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The Valuable Nature of Shotguns
The shotgun is probably the most common element and choice firearm of a home defense plan. While rifles and pistols have their place, most households that are prepared for the necessity to protect their home and loved ones have at least one shotgun as part of their weapons collection or their only weapon is a shotgun. They gain their popularity as a household weapon from the versatility of the ammunition, the ease-of-use and the fact that they are effective man-stoppers, specifically in the close quarters of a house.
The low-tech nature of a shotgun design and the low cost, when compared to rifles or pistols, adds to their appeal and the manufacturing of this type of firearm is a great indication of its practical use and widespread availability. With so many options to choose from you can be sure that there are many of them that are not appropriate for use in home defense. Many of the shotguns are used in various sporting applications and are not the ideal choice to have in the event of a threat on your home and family.
As an example, the birding gun you may already have or thinking of getting as a multi-purpose sporting/home defense gun will have a choke which is great for hitting your target in sport but practically useless when it comes to defensive situations. As well, the barrel of a birding gun is generally a 22-24” barrel (and longer) and is geared to hunters who have to time to line up their shot, which is not usually how it plays out when you are dealing with a defensive situation in your home.
Ensure that you have the right type of shotgun for the defense of your home by going through these basic, yet important, details about shotgun characteristics and actions. You will be well informed by the end of this book about what you need and don’t need for your home defense weapon and will also be in a better position to investigate any topics further for your self-sufficiency and security.
The Shotgun Shell
The most important feature of a shotgun is the shell: a plastic hull that contains small pellets (shot) or a lead ball (slug), wadding, and powder. Depending what’s in the shell you can aim to kill or wound, be exact or broad, hit a distant target or plan for close-up. A shotgun is useful in various scenarios where the different firing options are ideal. A shotgun can fire flechettes, birdshot, rock salt, rubber pellets, bean bags, sabots, buckshot or slugs. This is not even a complete list but just an indication of the wide-ranging ammo options for a shotgun. For use in home defense, shells that contain slugs and buckshot will be discussed in more detail in the section on ammunition.
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