Is it Time to Retire the Defensive Shotgun?

Remington 870 pump-action shotgun

With the AR-15 crowned as the new reigning champ of semiautomatic rifles, there’s no doubt that the 5.56×45 is here to stay. These guns have never been cheaper, more reliable, or easier to customize. And the surging popularity of the defensive carbine has largely displaced the 12-gauge shotgun as the long gun of choice to keep handy for defense of hearth and home.

The pump-action shotgun was at one time considered the first and only tool to reach for when things went bump in the night, but it definitely doesn’t have the monopoly on protective force anymore.

So, is the defensive shotgun old news now? Has the faithful sidekick of the patrol cop and armed home defender finally jumped the shark?

Indisputable shortcomings

No matter which side of the camp you undoubtedly find yourself on, there are several disadvantages that come part and parcel with a 12-gauge defensive arm. There’s just no getting around the relatively low ammunition capacity issues. A comparably sized AR-15 can easily have 100 rounds on board. With a shotgun, you’re usually limited to an eight-round magazine before things start to get unwieldy with an extended tube.

While it’s possible to stow extra ammo on a shotgun in the form of side saddles and other means, you’ll never be able to stash 30 extra rounds on the gun, like you can with an AR-15. And even if you could, the weight of 30 shells is prohibitively cumbersome.

If your shotgun happens to run dry (an admittedly rare occurrence in most home defense scenarios, historically), you’ve got to individually stuff each and every shell into the magazine tube, which takes time even when there’s no stress involved. With an AR-15, you can have 30+ extra rounds at the ready in a matter of seconds.

But it’s not all bad!

One of the biggest advantages to the shotgun is the raw power that it lends the user. Various 5.56×45 duty rounds are highly effective these days, but those choices pale in comparison to the bone-crushing attributes of a 1-ounce shotgun slug at supersonic velocities.

Shots to the pelvic girdle with a 12-gauge slug do far more than simple tissue damage and temporary cavitation. They actually render the mechanical skeletal structure useless through major blunt-force trauma.

That’s incredibly powerful, especially for non-compliant adversaries under the influence of narcotics. It’s very difficult to advance if the ball part of your ball-and-socket hip joint suddenly finds itself… completely missing.

Truly, the shotgun’s greatest asset is the broad spectrum of ammo currently available. From the previously mentioned slugs to surgically precise buckshot loads, there’s something for every situation. And while the don’t-really-need-to-aim myths of the “street sweeping, room clearing shotgun” have little factual basis, there’s no denying the advantages that multi-pellet wound channels bring to a firefight.

And of course, shotguns are the only reasonable choice for shooting down errant drones.

Reliability issues?

It was once thought that the pump-action shotgun was the most reliable firearm in existence. The thinking was that if you can still work the action, you’re still in the fight. Over time, this has proven to be not quite true. Short stroking a pump action is remarkably easy to do if you’re not paying attention to how you’re running the gun.

Semi-automatic shotguns have become incredibly reliable over the past few decades. I worked at a private gun club for two years, and can attest that I saw more malfunctions induced by shooters short stroking a pump-action as compared to issues caused by a semi-auto shotgun.

Regardless, as long as you work the action of a pump gun violently to the rear and forcefully forward, you’ll never have an issue with reliability. And using quality ammunition instead of aluminum case head bulk ammo will go a long way towards preventing stuck cases.

You aren’t giving any reliability up over a rifle if you choose a quality shotgun and use high-quality ammo.

Still a viable choice?

Yes, there are many things that a shotgun cannot do. Shotguns can’t engage a target 400 yards away. They’re big, heavy, and have an outdated manual of arms that’s totally different from the AR-15 we’ve grown to know and love.

But as long as there are firearms, there will be the defensive 12-gauge shotgun. And while the venerable pump-action definitely has its unique downsides and disadvantages, there’s no denying they’re devastatingly effective when used correctly.

In the end, your home defense gun choice is completely up to you. And with modern rifles, pistols and yes, even shotguns; it’s hard to go wrong.

We know you’ve got thoughts about defensive shotguns and the role they play in your home defense plan. Let us hear ‘em in the comments!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (240)

  1. I still prefer shotgun for home defense. AR-15 rilfe has a lot of advantages, but what about over-penetration? You may hit your target, the door behind your target and your neighbor with one shot. Buckshot is ultimate home defense ammo which is guaranteed to stop the intruder.

  2. Philip, Haven’t you ever heard of the ‘Castle Doctrine’? It protects you if you shoot a ‘perp’ inside your home, but it’s MURDER if you shoot them outside so forget your high powered rifles for ‘home defense’. The fellow with the 9 x 18 Makarov, probably, has the best idea if he can hit a critical kill spot in the dark or half light. I prefer my double stack RIA 1911A2 with 240 hollow points as it has the knockdown power, but at about 850 fps isn’t going to travel for three miles if I happen to miss. I keep it under my pillow on quarter cock in a pancake holster to prevent ‘accidents’.

  3. I bought a Kel Tec GSK and it will be all the home defense anyone should need although I have a couple of “tack drivers” in 7mm08 and 300 WSM that will reach out there if I’m out in the open.

  4. I’ve been reading a lot of the threads on this topic and it seems to me that many fail to understand the balance required in selecting a home defense weapon. Overwhelming firepower alone is not the correct choice. One fellow, who advocates the 12ga, said he had it loaded with slug followed by 00 buck and that was followed with Dragon’s Breath. Sure hope he never has to use it. For obvious reasons the AR is not a good choice either. The weapon needs to be small enough to be wielded with ease, hand guns come to mind, it needs to have stopping power, but not excessive penetration. I have one of each of the two so called “contenders”, but the gun that I feel meets all the requirements is a 9mm Makarov. Small, accurate and reasonably powerful for the short range anticipated without endangering neighbors.

  5. Another factor for using a shotgun versus an AR is your neighbors. A shtogun pellets or slug are heavy and are extremely short range and drop off rather quickly. While double aught buck can leave the barrel at 1350 FPS, it slows down very quickly. An AR bullet can easily travel 400 yards. and its still moving over 2000 FPS. I personally don’t want to kill my neighbors and especially not their children. I have a Winchester HD with a 21″ barrel and it holds 8 in the tube with 1 more in the chamber. If I can’t take two or three invaders with 9 shells I can then use my .357 revolver has a backup. Both are perfectly able CQB weapons and 15 rounds should be sufficient, even with a full dose of adrenaline. I am a combat veteran and old training helps to keep the barrel straight.

  6. 12 gauge, 18″ barrel with 00 buck 6 shot Mossberg 500 for home defense with Ruger 13 shot 9mm as backup loaded with Federal Premium Tactical HST 9mm 147 Grain +P Hollow Point Ammo. DO not need a rifle for my lil 2200 sq home, most shots would be within 10-12 yards.

  7. The biggest issue I have with this article is its comparing 5.56 to a shotgun .Sure you can carry 100 rounds in your AR15, but the problem with using the 5.56 round as a home defense round is it’s muzzle velocity and type of projectile it’s firing. When you consider a home defense weapon you need to think about where you live. If you cut loose with an AR15 you better hope you live in the country because sheet rock and siding don’t stop 5.56 and you will be running the risk of killing your neighbors several houses down the street with missed rounds or pass through’s . Where as 00buck isn’t going to go through several houses before it stops.

    1. With all due respect, you are incorrect in your asumptions. Light, fast moving 223 projectiles are not meteor-like bullets that will rip thru 12 houses and kill everyone inside. Its quite the opposite. Research any data on this matter and you will find the 223 will fragment and tumble rather quickly upon impact of material as soft as even drywall. Slugs are going to over penatrate MUCH more. This has been tested and proved many times over. This isnt my personal opinion, the information is out there.

  8. I have tactical pump 12 ga, but recently I put together a SB (10.5 inch) AR in .458 SOCOM which I will use for Home defense. Shorter than my 12 ga and my wife is more comfortable using it rather than a 12 ga (less kick) and the .458 round comes in JHP and hit like a charging rhino..

  9. I have a vepr12 with 12 rounds of semi-automatic 12 ga love for anyone dumb enough to make it past the Doberman. No pumping just pulling the trigger and the hall is filled with defensive firepower.

  10. I’m a inner city ER nurse 15 yrs and have seen some gross trauma both conus and oconus. 12ga shotguns have THE last word but correct ammo selection is critical. Just last month we got a guy that was hit with bird shot in the head at close range and to the chest. Large room distance. Not one pellet penetrated his scull or his vitals in his chest. He was not even stoped or slowed down, he was not high or drunk and was d/c the same day.This is not the first time I’ve seen this! The largest pellets I’ve seen is goose shot in a mans chest that was alive. When it comes to ammo selection it should say BUCK shot or pick another weapon. Not my 2 cents, my buck worth

  11. any type of long gun can in itself be to swing weildly for home protection. I have found a new friend in the S7W 6 shot Governor or and Tauras 5 shot Judge. Both use the home defense 410 shell and are even more damaging than a .40. Take a look at the ammo makeup, it’s impressive and will totally destroy a pumpkin. The round also stays inside the home and not 1/2 mile through a wall & downrange.

  12. Retiring the defensive shotgun would be like retiring the 1911…ain’t gonna happen. I feel quite safe with my 20ga pump and Glock 23. I’m sure others have different combos, but that’s my choice.I keep one (#3buck) in the chamber so that a flick of the safety puts me in business…none of that rack a round in to scare them off nonsense.. The pump and the Glock are both within easy reach. I have a couple of 1911s that share defensive duties with the Glock. I’ll never part with those. I like that I can switch barrels on the 20ga and hunt with it too.

  13. Ray, some of us are still fighting trying to get some common sense gunlaws in New Jersey. We finally have a couple of Assemblymen working in our favor. We are trying for “Castle Law” in our homes. and the abilty to get a CC permit which is still nearly impossable unless you are a LEO or retired LEO. My ancestors & relatives fought in the Revolutionary War, died in the Civil War, and died in the war with the Muslims in the war with the Barbary Pirates, died in WWI and served in WWII, served & died in Viet Nam & served in Afghanistan I don’t give up easily.. I am the 5th generation in my homestead and I will not be run out.

  14. To the fella in New Jersey — sorry, I failed to note your name before responding, my very bad!! — The way you describe the law there it sounds as if law abiding persons, home owners or renters, are at a great disadvantage versus the criminals. You have my deepest sympathy, sir, and my best wishes; deepest, sincerest hope that you are never forced into that double jeopardy kind of situation.
    I wish you and yours peace, safety, good health and prosperity — always and for all time.


  15. No other gun has the broad spectrum versatility of a 12 Ga. It can handle anything in North America from quail to Grizzly Bear with the right ammo. If you could have just one gun it would be a 12ga.

  16. one advantage I see to a shotgun verses a AR-15 is that a shoot gun round may go through a outside wall of your house but it is unlikely to have enough energy left to hit a innocent person walking in the street. With a rifle round that may not be the case.

  17. I really like my AR for outside “work”. But for across-the-room distances, I’ll stick to my 12 ga. pump, full of 1¼ oz of #4 or #5 shot. Of course, if it runs dry, my laser-equipped Glock 23 will take over. That’s my version of a NY reload. If the problem is out of range for both of those, then the threat is most likely over.

  18. Benelli Supernova 8 round extension tube from “Cheaper Than Dirt” attached light, alternate rounds. #1 Buck & 13 oz. slugs & a very mean dog makes for a good nights sleep.

    1. Yep, Got my Remington 870 with an 8 round extension tube loaded with Remington OO buck. But they got to get through my dog first…. and he’s a mean one!!

  19. I own several AR15’s and I love them they are very accurate and yes they are a good choice for home defence. However, that being said my all around home defence is a Remington 1100 competition master with 24″ barrell, tactical stock, red dot sight, tactical light and tube extendtion. I keep it loaded with 9 rounds of 23/4″ 00 Buck. My point is that yes it will knock down a wall and 00 Buck has been proven to be deadly out to 80 yards. If needed you can send 72 .250 dia lead balls down range in about six secounds. If I’m in a home invasion situation I’ll use my .45 first as I carry that most of the time. I don”t care at that point if I blow holes in my walls all I want to do is protect my life and my family. The 1100 is a very reliable platform my hunting gun is a 1969 Remington 1100. In the early 70’s I shot trap with it for 2 years also. It’s still going stong today. In my opinion I can put 72 rounds down range from my 1100 faster if needed then a 30 round mag of .223/5.56 and keep it all in the house. Just saying???

  20. I see many good comments here but lets look at an average situation. Home Invasion is the key word here. To me that is one of two situations. Either somebody is kicking in your door and your awake or asleep but wake to the situation in progress, or someone gains entrance to your home and you awake, they are inside your home, and hop efully they have not entered your bedroom yet. In my state of New Jersey the law is that if you have a route of retreat you are required to retreat. If I am in most of the tooms in my home there is no easy way to retreat, so I am covered on that one. Additionally, if you shoot someone and kill them, in this state it is very unusual not to be charged and have to defend your action in court. People get very upset here if you shoot a person too many times. Anything over 3 shots, that must not be in the back or they will try to charge you with manslaughter . A shotgun is really the safest weapon to use here. They also get upset if your weapon “resembles” a military weapon, so about the only safe firearm for home defense is a shotgun that at least looks like a “hunting weapon”. .So, If you hear someone crashing through the door, we must wait until they gain entry, then shoot them in the front area only, and It don’t matter if they have a rap sheet 5 ft. long, you better not cripple or wound them because criminals here seem to have a lot of rights and they will sue you.If someone is trying to break in and they can hear you slam a round in with a pump shotgun tey will usually leave at top speed.In my home, it is unlikely that a shot would ever be over 20 feet. 2 3/4 inch mag. loads of #4 buck hit almost as hard as a slug wthin this short range. I have practiced various scenarios with my Marine Model Mossberg 500, (18 inch barrel, cyl. bore, extended magazine tube). Shooting from the hip is not great. but I have practiced enough to shoot with both eyes open, and I have attained good accuracy without using the sights as long as the shotgun is .against my shoulder. As far as multiple invaders if you make ihe first or nearest intruders head dissapear the others will exit at mach speed. To be vary honest I would avoid shooting someone in this state if it was at all possible because of the laws, but If I did have to do it there would be no attempt to just wound them.. As stated before a shotgun is the best home defense weapon to use with reasonable safety for occupants and

    1. SJERSEYDEViL, why are you still in New Jersey? Most ‘civilized’ states in the U.S., have a ‘stand your ground’ law, where you are not required to retreat from a home invader or aggressor. Anywhere you have a right to be, whether it is your home, a business, parking lot, if you have a right to be there, you have a right to defend yourself. t
      Though I’ve never tested the theory myself, I am fairly certain that the ‘style’ of weapon you use to defend yourself will ever be brought up, unless the prosecuting attorney is some bleeding heart, gun grabbing liberal that believes that criminals have more rights than victims. And, sorry to say the world is full of this type of misbegotten piece of s**t.

  21. Many of you people speaking out against an AR15 for home defense need to do some research and stop blindly believing uninformed people running their mouths.

    As just demonstrated in the Nov 2015 issue of Gun Tests, properly selected lightweight 223/5.56 rounds fragment quickly and actually penetrate less wallboard than most pistol rounds (9mm, 40, 45), and way less than most shotgun loads also.

    Examples are 40 grain Fiocchi V-Max and Black Hills 55 grain JSP.

    I wish people would stop blindly believing anything they read or hear, and do some real thinking and research. Learn to question things. Be skeptical.

  22. This is all rather interesting. Most LEO’s I know use an ar15, if available, for urban room clearing. The ar15, with a standard 50-55 gr round travel at such a high velocity that the bullet fragments into small pieces when it hits an object with little or no penetration of an interior wall. Most handguns and definitely a shotgun will penetrate more than one wall. Watch this demo:

  23. Saiga 12 is my close quarters home defense weapon, AR 10 for everything else, Saiga 12 gives me a 12 gauge with high capacity capabilities

  24. If we are talking strictly home defense here, then a 20 gauge shotgun
    firing #4 shot shells will do the job nicely. BB shot would be even nicer,
    but it’s impossible to find BB shot shells. A 12 gauge for strictly home
    defense is overkill.

  25. here’s a thought. go buy two sheets of drywall and some studs. make a frame with studs 16 inches on center.

    put some pumpkins and watermellons on the other side.

    take your favorite home defence guns and ammo, stand back 20 feet or your desired distance, and pull the trigger.

    make sure you hit some pumpkins and watermellons. Those are your kids and family.

    i’m just a believer in mocking up realistic situations. usually leaves most people with a bad feeling in their gut about what they thought and whats real.

    at 20 feet, #8 birdshot, low recoil ammo will penetrate both layers of drywall. and the pattern will be about 3″ diameter.

    those whom don’t believe they have to aim a shotgun in close quarters at night, at twenty feet, havent trained under realistic conditions.

    the bad guys are awake, pumped, and more than one is coming in at you while you’re still unbelieving that someone is in your house, figuring out if your wife is on the potty or bed, and where your dogs and kids are.

    flashlights, lasers, and tracers point both directions. any vet will tell you that.

    1. I fully agree on using #8 or even #9 skeet rounds. The distance between you and the intruder (in most homes) will be 25 feet OR LESS. If buck fever does overcome a first round stopper, any shot that misses may break your window and fall in the street. Any shot that goes out through and already broken window and hits your neighbor’s window across the street will just pepper it like BB’s (especially if he has a screen over it). But at 20 feet, that 1 to 1 1/2 oz of shot will still punch a hole the size of a quarter in the assailant.

  26. Well, I have an 870 exp mag that holds 10+1 and ill garandtee ya i can & will back anyone out of my home. With loads starting at oo buck to buck & ball , then a dragon breath . Yes i keep a fire ext close by.and ending with some 3 inch mag slugs. Ill know ya coming bc my dog lets know if anything is outside. After 11 round of 12ga ill back that up with 30 rounds from my P22.If need be then ill go for my AR. Semper Fi

  27. In house at night I like number 4 buckshot, in the open the thirty yard load is 00 buckshot, beyond is the realm of the slug. I like the slug/buckshot loads.

    I’d rather use my colt 45 for in house work. Extended range work calls for the carbine. Each weapon has its best employment zones. Using either long gun, I’ll have a pistol on my hip, most times 2 colt 45 ACPs.

  28. I too, think an AR or a rifle is a bad idea for home defense. I have a 9 in my night stand, but would rather use my 12 g pump

  29. I have always been an advocate of the 12 ga with 18″ cyl bore barrel for defense, no accurate aiming, no over penetration, stopping power, etc. Personally prefer auto loader. Either way there are several simple exercises that will enhance the effectiveness in home defense. 1. take a realistic look at your abode to estimate the likely distances that shoots would be required. Bed to bedroom door, down the hallway or staircase to front door, across the living room, etc.? What is longest likely shot? Likely you’ll find everything under 10 yds. Remember, outdoor gunfire down the driveway can present legal difficulties. Also remember you can’t stop or disable anything unless you hit it. 2. Given all this consider using a mix of loads and shot size. At 10 yds or less there is not much pattern spread, but slugs don’t spread at all. I load a 2 3/4″ #1 buck for the 1st shot….more pellets, more spread. Next 2 shells are 0 buck with 12 pellets. After that use 00 buck. More 00 or slugs can go in the side saddle if you wish.

    I also recommend adding an after market laser sight under the barrel sighted at 10 yds.

  30. Wow! Really? You think a 5.56 with a lethal range of 300 yards is the best choice for home defense. I’m glad I’m not your neighbor!

  31. I’d rather have a pistol for inside defense than an AR. I can’t imagine walking through and clearing my house with an AR when I have a perfectly fine XD on the nightstand. People think AR’s are for everything but they’re not. They are rifles for medium to long rage shooting first and foremost.

  32. Something else to consider is how close your neighbors are. At typical home distances (10 – 20 feet), even turkey shot will put someone down without winding up in your neighbors bedroom.

  33. The problem with using assault rifles as home defense as some on this site have touched on is penetration. I fired a 9mm target round in a home defense (apartment) situation and it went thru two walls, a door, finally stopped by my clothes dryer. i thank god everyday that one of my kids wasnt in that bullet’s path. an assault rifle was not designed for this kind of use and can easily make the defender more dangerous to their own family (and neigbors) than the perpetrator. Im retired military and own several assault rifles but would never elect to use them in this capacity. I have a UTAS 15 round 12 guage that works perfect for home defense. the added bonus is that if for some reason that 15 rounds are not enough then it is extremely easy to reload and clear jammed rounds if needed. The moral is that I want to be able to defendmy home without having to worry tthat I might have injured one of my own family or friends in the process.

    1. Agreed! Glock 23 and 887 Rem Nitro Mag Tactical 12 gauge pump by my bed. The way home are built today and the fact that they are right on top of one another An AR-15 can get you in some serious trouble in a HD situation.

  34. You miscounted the firepower. Each one of my eight 12 gauge rounds sends sixteen 30 caliber #1 buck balls downrange simultaneously. 8×16 = 128 of those 30 caliber balls. That’s WITHOUT reloading.

  35. The problem with both guns and the ammo discussed for home defense is the ability of both rounds to go completely through walls and into unknown areas.
    An additional advantage of the shotgun, if loaded with buck shot instead of a slug, is that precise aiming is not required. The 9 pellets in 00 buck would be like hitting a target 9 times with a 9mm all at once. That’s devastating.
    Also there are a multitude of “home defense” rounds available to the shotgun that the AR will never be able to duplicate.

  36. So this article is kind of funny…It talks of HOME DEFENSE, yet says a 12 gauge cant hand 400+ yard shots….I don;t know how many of you have 400+ yards, inside your home, but if you can’t take down a person in 5 rounds with a 12 gauge, you shouldn’t own a weapon. To whomever wrote this, I’m sure it seemed like a publishable rant, but that is all it is. If you need 30 rounds to get someone out of your home, lock your family in a panic room and wait, because you have no reason to have a firearm at that point.

  37. For in home defense, I would use my Model 97 Winchester instead of my AR15 because I don’t want to kill any of my neighbors. And for anything over 300 yards, I’ll use my M14. Still my favorite rifle. I carried on for 4 years in the Marines. 1963-1967

  38. Two different situations, I think.

    A shotgun can handle most all home defense situations. With the right round, you can reach out and touch someone anywhere in and outside your home. Same with a hand gun.

    Rifles GENERALLY aren’t so well suited for home defense… unless a rifle is the only fire arm you own. Rifles are for longer range precision engagements.

    The other point is the distinct sound of a round being chambered into a pump action shotgun. It is a sound that is pretty universally associated with a puckering of the butt cheeks if you are on the receiving end.

  39. I have the AR 15 Platform long gun,,,and love it. But, I still keep my 12 gauge pump Mossberg 500 Persuader shotgun (8 round capacity) at my bedside. 00 Buck will care for me and my wife well. I trust it. It works.

  40. This house is protected by the classic 870 12 ga, a cowboy action rabbit eared double 12, Momma’s serpent charmer and several personal carry 9 mm’s and snubby .38s strategically stashed. For back up we have three 100 lb plus retrievers and an attack cat that hates strangers. We have a high tech alarm system too, but don’t place much faith in it… the dogs work better.

  41. Training is so important and while many can fire their weapons profeciently not all know how to train.
    You tube has tons of aholes taking kids and females and even grannys out , what the hell kind of sadistic bastard gets off on watching female novices to guns get kncked around by heavy recoil rifles shtguns and Pistols.
    You may not be best instructor for your family members, and one thing I learned in life, is That knowledge comes from outside the system.
    No mattrr the job or hobby if one is not constantly reviewing his work and in guns habits the detetioration of skill and situational recognition may be far greater than one thinks come time of need.
    I once watch a returned Iraq Rangrr out f Ft. LEWIS trying to show his wife how to fire a 12 guage that she being but 9#’s could barely carry.
    I said nothing until she firedbgun directlyvin front of bpth as he was combat maneuvering her forward.
    He actedvlike true GI macho ahole and grabbed gun pusher so hard she fell.
    I then put 10$ ontrucl tailgate and challenged him to a plate matchon course.
    He said OK and anhe avanced I stood andblew away every one of my targets and began n hisb10 yard working backwards..
    His feeyt were in wrong as he fired before properfoot down and his reload pumps wete awwardly doen because of same problem.
    I told hi he was not in Iraq his wife was not a fn dumb troop and if he talked as if he was giving her orders at least he fn should know what the f he was doing.
    No he did not pay up but hi wifes apology was worth far more.
    I trained wheel chair bound partial paralegics jow to put lead on paper and a friend takes disabled hunters out for minimal feeHe will not shoot their game for them although it is legal in WA and some aholes kill a dozen or more elk and dear eavh year for thousands of bucks doing so.
    All must of undergone ttaining.
    IF you are not sure of yourself how can you expect othets to be; oh but family love will cover it????
    It takes a lot more than militRistic range protocalls to proprrly know how yo handle firearms in non expectedbor non typical situations.
    Hunting even if not to harvest game is a mental conditioning process, one that even on a casual hike can be a lesson.

  42. The shotgun will always have a place, but not as good of place as other options. I do have my ar handy and its quick to through a mag in and still have a safe firearme out thats not loaded. Same with my hand guns. I have multiple mags ready to go, all 15 or more rounds. As to over penitration, im not to worried, because i use hollow points. I only go for my long guns in last ditch effort. So first line of firearm defense is the hand guns, as 911 is being called. Then and only when i have to shoot, i make sure i have a clear sight on the poor s.o.b. thats going to be bleeding out on my floors.

  43. I have relegated my Mossberg 930 SPX to the role of siege defense ever since I bought a Beretta CX4 Storm in .40 S&W. Light, compact, hard-hitting and quick, with lots of magazines. Not much danger of taking out our walls, either.

  44. More importantly, preserve your right to make the choice of which firearm(s) you will use to protect your home….. join the NRA or any pro-2nd Amendment organization……they are your voice on Capital Hill….and get out and vote, take someone with you that feels the same about private firearms ownership.

  45. For home defense there is no need to engage targets at 400 meters. If you did you be facing a felony charge. As for capacity, read the stories in the NRA magazines “The Armed Citizen”. Seldom is more than a couple rounds required. Most of the citizens aren’t well trained para military types but elderly men and women defending themselves and their loved ones.

  46. As an NRA Pistol Trainer and Home Defense Trainer, I have to state that bullets from pistols and rifles Will and Do regularly go through interior and even exterior walls and can injure or kill others whom you did not intend to harm.

    A well maintained shotgun, pump, or otherwise, utilizing a shot shell, will Not do this. Thus it is Still the Best all around Home Defense Weapon, bar none. Anything else will jeopardize your other family members , in the house, as well as, possibly, your next door neighbors.

  47. I use an 1100 Remington, 14 inch barrel with a youth butt-stock. Worked over gas ports and action has made it as reliable as can be made. Slugs, and 00 buck occupy the magazine, topped off with a Streamlight TLR-1S HP to bring in the daylight. It will cycle reliably from the hip with target loads.

  48. My choice for home is a handgun. A long gun in such tight quarters is just too unwieldy. I can’t imagine trying to bring a rifle or shotgun up to firing position and firing it, while lying in bed. Moving from room to room in the dark, after just being startled awake, with a long gun, not for me. Not to mention the noise and flash. A handgun is my top choice. If you are worried about collatoral damage, ever hear of frangible bullets. Also, I my closest neighbor is about a quarter mile away. But, no matter what, the best choice for you is what you are comfortable with.

  49. By all means choose the AR if you want to put a hole your opponent, and don’t care if the round continues to go through the remaining rooms of your house, anyone in the way, and out into the neighborhood.

  50. I agree about semi-auto shotguns being very reliable. I purchased a Remington 1100 when it first became available in 1963. Since then, the shotgun has had over 10,000 12 gauge rounds fired through it without a single failure to feed or fire. Pretty reliable.

    Just think how much semi-auto shotguns must have improved since 1963.

  51. Inaccurate info contained within the statement “If your shotgun happens to run dry (an admittedly rare occurrence in most home defense scenarios, historically), you’ve got to individually stuff each and every shell into the magazine tube.”

    This is incorrect. One can easily do a “tactical” round-by-round reload through the ejection port after the spent round has been ejected. While running your pump-action in single shot mode like this is not optimum, it is a very viable option when one doesn’t have the time to do a complete reload…

  52. I have several guns throughout my house, as do must of us on here. My property is fully fenced with gated entrance. When my dogs run to the door and bark at night , I know there might be someone her that shouldn’t be. In the occasions that that has happened and I needed to check it out. I for some reason pass my safe with the mossberg 930 and AR 15s in it. I pass were I set my 45acp conceal carry gun. And grab my 9mm Glock 19 With the Varidian lazer, light on it. I don’t even think about it that is just what I always grab. I think it all about what you spend the most time practicing with and what you are the most comfortable with.

  53. Really? What kind of home invasion are we talking about here? If anyone needs to have 30 or more rounds for something that goes bump in the night, I hope lives nowhere around me. I guess anything that you have to protect your life or your family lives is a good thing. I personally choose the shot gun over a rifle, even a handgun, any day for home protection. I do somewhat disagree with the loaded shotgun set up(ammo). I personally have my Mossberg Cruiser loaded with 6 – 2&3/4in. shells to fire in this order. The first shots are 2 – #4shot, the next 2 are 00Buck then the last 2 are slug rounds. If I have to get to the last 2 rounds I would think the “bump in the night” has been taken care of. Hell, the mere thought that when an intruder hears someone rack in a round and keeps advancing is reason enough to get ready to take his fool out ASAP. To me the biggest advantage is pointing a shotgun and needing to aim a rifle. Hitting a good body mass target area is key to stop the intruder and is much easier with a #4 or #2 load than any rifle or slug not to mention the over penetration issues with the rifle and slugs. For home defense, a shotgun over a rifle anytime.

  54. I appreciate the input from those with experience in HD situations. I know from experience that racking a shell or even releasing the bolt on my Mini 14 followed by a “freeze MxxFxxx!!” can cause involuntary urination. My only question to the forum is if their home insurance company will pay out for the new LED TV, the laptops, the stereo, the refrigerator and window glass destroyed in all the flying lead from either a shotgun or an AR? Wife and I sleep with 1911, .357, 12 and a .444 lever from those Alaska bear days. Over penetrators, all of them, but we live very rural. We, also, had to rearrange the furniture so that fire lanes will not destroy the other expensive toys. Taking out the trash is one thing, but cleanup, replacement and/or repair can be devastating.

  55. I have both an AR and a Mossberg 500 but living in a townhouse the 500 is my Go To for home defence. Fitted with an 18-inch smooth barrel it is just as manoeuvrable as my AR in close quarters and as Ken pointed out, I would hate for any of my neighbours to become collateral damage.

    As a back up to the low capacity of 7 rounds of 12-gauge, I have a 1911 and four 8-round mags of 230r JHP in my night table.

    So my answer to the question is a firm, NO it is not time to retire the shotgun as a home defence weapon.

  56. I must agree with the points made, both pro and con, regarding the defensive pump action shotgun. The only point not made, since it is not directly related to the reliability or effectiveness of the weapons discussed, is weight. Compared against each other, my fully loaded 500A is significantly lighter than my fully loaded AR15, making it much easier for my wife to handle and shoot accurately. My 500A is also several inches shorter, lending itself to better mobility in close quarters. For these reasons there will ALWAYS be a loaded pump action shotgun near at hand in my home. Of course, there may be a loaded AR15 nearby too.

  57. I would certainly much rather shoot an AR-15. There is another advantage to a shotgun though: With an AR-15, although effective, your bullets are very likely to wind up in a neighbor’s house due to it’s power. With an intruder(s) present, it would be very difficult to calculate angles to avoid hitting the innocent. With a shotgun, it has great power at close range and is much much less likely to penetrate past your house or even the next room with enough power to cause damage. Capacity is an important point as well. Each has it trade-offs. There is no perfect choice. Perhaps have both and a handgun as well available and make the decision when the time comes!

  58. Shotguns are far cheaper than other options, for the price of an AR one can get two 870’s (and pull off a 1740 conversion.)

    Shotguns are simple and mostly idiot proof (just don’t let Joe Biden or Dick Chenny near one)

    All AR’s tend to over penetrate, it’s a rifle firing 5.56 into an unarmored punk, sure punk’s dead but you shot through your TV (or worse) in the process.

  59. Shotgun rules for home defense… If you need to fire a 200 yard shot with your AR…within your own home…you’ve got one BIG house.

    If you need more than 8 rounds with a shotgun, you should not be qualified to operate such a device and you need some additional training.

    Even if on your own property, being able to shoot at someone 200 yrds out…think it’s called sniping and you may have to get a good lawyer to explain how someone 200 away from you was a “threat”.

    With both firearms, training and awareness are key, especially if your children are on the other side of the wall.

  60. there is a video out there of 3 young thugs kicking in the door of home. in the house is a woman and her baby. she yells, i’ve got a gun, they kick the door down anyway.

    she shoots one round, they run.

    This is the normal situation and the dream, itsn’t it. One round of anything and they’re running.

    in todays world it isn’t the norm. The norm is hardened thugs who keep coming at you. so a person needs stopping power and multiple rounds because these thugs usually travel in pairs or more.

    figure out what you need and keep it handy. an AR (or any gun) with any round reaching out a mile at 2500 ft per second or faster is going to go through your drywall, osb sheathing, and siding like it wasnt even there.

    successful defense is layers of passive triggers to wake you up (cameras, dogs, alarms), and layers of active triggers (rounds, types, mobility). Birdshot at 20 feet at 1300 fps would be devastating. followed up by harder rounds like buck or slugs. Or a pistol with a big clip. If you need to bust engine blocks, get a 308 or similar and use steel rounds. but most vehicles will go down with the usual full metal jacket common rounds.

    dont think just because you shot a round, everyone is going to back off. Prepare for 3 intruders coming in to kill you, following each other through the door then spreading out. Manage that scenario and you might live.

  61. In most scenarios, the shotgun can reach out to ranges considered reasonable in the self-defense role. A slug from a sighted in shotgun at 50 yards punching a hole in some cretin’s cranial zone or torso will get results. Unless assailants are shooting at you with carbines, anything beyond 50 yards under the hellish pressure of trying not to get killed is going to be a tough proposition for most shooters. Where the carbine shines is when there is a hostage situation – say, one’s family member being held at knife or gun point. Even a wad from the shotgun can do optical damage as well as generally injuring the hostage, even if the slug or buckshot is right on target. Carbines are more precise – as handguns can be. But, the scattergun is just brutal on flesh and blood! Once shot, they stay shot.

  62. Inside a residence, no less! I gather that you live alone because if you have kids and you fire this ammo, you will have collateral damage. Not to mention the repair on the house. Also I would guess that you have minimal furniture as a long gun is simply too unwieldy in a house. Isn’t the dragon’s breath basically a fireball? Again, inside a residence?! Sorry, but I’m of the persuasion that if you kill the perp, he/she will not come back. You plan on maiming him/her and if she/he lives will own everything that you have.

  63. I favor the shotgun as the ideal long arm for home defense provided that the house holder trains with it. Its effective, accurate at across the room distances and the ammunition is widely available. The downsides are low capacity and hard recoil/slower follow up shots. What people forget about the shotgun is that in the event of a defensive shooting its much easier to justify the question of why you used a shotgun and its psychologically may make the jury more sympathetic to your case. When I buy a long arm for home defense, I plan to get an older 500/590/870 with wood furniture and just add a flashlight.

  64. As a former MP, the shotgun was used to clear rooms and take out multiple targets with one shot. Nothing goes “BANG” like a 12 gauge in an enclosed building. The shear shock of the discharge would freeze/ and or disorient many of our targets allowing us to use our 9mm or 45 to finish the job. A 223/556 will work, but in the dark you better know where your target is or are ready to fire multiple rounds to engage the foe. Educate yourselves by knowing your rights patriots, your skills are the first step in preparation, your knowledge is what will be the hardest thing to take away.

  65. Hey! All you people who no longer want to be bothered with their ’06 , 12ga pump ,or old fashioned 1911 ; contact me …. for a minimal charge I will take them off your hands . He’ll, if you are a big enough fool to disregard the utility of these arms , make that a large charge.

  66. When I began to build my home defense arsenal I took a look at the potential threat in detail. Back then the FBI statistics for Home Invasion was 2-3 individuals, I believe that it is presently up in the 4-5 range. (I could be wrong if I am please let me know.)
    The second part of the equation was cost, as I don’t have a massive budget.
    Third was availability (I purchased during the dark days after Sandy Hook when quite a few gun shops upped the price of AR-15s to $2600! and you could not find ammunition for most calibers)
    I managed to find a Mossberg 590a1 government profile 8+1 capacity 12ga. I was not entirely content with leaving it plain jane, so a side saddle / pic rail, mini holo red dot sight, magpul forend with flashlight and six position M4-style recoil reduction stock from blackhawk.
    It’s a heavy, intimidating but really fun to shoot shotgun!
    I refrained from adding a bayonet =P
    I prefer 00 buckshot, but managed to pick up 1oz slugs, birdshot and even winchester pdx buck and ball type rounds.
    While I felt this, in addition to my Glock 22 (on the job) and Glock 27 (edc) was sufficient.
    But with the numbers of home invaders on average increasing the potential to need more firepower. Hence my choice of an AR-15 to supplement my defensive system.
    It’s a tool box, use the right tool for the job! There are times when a shotgun is preferable to the defensive carbine.

  67. Remington 870 for home defense and sidesaddle with both slugs and buckshot rounds — be careful how you load these — i.e. first in last out etc.

    Remind yourself of surroundings, state of emotions if/when a person actually has to spring into action — middle of the night might find us a little addled and nervous — i.e. unable to aim too well.

    I want help from my wife not fear. I want her to point and shoot — not feel as if she needs to aim. This is often nighttime combat with bad guys not an exercise and I want her to be as effective as possible. It is not always easy to pull the trigger and kill someone and this is what is often called upon in a home invasion situation.

    If I need something to reach out and touch someone I will not grab my shotgun — but I sure will in the middle of the night inside my home.

  68. No mention of over penetration in an article about home defense shotgun use?

    Make sure you know how your rounds will travel through walls when making your decisions. A lot of people errantly believe the AR is worse than the shotgun in this topic.

  69. Yes black guns are great, but in my house the 870 rules as my go to castle defense tool. The tight column of #4 buck is devastating to anything short of an engine block @ across the room distances and if I need to reach the end of the driveway, the 00 and slugs on the side saddle will work just fine thank you.
    Of course if the shtf happens the 45 on my side is accompanied by a .223 or .308AR!

    1. Great ideas! However many will probably have to go to the shotgun as the Dems try to work their magic (lie) in the media. The public needs to ask thenselves:
      “Why do they want all of our guns?”

      The possible answers are all covered in the Federalist papers and enshrined in the Second Amendment.

  70. I still grab my trusty Winchester 1300. But I’m sure there are better options out there. Clay-more mines set up around the perimeter, an M2 mounted in the hallway, etc. etc.

    1. I have about the same set up and I am sure it will do just fine. I keep my Winchester 1300 loaded with a deer slug then #00 buckshot every other shell and my trusty 45 cal with hollow point ammo, on my hip or nightstand, whichever is more handy. 🙂

  71. I would have too agree with a lot of posts that say the shotgun would be the choice weapon during a close range and high stress situation. I would like to add however, I currently have the Taurus Judge and that is the closest firearm when I am in bed. Loaded up for .410 shells it is enough to take care of any intruders but won’t go halfway through the apartment complex. The compact nature of it makes it easy to hold on to and keep out of the hands of the bad guys.
    I do have one thing that’s a major positive on the AR platform for home defense. The .300 blackout suppressed.

    1. 3 shots is enough to remove both arms and a leg with a slug load to completely disarm a intruder.

    2. With my 80 year old Winchester Model 12 loaded with 6 in the tube and one in the chamber- slug,00 buck and #6 shot ( shot aimed at the head)I still have enough left to go to the range or start over again. I sure don’t want a pointy little bullet traveling through sheet rock, insulation and siding and have enough power left to kill someone out on the sidewalk. What was the rifle(Kentucky) designed for? What was the shot gun or even the old blunderbuss designed for? The answer certainly wasn’t for ranges under 20 feet.. Get real…….

  72. I would just like to address the issue of capacity. We’re talking home innovation, yes 30 rounds are nice, but how many home innovations have you ever heard about with more than 8 invaders. Accuracy is not an issue I hope. Spaying is what you do with a Bar. A rifle round has to be sinned. A shotgun can be pointed with both eyes open, looking down the barrel, at the chest and something will hit hard enough to get a second shot off if needed. I’ve been hunting with one for 30 years and if you shoot any weapon from the hip, unless a competitive shooter, you do not need to handle a weapon at all.

    1. “…and if you shoot any weapon from the hip, unless a competitive shooter, you do not need to handle a weapon at all.”

      But RAMBO!!! What about RAMBO!!!


  73. Our home is close quarters to the neighbors. Want to keep the projectiles local. I would not want to kill or injure an innocent neighbor while sleeping in his own bed.

  74. Really??? AR ? I have a 1200 Defender ( police riot ) shotgun with 7+1 and a side saddle with 00 buck next to my bed thinking that should take care of the clown , if not then my .45ACP with HP (13) rds on my night stand and if there were to be a car load of clowns my wife has her AK47 by her bed side with all of them dangered up with extra mags
    Thinking were covered …. Oh yeah plenty of guns in all the rooms in our humble aboud ( no kids were gray hairs) 400 yards??? Oh yeah that’s for my Vepr .762x54R !!! Fool

  75. Really??? AR ? I have a 1200 Defender ( police riot ) shotgun with 7+1 and a side saddle with 00 buck next to my bed thinking that should that should take care of the clown , if not then my .45ACP with HP (13) rds on my night stand and if there were to be a car load of clowns my wife has her AK47 by her bed side with all of them dangered up with extra mags
    Thinking were covered …. Oh yeah plenty of guns in all the rooms in our humble aboud ( no kids were gray hairs) 400 yards??? Oh yeah that’s for my Vepr .762x54R !!! Fool

  76. In my house, my wife will have her 12 gauge and I will have two other options.

    We will call 911, because that is the quickest way to get the coroner to come and take out the garbage,

  77. I keep reading that the 12 guage bas too much recoil and yadda yadda for females and smaller framed peple so the AR is the better choice.

    Horse Puckey! As if there’s only 1 shotgun?! There have been a couple new additions… 20 and 410!

    I take the 12, my wife or son grab the 20 loaded also with #4 buck! The AR stays in the second row of the safe for a few very good reasons

  78. My concern is potential for collateral damage in a home defense situation, which is why I’ve chosen a Mossberg 500 tactical in .410 gauge, loaded with home defense rounds … at inside the house distances the .410 is just as effective as a 12-gauge, lighter, shorter & easier to manipulate (for me, at least) yet most of the pellets won’t pass through sheet rock walls with enough energy to harm a person in an adjacent room.
    My little pump gun holds enough rounds that running dry isn’t likely — but if a real fire fight breaks out and bad guys really, really want to get what I have in the house, my KelTec PLR-16 should dissuade them — but that’s an absolute last resort for inside the home defense…to be used when concerns for collateral damage are secondary to survival.

  79. I think the shotgun is the only logical choice if you had to use the weapon indoors and didn’t want to have to patch holes in walls or risk a stray bullet injuring someone after it goes through the wall. Penetration power is definitely worth considering. That and 3 inch 00,000, #2, or #4 is going to maim.
    I have a Saiga 12 guage, so the “30 rds is cumbersome” comment read like a joke to me. I have 2 20rd drums, and 4 10rd mags and modded them to have clips for my waist band. That gives me 80 rounds from a shotgun that can be reloaded in 2 seconds if I count rounds and work the BHO button down on the last round.

  80. The Ar is going to go through your house your walls your kids walls and the neighbors house before it finally stops. The shotgun will be less likely to over penetrate while still doing massive damage at close range even with smaller shot. Even with bird-shot at close range would behave similar to a slug since it won’t have time to spread out at the range of even the longest hallway. If you want a large magazine go for the siaga shotguns. with the drum magazine.

  81. #4 buckshot will clear the heaviest of winter clothing (an important consideration here in the glove state), generally won’t clear walls (unless you’re in a mobile home) and places anywhere from 21 to 41 projectiles en route to totally ruin someone’s day each time the trigger breaks. Basically emptying an entire extended mag in one motion… Oh but there’s still 4 more rounds ready to go.

    Even if the AR in my safe was fully auto, it still couldn’t keep up, not without murdering my neighbors in the process.






  83. I own a variety of short and long weapons. For me, having the 12 ga. at the ready bedside is my ‘go-to’ immediate weapon of choice. I don’t have to ‘see’ my target to hit it. # 01 buck is ideal for stopping power with reduced wall/door penetration (unless deliberately intending to do so). To date I haven’t yet heard of or seen more than 4 intruders involved in typical break-ins, so 8 +1 is enough for the initial fire fight. Then too, the longest ‘range’ inside of my home is 10 yards…that’s
    12-15 .30 caliber shot in a rough 10 inch circle…How is this a debate???

  84. To many who think you do not “aim” a shotgun let us hope you practice long enough to become an “instinctive shooter”, because at in house ranges you are sending a patteren of less than a quarters diameter.due to shot cups and wadding.
    As a youth I bird hunted and used a shotgun for deer and moose and believe me I also know what full effects both shot and slugs have upon human and animal flesh.
    Yet my weapon of choice by bed is original Win model 97 full choke pump with 2 3/4 shells, 6/7. In tube and chamber.
    Any size shot above BB at house range will blow through door jambs walls and .ost assuredly still pass through human flesh afterwards.
    Flash and bang in house is horrific, temporary blindness calls for same as pistol double taps.
    I LIKE shotgun for in house as adding door and wall debris upon target is good and wallboard repIrs easily.. You effectively add about 5″ pattern of projectiles and release shot or pellets in shorter range.
    For outside homes 60 yard defensive danger zone have slugs that will penetrate cast blocks and move at over 1400 fps.
    Will still most likely be packing in jammies a 12-15 round compact 9 or 40.
    To you who hide, remember perps got good ammo and guns and NATO RIFLE AND PISTOL rounds BLOW THROUGH EVEN CINDER BLOCK WALLS..
    Yes I know the trainers will not let you blow hell out of their doll house walls even if you know perp could fire at your noises.

  85. Well look up anything goes bump in the night in my house is facing 20 rounds of buckshot that I can effectively put on target at the rate of 1/per second or faster.

    Bullpup 12 Gage has a complete different manual of arms of any long gun and pump action .

    But everyone has to find their comfort level.

    8 years with an m16 that jammed many times has taught me never to trust that mech.

    That AK 12 is greased lightning.

  86. My only concern with the AR as a HD weapon is what happens to a bullet that either misses or over penetrates and heads over to you neighbors house…or a house 100 yards away. Not sure how I would handle taking out a bad guy AND the guy that borrowed my lawn mower that morning.

  87. Aside from the obvious advantages of using a shotgun, has anyone thought about lighting off a .223 in confined spaces and the requisite hearing damage. Stay with the shotgun or go suppressed with a 300 BLK but don’t light off that .223 and expect to keep your sense of hearing. Anyone who has been through the “kill house” without ear protection will attest to that fact.
    Use whatever does the job to your satisfaction. Whatever you decide will cost you big in any case once the lawyers get their teeth into the situation. Personally, I would rather be defending my wife with a shotgun, keep my hearing, and screw the court system because I will be using a shotgun rather than an “assault weapon”. Outside the house, the AR has the game – but that is a different discussion. We are discussing “inside the house” so my comments stand.

  88. yes but lets not forget when i pull the trigger 6 times i have put 54 30 caliber balls at the target. you have to reload the ar and pull the trigger 54 times to match that. so which is quicker.

  89. Sorry but this whole discussion was a looking for somewhere to happen, it’s the same old BS, If something goes bump in the night at my house my pistol will get me to my shotgun which will get me to my rifle…HAHAAH, just joking, I have one of each very close, I don’t care which one I grab, it will do the job.

    I guess questions like this are designed to get us all wound up in the OMG! do I have a bump in the night weapon? Should I buy one?

    I couldn’t hear a bump at 100 much less 400 yards, I have two dogs whose job it is to wake me when “they” hear the bump in the night.

    For home defense the shotgun “Was, is and always will be the first choice”

  90. Great post. In my world, I’m not anticipating a crowd of assailants. So I am going first for the Remington 12 gauge. Yet, there in my closet rack is a Rock River 5.56 and a magazine. Decisions, decisions.

  91. For home defense give me the “bone-crushing attributes of a 1-ounce shotgun slug at supersonic velocities” anytime…

    my AR15 is for prairie dogs and coyotes, or the occasional 400 yard home intruder, zombie, or terrorist……wait a minute, that’s what my LR .308 is for, dang it! Too many options to choose from….

  92. An experenced Shooter can handle an AR in a defense situation ! But most Folks R Not…. . Being woken up u haven’t Gathered UR Thoughts Yet ..i Would Much , Much rather Have A 12ga w/000 buck ! U point a shotgun! U must aim an AR

  93. In my opinion a Remington 870 with extended tube is the best overall defensive weapon. Overwhelming stopping power, simple operation, and in most cases the pellets will not leave the home and quite often not even penetrate to the next room. I cannot imagine why I would use my AR-15 for home defense unless I had no other choice as it’s ammunition will almost certainly pass through house walls.

  94. Firstly, mist home intruders retreat at full speed at the sound of the pump shotgun racking a shell, secondly nobdy likes being hir wuth a sug or buckshot even if wearing body armor, thirdly if I cant stop 3 or 4 intruders wth 7 shots Im goung to loose anyway, and finally I certainally don;t want the bullets going beynd my property if a all possibe.

  95. I have never heard of anyone losing control of his bladder at the sound of an AR being cycled .I have seen that happen at the sound of an 870 Remington being cycled .It was unnecessary to shoot the thoroughly cowed prowler .

  96. It’s much easier to load a shotgun on the fly when your AR mags run dry. Sure you can have 100 rounds in a mag. Just saying…. Don’t count out the ole shotty.

  97. I’ll take my 30 rounds of 300 Blackout out of a nine inch barrel any day of the week. There isn’t always just one intruder…

  98. The article had no mention of over-penetration, a factor that in my opinion cannot be over looked in any HOME defense scenario.
    While the great variety of ammo for the shotgun was well covered, no mention was made of the LACK of choice in ammo for an AR, or AK for that matter. Fast and faster are about the extent of it. And with modern housing walls being 1/2″ Sheetrock to 5/8 plywood for an exterior wall, passing thru your neighbors home is a real possibility.
    My opinion (we all what they are like),,, the defensive shotgun is the ONLY choice for inside the home. My 590 runs 2 rounds of #6 as the first two cycles. If that doesn’t ‘deter’ or eliminate a threat, then they are (obviously) on drugs, and everything else is 00.

  99. While I am a huge fan of AR’s, personally I would never reach for an AR over a shotgun in a home defense situation if I had neighbors living with a mile of me. I just can’t imaging how many houses a 5.56 round would go through before coming to a stop. That’s a lot of families and children’s bedrooms at risk. The beauty of the pump action 12 gauge is that it is probably the most reliable firearm made and sheer sound of the action is enough to make anyone think twice. Plus you don’t have to worry about turning your neighbors house into Swiss cheese in the process.

  100. That’s a pretty big bump to be heard from 400 yards. I’d only use an AR inside my home if I was vastly outnumbered. Their rounds don’t always stop in the body and sheet rock and 2x lumber doesn’t stop a .223. Something to consider if you have gas operated furnaces, stove, or fireplace. I have 2 1/4 inch home defense rounds from Herters for my shotgun. I can fit 7 in the tube and I have 5 more mounted on the butt stock. However, my first indoor home protection choice overall is my S&W Governor with a combination of .410 00 buck and 0 buck.

  101. It’s not the round/caliber you shot it’s where it hits. You can shoot a 50 caliber pistol and it hits the guy in the foot, now he is mad, or shoot a .22 and hit a guy in the temple and he is dead.

    Used the weapon you are most familiar with and the one you are best with. In a home invasion it will be muscle memory that will save you.

    I much rather have a 12 gauge because if the home invader is wearing armor may not penetrate it but it will knock him to his knees and your second shot will take care of him.

  102. Is a whole rifle company breaking into your house? Are you just keeping a loaded AR laying around? If the intruder is 400 yards away he is probably not in your house. A shotgun is fine for home defense if you know how to use it.. AR for home defense is stupid unless we are being invaded. This article is idiotic.

    1. Steve, you must not have been paying attention to the non-liberal news this past year or so as there were several incidents where relatively young kids and women defended their homes and lives against intruders with ARs. They are much easier for them to use than a 12 gauge.
      Also, home defense does not have to mean, in your house. You property is also your home and you could have a lot of land.
      I have a UTAS 15 12 gauge shotgun, FS2000 AR, and FN 5-7, all of which are great for home defense and fun to shoot!

  103. I think it comes down to having the right tool for the right job, and of course what you’re most comfortable shooting. For me, my first firearm was a Mossberg 500. Loved that gun and the firepower it produced. It made me a lifelong fan of the good ol’ 12ga. That said, I keep both AR’s and shotguns (pump and semi) alongside the handguns in my safe today. Riot situation or SHTF? I’ll take the AR due to its extended reach, low recoil, and increased round capacity. For home defense, I’d probably go to the shotgun first, assuming the situation allowed it. When you factor the stopping power of nine .33 caliber, 54-gr pellets traveling at about 1000+ fps, along with the likelihood of a home defense scenario ending within a couple of shots, I’d call it a winning combination for getting the job done.

    1. Dont care what anyone else say’s at close range as in the house and i say again use frangible buckshot .I have shot trees and mannequins with it is still devastatingly effective and knocks all the bark off a big oak tree i cannot imagine a shot to flesh nothing walking on 2 legs has more to fear than a 00 buck to the chest and groin or face at close range (room to hall,other room etc.)”JMHO and pretty much fact in real world.

  104. We can argue all day but the fact of the matter is for close work up to 50 feet its the shot gun I run 1100 rem 12 ga 5 shells first shot is flashettes 2nd is double 0 next and 4th are zingers most of you never were in Nam and so I must explain a zinger is a shell loaded with 2 lead balls with a piano string inbetween I use 3″mag so I can get 2 inside the last is a dragons breath, as its use is to catch the bastards in the back as they are running away. and real life has taught me what to use.

    1. @quisno,
      The shotgun loaded with what you just mentioned kind of rounds will probably get you sent to prison as shooting them in the back if they are running away most deff will send you to prison All DA’S and investigaters will use those loads as intended manklllers and cruel unusal shells for civilian use .May have been ok in 1960’s jungles of nam but in 2015 america thats just prison time good luck with that .


    1. Damn straight!

      Anyone who even comes close to suggesting that anything is better at home defense ranges is just plain dreaming. My go-to home defense gun is a Saiga 12 with a 12 round mag of 00 and a light. Any bad guy coming through my bedroom door with the intent of harming me or my wife is not going to walk out again.

  106. I recently attended an FBI sponsored Firearms Instructor school for teaching firearms proficiency to law enforcement officers. During the school, we were shown results from extensive testing conducted by the FBI pertaining to the transference of energy of common law enforcement calibers. Of 9mm, .40 s&w, .38, .357, 00 buck, 556/223, and others, only one completely penetrated the ballistic gel, went through the testing backdrop, and into the trap… 00 buck! Apparently the spherical shape of the lead balls transfers its energy very poorly resulting in over-penetration. With the consideration of soft backdrop in an indoor CQB scenario, this over penetration can be a “deal breaker” for some agencies. As a result of this testing, a number of agencies have pulled their shotguns from the field and replaced them with a “patrol rifle” loaded with various ammunition designed to limit overpenetration.

    This study, combined with the thought of only a sheetrock wall between my room and my son’s, was just enough motivate me to move my 870 out of the bedroom corner and replace it with a suitable alternative.

    Something to think about…

    1. We have no kids and we live in an area where our neighbors are separated from us by thick trees and/or hills. My 12 G is my number one weapon of choice for home defense. Period.

  107. Most home invaders are not interested in a shootout for your stuff – I scared one off with nothing but an angry challenge (he couldn’t see the gun, but surely assumed it). Unless you tend to make serious enemies, anything you shoot back with will convince them to seek easier prey elsewhere. This is shown every month on the NRA’s “Armed Citizen” page, so can we please stop with the “World War 3 is happening in my yard” foolishness?

    1. Amen, Brother.

      Although because I have mine in one of those nifty racks that fits alongside your mattress, it is equipped with a 12 round mag of 00 and a light.

  108. Mossberg 500 hidden at my night stand with the front forehand gripped a very bright beam spotlights the way when I grab it and scope the perimeter. Holds 7 shots, very light weight, has a short barel, costs under $300 brand new, easy to find ammo at Any Walmart, and makes hella noise when pumped. Aim in the general direction of an intruder inside the house (less than 20 feet typically) and with scatter shot they will get hit.

    It just doesn’t seem comparable to anything else. One pump and the perp could bolt away with no damage to the house.

    Pack your shots w rock salt or quarters.

  109. Our first defensive gun was/is a HighPoint 9mm carbine. Mrs. handles it confidently but ten rounds will impose a limit when stress abounds. I conceal carry a 9mm Ruger. Lately bought a used AR but the Mrs. needs training on it. I’ll fill the 20 rd. defensive mag with Hornady HPJ’s. For now, the pistol round carbine is first pick.

    1. @Alan

      All great choices. I’m facing a similar challenge getting my wife trained up on rifles of any kind. She grew up in Europe, so had never shot a gun till she came to the USA to live with me. Hang in there, an AR has no more real recoil than the Hi-Point 9mm carbine. But she loves her Beretta 92, so that is her go-to gun for any emergency. And she is very good with it.

  110. I prefer a 12-gauge pump for home defense — even though there are disadvantages. I don’t doubt what Big Al says about penetration, but I am POSITIVE that shotgun pellets will not penetrate a wall.
    One drawback to shotguns that has not been mentioned: Having to pick hamburger out of the wall after the criminal’s old dead carcass has been hauled away.

    1. Probably easier to just rip out the sheet rock and replace the whole wall. Now the carpets are another matter . . . sheesh . . what a mess. 😉

  111. If recoil is an issue you can always use a 20 gauge shotgun instill pepper somebody with a shotgun you don’t have to worry about penetrating your walls and shooting your own family unless you are using slugs you can still no red dots and scopes on to a shotgun but is not recommended by me and they do make magazines that hold more than 5 – 8 rounds for shotguns like a Knoxville Sidewinder that can hold 50 rounds it’s a drum attachment for Mossberg 500

  112. I don’t see the relationship between a target at 400 yds and home defense. If you have a fair amount of property and a perimeter warning system, you should pick up the appropriate weapon for the task. In house, I have ready access to my Beretta with Cor-Bons, plus 2 extra mags in a pouch, or a Mossberg with 00 buck with both a saddle and a Speed-Feed stock. I wouldn’t say that I would never use an AR-type rifle for home defense, but for the moment, I prefer the guns above for in-house defense.

  113. When things go bump in the night, it doesn’t really matter what gun you have as long as you are comfortable with it. It can be a hand gun, a shot gun, a modern sporting rifle, or a Whetherby 470 Elephant gun as long as that gun feels right in you hand.

  114. Some thoughts from an old, retired law enforcement officer and weapons instructor:
    What are the surroundings where you live? If it’s an apartment surrounded by other apartments where any rifle is likely to penetrate several walls and cause harm to innocents maybe the shotgun is a better choice. I live alone in a very rural area where my nearest neighbor is nearly a half mile away with heavy woods between us. Not much worry here about over penetration, so my choice is an AR 10 in .308 Win.
    Can you comfortably handle the recoil of heavy 12 gauge rounds?
    If not, maybe a step down to a 20 gauge. Still a very viable alternative and may allow for faster follow up shots for a still-advancing threat or possibly multiple attackers, while decreasing the chance of over penetration.
    What about my (XYZ) handgun? Won’t that be enough to protect me?
    Sometimes, but it will not outperform the shotgun or rifle. The advantage of the handgun is its portability and ease of concealment. It should be the largest caliber you can shoot accurately with some speed. I carry one (sometimes more) every where I go because they frown on me showing up at Walmart with an AR slung over my shoulder. Think of the handgun as a tool to fight your way back to your long gun.
    If there are others living in your home, everyone should know what to do in the case of a home intrusion….have a plan and practice the plan.
    Lastly, having a gun in the house is the first step in taking some responsibility for your own safety. The police will rarely be there in time to protect you and your family. Be safe and Merry Christmas!

    1. Amen. Well stated. Merry Christmas to you too! (from a happy owner of 12 gauge Wingmaster, mod choke, 28″). Long guns no problem for me. If you can carry them in thick brush, you can handle them in your house, I think.

  115. I’d have to say if you need 100 rounds against an intruder, you probally shouldn’t own any firearms. i’ll stagger my 12 gauge rounds starting with a devastating slug followed by 00. The modern mania of consumerism and a culture of excess means the shotgun can be purchased cheaply, ammo readily available, attracts no undue attention from anti-gun idiots. Leave the ” sexy ” popular weapons for those who need 100 rounds. I’ll keep my good old 12 gauge, still the best CQC weapon available.

  116. When I took the time to start reading this article, it was supposed to be self / home defense–where did the 400 yard scenario come from? Defense nearly always is defined as 7-10 yards maybe slightly longer distance but seldom . Besides the fact , when did you last encounter a room in any home that measured even 30 yards (maybe a mansion) let alone 400 yds.? If your assailant is at 400 yards (likely an experienced sniper) and you need to defend yourself, good luck proving they were a serious threat , might as well RUN, you’ll just die tired!

  117. I used a shotgun as my primary defense weapon for years, But no longer. It’s popularity is primarily based on 3 myths. First, that racking it will scare intruders. That’s a terrible assumption. Second, that the spread will increase the odds of hitting the bad guy. Another wrong notion. The spread of 00 buck at typical inside-the-home type distances of 5-7 yards is only 2 or three inches with any legal barrel. Third myth is that the pellets won’t penetrate walls. At close range, 12g 00 buck goes through drywall, and there’s multiple pellets.

    Shotguns with legal barrels have too few rounds and are longer than an AR. The recoil is worse, making them harder to use than an AR.

    An AR carries more rounds, and is a little shorter and more maneuverable. Recoil is lighter. With a proper round that fragments, such as M193, penetration through walls is actually not too bad at all.

    Everyone should use what they’re comfortable with. My 12g is now locked away. For me, an AR is a better for the home defense mission.

  118. For night time home defense, I generally keep a Glock 23 .40 w/ Crimson Trace laser loaded w/ Hornady Critical Duty next to the bed along with a modified choke 18″ barrel Mossberg 500 shotgun w/ pistol grip & horizontal fore grip–loaded w/ 6 rounds of 2 3/4″ #6 field loads—- on a single point sling. I can drop the sling over my neck, letting the shotgun’s pistol grip hang by my right hand at belt level— and carry the Glock pistol. Transitioning from pistol to shotgun is simple. When the pistol is empty, drop the pistol and go to the shotgun. That should be more than enough fire power to stop any home invasion threat.

    During the day, I generally always have a Glock 27 on me until I go to bed.

    At night before going to bed, we put steel braces against all the outside doors. No one is getting into the house without considerable effort and causing a lot of noise [which will alert the yapping little dogs].. and if someone should make it into the house, I’ll be waiting down the hall with one hell of a surprise.

  119. IMO the choice is either a 12-gauge shotgun (preferably medium/short length, pump or semi-auto) or a pistol for in-home or on-property defense. Anticipating an engagement distance of 21 feet or less, the range limitations of a shotgun are irrelevant – any on-target shots would end the fight. Pistols are more ‘wieldy’ in a home environment – harder for an attacker to close and grapple for the gun. The length of a shotgun barrel is of concern here. I would not choose the AR15 nor any other rifle, due to concerns of over-penetration, To sum up: my 1st choice: 12 gauge pump/semi-auto or pistol with minimum 5 round capacity and minimum caliber .38 Special for home defense.

  120. For myself it’s all shotgun. The variety of loads both in the mag and in the sidesaddle, the simple operation of the gun, especially in low light. Can be shouldered or shot from the hip, not only for myself but for my wife. Aim doesn’t have to be precision and penetration isn’t an issue although you always need to be mindful of this. If I need 100 rounds in the event of a home invasion I’m in trouble. I also have a butler creek folder on my 590 and folded the end would take out all the teeth of someone with a single stroke. No matter what anyone says, the action of a shotgun can/is/would be intimidating. While definitely not at the top of my pros list it IS on the list

  121. Hands down, the shotgun wins this argument . Most of my guns are kept in my gun safe, with the exception of my Ithaca 12 gauge pump. It is my go to gun in case the bad guys decide to target my house. I have a light mounted on it as well, as most home invasions occur at night. Getting into a “firefight” is unlikely in most cases. After the first blast, even a miss, most perps are out the door. Bottom line, the 12 gauge pump action, loaded with buckshot, is not dead, and will always be my first choice.

  122. I live in the mountains of north Idaho so most of the varmints I have to deal with are of the 4 legged variety, usually in the dark, and usually less than 50 yards. I have a bright LED flashlight attached to my 870 so that I can identify my target. If I really want to kill something a 12 bore loaded with #4 buckshot is my go-to weapon.

    1. I also put an LED spot on my 870 12 ga Wingmaster. Light switch is on the back, its waterproof and shock proof, multi function – very bright spot light. 4 AA’s. I used Velcro wrap to strap it to the barrel. Was about $60 years ago. Similar to the Fenix TK35. (price has gone up). Great for shooting varmits at night. Be careful when buying these lights – the diameter should be same at both ends if you want to strap it on straight to the barrel. Gotta love Velcro!

  123. Had lots of training and a such I prefer the shotgun to the rifle for home defense. I tricked up a Mossberg 500 to use. It was just fine. However, door clearing with the long barrel, 18.5 in. is always a challenge, along with limited ammo even with a side saddle. Sold the Mossberg and upgraded to a Kel Tec KSG. Tricked up the KSG and added MBUS sights and an EOtech. Awesome! Never put a red dot on a shotgun before. Once sighted in, just find it hard to miss with the red dot. I like the slugs but do not like the over penetration. I opt for #4 buckshot. A friend of mine said just shoot it from the hip, you cannot miss! Really!!! If you are going to hit something with a firearm, you must aim it. Love the KSG and its 13 round capacity. If you need more than that you are really in the s###.



  125. My home defense weapons are a Stevens Model 320 Youth 20 Gauge Pump Shotgun loaded with 6 rounds of #3 shot shells with 6 more rounds in a butt sleeve and a Hi-Point C9 9mm Luger Pistol with JHP rounds plus two spare magazines. The 12 gauge is no more effective in home defense than a 20 gauge. The shorter youth model is easier to maneuver and the 20 gauge has less recoil meaning less time back on target. The 12 gauge and ar15 are way over powered for home defense unless you live in a war zone.

  126. They’re called “Scatter-Guns” for a reason. In our home they are always accompanied by a 55 round bandolier, and at least two handguns with extra loaded magazines mounted on prepped tactical vests…for starters.

  127. As I read many of the comments, I remember some of the classes I taught back in Idaho as LEO. As for home protection, its hard to beat a shotgun. Heavy bird shot will take its toll on any bad guy. Most folks had a up-land game shotgun in the house and that is what I advised to use. Won’t over penetrate the walls, etc and will intimidate whom ever on the receiving end. An AR will penetrate all the walls, the bad guy and anyone else in the way. Keep it simple.

  128. My gun of choice is a RIA 1911 A2 made by Armscor in the Philippines under license from Colt. With its 5 inch barrel it is very accurate ” right out of the box”. It is a double stack for which I have several 15 round magazines that I purchased before Paraordnance stopped producing them. I am a 210 pound, 74 inch guy that keeps his weapon in a pancake holster under his pillow on quarter cock because he doesn’t trust safeties. I use a 300 lumen LED tactical flashlight and I practice for head shots as the “two shots to center mass” that LEOs train for is simply not effective for close encounters. Neither are “long” guns as they are just too unwieldy in close quarters.

  129. The advantage I see in a shotgun is to avoid over penetration and hurting another family member if you have to shoot a home invader inside the house or even a neighbor next door.

  130. All good points about the .223/5.56 in the AR setup. I know I will draw some flack on this one, the intimidating sound of a pump Shotgun is a universal sound, all thugs, gangsters, whatever bad guy is out there knows that sound. Talk about ammo, yes round limitations on shotguns vs AR. The KSG KelTec Shotgun holds 14 rounds of 3 inch shells, or put the 12 ga minis and extend to 26 shots. If I can defend my home with that many shots I need more practice. Of course if I do run out in the shotgun, the ar will be the next graphics out of the safe.

  131. I have several 223 platforms and although I like them all my home defense guns are a short mossberg 500 and a colt commander. The 400 yard range mentioned is of no value in a home situation and the penetration of the 223 is a concern.

  132. Few self-defense actions take place at 400 feet.

    A miss by a 12 gauge is very noticeable if it is anywhere near the attacker–smaller rifle rounds may not even be noticed. (Nobody misses that new 8″ hole in the wall next to them!)

    The apparent muzzle size of any gun pointed at you is VERY much larger than reality, and that 12 gauge muzzles is intimidating.

    There is a variety of less-than lethal rounds available for the 12 gauge, too,

    The one thing I want for my 870 is a silencer–I don’t want to be in the room if I have to fire inside! But neither do I want to be there when my .45ACP or .40 are fired without a silencer. Few people in a self-defense situation are going to take time to put on hearing protection.

    1. Does that mean that you consider the DP-12 obsolete now? I mean 14 rounds with 00 Buck 9 pellets should get the job done!

  133. JSW – I agree with everything you said about the fools talking out of their considerable dumbazzez about racking scaring away a prowler, or “not having to aim a shotgun”. At 20 feet a shotgun blast pattern is maybe 8″ (I’m no expert, but have seen videos made by experts!) You still have to aim – unless you’re poking the bastard in his belly. My shotgun to be (Saiga 12) is as heavy as an AKM, but loaded with 1 oz. balls, it is shot-for-shot more deadly than any AKM or AR-15.

    Disclaimer: I am saving my money to purchase a Saiga 12, because I firmly believe home defense is best served with a shotgun. At the moment, I use a SARK2 .45ACP semiauto with 14+1 rounds of PDX-1 JHP +P ammo.

    1. I love my SR 1911. .45ACP but l really like the RIP ROUNDS they cost more but won’t penetrate to many walls. I have to many kids to worry about

  134. Something doesn’t seem quite right about this article. I read things like “shotguns weigh too much”, yet every combat weapon I’ve held has weighed more than any shotgun I’ve owned. Then there’s the “I don’t gotta aim with a shotgun” mantra, which is totally untrue. Just because the shot disperses, does not necessarily mean it his the target. Hell, I’ve missed birds at fifteen feet as well as steel targets at thirty even with an aim. Then there’s the cry of “they’re gonna poop their panties when I rack the slide”. Why would they hear that? There should have been a round chambered already, no sense doing a Tv style “rack twice for one round” just to scare off a perp. Another thing, you’d have to search far and wide to come up with a 223 with a price even close to matching a simple, reliable pump action shotgun.

    As to the main question, no, the shotgun is not outdated as a home defense weapon. Not even close.

  135. I will always take my 12-gauge pump with a pistol grip for home defense. If I run out of ammo, then I will have to rely on a .45 or 9 mm. But, in a lot of scenarios, when the bad guy hears the slide of the pump, they know the day is not going to turn out well for them. If they don’t know the sound, then they obviously have a desire to meet Jesus.

  136. Reference the comment of “no aim required of a shotgun”. I totally concur at close quarters. If you are ever in a firefight up close you will agree too. There is not time for aiming and with the adrenaline flowing you couldn’t aim if you wanted to. Been there and done that more than once. The shotgun is alive and well and will be around for years to come.

  137. Personally, with my shaky hands (used to a fair handgun shot, but age and a condition called “essential tremor” have caught up with me). a shotgun is my first line of home defense. I keep most of my guns in the safe, but I could grab a Garand or an AR as quick as a a shotty; however, an 870 or a double barrel is going to be good medicine for whatever I might face. Zombies excluded, of course.

  138. The defensive shotgun will always be useful, and heck every guy should have one just for trap or bird hunting. The AR or AK is very useful for home defense, and is a better choice than the shotgun for women as it has little to no recoil. The Semi-auto shotgun has less recoil than the pump so if your wife is home the semi would be better, but he AR is easier, and if you have split hairs because they have your kid, a better choice. Plus you can mount a red dot, light etc.

    Me personally though I like the cheap gun in my collection. Living is So. Cal the 30 round mag isn’t happening and the AR needs a bullet button, so I go with a Hi-Point pistol caliber carbine in .40 S&W. Still no appreciable recoil. It backs up the ever present hand gun.

  139. First, I am a dedicated 12ga fan for close quarters work. After all, professional hunters in Africa prefer the short shotgun when going into the dense bush after wounded dangerous game, humans being THE most dangerous. That being said, I think the 5.56 over-penetration problems can easily be solved by using varmint style bullets. Try this some day. Using a 55gr soft point in your AR, shoot two pieces of dry wall spaced 4 inches apart, with a 4′ square piece of paper 5 feet behind it. The bullet will penetrate the drywall (it will penetrate 1/4″ mild steel plate also!), but only tiny fragments will make their way to the paper behind the drywall. 5.56 over-penetration is largely a result of inappropriate bullet selection. Just my 2 cents, of course.

  140. I am saving my pennies, dimes, and dollars for a **Saiga 12** AK-47 shotgun. I can carry 2 8-round USA made mags backup to a 3rd 8-round mag – for a total of 24 rounds of slugs and 1 oz. balls. Screw the 100-round AK-74 as it will shoot through dry wall here and my neighbors’ houses. However, I have to admit that I only have a 15-round .45ACP5SARK2 pistol for home defense at the moment.

    1. @Red Fotog

      You will not be disappointed. My Saiga ticks like a clock no matter what kind of ammo I am feeding it.

      Mine has a light mounted and rests in one of those cool racks that attach between the mattress and box spring to hold the gun parallel to your mattress on the side of the bed. I can simply reach down and grab it and have it in action without even sitting up within a second of hearing anyone at our bedroom door. 12 rounds of 00 will pretty much end the confrontation and if not, give my wife and I plenty of time to get to cover with our handguns for round two.

      Check out Cheaper Than Dirt for some good deals.

    2. i just bought a bullpup Saiga 12. Kushnapup.

      amazingly easy to manuever and fun to shoot at the range. devastating firepower. fast, reliable.

  141. Many people have difficulties with the recoil of the twelve gauge shot gun an yet count on them as a defense weapon. We all need to have experience with the weapon we choose for defense. If the recoil of the shotgun makes someone unwilling to shot your shot gun a the Simi auto rifle might be a better choice. At extremely close ranges the pattern of the shot gun is still very small so missing the target is a real problem.

    I have shot in SASS events an some lighter built people have trouble with the shotguns even with light SASS loads. The targets are big and up close but missing them is still easy. As the shot gun recoils ones head may come off the stock and as one sees the front bead on a target they shoot again. This causes the shot to go high over the top of a target.
    An AR, AK, Mini14, M1 Carbine might be a better choice fire arm for a lot of people.

    The shot gun, 1911, and 30-06 are dead? (Heart be still.)

    1. 44guy,

      I carried a 12 gauge Ithaca riot shotgun while I was in Vietnam and although I’m only 5′-6″ at about 145lbs, I found it to be a very good weapon for up close encounters. I was on a tank so an M16 wasn’t that useful to me. I own a Mossberg 835 pump shotgun with a vented 24″ rifled barrel and it is easier on the recoil I wouldn’t expect my wife (5′ and 100lbs to be able to handle it. I bought her a 20 gauge PA shotgun and she is deadly with it. I load it with 2 rounds #1 buckshot and a slug behind them.

    2. @44 guy ,
      CMON in a room to room distance a short barreled shotgun does not even need to be aimed with frangible 00 buck which in the city is all one would sensibly use in a house the blast of 9 to 12 ,32 cal pellets hitting them and noise will stop any threrat in a house like that and will not kill the man next doors wife or kids or even ya own a coach gun double type would be fine just teach the person depending on it how to use it and what to expect take the family to range with it and let them fire it even from the hip at that range they will not miss and much easier to operate than any rifle ..JMHO

    3. @Ross

      I understand what you’re saying about it being a myth, but I think a lot of what you’re hearing isn’t so much people saying you don’t need to aim as people saying that at indoor combat ranges when loaded with buck (00 w/9 pellets at .33 diameter each, or even 000 w/8 pellets at .36 each) the shotgun is essentially a point shooting firearm.

      This is critical at night and with a adrenaline rush hitting 100%. My go-to home defense gun at night is a Saiga 12 with a 12 shot mag of 00. It has a light, but that is simply for both target acquisition and to blind the criminal who is about to try to shoot me or my wife. I practice to ensure that I am on-target at the 12 feet or so from me to the bedroom door, but I do not worry about an aimed shot.

    4. @44guy,
      funny i use all 3 on a daily basis i carry an ed brown modified colt officers 45 acp daily ,have a short barreled 12 guage in closet for in house with hearing protection hanging right next to it so i do not blow out my ear drums and i been hunting with a 30.06 most my life and have taken most all big game in american se and north eastern woods with great effect and success. None of the 3 are dead in america and almost every gun collection has a few scatterguns a 5.56 for home protection in the city is crazy and very stupid it just is too much penetration to use safely in city limits same with an AK unless they are dropping enemy airborne troops from parachutes into my backyard like red dawn lol i go with the shotgun in city all day every day and 00 buck frangible shells . Wont kill my neighbor or over penetrate and will solve the intruder prob with 1 round quickly . Even with a total miss which i highly doubt we miss the blast and noise is enough to shock the dog crap out of them and set them to fleeing quickly back out the way they came in that is just fact . the 06,45 acp and 12 guage are far from dead and will be around when all of us are dead still serving hunters ,law enforcement and home protection roles for another 100 yrs i would bet .

    5. Ear muffs? Why didn’t I think of that? Just got up and put a pair with my mossberg. Thanks for the tip sir.

    6. You might want to seriously reconsider the idea of ear muffs (or plugs) for a defensive situation. In a self defense encounter, you need to engage ALL of your senses, including hearing. Put on that hearing protection and you lose the ability to hear behind you, around corners or other places that you can’t see. I understand the importance of protecting our ears, But my first priority is surviving the gunfight. Everything else is secondary.

    7. How about shooters ears? The batteries last forever in mine and I can hear better than normal when they are on.

    8. I carry a S&W 1911 Sc 8 rd .45 acp and alternate that with a XDm full size 13+1 .45 acp as first within-reach home defense. There’s a 7 rd 12 gauge pump in the closet loaded with bird shot. Three S&W 6,7 and 8 rd revolvers loaded with 38/357 mag defensive ammo are scattered around the house as back ups if the primaries are not enough. Only my wife and I know where they are stashed. Afraid? PARANOID? No. Just prepared for any eventuality with redundant self defense capability. The AR sits in the safe with a fully loaded mag ready in case it goes that far.

    9. Listen up.. You put protection over your ears you’ll waiste time and won’t hear well enough to do an efficient job. A few loud shots won’t deff u so keep em for the range..

  142. Very interesting article but I am a shotgun ‘fanatic’ and may be a bit biased…That said, it’s so true that the reliability of shotgun is almost never in question absent the aforementioned short-stroke (I have seen extractors break and action slide arms but in 35 years maybe 3-4 and these were heavily used trap guns with K’s of spent hulls ejected).

    Also, mag-fed semis either Vepr or Saiga are easily reloaded on the fly with anywhere from 3 to 12 round mag capacity available. Tactical guys carry

  143. Reminds me of something I head 7 years ago……it was “HOPE AND CHANGE”. Learned a long long time a go….. Don’t fix what ain’t broke. Shotguns are great for many tasks. Don’t count them out.

  144. Have you seen a semi-auto 12 gauge 8 round “burst”, first 2 to 3 assailants down and if there’s anymore they are running for their lives. In ww1 the germans tried to ban the trench gun because of the damage it inflicted gtfoh…lol

    1. @ joe ,
      Well said gtfoh lol every collection should have a few scatter guns not only for self defense but if you realy need to survive a shotgun will take almost any game out there with right shell or slug from small game to bear it will put meat on the table and at close range as in home defense ranges a frangible buckshot 00 shell will take care of any and all problems at the time . No way shotguns ever have no use in the gun world period just crazy to suggest it even JMHO.

  145. I would like a 12 gauge, but I’m unsure about recoil for my aching body. Also, I still don’t understand the AR-15 round at short distance. Does it tumble into the body, spread like any other defense bullet, fragment into pieces and rip apart tissue and bones, etc…?

    1. @Louis V

      If you have concerns about thew 12, that’s understandable. They are tough, especially if you are shooting slugs. Consider either a 16 gauge or even a 20. A 16 is a nice compromise between a 12 and a 20, but you will probably have to pick one up on Gun Broker, since not a lot of manufacturers still offer a 16, which it too bad because it is a great caliber. My dad had one and took a lot of game with it.

      20’s are still common, and even a 20 puts a lot of oomph out with each shot. A Mossberg 500 in 20 is a great gun for home defense.

  146. Own several of each AR’s and shotguns, but for in home defense I’m much too afraid of over penetration and ineffective hits to recommend the AR. I’ll grab the 930 spx with 9 rounds on tap, likely #4 and start problem solving. Now if rural war III breaks out and we have trouble in the back 40, then the ar might come out, even if I have to use the shotgun and my always carry to fight my way to the rifles. Frankly I’m best practiced with the pistol and most likely to have that handy. As long as the threat isn’t using rifles against me, I’m probably going to bring the pistol into play as 1st line defense. With up to 21 rounds on tap plus a spare mag in my pocket a pistol will fight a long time. Lately even varmints are more likely to see the muzzle of my edc than to see a rifle.

    1. @El Mac

      No kidding! I am so tired of hearing people say these guns are obsolete and only “kept alive by nostalgia.” Fine, if nothing but a P90 and the latest high-cost handgun make your toes curl, then go for it. There’s a reason why the shotgun, 1911 and 30.06 are still around after all this time.

      They work. Period.

      If they didn’t they would be dead. I’m not a major 1911 fan. To be honest, I prefer my Glock but I own a 1911 and I will always own one. I carried a Kimber for 2 years in Iraq. They work.

      All the newer calibers such as the .308 varieties and .300 Blackout, are awesome. But I have taken one heck of a lot of game with a 30.06, and I love my Garand which will easily reach out accurately to 400+ yards with iron sights and the 30.06 round. If you doubt that, be aware that the USMC taught their Marines to shoot accurately out to 500 yards with the Garand, which is why they could stop a Japanese charge in the Pacific when grossly outnumbered.

      As for shotguns, they are probably the single most versatile weapon in any arsenal. While they will be outclassed at very long ranges by a rifle, at short to moderate ranges the variety of barrels, chokes, slug rifled barrels and rounds allow you to adapt them to most situations. And in terms of home defense, they are still the king. As far as the recoil is concerned, that can be trained for. I knew a female, 5’2″, 120, who could hold her pump 12 at the waist with the stock under her arm and accurately cycle through an entire extended tube full of 00 in seconds.

  147. Tools ! How many times has it been said, ” use the right tool for the job” ?
    There are scenarios where the shot gun is the right tool as well as there are times you want the AR. Keep your tools and use them accordingly I say… Ask the guys in the trenches that used the shot gun as the best tool for the job at the time.
    You can’t have my hand gun, you can’t have my shot gun and you can’t have my AR….all best tools, given the job at hand..

    1. Lance, your response is the best of the bunch. As an avid 3 gun, IDPA, and USPSA shooter I see the benefit for each weapon in different scenarios weekly. Well said!

  148. Although we own several ARs, a WASR and several pistol caliber carbines, it is my Saiga 12 with a 12 round magazine that resides next to the bed at night, With only my wife and I at home, and both of us in our bedroom with a secure door, there are no concerns beyond stopping the threat. And no better tool for that than a shotgun.

  149. In my view shotguns are too big and unwieldy for use inside a home. A pistol is supreme in a close, stressful environment like this. Out in the open, an AR reigns supreme, due to firepower, ease of reloading under stress, and range capability. Shotguns are a weapon in search of a mission, kept alive by nostalgia. I own one, for use with less than lethal rounds, the only defensive/offensive use I see for it.

  150. Depends on the use for which one is better. Close in around the house you can’t beat a shotgun for protection and effect of collateral damage around the intended victim. excess of 30 yards the AR is the weapon although you need to be cool enough to draw a bead where as the shotgun just point and shoot up to 50 yards. As far as magazine capacity where or what would require you to exchange large number of rounds. Civil disturbance is all that come to mind and again AR for distance and shotgun for those close up situations. There’s nothing like the destructive power of 00 Buck.

  151. Nothing strikes fear in a rowdy crowd or threatening individual more than the sound of a round being racked in to a pump shotgun. Never get rid of the pump gun.

  152. The only and only drawback to the AR is the round itself, being a centerfire, penetration is a issue, not on the assailant…. but of missed rounds, and sheetrock…you get the picture. I have both, shotgun and AR..side by side and ready for action, depending on the need..

  153. Another issue, not mentioned in the article, is; over penetration. Using medium weight shot, if you live in an apartment or have neighbor in close proximity to you house, you needn’t fear you shot going through a wall and causing collateral damage. In the close quarters of home defense, anything heavier isn’t needed. 2 or 3 shots at close range will stop even the most determined person, high on drugs or not.With rifles and handguns, you will always have to worry about you fired round going through the perp and striking an innocent on the other side of the wall. Also, as often said; ‘the most frightening sound to an intruder is the sound of a shotgun slide being worked.’

  154. We bought one for our son last year for Christmas and it has performed flawlessly. All we did was put a sling on it and sent him out for rabbits. He has also used it on clays and is trying hard to outdo his dad.

  155. Will never give up my shot gun! I have bee hive rounds loaded in it. Any veteran who knows will tell you one shot will get the job done on a group or even a single person. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a Bee Hive round. No buck shot, No Rock Salt, No Slugs.

    1. IMHO, one more than adequately armed at home with a pump shotgun & slugs! Worked for more than a century, still does!

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