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Home Defense Shotgun

Home Defense Shotgun | Realities And Myths



Feature | Man with a shotgun | Home Defense Shotgun | Realities and Myths

If a home defense shotgun is your preference for protection, consider this as a knowledge check to make a better decision.

RELATED: A Pump Shotgun For Home Defense; Is It The Right Choice For You?

In this article:

  1. The Sound of a Shotgun Makes Intruders Run
  2. Ammo and Penetration
  3. Immediate Incapacitation
  4. Short Barrels Are Better
  5. You Need a 12 Gauge

Home Defense Shotgun | Shotgun Realities and Myths

Must-Know Shotgun Home Defense Facts

A lot of gun owners choose a home defense shotgun compared to other defense firearms. Why? Because the shotgun is a proven close quarters weapon that packs a big punch.

If you're considering using a shotgun as your home defense weapon, these are some of the things you must know.



1. The Sound of a Shotgun Makes Intruders Run

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The shotgun pump makes people run away? False, the only time they will hear that is after a blast.

Taking an unloaded gun to a gunfight is not wise and the act of just pointing the gun at an intruder gets their attention.

2. Ammo and Penetration

Shotgun bullets ammunition | Home Defense Shotgun | Realities and Myths

Is the birdshot ammo recommendable for a home defense gun? Birdshot will still go through walls if you are close to them because it's just a wad of pellets.

If someone is hiding behind a wall or couch, you want to be able to shoot through them.

Some people say, “Oh, what about my kids?” Well if you're using a handgun it will go all the way through the house versus just a wall.

If you are actually worried about it, then use an AR-15. Use ball .223 ammo and it will break up sooner through your wall than other weapons.

3. Immediate Incapacitation

Man shooting with a shotgun | Home Defense Shotgun | Realities and Myths

Another myth is when a person is shot with a shotgun, that person will be immediately incapacitated. NOT TRUE!

There are many cases where slugs or buckshot bounce off of human skulls.

Buckshot Definition: A shotgun ammunition with bigger pellets but has 9 to 12 pellets only inside its shell.

This is also true for .45s. Make sure your target has actually been hit and is incapacitated; don't leave it to chance. You can miss with a shotgun and any shot will spread at about an inch per yard.

This home defense weapon can miss, especially if you're very close to the target.

RELATED: Shotgun Ammo For Home Defense | Buckshot VS Birdshot

4. Short Barrels Are Better

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Another fallacy is you need a shortened barrel or special ammo to keep a tighter pattern. Answer? GET SLUGS.

You neuter the power of a shotgun when you shorten the barrel. Leave the shotgun alone, and let them do what they are designed to do.

If you want that tight pattern, use slugs, otherwise, let it do its thing. You can also use full power buckshot.

If you want low penetration and low recoil, it means you will get less penetration. The reason is they put less gunpowder in it but if you can shoot full power ammo, do it.

5. You Need a 12 Gauge

A shotgun and cartridges on a wooden table | Home Defense Shotgun | Realities and Myths

No, you do not need a 12 gauge. A 20-gauge tactical shotgun is still twice as powerful as a 44 magnum handgun.

Keep in mind that anyone who can shoot a 12-gauge can shoot a 20 gauge better. A 20-gauge is a great choice for a small-bodied male or female.

A great choice will be the Remington 870 youth model 20-gauge. It has a shorter stock, so it's easier to use in a gunfight.


Check out this video from OreGear for more information on shotguns for home defense:

The shotgun is an easy weapon to use that people of any age can learn. With it having such a prominent role in home defense across America, it comes with a lot of myth and fiction.

We want to clear up these fallacies so you are never put in a situation where you or a family member is in danger due to misinformation. Know how the shotgun operates and take advantage of its effectiveness in home defense.

Will you consider using a home defense shotgun? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!



Home Defense Shotgun | Realities and Myths |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 18, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Steven W Smith

    September 10, 2021 at 8:57 PM

    Good info here as well as subjective opinion. As a retired 31 year LEO I can factually state the sound of a round racked into the chamber of a 12 .ca pump GETS THEIR ATTENTION. Practice is everything. A competetant man with a 12ga with O.O buck and slugs is deadly.

  2. Bill

    March 1, 2021 at 8:49 PM

    What about a .410 double barrel coach gun or pump? Use slugs or buckshot.

  3. Drake Price

    November 29, 2017 at 11:57 AM

    A 12 gauge slug and 00 buck…..bouncing off a HUMAN skull? Someone is talking out of their ass.

  4. Jim Merrill

    March 26, 2017 at 8:34 AM

    Great points to bring up, thank you.

  5. George

    October 14, 2016 at 8:17 PM

    I just watched James Yager say all of this it’s like he wrote it

  6. L.A.West

    May 21, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    Cops carry the shorter variants of shotguns in the cruiser sometimes – and the more lethal firepower in the trunk if they need it. However – more and more they are opting to carry the AR-15’s in the car now. It depends on the department. Cops want to be Big and Bad Ass nowadays like the Military with military weaponry to use on the citizenry. It actually getting hard to distinguish the Cops from the Special Forces.

    I would opt for an AK-47 in the house with a 20 – 30 round magazine. It’ll do the job! It’s Cheap to Buy, and the Ammo is cheap as well – so you can practice. Make it count the first time, and then double tap to seal the deal!

  7. Josh

    April 22, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    Yes, a short barrel does cost velocity; but wouldn’t a 28 inch factory barrel be at least “cumbersome” if not outright inconvenient in a close quarter battle scenario, taking into account overall weapon length? And is 18 inch too short to be adequately effective ( with buckshot OR slugs)?

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