Tags: Gun Control | shotgun | home defense | gun buying

Best Shotgun for Home Defense: Experts Offer Advice

By    |   Monday, 06 Apr 2015 12:20 PM

Ask three gun owners what the best shotgun for home defense is, and you will get three different and well-defended opinions. As more people buy firearms to protect their homes and family each year, there are more conflicting ideas on the Internet for the best firearm to own and use. Here are some expert opinions on what a resident should look for in a shotgun for home defense.

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"Of course, when faced with a lethal threat, any gun is better than no gun," writes Richard Nance in Guns & Ammo magazine. "Unfortunately, there is no firearm that is perfectly suited for every person or circumstance." Nance tells readers to consider the capabilities, size and needs of the person in the home who will potentially end up using it to defend the home and family from intruders. Size and shape of the shooter, experience level and comfort with firearms all play a role in choosing the best shotgun for that family's or individual's home defense needs.

Length of pull, weight and how the stock fits your shoulder and cheek each matter when being comfortable shouldering a shotgun. A "try gun," with a stock that is specially designed to be adjustable in almost every dimension, is used by gun fit experts in fitting sessions. These sessions allow a new firearm purchaser to walk away at the end with a written set of dimensions they can give a gunsmith to perfectly create or choose a shotgun for that shooter, according to Field & Stream's Phil Bourjaily.

Buckshot is the recommended round for home defense. However, the larger size of the individual pellets compared to birdshot can mean over-penetration through walls. In denser neighborhoods, apartments or anytime you don't know exactly what is behind the wall behind your target, that could mean injury to innocent bystanders. "Versatility in available loadings is a great strength of shotguns, but you must choose your loads carefully for your environment," writes Carrie Lightfoot of The Well Armed Woman.

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Another reason shotguns are recommended for home defense is also the best argument in the "pump action vs. semi-automatic" debate among shotgun designs and models; that's the characteristic racking sound of a pump-action, or slide-action, shotgun round being racked. "The sound of chambering a hot round into a pump action 12 gauge is sure to soil the britches of even the most hardened criminal," according to Jon Gibbon on The Art of Manliness.

"A strike from a shotgun shell will not send an assailant flying across the room," says Gil Horman in NRA American Rifleman. "Shotguns are not magic wands that launch beach-ball sized orbs of destruction." Since shot patterns remain small at home defense distances, poorly aimed shots are just as likely to miss as any other single-projectile firearm people might choose. Therefore, frequent practice with the weapon using good training habits is just as important as selecting one model or another.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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Ask three gun owners what the best shotgun for home defense is, and you will get three different and well-defended opinions. As more people buy firearms to protect their homes and family each year, there are more conflicting ideas on the Internet for the best firearm to own and use.
shotgun, home defense, gun buying
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2015-20-06
Monday, 06 Apr 2015 12:20 PM
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