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Home Defense Shotgun Buyer’s Guide

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Why shotguns?

This guide now looks at the shotgun, and you’re probably wondering where this weapon fits in the matrix of others in the home defense realm. Essentially, we like shotguns for home defense in a multiple attacker scenario at close range. We recommend that shotguns be used outdoors only, as they are easily capable of over penetration, especially when loaded with buck shot. Let’s take a moment to define what ‘multiple attackers’ means – we aren’t just talking about people here.

Keep in mind that during a grid down scenario, there are lots of potential attackers out there; for example, many people keep dangerous pets. How many people do you know who have Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers, or Rottweilers? What if the owners of these animals perish in some disaster, but the dogs don’t, and eventually come to your place in search of food? This is one of the many scenarios where shotguns shine – they are easily able to take out fast moving predators (including the two legged kind) with ease.

Additionally, shotguns can be loaded with more diverse types of ammunition than any other firearm on the planet; consider that shotguns will fire:

  • Birdshot, suitable for small game and fowl
  • Buckshot, suitable for large game and defensive use
  • Rock salt, suitable for riot control or less lethal applications
  • Rubber bullets or beanbags, suitable for less lethal applications
  • Slugs, suitable for anti-vehicular use or large game

Shotguns’ shortcomings

Shotguns are do-it-all weapons that are just so remarkably versatile and are good for multiple scenarios. Having said that, there are some scenarios where shotguns don’t make sense in our opinion. Here are their inherent shortcomings:

  • Limited ammunition capacity: While there are models out there that are box magazine fed and carry more than ten rounds onboard, most shotguns have a capacity of 4-6 rounds, which isn’t exactly lots of ammo. Keep in mind that most tubular magazine fed shotguns also require that you reload them one shell at a time when they are empty – so if you bang off, say, all four rounds, you need to reload the gun one shell at a time, which can be a lengthy process if you are untrained. Contrast this to a pistol or magazine fed rifle, in which reloading is a lightning fast operation.
  • Inaccurate beyond 100 yards: Even with rifled slugs, shotguns are inherently a short range weapon, and where the shot or slug goes past 100 yards is anyone’s guess. This is just the nature of the beast with shotguns.
  • Tough to keep loaded and at the ready: Let’s face it – shotguns are relatively big and bulky, which means you probably won’t have one loaded and at the ready sitting beside you at all times. It’s far easier to have a loaded pistol either in a holster or in a discreet safe than it is a loaded shotgun, and because of its size, you won’t keep it handy as often unless there is an imminent threat.
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