Ask them what gun is best for home defense.

  14. You can easily learn to fire a Tavor one-handed effectively at close range. There’s a reliable factory 9mm conversion kit (or you can get a 9mm Tavor and buy a 5.56mm conversion), so you can shoot it anywhere you’d shoot a handgun and with the same ammo. Choosing a handgun for home defense is seriously selling yourself short in stopping power. Handguns are unreliable stoppers. I want each shot to count.

    Alternative: a custom Kushnapup (bullpup Saiga or VEPR shotgun). There’s a review on one on TTAG. Downsides: getting such a gun reliable requires gunsmithing and tuning to the ammo, and a suppressor (like the Silencerco Salvo 12) is in my view mandatory on a bullpup or short-barrelled shotgun. And with a 12″ suppressor on a 12 gauge (though you can get it in 20 gauge or even .410 if you don’t know what you’re doing), definitely not as easy to shoot one-handed as a Tavor.

    • Why use 9mm in a Travor? 9mm penetrates better than what most people think and has a lot less stopping power than 5.56mm rifle rounds. Shoot both the 9mm and 5.56mm in a room without hearing protection and you might at least not hear the best for a time afterwards. Maybe 9mm works better with a can, but that is a very long lead time item if even legal in your locale.

      • I’m pretty sure he mentioned the 9mm kit for ease of practice. Where I’m from you can’t find a range that will allow rifle cartridges, so the 9mm kit solves that issue. It will be a full powered rifle for home defense.

  15. All in agreement. Circumstances make the decision. I like nthe idea of the shotgun rack in the bedroom. But what control is there when kids ir company are in the house? Do you remove it and lock it when leaving the house?
    Walking around the house – carrying? Or keep something in a few rooms? Again, what about overall security.
    I’d like to read others responses and thoughts. I have a pistol grip Mossberg 20. At 72, it’s pretty much my limit on size. S&W Shield 9 and Beretta Tomcat 32 covers things for me. I look for responses.

    • Don’t have any kids in this house now, Mr. B., but when my sons were growing up, our guns were never locked away. Never even thought about it. Our sons were taught that some things were not to be touched… the hot stove, the pots and pans on the stove, the electric outlets, and lots of other things besides the guns. They were shown and taught about everything, about being free and self responsible, as early as possible. Yes, they made mistakes, and sometimes got hurt (sliding down the barn roof and shredding their pants and behinds is the worst I can remember), and it would have been terrible if they’d hurt themselves or others with anything, but they mostly didn’t.

      As for other kids who might come into my home now, I hold their parents responsible to watch and control them. The first hint that isn’t happening and they are all asked to leave… Never had a problem with it.

      Locking my doors is my major security system when I’m gone on the rare occasion. We don’t have any problem with home invasions or robbery here, though I can understand where this might be more serious elsewhere. But if, somehow, a gun was stolen from me, I do not accept any responsibility for what they do with it – any more than I would be responsible for what someone did with a stolen car, knife or frilly underwear.

      • “Yes, they made mistakes, and sometimes got hurt (sliding down the barn roof and shredding their pants and behinds is the worst I can remember),”

        Jumping off a 8 ft. walking board my dad was using to paint the house resulted in a broken leg. I was trying to fly like Superman and figured the cape needed just a little more extension . . .

        Apparently I wasn’t the only one . . .

    • Mr. B-inTX,

      I believe a 20 gauge shotgun is a fine choice for home defense. In fact many people argue that 20 gauge is superior to 12 gauge because it produces less recoil and enables faster follow-up shots. And to be honest, I cannot picture anyone shrugging off a blast of #1, #2, or #3 buckshot at close range from a 20 gauge shotgun.

      As for storage, I like MamaLiberty’s rack in the bedroom solution. Simply locate the rack high enough that children cannot access it. And if the children have the intellect and skills to stack up a bunch of stuff to reach it, then they are old enough to leave it alone. As an added measure, you could keep the chamber empty and the magazine full. (Any small child who manages to access it in the rack 6+ feet off the floor would also have to pump it fully. Again, any child who is able to stack up stuff to reach it AND pump it completely is old enough to know to leave it alone.) In the absolute worst case, you could always put a trigger lock on it for a few days while you have visitors with young children.

      Regardless of how immediately accessible you believe your shotgun may be, I still highly recommend that you carry a nice handgun while in your home — and especially if/when you have visitors and decide to lock your shotgun that is normally unlocked in a rack.

      As for your shotgun, consider replacing the pistol grip with a full buttstock. (Note that you can purchase aftermarket buttstocks with pistol grips built into them!) A full buttstock is much easier to hand and aim than a pistol grip only.

      • I do know a guy (well, know of a guy) who took a blast of birdshot from a 20-gauge in the midsection at point-blank range and appeared–on his feet, with no noticeable disability–at the divorce proceedings a couple of weeks later. But he had a realllly impressive beer belly, maybe a 12 would not have been much more effective with the birdshot. Kind of hard to imagine tho.

        • From what I remember of the various internet folklore I’ve read over the years, birdshot to the torso creates a pretty gruesome looking external wound, but often does not penetrate deep enough to do any lethal or serious damage. Tons of anecdotal stories of people taking a birdshot blast and surviving, sometimes with minimal injuries. Just ask Dick Cheney’s friend.

          Naturally, that outcome changes once you switch to buck shot or slugs. Nevertheless, I still would prefer not to be hit with any of the above.

        • There is an old trick used by some less than honest participants in Turkey Shoots. They would pour bacon grease onto the shot. They generally got caught because if to much was used, when the shot failed to disperse and it left a greasy stain on the target.

          One of our experimenters who follow this site could do some experimentation and develop a load using birdshot and paraffin. The proper mix would hold the shot together, impact like a slug, but break apart when it hits something solid like a wall and solve the problem of over penetration.

          It would be a glasser round for shotguns.

        • Bob Gray,

          The term for what you describe is “cut shells”. Look them up on YouTube … there are plenty of videos showing how to make them and what they do when they hit various targets. And they even use different fillers — some use melted wax, some melted “hot melt” glue, and who knows what else.

  16. I feel the Bennelli is far too over-priced for an HD option. The Mossy 930 is a better choice IMHO. Cheaper, and runs just as well. Overall vote for HD, I’m going with AR of some sort. Capacity is king, and shotty just doesn’t do it.

    • VALUE is a big plus for a shotty.

      I paid $160 for mine at a local gun shop, at the same time AR’s were selling for several bars of gold. They are fairly cheap to practice with, and (i think) a lot of fun to shoot as well.

  17. The optimum round for self home defense is the 30 caliber carbine round. The only weapon that uses that round is the M-1 Carbine. Strangely enough, the M-1 Carbine was designed for short range personal defense. Now if only someone would make a reliable version.

      • Auto Ordinance is the only company currently offering one. The get mixed reviews. A vintage M-1 Carbine in combat capable conditions is out of my price range.

        • MKS Supply (the folks who own HI Point) are now making a near perfect clone of the WWII Inland built M-1 carbine. The reviews so far have been very positive, and at $1000+ a pop, they should be. Even though it’s Hi Point owned, apparently they’ve taken great pains to build these as quality guns. You can see them at their website:

      • One of my Orange County friends has 8 – .30 cal carbines. They are all reliable, once the gallons of cosmoline had been removed.
        While I understand and agree with the “philosophy of use” of them, I think there better choices for home defensive.

        Mines a Sig 226 Tac Ops with Streamlight TLR-1 in a Squared Away Custom holster on the hip (if I have the time) and a Mossberg 930 SPX with Federal 00 buck in the tube and reloads of 00 and slugs on the stock. YMMV.

        • I prefer a 1911 or a HI Power if I am going with a pistol because I am most accurate with JMB designs.

        • I would imagine your choices are just as good as anyone’s and everyone must find their own comfort zone . The main thing is to practice regularly as possible with what ever your choice is .
          My wife and I have chosen 9mm for our night time pistols , Hers is a SR9C with ,I think 17 + 1 and mine P85 with 15 + 1 , double tap 124 grain + p JHP and both fitted with laser light combos , we keep a loaded 20 gauge semi auto Tri-Star with # 3 buck on trigger lock beside the bed , my safes are only feet away and my CCW is in the drawer beside me in the ready . If I need one of my ARs I can buy me enough time . We hope we’re ready for multiple bad guys .

  18. A few points. First, a shotgun will not be as loud as a .357 snubbie revolver. As Dyspeptic has previously mentioned, the lower pressure rounds will be more quiet than the higher ones. Obviously subsonic ammo from a suppressed platform will be the most quiet.

    For newbies, a long gun might not be the best choice. I’ve cleared a lot of rooms and buildings, and my first choice for houses is a semi auto 12 gauge with a light and sling and a holstered handgun with a light. Actually my first choice is to have a dog clear the house for me.

    The shotgun, particularly the semi auto, has excellent firepower up close. It also can be used as an impact weapon in a pinch.

  19. This article presents false dilemmas. Home invasions, like all DGUs, happen with lightening speed. You’re not going to run around clearing rooms, rounding up friendlies and engaging in an epic gun battle. Please. From the instant his foot kicks open your front door, less than ten seconds will pass before he’s in your bedroom, even if he’s unfamiliar with your house. You might have enough time to leap awake, grab your gun and point it toward your bedroom door. Mostly you’ll be in a defensive position. If not, you’ll only get as far as the hallway before having to fire.

    Two handed is better because there simply is more real estate grab and get hold of. A handgun you’re apt to fumble with and drop. You don’t need massive ammo and you won’t need to reload. You won’t be at arms length distance, so barrell length isn’t a factor. If you are that close, it’s too late anyway and inches won’t matter. And overpenetration? A house is 2X4s, drywall and insulation. Everything overpenetrates that.

    True, a 12 ga. shotgun may be too much gun for many people. A .410 youth sized shotgun, however, is going to be your best option. Recoil is minimal, while firing the same size projectiles. Sure, it’ll be five 00 shot instead of nine, and it’ll be at a lower muzzle velocity. So what? You aren’t shooting a deer 100 yards away or fowl 500 feet up. You don’t need the 12 gauge’s muzzle velocity at room distance, and five 00 shot is plenty per round, of which you’ll have five chambered.

    If you’re really that concerned about a full on assault by a rip crew, then you should more heavily fortify your house around the perimeter to prevent entry in the first place. Beter yet, quit using/storing/selling drugs and associating with those who do and your odds of being targeted plummet.

      • Indeed they do, although admittedly #4 and 000 buck seem more prevalent. Nevertheless, 00 buck can be bought in S&B or Remington brand through mainstream retailers like Gander. Gunbot would be a good place to cast a wider net, though.

        • I actually did not know that , those are big balls for that skinny shell , they would have to stack em one on top of the other . I’m going to have to research this one , seems dangerous to me . Thanks for the info .

        • I did a Google search on that and I was dumbfounded , learn something new everyday . I just figured that since they don’t load 00 in a 20 gauge then you wouldn’t see it in a 410 . Physics permits what my mind did not . I now want to try it or maybe watch a YouTube of someone who has .
          Gotta love TTAG .

    • Home invasions can be very fast, and robberies can be much more slow and deliberate. A robbery, once discovered, can turn into a home invasion pretty dang fast. If you’re stuff is set up, it can be used pretty fast. If it’s on your person or within arm’s reach, it can potentially be used. Releasing a dog or two can buy valuable time.

      • That sounds about right. Every crime is unique, but there are general patterns by type.

        Early in her career, my wife did a tour of duty in the Harris County D.A.’s office (home of the express lane to Death Row). It doesn’t take long to see just how thin is this veneer we call “civilization.”

      • “Releasing a dog or two can buy valuable time.”

        Would it be better to simply let the dogs have the run of the house at night?

        An alarm system with teeth…

        (A few years back one of my girlfriend’s dog liked to…watch. Never got aggressive or anything to me, but seemed real curious as to what was was going on. Kind of weird…)

        • Good advice. Being and empty nester, I understand the problem of families with small children, I keep a weapon within arms length at all times.

          It is unfortunate that area were my home in rural AZ is located, has been overrun by illegals tweekers and assorted criminals. Their presence demands a high level of vigilance and preparedness. Therefore we must keep an assorted number of weapons with a varied capability ready to meet the threat at all times.

    • Sure, it’ll be five 00 shot instead of nine, and it’ll be at a lower muzzle velocity.
      I doubt if the muzzle velocity will be all that different, but the weight of shot in the shell will be the larger determining factor of gauge size and effectiveness..

      • I just recently heard of a forensic pathologist that specializes in gunshot wounds Made the statement Calibre didn’t matter in pistols Because He had seen people shot with all different calibers Of handguns And the only thing that makes a person stop when shooting a handgun at them is to hit them multiple times in center mass and make their blood pressure 0 A rifle or a shotgun is a total different ball of wax Instead of getting a one channel you also get a temporary one channel from hydrostatic Pressure from the velocity of a shotgun or rifle And the weight of the cartridge Causing a tear a temporary tear in organs And in tissue And a permanent one channel If that makes any sense to you guys Another words A rifle or shotgun does a hell of a lot more damage And then I hand gun It once was said what does a person do After hit being hit by hand gun round, the same thing he was doing before he was hit with a handgun round It’s important just a bleeding out By shooting center mass with multiple rounds Or use a bigger rifle or shotgun Use the pistol to fight your way to the your shotgun or rifle

      • Sure, it’ll be five 00 shot instead of nine, and it’ll be at a lower muzzle velocity.
        I doubt if the muzzle velocity will be all that different, but the weight of shot in the shell will be the larger determining factor of gauge size and effectiveness..
        I probably should have said that the 12 gauge shell will hold more weight and therefore more pellets than the .410 shell, but the velocity will probably not be that different and really will not matter anyway. The 12 gauge will produce more wound channels than the .410 due to the increased number of pellets.

    • “And overpenetration? A house is 2X4s, drywall and insulation. Everything overpenetrates that.”

      Thank you! I was waiting for someone to point this out. The whole “overpenetration” debate is ridiculous. Almost anything fired from any firearm is going to punch right through a sheetrock wall, unless it hits some plumbing or an electrical box or a stud. Anything that is going to be effective at damaging a human body isn’t going to stop when it hits a half-inch of gypsum. Sure, pistol rounds will lose velocity faster, so if you’re worried about your neighbors, that’s a valid consideration. But your kid sleeping right behind an interior wall? He’s in as much danger from a stray .380 fired in his direction as a 5.56 round.

  20. +1 shotgun folks. Endless argument at several FB gun groups I preuse. Accur81 is closest to my opinion. In my house south of Chicago I am surrounded by other houses. No way I go Ar. Shotgun or pistol. I also want shock and awe for the urban youts MOST likely to invade my abode. jwm is right-I scared the shite outa’ 3 urban youts at the Cabelas counter in Hammond.Indiana by LOUDLY racking a Pardner Pump.(you can’t do it softly). But I keep mine ready to go on safe-no little kids around. Fred Frendly is correct-are you willing to shoot some lowlife? Pistol caliber carbine sounds good too(Hi-point for cheap)…

  21. I have given this a little thought. How about a new Kel-Tec Sub2000 gen 2 with glock mag and a silencer? It is a folding package for an under bed safe. The hearing problem is taken care of. You have 33 rounds of 147 grain HST. The only problem is finding the unicorn that is that gun.

    • Selling on Gunbroker as I type CLTSlicer some without reserve and several Gen 2. I had a 9mm a few years-it would work fine…

    • I just bought a Taurus CT9 G2 with similar plans in mind. 🙂

      And, BTW – if anyone else is interested Bud’s has them on sle for $399.

      • DJ I’d consider the Taurus blowback 9 if they had better than a 10round dedicated mag. For much less I can get a Hi-point in 9-45 and deal with lack of capacity…amazing how Taurus dropped the heck out the price(maybe Beretta should take notice)…How well does the Taurus run?

  22. I like a shotgun for home defense just because I have lots and lots of practice with one. A shotgun was the first gun I ever owned, and between hunting, skeet shooting and plinking I just feel very comfortable with one. I do keep a pistol on the nightstand though, a PO9 in FDE with night sights and a Streamlight, but the shotgun is under the bed.

  23. Whatever you a most proficient with under stress. For me an 870, I have two 12 & 20. Been deer, dove, squirell, rabbit hunting and clay pigeon busting with 870’s since 1974. That level of comfort and repetition is hard to beat. Second is Mod 60 SW 357 I have been shooting since 1986. Sure, I have more modern choices, but for me I will stick with what I know best.
    Switched to 2 3/4 reduced power loads in the 12 for HD and that makes a substantial difference in the blast & decibals. A 12 pump and revolver can have the loads more specific to the purpose. Just old school.

    • The new autoloaders cycle two and three quarter inch birdshot just as easily as two and three quarter inch buckshot So in my opinion why not using auto loader with an oversized charging handle you can clear a malfunction just as fast as pumping

  24. For me a plain jane out of the box mossberg 500. What can a prosecutor say about that? Personally I worry about what happens after the perp is dead or at the hospital, and what lawyers will do with my guns in court.

  25. Yes white a 20 drum as bullpup ore aow repeater as serbu white an suppressor so long nobody released an 2 stage fn p90 art mag bullpup shotgun.
    If you can affort got an suppressor in an free state.

  26. I dunno about shotguns for home defense. I’ve had two relevant encounters. One was coming home to people in my house (I wasn’t armed) the other was someone breaking into the adjoining unit in my duplex 6 feet from my master bath (I was armed with an AR).

    In both cases I was wishing for a pistol. I can still fall back on an AR for the mob rule scenario but a pistol seems most useful fir the situations i have encountered. So I got an XDm.

  27. Every house is a little different so the weapon of choice will vary. I have practiced coming down my stairs with my Benelli with mag extension, AR, DP-12 Bullpup and my Glock, and for me the pistol is the best choice since I can’t cover the areas I need to coming down the stairs with anything bigger than a pistol. The wife is my backup with the DP-12 or her Mossberg.

    • Damn. You learn something new every day, I hadn’t even thought about the stairs, and I’ve been in on shotgun/AR discussions right along. From my bedroom, downstairs is a spiral staircase turning right, and I am right handed! Even my suppressed 9″ SBR would fail miserably compared to a handgun. Thanks for the heads up!

  28. The big advantage of a shotgun is stopping power: hit an attacker just about anywhere in their center of mass and they are going down right now, whether or not they have ingested PCP or anything else. However, they are LOUD and will permanently damage your hearing if you discharge one in a hallway. And they require two handed operation.

    I believe the best overall solution is a pistol caliber carbine in a LARGE caliber which starts with a 4. They offer two compelling advantages: they provide the benefits of two handed operation and yet you can operate them with one hand if necessary, and they are substantially quieter than a shotgun. This last advantage is substantial. First of all, you greatly reduce any permanent hearing damage. More importantly, you will still have some hearing ability immediately after your first few shots which is necessary to identify additional attackers as well as coordinate with family or responding police. That is something that you cannot do if you have no hearing after letting loose with a shotgun in a hallway.

    As for stopping power, .45 ACP with a quality expanding hollowpoint is going to drop just about everyone on the planet if you hit them center of mass. And if one shot doesn’t drop your attacker, recoil is almost non-existent on a carbine and follow up shots are fast and accurate. Very few attackers are going to shrug off a double tap of .45 ACP much less multiple hits.

    Having just stated the virtues of a carbine in .45 ACP, there is a significant down side: they will not penetrate a ballistic vest. If your home invaders bother to don vests, you will need a rifle to punch through them. In that situation and AR15 may well be the optimum choice for close quarters. But then we are back to hearing damage.

    • A 12 gauge shotgun with two and three quarter inch double ought buck will penetrate a ballistic vest even with a ceramic trauma plate Up to 25 yards away and lodge into the back of the vest Deeply. So even if they are wearing body armor as long as you have a 12 gauge with two and three quarter inch double ought buck or number for Todd but you’re pretty good As stopping an intruder wearing body armor as well as long as they’re not wearing plates But even then it’s like being hit by a semi truck.

      • david,

        A #00 buckshot pellet with a muzzle velocity of 1400 or even 1500 fps is no different than a handgun bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1400 to 1500 fps. Since .357 Magnum revolvers shoot 125 grain bullets at 1500 fps, and generic ballistic vests stop .357 Magnum bullets, there is no way that a #00 buckshot pellet is going to penetrate a ballistic vest. They may penetrate the outer layers, but nothing is going completely through that vest until its velocity is upwards of 2000 fps.

        There is nothing magical or special about #00 buckshot. They are .34 caliber, 53 grain lead balls with a muzzle velocity of around 1400 fps. Even if all nine pellets hit the attacker, the momentum that they have is no different than the recoil of the shotgun buttstock against your shoulder.

        Having said that, the recoil isn’t too bad on your shoulder because you brace for it (you know it is coming) and your shoulder is a strong muscle group. I cannot imagine having a butt of a shotgun stock suddenly recoiling against my stomach or chest without any warning. That simple blunt force impact could very well take the wind out of just about anyone’s sails … and quite literally knock the wind out of them. And if the load hit right on their sternum, the impact could in theory actually stop their heart.

        • Say want you want to man I work at a supply house that sells armor to police departments And I’ve seen the best shot with 12 gauge double ought buck within 25 yards and it penetrate the front armor and large quarter inch into the back armor Where the label is for how to clean it Pills it apart and if you look at all police level 3 a vest they will tell you it will not stop at 12 gauge buckshot or slug end of story Know what you’re talking about dude

        • The kinetic energy of a double ought buck and two and three quarter inch is over 500 foot pounds of force That’s like getting hit with a tank Going 1500 feet per second You are totally off base on that buddy When we were shooting vest in our range we were putting them at 25 yards out And hitting them with 12 gauge double ought buck two and three quarter inch Out of Mossberg pump action 590 shotguns And it would knock the vest 8 feet off the hanger. And if you have done any research on law enforcement officers that have been shot by like a 40 caliber handgun I’ve seen cops here locally that have been hit in their vest with a 40 caliber S&W and it broke their back shattered their sternum multiple rib fractures internal bleeding internal organ damage So I think you need to do a little bit more research on what you’re talking about because you look like a fool

        • David,

          Here is a video of someone shooting a level III ballistic vest with #00 buckshot. He says the buckshot has a muzzle velocity of 1500 fps and he shoots the ballistic vest at 10 feet away. And he even shoots the vest twice in the same place as far as I can tell. None of the pellets penetrate through the vest:

          According to this website, a level III vest should stop up through .44 Magnum shooting a 240 grain semi-wadcutter with a muzzle velocity of 1400 fps:

          I am curious to know if a level III vest will stop a hot .357 Magnum round (125 grain hollowpoint with a muzzle velocity of 1700 fps out of a 6 inch barrel) or a hot .44 Magnum round (180 grain hollowpoint with a muzzle velocity of 1600 fps out of a 6+ inch barrel).

        • David,

          I am sure that some bullets, after a ballistic vest stops them, are capable of cracking a rib or something along those lines. And like I said, I would not want to absorb the recoil of a 12 gauge shotgun stock against my torso somewhere without any warning because it would hurt A LOT. It could very well break a rib or two as well.

          I have never heard of handgun bullets, stopped in ballistic vests, causing devastating injuries like you described “broke their back shattered their sternum multiple rib fractures internal bleeding internal organ damage”. The principle here is conservation of momentum. A bullet can impart no more momentum than it imparted on the firearm from which you shot it. In other words, however hard the stock or grip of a firearm hits your shoulder or hand, that is how hard it will hit its target. (And if the target is far away, the bullet will hit with even less force because it gave up momentum to air resistance travelling through the air.) So, can you imagine the recoil from a handgun chambered in .40 S&W causing that many injuries? Maybe any one of those injuries but not all of them. Unless the victim had some sort of unusual physical or medical condition, I cannot see a .40 S&W handgun bullet doing that much damage to a person wearing a functional level III ballistic vest.

          Now, if the attacker shot that victim multiple times with a .40 S&W handgun, that might be a different story. Multiple hits to multiple locations on a level III ballistic vest could cause different internal injuries. It is basically blunt-force trauma like someone swinging a hammer into a ballistic vest. One strike from a hammer isn’t going to cause the injuries that you described. Multiple strikes could.

        • You just convinced me to switch to SLUGS! Thanks for the info uncommon-any stats on vests stopping slugs? No matter what I’m sticking with a shotgun for the 1st line defense…

        • A shotgun shooting two and three quarter inch 12 gauge buckshot or slugs will penetrate a vest The only type of best that it will not penetrate is a level 3 a With level three plates there 10 inch by 12 inch plates That will stop up to a 30 odd 6 armor piercing round Ap round The best the police use R rated soft Kevlar 3 a with a small trauma plate over the heart and sternum This vest can be defeated by a 12 gauge shotgun shooting two and three quarter inch buckshot double ought or slug 1 ounce up to 25 yards The only way to stop that type of round Either the Buckshot or the slug one ounce Is by using trauma plates that were designed to stop that type around the standard SR not designed to stop that type around there only designed to stop handgun cartridges that’s it that’s why they’re called Bullet resistant vests not bulletproof vest The armor that I personally owned has level 3 a soft Kevlar on the shoulder pads the front chest neck and collar and growing area and the back with surrounding completely up under my armpits With level 4 Plates that are extra large in the front and back the vest weighs over 25 pounds And it will stop anything short of a 50 caliber BMG Not including the 50 Cal anything under it Including armor piercing 30 odd 6 ammunition which I can’t remember the ballistic name for it I do these tests all the time And basically you’re perfectly good with a 12 gauge if you’re using it inside your home with any two and three quarter inch buckshot Now that’s full force buckshot that’s not low recoil And or a one ounce rifled slug Will penetrate police body armorIf you guys don’t believe me go ahead and call some of these best manufacturers I can leave a whole list of the names of the best at the most popular with the local law enforcement in Florida and you can call them and see what level of that it takes to stop a 12-gauge shotgun and it is only the SWAT entry armor that will stop that type of blast And only if you take it in the chest or directly in the back Not in the sides unless you have the plates that fit down into the sides which I do not It’s already have you enough

        • Former Water Walker,

          I found this video on YouTube of a man shooting a level III ballistic vest with both buckshot and a slug:

          The buckshot did not penetrate through the vest. Neither did the slug.

          Note that the commentator goes on to claim that the slug would have killed the person wearing the vest anyway. He doesn’t say why the bulge in the vest would have been lethal.

          And this YouTube video shows yet another level III ballistic vest stopping a 12 gauge shotgun slug. The vest ends up inside their dummy and makes you question whether or not the resulting blunt force trauma would be incapacitating.

          If you want a serious manstopper in a shotgun and you have a rifled barrel, Hornady SST slugs would be the way to go. Their 12 gauge SST slugs are 300 grain .50 caliber bullets with a muzzle velocity of 2,000 feet-per-second. They produce significantly more recoil than any other firearm that I have personally shot — including full power cartridges in .30-06. At close range, I have to believe that is going to push through a level III ballistic vest. Only slightly less punishing, their 20 gauge SST slugs are 250 grain, .45 caliber bullets with a muzzle velocity of 1,800 feet-per-second.

  29. Very plain wrapper 12 gauge pump, for me. Flitecontrol wad 15 pellet #1 Federal buckshot. Winchester PDX1 12 slug/buckshot rounds in the holder. I too am concerned about hearing loss, indoors, but it is what it is. Revolver on my hip, if that is all the time I have.

  30. A HD shotgun requires two hands Usually true to the task at hand.
    Shotguns are easier to grab and deflect than pistols, depending on how dumb you are with the pistol.
    Ammo capacity is limited, but you will probably need less of it to be effective.
    Safe storage is more difficult with any long gun.
    Over-penetration is an issue, but about anything else is worse.
    Reloading under stress is problematic with any weapon that does not have a detachable magazine, and sometimes magazine reloading can be error prone.
    Handing a shotgun to a family member probably will be more effective than a pistol share due to inexperienced shooters probably being able to actually hit something with the shotgun.
    One blast without ear pro will deafen you as will about anything else without a can.

  31. I have read that the FBI used to teach that if an agent encountered 3 crooks; one armed with a pistol, one armed with a machine pistol, and one armed with a shotgun; the perp with the shotgun was to be taken out first as he will probably do more damage than the other two.
    Just remember that Navy SEAL point men and break contact men were issued Ithaca M37s in Vietnam.

    • I’ve seen these figures thrown out there by various “experts” for decades now. In a study on “first hit probability” between pistols, subguns, rifles and shotguns, shotguns win hands down.

      In one shot fatal hits it’s something on the order of 5% for a handgun. 50% on a rifle and 95% on a shotgun.

      When I’m home I have a j frame in my pocket. I live in a 2 story. I have 12 bore pumps staged on both levels for if I have the time and ability to reach for them.

  32. I used to be all about a semi automatic handgun for home defense. However I’ve been converted to the AR15. I read an interview with Kyle Lamb that helped me see the light. Combined with a light and electronic ear pro it has considerable advantages. 28 rounds. Semi automatic. Easy to shoot. Over penetration is less of a concern, given the FBI report that pistol rounds penetrate more than rifle rounds it makes it a better choice than a semi auto pistol. More rounds, less chance of collateral damage, easier to use….what’s not to love?

  33. If I can ever find a USGI M-1 Carbine that’s in good shape and not over-priced, that’s my ideal HD weapon. For now I use an AR. No big over penetration problems and they work like, well, a rifle. Too bad Universal is the only company making M-1s. They are shit. I wanted so badly for them to work, but they just don’t.

  34. “Ammo capacity is limited.”
    Maybe, but my shotgun holds more rounds than a revolver.

    “You’re less likely to practice with an HD shotgun than a pistol.”
    My wife and I each shoot 50 or more 12 gauge rounds each week at the trap range.

    “Over-penetration is an issue.”
    Compared to what? 00 buck pellets lose energy pretty quickly when they hit something solid.

    “Handing a shotgun to a family member probably won’t be as effective as a quick pistol share.”
    That just doesn’t make sense.

    “one blast without ear pro will deafen you for life.”
    Quit lying.

  35. Tarus judge 45colt/.410 caliber hand gun. Or
    Smith and Wesson governor 45acp/45colt/.410 hand gun.
    Both are too big for everyday carry but great for home defense. I can deploy a “hand shot gun” faster than a long shot gun. I just reach for it on the night stand.
    The ammo:
    Winchester pdx1: .410 caliber defender round has 16 BBs and 4 disks. Round velocity is only 750 fps.
    Great for fast follow up shots if necessary. I love shooting them. There’re absolutely devastating.

    • Take the bird shot out of the 410 shell replace it with 3 30 caliber 100 grain plinker bullets.fill the voids with corn meal. It makes an excellent self defense round.

      I often wounder why a classic buck and ball load has never been marketed for self defense. During the Civil war a number of volunteer units were issued Muskets. (Shortage of Rifles) Several refused to turn in their muskets when Rifles became available. These units were typically placed at the center of the line. They went to ground and waited until the attackers were within 100 yards (Max effective range) of their position. Then they would pop up and annihilate the enemy with their loads and higher rate of fire.

  36. My Mossberg 500 is ready to roll SHOULD I ever need it. Hopefully just the sight of it will scare them off without having to blast them. If not, well, lights out.

  37. You can make an bullpup version closed at 26 overall white 18 barrel length.
    Suppressor same as muzzle brakes and flash hider count as barrel length and white 26/18 you can free travel to other states white legal suppresso (same white aow) white out atf notice !

    Don t want an suppressor ?? Do an aow as serbu ore in semi.

  38. Shotgun is a very good choice for home defense but it may not fit women. You need to be able to deal with heavy recoil. That is why handgun is better choice for ladies.


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