best home defense shotgun
(Warren Wilson for TTAG)
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In a world were all the cool kids gravitate towards ARs for self-defense in the home, the old-fashioned shotgun still provides outstanding performance against uninvited guests in your your casa. Shotguns have been around for hundreds of years and remain very versatile and quite effective in their various roles.

When loaded with buckshot or rifled slugs, a shotgun offers the most powerful, shoulder-fired weapon most folks can buy. What’s more, given their affordable prices, they are within reach of most consumers looking for serious home protection without taking out a second mortgage.

Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical Shotgun

Let’s talk more about why the old-fashioned shotgun, for most average folks, remains a tried and true home defense choice.  Even for those with training who have options, shotguns remain quite popular. As an example, of the dozen and a half of my fellow instructors, including both men and women, all but one of us have a shotgun as our go-to option for things that go bump in the night.  The one that does not has an autistic son.  His lack of a shottie is somewhat offset by another trainer who has two pump shotguns under his side of the bed. The fastest reload is a second gun, they say.

Decisive stopping power

Yes, pistols poke holes in people. Rifle put holes through people, too. Shotguns? Well, with the right loads at the distances you’ll find in the typical homestead, shotguns are downright devastating. They’ll put large, ugly holes in the big, bad wolf.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Clint Smith, Master of Subtlety (NSFW).

Even if Mr. Wolf has ingested some recreational pharmaceuticals the suppress pain tolerance or juice up the rage, a load of buckshot or a rifled slug to the chest at inside-the-home distances will take the fight right out of them along with tissue.

Bad guys wearing armor?  It happens in today’s world now and then.  A rifled slug to the torso, armor or not, will seriously degrade an intruder’s combat effectiveness and give the homeowner the precious time needed for a follow-up shot as needed.


Most folks don’t have $1000 to $2000 to drop on an AR outfitted with an appropriate optic, backup irons, a light, a sling and all the other add-ons so common today.

Ditto for one of today’s hot-selling pistol caliber carbines.   I love my CZ Scorpion (before losing it in a tragic boating accident) but have you seen what they’re selling for today?  Add a quality optic, a support brace (along with the hardware to mount it), a sling and spare magazines and you’re approaching $2000, easy.  That’s real money for us mortals.


Alternatively, you can protect your home just as well with a $200 used pump shotgun.

A pump gun will work, regardless of gauge. Whether it’s a 12 gauge, a Sweet 16 or 20 gauge, it will get the job done defensively. You can find effective buckshot and slugs for any scattergun you own. You may have to look a little harder for 16 gauge buckshot (and pay more), but it’s out there.

I don’t recommend .410, but if that’s what you have or all you can handle, it surely beats harsh language or a 4-iron.

Leave the birdshot loads for the little birdies though. Sure, at three or four feet, birdshot will perform similarly to buckshot. However, the prudent defender will not let the bad guy get that close.

Buckshot will deliver its punishing performance from the muzzle out to 25 yards or sometimes farther, depending on the set-up. The limiting factor is the size of the shot spread, or pattern. Remember…you’re responsible for every projectile you fire, so it’s best not to use buckshot beyond 25 yards unless there’s a concrete all or open field behind your attacker. And when an attacker is that far away, some may question the threat level.

“What is this buckshot you keep referring to?” you ask.

00 buck buckshot ammunition shotgun

Buckshot is typically a number of lead balls sized from from .24 (#4 buck) to .33 caliber (#00 buck). Each one that impacts the target creates its own wound channel. A round of the most common 12-gauge buckshot, 00 buck, will typically have between nine and twelve .33 caliber projectiles. Many commercial 20-gauge buckshot loads carry slightly smaller #3-buckshot, but lots of loads are available. Either way, they create a lot of holes.

Typically, a user can expect about an inch of spread at the target from buckshot for each yard from the muzzle. Using some public school math: A bad guy at 7 yards (21 feet) away with a knife in your living room will take a roughly 7-inch pattern of angry lead buckshot balls, striking him all at the same time if you do your part.

Worth noting: there’s a reason those who are shot with buckshot and rifled slugs frequently don’t go to the Emergency Room. They tend to expire too quickly for that.

The good people who toil away in Hollywood and the entertainment industry have educated almost everyone on the universal sound of peace. If a potential evil-doer doesn’t reconsider their plans after hearing their victim racking a pump shotgun, that should tell you something about the attacker. Some less motivated criminals will flee at the sound.  Beware of those who don’t. That’s a clue, folks.

What about capacity and slow reloads?

No, you won’t have 30-round magazines, but that’s okay.  Remember, with a shotgun, you’re not poking holes in someone. You’re cleaving hunks of flesh from their bones and/or shredding tissue.

Yes, single-shot and double-barrel shotguns have very limited capacities and slow reloads.  Pump shotguns strike a nice balance of faster reloads and greater reliability than more expensive semi-auto shotguns. Magazine-fed pump guns are available, too.

590m magazine

Regardless of the gun type, scoring just a single direct hit on the bad man in the center of the chest with a slug or buckshot inside your home will likely end the matter decisively.  Even if they’re wearing armor, a rifled slug to the torso will greatly reduce their ability to put a hurt on you — let alone breathe — giving you precious moments to dish out some more ballistic therapy as justified.

Most pump shotguns, even the hunting guns, will have four- or five-shot internal magazines. Four plus one in the chamber will serve to defend against all but the largest, most-determined adversaries.

Image via

Feel under-gunned with five rounds? Buy a sidesaddle shell carrier and attach it to the gun’s receiver. Or you can attach one to the stock. Or use both. With four or six rounds on the receiver and five or six more on the stock, you’re carrying close to twenty rounds. Gun battles overwhelmingly are “come as you are” affairs. Seldom do you have a chance to kit up. Those extra rounds on the gun will allow you to top off your magazine tube as the opportunity arises.

What about a shotgun’s recoil?

Yes, shotguns produce recoil. Avoid magnum loads and you’ll avoid the worst of the punishment. A good butt pad on the stock will absorb some of that recoil, too. Using the proper stance, learned through training and practice, will do wonders for absorbing recoil and making for much faster (aimed) follow-up shots.

The best news: thanks to female law-enforcement officers, today we have reduced recoil buckshot and slugs for 12-gauge boom-sticks. These provide good performance with significantly less felt recoil. That means faster aimed follow-up shots should you need them. Frankly, I prefer these to standard loads and you might, too.

Image via Remington

What’s more, no bad guy will absorb a chest full of “managed recoil” buckshot and say, “Boy, I sure am glad you didn’t shoot me with standard buckshot!”

Jury appeal

As a secondary consideration, a pump action shotgun won’t scare the horses as much as a tricked-out AR “military” style “assault rifle” or whatever the gun-banners and anti-2A politicians pejoratively label modern sporting rifles. Cowboys and old-school cops use shotguns, so they must be as American as baseball, apple pie and pickup trucks, right?

Or at least that’s what you hope the average juror person who knows little about guns will think of your defensive gun use. After all, if you do face trial for a self-defense gun use in your own home, the jury of your peers won’t be comprised of twelve NRA members, Arfcom readers or TTAG’s People of the Gun.

Ease of use

Pump shotguns are easy to figure out and use. Look down the barrel and put the bead on the target. Squeeze the trigger. Pump the gun, lather, rinse and repeat. Your grandmother can do it. And lots of them have.

GSL Defense Training photo

Again, affordability

Did I mention shotguns are affordable? You can get a perfectly serviceable pump shotgun for under $200, less if it’s used. It may not be pretty or anything you’ll want to hang over your mantle, but it’ll go bang and protect your home and family in an emergency.

Nightstick SFL-11GL Shotgun Light and Laser

Even tricking a pump shotgun out with sling swivels, a sling, and a side-saddle shell carrier, and a light, you’re still way under the price of a quality, American-made holographic sight.

The moral of the story: there’s an effective shotgun out there that just about everyone can afford and employ to defend their castle. No matter the gauge or capacity of your shotgun, it remains far better protection than any pacifist, man-bunned feminist male. Or even a group of them for that matter

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    • From ‘ol Boch above:

      “I don’t recommend .410, but if that’s what you have or all you can handle, it surely beats harsh language or a 4-iron.”

      A .410 slug is typically 125 grains, about the same as a 9mm bullet. The difference is that the best 9mm setup (+P ammo thru a carbine barrel) tops out at 1300 fps, while the slug performs at 1800 fps to deliver much more kinetic energy into the target. Certainly not the power of 12ga buck, but I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end nevertheless. Henry offers a nice lever action with 20″ barrel:

      Mrs Haz is a smaller gal, and struggles with 12-ga. The .410 would be excellent for her.

      • Dude… 20 gauge. I shot 20 guage when I was a little kid. Little old ladies can shoot 20 guage no problem.

        It is a very good budget defense. Better then 12 gauge in most respect. Hitting a bad guy with 20 gauge will stop them just as well as with a 12 gauge. Both represent ample stopping power.

        Get a youth model with shortened stock and shorter barrel so you can move around while it is shouldered and you are golden. Hunting shotguns are very long for bladed stances and long range velocity and are not nearly as useful for home defense as a shortened one.

        .410 sucks for defense. Always has. It is for small game only. And the shotguns they come in are not useful either for anything other then snakes and rodents. For that they are great.

        All pistols suck for defense as well. They are hard to shoot and are under powered. The difference is that pistols are useful to carry around all the time. Some comparing it to 9mm is bogus.

        • “All pistols suck for defense as well.”

          Untrue at in-house ranges, assuming adequate caliber (>9mm).

          45acp is near perfect.

  1. Probably the best shotgun for home use article I have ever seen. Still looking to see if there is anything to add but every important major and minor consideration was covered that I can think of on first read.

    • I agree, outstanding article.

      I keep a Mossberg 20 gauge pump with a Pachmayr youth stock handy. I believe the term is “cruiser ready” — tube loaded, chamber empty, safety off, ready to rack.

      • Ended up with a Cerberus buyout era Remington 870. Cycles fine but needed to refinish the receiver (see rustington). Would leave it the way you described but we are currently dealing with various silly laws in court so other options were explored.

      • This is a great article.

        I’ve many times been hit with a financial hardship and started selling off pricer firearms. I’ve never even once considered selling my $160 Mav 88. A 12 gauge pump was the first gun I ever bought, and I will own at least one for the rest of my life.

        I’ve also always kept mine in some form of crusier ready. My method has been gun racked on an empty chamber with the safety on though. It is a little more complicated but I have trained for it.

        Someone will comment on the foolishness of shotguns in general, and empty chambers in particular I am sure. There are pros and cons to every defense strategy, and a plethora of options. Welcome to America friend. People in most places in the world are only able to beg for mercy.

  2. I keep an Ithaca 37 fudd gun patrol ready with buck. If you can’t stop an issue with 4 rounds of 00 you’ve got some pretty big issue.

    • Or a whole lot of issues. Either way getting the aluminum or brass snap caps for 12gauge (or whatever) and practicing reloading under stress (do pushups till you have muscle fatigue) is fun if you have time to kill. Extra credit if you can keep the shotgun shouldered and on target ready to fire while reloading without looking.

    • Observation: my quadruped harvests have run a _minimum_ of 20 yds when shot with buck. A biped could send a lot of lead down your road in that time span.


      Addendum: Slugs OTOH, are the quintessential instant stopper.

      • Apply that line of reasoning to 30-06, 45-70, and various other calibers. Deer/hogs are not people and typically when we see people shrug off getting shot there may be some wild drugs or crazy involved that may preclude their use of firearms. With that said buck slug or cannon be ready to shoot again if needed.

  3. I have a Benelli M4 with a 14 inch barrel and adjustable stock loaded with 435gr Gatekeeper rounds. Five in the gun and six more in a mounted shell holder.

      • It’s a short barrel shotgun (SBS) NFA item with a $200 tax stamp. I don’t know where it might be illegal. I know my SBRs are illegal a couple of miles away from me in Iowa.

        • You don’t need to ask permission as to how you protect your family. Screw those politicians. I would go to prison before I let an idiot pol decide for me.

        • I get you were saying you wish it was legal everywhere or it should be. My comment wasn’t just in response to you. I was stating for those that might not be aware it is an NFA item and not all NFA items are legal everywhere.

  4. A few years back I took a PPIH class at my local range. There were cops, lawyers and trainers there to discuss the subject. If you’ve called 911 and you’re sitting in a room with eyes on the door as they all seemed to agree you should be if you couldn’t get out of the house you really can’t beat a shotgun.

    As a side note a pair of these: came for me just before Christmas and they really, truly, absolutely are awesome.

  5. This has to be one of the most cringeworthy shotgun articles I’ve read; it’s like the author put the worst mix of Fudd-lore and Boomer-grade condescension into a blender and forgot to turn it off until after it made a mess of the kitchen.

    He especially lost me at what comes across as little more than a veiled insult that the one instructor he knows that doesn’t keep a shotgun for home defense has an autistic kid to justify it.

    May as well just hand this article off to the MDA or Brady bunch and watch them go wild with the ammo he just published. With any luck he might have just convinced them to go after “police style shotguns” next.

      • Within the context of the article, please explain to me how having an autistic child in the home is worth mentioning for specifically not having a home defense shotgun, leaves it unsaid with use of that remark that somehow it’s better to have a home defense carbine or handgun by comparison with an autistic child.

        He could’ve explained the situation much better by just saying “one instructor is not comfortable leaving a loaded firearm in the house with his or her autistic child”.

        • Maybe he could have but then see tsbhoa.p.jr’s reply. This was an excellent article. Ask the owner’s of this site to accept your article if you know better.

  6. Don’t have a shotgun anymore, hope to fix that this year. Love shooting federal 000 .410 out of my judge, different tool different job. Loved the wing master 870 I used to have, also loved the 500 mossberg I shot in the navy. I think I will get a mossburg 500 unless I find a 16 I can afford, maybe turkish

    • Watch the tfbtv shotgun meltdowns before buying a Turkish shotgun. Eye opening. The guns fall apart and they are hard to trace as the factories put out the same gun for different companies. Same crappy guns with different logo’s and price points.

      • With how cheap a functional pawn shop maverick 88 can be found, an imported Turkish shotgun that is in a similar price category does hit a few warning signs. But haven’t messed around with anything Turkish yet and if I buy another shotgun it will likely be a Benelli or Beretta depending on what is desired later on.

        • I bought a Benelli m2 as a hunting gun. Great gun. But for my house I have a Mossberg 500 with short barrel and a Maverick 88 security with 7+1. My wife needs one.

        • Maverick 88 is assembled in eagle pass Texas from at least some Turkish made parts. I believe the barrels are Turkish.

          That being said, the 7+1 20” maverick sits by my bed at night and I am betting my life on it if/when the need arises.

        • Check out Maverick88 on The Firearm Blog from about a year ago. WINNER of best cheap shotgun!

      • 100%, those are really eye opening. I’m glad I saw it before I picked one up. Even as a cheap fun gun they’re not worth it.

    • Just my opinion but please don’t give your funds to a gov that would just as soon destroy the United States if it benefited them. At some point we need to isolate regimes like Turkey and China. I will gladly pay a premium for goods made on the USA.

  7. Good article but I feel like the negatives should have at least been touched on.
    Shotguns tend to be long and a ‘less than optimal’ size for tight spaces (hallways, stairwells and such). Also that length is a liability in close quarters scenarios (you may not get the jump on the ‘bad guy’, despite your best efforts; he may get the jump on you instead).
    A ‘bullpup’ style will negate a lot of that but it does kinda put a hurt on the ‘ultra affordable’ nature of shotguns.
    Another issue pertaining to the length is in handling. My wife and middle son (youngest is too young to handle a 12ga) both struggle a little to handle the length of a standard run-of-the-mill Mossberg. The recoil they can handle ok in short spurts, and would be fine in a defense scenario, but getting the barrel up on target fast and accurately could be iffy.

    Overall though I’m inclined to agree that a simple shotgun is an excellent home defense weapon and the devastating effectiveness can’t be argued.
    Also, an added bonus with a shotgun is the MASSIVE array of different types of ammo readily available; in an apartment, use smaller shot and/or reduced power loads, out in the sticks and want to stop an intruder RIGHT NOW, a 1oz slug will decimate just about anything you fire it at.

    • For beginners it covers mostly everything well. For house clearing you would probably need a separate article for what a shotgun can and can not do. Hip fire, tactical reloading while maintaining sight picture and ability to fire (at least once), how to reload a bullpup at all under stress, and ammo selection re house construction and neighborhood considerations would be a quick intro before getting into use of lights, pieing corners and communication/coordination with the rest of the family (armed or not). On just about all of those topics there is a lot of room for argument and confusion and not as many clear cut right/wrong ideas. For an intro to shotgun (or firearm ownership for broke beginners) it is great.

      • I’m not clearing anything. If they come into the room I’m in then the cops can clear what’s left of them when they get there.

        • That is the ideal process with a long gun indoors, family on different floors/sections of the house can complicate that which is why knowing basic responses as a family and what may be needed in less than ideal situations is also important as a next step preparation.

      • Random nailed it. In one of the articles I read recently, the author commented on the dangers of clearing a house, and how professionals primarily do so in TEAMS because of the elevated risk levels.

        Having said that, an NFA SBS and just 8-16 hours of good training would cost less than many other options out there, and would be an excellent close quarters option for any scenario that doesn’t involve half a dozen or more trained professionals attacking you…

  8. Being on the downhill slide into 70, the recoil of the 1 oz 12 gauge slugs is getting to be an issue. 00 buck isn’t as bad but I’d prefer a single ¾ inch projectile. Mini-shells are my next purchase for the Mossberg I got as a present in ’74.

  9. I simply cannot get my head around your recommendation to blow people inhalf for any good reason – you must be criminally insane .Keeping loaded shotguns under the bloody bed for god’s sake just in case!! !!
    I am 84 years old and spent over two decza\des in Her Majesties Forces first as an ARMOURER [which is a bloody sight more than just guns in this man’s Air Force ] and as a Smallarms Instructor/Musketry Coach and as a member of the UK Army Infantry Reserves so I am not unfamiliar with fire arms of all shapes, sizes, and uses including shotguns. Never in my entire life have I been thretened by a firearm of any description and I honestly do not know anybody who has . And yet there you are certifiably insane and so frightened that you are recommending elfin SHOTGUNS under the bed.
    And you have the audacity to think you live in the land os the fre whereas you at the sametime think that here in the UK {indeed in most of the civilised world!] we live undersome kind of COMMUNIST domination because we are NOT elfin free to blow some poor bugger in half with a shotgun.
    There is an element of Utter Madness running through the United States that one day is going to boil over and the FIRST VICTIMS will, be allm, those FAT BOYS with semi-autos. Sure we have our crims in the UK -all too many in fact. but there are almost as many deaths by Gun Crime in CHIGAGO alone as there are the number of ILLEGAL deaths in the UK intotal per year. and that includes all deaths by gun or knife crime all thiose as a result of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -where both perps and victims are known to each other [by far the most common, gangland shootings and knifings, all MANSLAUGHTER and all acts of. And you are mad enough to think you are FRE. Give us a bloody break!! terrorism.

      • Two world wars sequentially killed off 6 generations of the majority of their alpha male population leaving largely the wormy cowards as the largess of breeding stock.

        And we see how that worked out.

    • A ‘subject’ disapproving the rights granted by the 2nd A? 🤔
      Color me unsurprised.

      Go back to sleep with the other sheeple All Hail.

      Also, be sure to close all the windows and doors. You all need to stay high on each others farts. 👍 Don’t want them leaking out and affecting thinking people.

      • Oh, and effect.
        GFY Grammer naz!s. Losers who can’t debate content, so they criticize syntax, spelling and punctuation. 🤡

      • No, he’s not ‘All Hail’.

        ‘All Hail’ is my personal brain-damaged demented troll with a problem with me and Haz.

        He hasn’t been seen in awhile, but when he pops back up I’m eager to kick him square in the teeth, yet again, for as long as it takes for him to whimper away with his tail between his legs like the gutless POS he is.

        And he knows it… 🙂

        • Hmm. The comment I *just* posted is now ghosted. I never even got the usual courtesy of “Your Comment Is Awaiting Moderation”.

          Great. The WordPress gremlins are at it again. Or our buddy All Ha!l is chewing on the site’s wiring again…

        • Haz, I had several posts disappear in the same manner over the weekend. Some of them may have mentioned the “elf bee eye” and/or Lake City ammo and/or Texas primers, so I wonder if those things are persona non grata trap words.

    • The last time we “cared” about what the British had to say about our Freedom…

      George Washington didn’t defeat them with Free Speech. He shot them. In the face. Many times.

    • Because everyone knows that the RAF is the worlds utmost authority on small arms. Of all the branches and services in the UK to pretend you were with( emphasis on pretend),and because of that an expert in small arms, and you picked the RAF? Not the SAS, the SBS, the Royal Marines, the Paras? Please do some research before making up your resume. Not that any reasonable person would believe it anyway, but still…it wouldn’t make you look as bad as this does.Trolls don’t have any credibility, but this is just silly.

    • You “can’t get your head around” it, huh? Let me help. If someone breaks into my home with intent to harm me or my family then they have *chosen* to forfeit their life and a shotgun is a good way to enforce that choice of theirs. If a person does not want to get shot while breaking into someone else’s home all they have to do is stay outside.

    • “I simply cannot get my head around your recommendation to blow people inhalf for any good reason – you must be criminally insane”

      The fact that this is what you got from this article says everything we need to know about you and those that think like you. You have absolutely no ability to think critically. You are a serf and you will always be a serf or a peasant, enjoy it…

    • Prince Albert, the Fake-Limey, Fake-Military Lying Ponce,

      No, since you are (supposedly, but we all know you are a lying troll) a Limey (a SHORT step above a Frog – just as quick to surrender, but not quite as annoying or smelly), you would just invite the armed intruder in to rape your wife and daughter (if you had them) and then give them head to reward them for not killing you. Oh, and fix them tea and crumpets, too.

      If you weren’t a disgusting, lying troll (which you are), you’d be an even-more-disgusting coward. An armed intruder into my home has ALREADY made their choice, and deserves nothing but massive, overwhelming defensive force. Besides, our gene pool seriously needs chlorine; after all, we seem to produce WAY too many Leftist losers, like you.

  10. For home DF I use a Remington 870 Home Defender pump gun in 12 gauge loaded with 2 3/4″ 00 buck and equipped with…

    …a sling that holds another 25 shells like the ones mentioned above, and…

    …a weapons light.

    Works for me…


    • I have a similar set up, and I would argue it’s the best set up for the vast majority of people, with minor variances of course.

      • You say you have never looked down a hostile bore? While forced to hold up your end of the conversation?

        Then you are ignorant, emphasis on rant, on a level only a total lack of experience can achieve.

  11. In past I advocated Black Aces Tactical 12ga Bullpup as most effective and versatile home defense weapon. However, as I have gotten older, recoil and weight have become more important decision factors. I have migrated to a Charles Daly AR 410 (usually under $300). It’s just an upper you can put on your AR lower for home defense. Remington 2.5” ultimate defense rounds have four 000 bucks with a muzzle of 1225fps, and 934ft-lbs. AR fire rate is as fast you can operated it. Those 15 round magazines will stream 000 bucks faster than a 12ga. pump. In fact a pump with 7 rounds x 8 000 bucks = 56 pellets in the air while AR 410 with 15 rounds x 4 000 bucks puts 60 pellets in the air with wider pointing flexibility. Your existing AR muscle memory makes magazine swapping a standard. PRO, all AR support equipment applies. CON, it is 2” longer than a standard AR carbine, 410 ammo is getting more expensive that 12ga, but 410 reloading is easier and cheaper. Check it out.

  12. Well for me there is a shotgun weight/handling factor to consider especially shotguns with extended tubes. I mean if you swing one of the nose heavys around it wants to keep swinging past the target. Then there is reloading time which needs to be practiced to make sure reloading goes as smooth as possible.
    One thing for sure is a good defensive shell will stop a perp. If it’s one of those I’ve-got-this situations a good, quick to reload coach gun works fine.

  13. While I agree with a lot this article has to say, I will say you don’t have to drop several grand for an AR and all the gizmos, especially if it’s just for home defense. Just use the iron sights and put a light on it. There’s no need for an 1,200$ Acog and 150$ back up irons and back up red dots and lasers and chainsaw bayonets and all the other gizmos people put on it. That stuff is cool and helpful if your going to use it for longer ranges but you don’t “need” it for home defense.

    I personally have a .45 and a short barreled AK with nothing on it for home defense. I do like the idea of a semi auto shotgun for home defense though.

  14. Excellent article. While I still prefer a semiautomatic rifle for home defense, the shotgun remains an extremely effective option.

    It should be noted that while birdshot is not reliably effective, it can still inflict devastating injuries even at considerable range. Just ask former Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Braun who was shot with a 16 gauge shotgun loaded with “harmless” birdshot from a range of about 20 yards. He spent about a month in the hospital including a week in the ICU. It has not been possible to remove the birdshot that entered his jugular vein to migrate to his lungs. We can all lament the fact that Vice President Dick Cheney didn’t take his daughter hunting more often.

    You also made an excellent point about jury appeal. Shotguns are familiar to people and are even highly recommended by our Senile, Imbecile, Venile Sock Puppet President Biden. My marijuana bootlegging tenant was given a free pass for shooting at my son with a 12 gauge Remington 870, Tactical Express because a corrupt attorney named Geoffrey Silverman invoked the Elmer Fudd defense. The jury could not understand that a shotgun can be loaded with a variety of ammunition types, some of which can be lethal at long range. There are even many people of the gun who don’t understand enough about exterior ballistics and terminal ballistics to understand that at any specific range, the potential penetration depth in human tissue increases with the projectile diameter cubed. While pattern spread will limit the number of buckshot that might hit your intended out beyond 25 yards, heavy buckshot can theoretically penetrate a human skull at a range of about a quarter mile. (Don’t argue with me on this unless you can do the math.). Slugs can be extremely lethal out to a mile away.

    Mister Silverman continues to argue in court documents that his alcoholic, DUII convicted, possibly drug addicted client isn’t a threat to my family because he only loads his shotgun with buckshot when he shoots at us. For some insane reason, he has not been disbarred for incitement.

  15. Recent acquisition (until the unfortunate canoeing accident sent it to the bottom of the lake) was a Mossberg Shockwave. Loaded with 8 rounds of #4-Buck Federal “Shorties”…. Or 5 rounds of full-size 00-Buck… Hopefully will never find out.

  16. I too have your shockwave.
    Mossberg Shockwave 590 11471799
    SBA’s “pistol brace” installed with Crimson traces laser. And sling. Love it. But, the Super Shorty is my goto gun. 3 shot pump with a 5shot saddle on it.

  17. Model 1897 Winchester pump. Hold the trigger down – rack the handle and it’s as fast as any semi auto. Every male member of my family has one.

  18. Nice to know President Biden is once again vindicated when he recommended a shotgun for home defense. Sock it to em” Jumpin Joe.

    P.S. I have owned several Mossberg 500 Shotguns over the years and never had a problem with any of them. The last Deer I shot with my Mossberg did a flip and landed on his back proving the stopping power sure is there.

    • lil’d
      deer hunting video games don’t count.
      clean your room and take the trash out.
      maybe mommy will get you more doritos

    • That idiot is only parroting what he’s heard, and most of it is dead ass wrong.

      Sheesh, blasting 2 rounds through your front door is a real good way to end up in jail, for instance. Or firing into the air? Ever heard of gravity? Your hero is a moron, something you both have in common.

      • Ironic as he mentions owning the same guns he is willing to “liquidate” a third of the country’s population for owning.

        • The cognitive dissonance is absolute with that one, no doubt, thinking they won’t come after him as well because he’s speshul.

          Only wish I was a fly on the wall to see the look on his face when it comes… 😉

  19. I’m very comfortable with my Judge .410 loaded with 000 buck shot, as a night stand gun. If the invaders are still around my mossberg 590 can take care of anyone, who still refuse’s to leave.

    • For me jury is out on short barrel 410 but warm to hot 45lc would always be an option. Guess I would just have to wade through various barrel length tests and find where it is better than 9mm re ballistics and less recoil than 44 re follow up shots. Looks fun regardless.

      • There are Y.T. jell block test videos of the judge 410. I’m very impressed with the buck shot results. But I have not seen the 45Lc yet. I know 9mm is more popular. But I don’t want to have to deal with, any semi auto issues when I’m just waking up.

  20. Just how bad are shot shells when they hit a humand body???

    “orthopedic surgeon Dr Chris Raynor reacts”

    “Why Are Shotguns So DEADLY? Surgeon Reacts to GARAND THUMB Shotgun vs Human Torso”
    video 20 min long

  21. I would appreciate links to take a look at those Mossberg shotguns in the photos. Good article though and makes sense. I wouldn’t mind adding this to my collection of self-defense options. That said, I still like my decked out AR-15 .300 Blackout suppressed pistol with a 30 round mag of heavy 200+ grain bullets…

    • MrMax,

      There is no question that a suppressed AR-15 “pistol” chambered in .300 BLK and shooting subsonic cartridges is an outstanding home-defense platform. The downside to that platform is expense: that firearm could easily cost $700 and then the suppressor plus tax stamp could easily cost another $700 or more–for a likely total cost of at least $1400. Compare that to a $250 pump-action shotgun.

      For people who cannot afford (or justify) spending $1400 on a home-defense firearm, a $250 shotgun is an incredibly attractive option.

      • True low cost pump is most affordable option.
        True AR 300BLK pistol is most preferred, even though I use AR 410 inside.
        300BLK 8.5″ 1/7 suppressed is really effective using 220gr subsonic
        300BLK 10.5″ unsuppressed with my 240gr powder coasted bullets will totally kick butt as my truck gun.

  22. 2A BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court Justice ROBERTS Report Reveals MAJOR Shift Favoring Self Defense.

  23. Good ole Remy 870 pump and TAC-14,can’t help but love em! Great head turners at the range also!

  24. “The best news: thanks to female law-enforcement officers, today we have reduced recoil buckshot and slugs for 12-gauge boom-sticks.”

    This is one of the most moronic things I have read in a while.

  25. Interesting article. .12 gauge is too much gun for a 1400 Sq. Ft. condo with one common fire wall. Same with an AR-15. I’ll stick with my 9MM handguns and multiple loaded magazines-good hollow points.

    • So you know, if you miss with that nine, it’s going straight though that common wall with just as much energy as a low power reduced recoil shotgun load with #4 buck.

      Only difference is the #4 will lose a lot more mv^2 due to the pellets having less mass and consequently will do less damage on the other side of the wall.

      Don’t believe? Follow that link I put above, the bottom one. Paul Harrell puts that to the test on his YT channel.

  26. .410 has been mentioned a couple times above. Folks tend to blow it off as being a poor self defense round, but even the basic 2.5″ slug rounds that you can get at the farm store rival the .41 Magnum. The arguments I’ve seen against the .41 Mag had nothing to do with effectiveness, but were about the platform (revolver) and ammo availability, some of which may apply to the .410.

    And as for AR platform uppers, BCA recently introduced one in .410, so there are other options out there.


  27. Having had surgery on both shoulders, one thing I figured our shortly after, is that I no longer have tolerance for heavy recoil. it just becomes too painful after one or two shots. Anticipation kicks in and it all goes to hell fairly quickly. One reason why I ended up getting an AR 15, was its lower recoil.
    I would like to try a 20 gage, but no one I know owns one, and the ranges around my neck of the woods don’t rent guns. I have fired a .410 single shot, and didn’t find it too uncomfortable to use, but a single shot isn’t a viable home defense shotgun.
    The biggest drawback I see looking at .410 and 20 gauge shotguns is cost. Most cost more than their big brother 12 ga counterparts, and it’s not an insignificant amount, but a hundred to two hundred more.
    So looks like I’m stuck with either pistols or AR’s for the foreseeable future.

  28. I prioritize suppression and capacity. This is why I keep an integrated suppressed 300 BLK SBR with a light as the lightest, shortest, most capable nail gun I can get.

    Now if they came out with suppressible platforms running something smaller like 20ga, where I could get a dozen or so chances in a short package, then I’ll fulfill Biden’s advice. I’ve seen a suppressor on a Six12 (but which I’d like an Eight20), but they seem to still be vaporware.

    • LOL, sounds so foreign and Greek to us CA residents…short, suppressed SBR? Gavin doesn’t even want us to have tactical throw pillows, not unless they are soft and supple for the criminals…because their comfort and rights are above all.

      Yeah, I know, time to move. If I could, I would.

    • I mentioned this in an earlier comment, but a suppressed SBR Is not a firearm anyone can afford. (or legally own in some states). It is an extremely capable and versatile platform. You are well armed.

      Suppressed shotguns are rare and cumbersome. But they would be awesome.

  29. I disagree. A shotgun requires both hands to operate. It also has punishing recoil and a huge muzzle blast. I have used a shotgun in an OIS and it is devastating at close range, but it is not the best choice for ‘inside-the-home’ self-defense. Once an intruder is inside your home, distance is ‘danger close’ measured in feet, inches or even contact (a physical struggle). A handgun would be the wiser choice since it can be operated with only one hand. The other hand might have to used to fend off the attacker, close and lock a door, turn on a light switch, hold a flashlight, grab a child or call 9-1-1. You can’t do that while holding a shotgun or rifle. Also, any long gun can be rendered useless by the attacker by just grabbing the barrel and keeping it pointing away from him. In police DT training, we demonstrated just how easy it is to control a long gun from an attackers perspective. As with any self-defense weapon, the will to use it and proficiency with it are the most important points.

    • Excellent points. With pistol-ish compactness you can either add suppression, or optional two-handed like pistol carbines. Short, close, easy, one-handed and more targeted with more chances I think is the better strategy.

  30. I was looking @ the “Panzer Bullpup 12” 5 shot ($350) as Home defense, the Tokerev ($250) just made me leary..for an unexplained reason Turkey maybe?… I have been looking for a side by side “Alley cleaner” coach like I had back in NYC when I drove Armored, I took out a skell that tried to hold us up w/ it (.00 buck @ the time ) I gave him both barrels.and he dissapeared (headshot one barrel, center mass second barrel) The first shot was the stopper but I was rolling…I got lucky. You don’t have a head, the engagement stops instantly. I have a 20′ hallway now between myself the front door and my only family member left in the world who I love dearly. My room is first down the hallway, she is outfitted w/ my little taurus G3 and hollow points if I get taken out. She knows the whole behind the bed, get on the phone asap deal and is a great shot ( Shoulder surgey prevents her from using a scattergun. I want the ‘incident’ if/when it ever happens to be just as fast and final. One last thought is I REALLY want a Springfield HELLION (pricy: $1600) but I think they only come in .556/.223. I would like a .300 Blackout AR if I go the AR route, I feel a 200 gr. compared to 55gr is what I am looking for…sorry for the long babble, but this is REALLY important to me. Lastly I have a chance to get a used ‘radical AR/.556’ for a third of the price of the Hellion ($500+), bare bones Iron sights (if I outfit that w/ a strong flashlight and maybe a red dot that might be an option for me. Is a .556 enough? What ammo? My problem is are these options the best for my situation? I don’t want to keep going back and forth between a shottie and an AR, it gives me a headache 😪 what do you guy’s think? I of course include Debbie and any female PoTG’s because I value all PoTG opinions. I live in a pretty decent neighborhood and fortunately I’m outta the city (Albuquerque) it’s dark as s**t (no street lights). I’ve got good driveway spots w/ motion sensors and a security door w/ a solid front door behind it my vunerability is my double back doors (NOT sliders– with double deadbolts) . I made a steel crossbar for across those doors but the sneeky little feller’s could come thru the back pictue window too! (or slither under the crossbar). I also mounted a spot light in that hallway (its blinding) if I have the time to get to it and rewired my hall lights to my room and her room for added illumination. The only thing I didn’t do is a ‘pungy stick pit ‘in my tiled hallway (kidding). Well that’s the situation. Am I on the right path? Claymores are out I am partially deaf already ;c)….any comments/suggestions, different plan adjustments appreciated. let ‘er rip! Thanks in advance

  31. It is important for people reading this article to understand that pump-action shotguns do have much more recoil than most people think. There are several tables online of recoil energy (ft-lb) an impulse (peak force or momentum) of rifles and shotguns. A 20 gauge 7-pound all-steel (not light) shotgun with a 2-3/4″ shell with a typlical field load has approximately the same recoil energy as a typical 6.5-pound .308 bolt-action rifle with a standard hunting or long-range target load. This is not something that you want to give to a beginning shooter. I’ve seen new shooters temporarily turned off shooting when given a 12-gauge pump shotgun to shoot due to the heavy recoil. There are videos online of these new-shooter episodes with shotguns. If you are set on a shotgun to also use for trap/skeet/clays and hunting as well as self-defense, then consider a 20-gauge semi-auto shotgun that produces less recoil and more of a “push” impulse than a smack against the shoulder. And start new shooters with the lightest target loads. Children and young teens who will be progressing to sport shotgun shooting could start with a 28-gauge semi-auto or even .410 if you can find the shells these days (not many local stores have them, but some online.)

    For a long-gun that will NOT be doing double-duty as a hunting gun (which a shotgun is good at, obviously) a 9mm pistol-caliber carbine (or evern a .38 Sp/357 Mag lever-action) is much more practical for most people for home defense than a shotgun, especially if you want to do a fair amount of regular practice and target shooting – and not have a sore shoulder. The recoil is minimal – less than half that of a 20-gauge pump shotgun. You can then have one cartridge for both your handgun and carbine (9mm or .38 Sp/357 Mag). The magazine capacity is usually larger as well. The sound level of a shotgun is also louder if you have to fire in an emergency situation in a home without ear protection (357 Magnum cartridges excepted).

    Yes, people can get used to shotgun recoil for trap/skeet/clays and hunting, but for most people who aren’t going to do a lot of that type of sport shooting, a pistol caliber carbine as a long gun is the best solution, and more fun at the range. Obviously an AR-15 or Mini-14 rifle is another lower-recoil option, but now you’ve got two types of cartridges to buy if you also have a handgun, and .223/5.56 ammo is more expensive than the pistol ammo, and so are the guns themselves. In blue states, the lever-action wood-stocked carbine or longer rifle, along with a .38 Sp/.357 revolver are also very juror friendly. Ruger may soon be making the Marlin lever carbines and rifle in these calibers. But make sure a lever-gun will accept the the shorter .38 Special and .38 Special +P cartridges without jamming, since that’s what a lot of people will also want to shoot regularly in the revolver for lower recoil (357 Magnum has blast & significant recoil in short-barreled revolvers, even steel ones.)

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