The Shotgun Approach to Home Defense

One of our favorite sayings these days is “A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone!” With all the high-level assaults on gun rights going on right now, all it might take is another major incident to end our Second Amendment rights forever. So you may want to consider getting a shotgun now, because they are still available.

A shotgun offers the shooter significant advantages that we want to share with you. These advantages include: ease of use, sheer stopping power, affordability, relative lack of government regulation, and even the ability to win the fight without a single shot being fired.

Shotguns Are Effective Weapons with

Minimal Regulation for Now

No single gun is ideal for everyone’s needs. Every firearm has its own set of benefits and limitations to be weighed. But considering that most home firefights will be played out at very close range, typically down a hall or across a room, shotguns take first place on our list of home defense options.

Shotguns have been the mainstay of home defense for three hundred years. The first iteration, known as the blunderbuss, appeared as early as the 17th century. These early generation scatterguns relied upon primitive flintlocks. Today, shotguns are highly advanced weapons of overpowering force, safety, and reliability.

Shotguns come in either single-or double-barrel variants. Double-barreled shotguns have two triggers, one for each barrel. Side-by-side barrels are the most common, while the “over-and-under” variant has one barrel stacked upon another. If you’ve heard the term “give it to him with both barrels,” now you know where that comes from. Most people don’t realize this, but double-barrel shotguns do not run perfectly parallel to one another; they are configured so their shot will converge, typically at a distance of 40 yards.

You Don’t Have to Be the Best Shot

when It Comes to Shotguns

Shotguns provide devastating stopping power, especially in close quarter defensive situations. Or when you need to get the attention of a mob outside your house without hurting anyone. One 12-gauge shotgun shell can discharge nine .33 caliber pellets with a single trigger pull. Considering that a 9mm handgun fires just a single bullet of nearly the same caliber at slower velocities, you would have to aim and fire nine separate times with your handgun and still not have the same stopping power. Plus you’d be giving your adversary extra time to advance on you and take you down.

Another unique benefit inherent to a shotgun is the wide variety of ammunition it can use. Shotgun ammo comes as shot (multiple projectiles per shell) or slugs (one projectile per shell). A typical self-defense load of buckshot contains 8 to 27 large lead pellets, resulting in either a tight or wide spread pattern based upon the range to the target. Shotgun pellets are less likely to penetrate walls and strike innocent bystanders.

Shotguns Have Numerous Advantages to Consider

Like handguns and rifles, shotguns come in various bore sizes. Shotgun barrel diameters are typically measured in terms of gauge, commonly 12 gauge and 20 gauge. The 12 gauge variant is universally the most popular. The barrel has an inside diameter equal to that of a 1/12thpound sphere of lead. A 20 gauge barrel is smaller, equating to the diameter of 1/20th lb. sphere of lead.

An exception to the bore standard of measurement is the very popular .410 caliber shotgun. One downside of a shotgun is the recoil. A variety of factors weigh into the amount of kick a shotgun unleashes. First there is the bore size, followed by the load. If recoil is a concern, consider purchasing a 20-gauge model instead of a 12-gauge.

Additionally, semi-automatic shotguns help reduce the recoil but come with higher price tags. No matter which one you choose, be sure to get plenty of practice at the gun range so you’ll be able to comfortably handle your shotgun when your life may be on the line.

Advantages of Shotgun versus Handguns
  • One of the major advantages of a shotgun is the spread pattern of the shot itself. A shotgun firing at a target of 25 feet will typically have a spread pattern of 8-10 inches in diameter – a vastly broader impact zone than a single bullet, therefore making it easier to hit a target. In a typical home defensive scenario, your aim with a shotgun is more forgiving.
  • Shotguns generally pack more of a punch than a typical handgun.
  • Shotguns make it easier to engage multiple targets.
  • Shotguns are perceived as more dangerous than a handgun which gives the intruder or criminal cause to turn around and run.
  • Pump action shotguns are generally less expensive than a high-quality handgun. Semi-automatic shotguns are more expensive but save reload time.
  • Shotguns are less regulated than handguns or rifles.

TIP: Pre-load ammunition into your shotgun but for safety reasons, do not store your weapon with a chambered round.

There are two schools of thought regarding what type of shotgun ammos best for personal defense. Many shotgun enthusiasts believe 00 buckshot loads are the most effective because of their high impact. The other school of thought is going with a less penetrating load with a wider spread, such as #4 load with 27 buckshot pellets designed for inflicting a maximum wound at close range without over-penetration.

TIP: If a break-action double-barrel shotgun is your personal weapon of choice, then consider modifying your shotgun by mounting a “side-saddle” six-round carrier or tactical stock.

For those with fewer budgetary restraints, the semi-automatic shotgun offers such advantages as high rate of fire, high ammo capacity, ease of use, and tactical configuration possibilities. When purchasing your first shotgun, be sure to consult with a knowledgeable expert to make a selection that suits your needs. Remember, your life may someday depend on the choice you make.

Remember the Rules of Engagement

If you don’t have family members living under your roof, it is best to stay put and let the intruder come to you. Not only will you have the tactical advantage, but you also don’t risk being taken by surprise. Should you have guests or family members in different rooms of your home, always try to account for everyone before venturing out armed and loaded, so you don’t mistake your loved one for a bad guy.

TIP: Regardless of what type of firearm you elect to purchase, no weapon will completely guarantee you or your family’s personal safety. To improve your defensive capabilities, take your weapon to a gun range and practice, practice, practice.

Simply calling out “I have a gun!”; and racking a round into your shotgun may be enough to scare off many intruders. However much of today’s criminal element, whether through desperation or under the influence of drugs, may not be scared off by idle threats. If you find yourself in this unwanted position you will be thankful that you had the foresight to add a shotgun to your home defense arsenal.