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View Full Version : Why would you use rubber buckshot for home defense?


Bartholomew Roberts
March 22, 2011, 01:07 PM
Lately, I've read several posts where TFL members have mentioned loading several rounds of less-lethal rubber buckshot as the first rounds in their shotgun in order to defend their home against intruders.

This strikes me as a remarkably bad idea for a number of reasons. I am going to explain my reasoning here and hopefully, TFL can educate me on when and where (if ever) rubber buckshot might be appropriate for home defense.

1. The first issue is that many people mistakenly believe these rounds are "less than lethal" but in fact, they can and have caused deaths - particularly at close ranges (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/206089.pdf). In the above linked study, the chance of serious injury from a less lethal projectile increases significantly as the range becomes less then 10'.

As a result, in many states, the law for using "less lethal" ammunition such as rubber buckshot is the same as 5he law for using buckshot or other lethal ammunition - you must have a reasonable belief that you face an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury from your attacker/intruder.

So right away, my first problem is that you are almost always using the wrong tool for the task when you load rubber buckshot. If there is no imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury, you shouldn't be using a tool (shotgun) that causes that.

If there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury, then using a load that has limited effectiveness is probably not a real good idea given the seriousnesss of the consequences.

2. My second problem is that less-lethal rounds were never envisioned in the home defense role.

The National Institute of Justice study linked above recommends that law enforcement officers employing less-lethal munitions be backed up by officers with lethal force. In short, they recommend that less-lethal munitions are appropriate when used by groups of trained people wearing body armor and backed up by lethal force

Now, maybe your home defense plan is different than mine; but realistically, I don't see many gunowners using the NIJ recommended procedures and training.

3. My third problem is loading with one or two rounds of rubber buckshot assumes you will have the time necessary to escalate to more serious ammo if your first shot is ineffective.

In the force-on-force training I've done, people are remarkably reluctant to stand there like a B-27 silhouette and let you shoot at them repeatedly. Usually things are fairly dynamic - they are moving and shooting, you are moving and shooting. If they aren't moving, it is usually because they are hiding behind something that will block your shots.

To give an example, not too long ago I read here a firsthand account of a home invasion in Houston where intruders had enetered the man's two story home and were moving down the 2nd floor hallway. The man barricaded himself in the bedroom and announced he was armed and had called police. The intruders responded by firing randomly through the wall. At this point, the man decided he had to go out into the hallway to deal with the problem. He stepped out into the dark hallway and identified the first threat. He used a weapon mounted flashlight which caused the man to stop shooting and raise his pistol to shade his eyes. He shot that man. He then noticed a second man firing at him and changed his position and lit up, ID'd and shot the second man. Unfortunately, during the process he was shot in the abdomen as well. On the bright side, the non-rubber buckshot (assisted by the considerable amount of time he had spent training with the shotgun) ended both threats with a single shot.

When I think of that scenario, I don't think "I bet that guy wishes he had rubber buckshot loaded for the first two rounds."

So I am admittedly biased against this practice. I think it is a misapplication of the tool. So why do people do it?

publius
March 22, 2011, 01:53 PM
I too think it is a very bad idea. Even real rounds fail at times to stop an attacker. If the situation is bad enough to use lethal force, use lethal force. If the situation doesn't warrant firing real ammo, it doesn't warrant firing rubber rounds.

Technosavant
March 22, 2011, 02:10 PM
I'm right there with you for the same reasons.

I am not a policeman. My job is not to take someone into custody. My duty is to stop the threat to myself and my family. I am not eager to cause harm to another, but if I am justified in involving a firearm (no matter what I have loaded), then there needs to be the belief that we are under immediate threat.

If we are under immediate threat of harm or death, why would I choose anything less effective? I'm going to want the most effective tool in my hand to end the threat. Therefore, less lethal loads make no sense from a logical standpoint.

Furthermore, as you point out, these less lethal loads make no sense from a legal standpoint. If you are employing a firearm, you are using a deadly weapon. Be it rubber shot, beanbags, or what have you, it's still seen by the law as a deadly weapon. If you are using a less lethal load, you are essentially granting that the threat before you is not necessarily immediate or harmful. Thus, you shouldn't be using a firearm anyway.

There's nothing you can accomplish with less lethal loads that you cannot accomplish with a verbal warning. If that does not cause the assailant to flee, it's going to be time for something more potent anyway.

It's like trying to shoot someone in an extremity in the hopes that "shooting to wound" will cause the person to stop. If you're in honest fear for your life, why go for a less capable option (to say nothing of the difficulty of achieving that hit)?

If you're in the game, it means the other person is playing for keeps, and you had best do the same.

c0nspire
March 22, 2011, 04:31 PM
I'll bite... (and I am willing to be convinced otherwise depending on the progression of this thread)

My 870 is parked next to my bed. The magazine tube is loaded. The chamber is empty. The first round in the tube is a less-than-lethal beanbag round. The remaining rounds are HD buckshot.

If someone breaks in while I or the GF are home, the shotgun gets racked accompanied by a loud verbal warning to get the F out. If it's a bad guy and they take something and run away, and that means I don't HAVE to take a life, great. Maybe I loose a possession or two. That's still less for me to deal with than killing someone (I'm prepared to, just not my preference).

If they DON'T get out, and/or if they continue to advance, I have options. The bean-bag round could be a warning shot, it could be a stopping shot (and I am well aware that at shorter distances it is likely to be as lethal as a solid slug), OR... I can shuck it out with a quick rack and chamber a buckshot round instead. So, in this case, the less-than-lethal round could be viewed as a deterrent, with lethal force ready to be applied immediately if needed.

Secondly, I'm in a town home. The beanbag isn't likely to over-penetrate (although the buckshot isn't likely to either I suppose).

That said, maybe it ISN'T a bad guy... the GF's parents have a set of spare keys as does her ex-roommate who's a good friend of ours. All know we have loaded guns in the house. All know that coming in unannounced would be a VERY BAD idea. It's never happened and they've all been told NEVER to but that said, the possibility is there, and while it does nothing to diminish my responsibility should I ever feel that I need to pull the trigger, it at least leaves me feeling like I have options that do not force a lethal shoot should something bad happen.

It also puts me in the frame-of-mind that the shotgun is a deterrent first, and lethal option second. I'll do everything I can to scare an SOB off before I have to ventilate someone (but if my hand is forced, so be it).

Let me add that the GF is also a competent shooter. I also keep a loaded (round in the chamber) .45 next to the bed. Again, I (we) have options. One of us may take the .45, the other the 870 should we hear a bump in the night. The .45 has no less-than-lethal option obviously.

It all comes down to this: in my own home, I have a small home-turf advantage. If I have the circumstance to use less-than-lethal force, I'll take it (only for the sake of my conscience and my ability to sleep soundly at night thereafter... and possibly for the saved headache of going to court over the shoot afterwards).

If I do not have that option, lethal force is readily available.

Onward Allusion
March 22, 2011, 04:39 PM
Bartholomew Roberts
Why would you use rubber buckshot for home defense?

Um, I wouldn't and I don't.

NESHOOTER
March 22, 2011, 05:04 PM
Onward Allusion
Senior Member


Join Date: November 17, 2009
Location: IN
Posts: 593 Quote:
Bartholomew Roberts
Why would you use rubber buckshot for home defense?



Um, I wouldn't and I don't.


AGREED.....

IDAHO83501
March 22, 2011, 05:27 PM
Hmmm, let me think,,,,If I had a shotgun for home-defense, I pointed it at someone who was looking to harm myself or my family. I squeezed the trigger to protect mentioned self or family, rubber buckshot injured the idiot, he escapes the scene. I call police, they find him and arrest him. Some PUKE lawyer convinces him to SUE me for injuring him, hurting his self esteem, and causing him emotional stress. Why would I want that ???? Kill the creep with buckshot, or a slug and be done with it..:D

Willie Lowman
March 22, 2011, 05:42 PM
Kill the creep with buckshot, or a slug and be done with it..

Then the creep's wife can sue you for killing the bread winner of her family.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 22, 2011, 05:52 PM
If someone breaks in while I or the GF are home, the shotgun gets racked accompanied by a loud verbal warning to get the F out. If they DON'T get out, and/or if they continue to advance, I have options. The bean-bag round could be a warning shot, it could be a stopping shot (and I am well aware that at shorter distances it is likely to be as lethal as a solid slug), OR... I can shuck it out with a quick rack and chamber a buckshot round instead. So, in this case, the less-than-lethal round could be viewed as a deterrent, with lethal force ready to be applied immediately if needed.

OK, here is my analysis. We have an intruder in your townhome. They have already broken and entered someone else's home, so we know they likely aren't girlscouts aggressively peddling cookies. On top of that, they are given a loud verbal warning and it is made known you are armed.

Now, if someone continues to advance after they've been alerted to the fact that the house is occupied and the owner armed, I would have to rate that as a fairly serious threat. If somebody is still coming at me while looking down the bore of a 12 gauge, I don't think I am going to be thinking "OK, I'll give him one more chance with the beanbag." And that's assuming that the reply to the verbal warning isn't gunfire directed my way...

Secondly, I'm in a town home. The beanbag isn't likely to over-penetrate (although the buckshot isn't likely to either I suppose).

Actually, given what most interior walls are composed of, I imagine a beanbag or rubber buckshot will sail right through the wall too; though I imagine it will lose energy very quickly and present less of a lethal threat to bystanders than buckshot. So it probably does have an edge if you miss.

On the other hand, if the bad guy is shooting, that is a threat to you and others as well and will continue to be a threat for as long as he continues to shoot.

That said, maybe it ISN'T a bad guy... the GF's parents have a set of spare keys as does her ex-roommate who's a good friend of ours. All know we have loaded guns in the house.

I may not be understanding you well; but this makes no sense to me. You've got an obligation to positively identify your target before shooting whether you are using buckshot or beanbags. Were you suggesting that using a beanbag round means you can be less careful about identifying your target before firing? If so, I disagree with that.

c0nspire
March 22, 2011, 07:13 PM
You've got an obligation to positively identify your target before shooting whether you are using buckshot or beanbags. Were you suggesting that using a beanbag round means you can be less careful about identifying your target before firing?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. You are 100% correct in stating I have an obligation to identify my target.

Actually, given what most interior walls are composed of, I imagine a beanbag or rubber buckshot will sail right through the wall too

The building is of concrete bock construction. I am not positive, but I believe the wall that separates me from neighbors on both sides is of double thickness. Maybe you are correct, but I believe the bean bag rounds have reduced loads to boot. In any case, having test fired one at a pumpkin at 40' or so, it doesn't seem likely to me that bag would penetrate the dividing wall here.

Let me make it clear that I would never fire a less-than-lethal round in a situation where I was not willing to accept the consequences of the shot were it lethal. I simply am increasing the possibility that I do not kill the intruder with the first shot if possible. The above comment regarding getting sued by the intruders family is what sometimes goes through my head.

Here's a scenario I sometimes think about:

There are lots of teenage kids in my neighborhood. One night the GF wakes up and says she hears something downstairs. I grab the shotgun, rack it loudly and announce myself as I go down the stairs to investigate. I can hear some rustling (could be the cat?) and as I begin to see into the living room, there's a shady looking pair of guys standing there looking back at me. One has what looks to be a gun in his hand. As I shout at them again to stop, the one that has what looks to be a gun, appears to raise it towards me. I shoot in self defense believing I was about to be fired on by intruders. Turns out it's a neighborhood kid who's high and getting into trouble and he had one of my TV remotes in his hand.His buddy freezes up, so he doesn't get shot, but he witnesses the whole thing and right or wrong, now I have to find a good lawyer...

Now, if anyone thinks that's a bad shoot on my behalf, please let me know. What would you do?

Of course, that's only one possibility. The chances of me finding myself in that particular scenario is less than tiny. It could be anything. However, as I try to think of and prepare for the scenarios that could occur in my home, on my property, I have yet to come across one where the first round being less-than-lethal becomes a liability to me or the GF.

rottieman33
March 22, 2011, 07:40 PM
From state to state self defense laws vary in New Hampshire only time I can use a gun in my home for deadly force is when there is no other means of escape. I have 12ga rubber ball rounds fps is 900fps. I have fired a round to see the effects and for me to kill some one with it I would have to shoot them from the neck up. My guess most people would shoot at the biggest part they could see the persons chest. They way i look at it if you got a slug or buck shot in gun the law will look at it as intent to kill. At least with bean bag or rubber ball that intent to kill is not there.

Don H
March 22, 2011, 09:37 PM
They way i look at it if you got a slug or buck shot in gun the law will look at it as intent to kill. At least with bean bag or rubber ball that intent to kill is not there.
Does the law in NH actually differentiate between what materials make up the projectile(s) you shoot at someone from a deadly weapon?

ATW525
March 22, 2011, 09:50 PM
From state to state self defense laws vary in New Hampshire only time I can use a gun in my home for deadly force is when there is no other means of escape.

There's no duty to retreat in NH if you're in your own dwelling or its curtilage and are not the initial aggressor.

blakdawg
March 22, 2011, 09:58 PM
Not the right choice for me.

I view it as an way to "cheat" and not really address the deadly force issue - e.g., are you willing and ready, at that moment, to take a life to protect a life?

I think it might make sense for a person who has a family member/friend with unmanaged mental illness where they fear an attack by that person and don't want to kill them. This is a very rare circumstance - but because of my work (I am an estate planning/administration attorney) I talk to a lot of people with a lot of variation in their families and I have worked with a few clients who had children that (a) they cared about very much, who (b) posed a plausible threat to the parents' life. We can argue all day long about whether or not a parent can legally and morally take their own child's life - but the simple fact is many parents cannot imagine it and don't know how to, or won't use deadly force to defend themselves against a deadly-force attack by a family member or close friend. A less-lethal round might be a choice for them.

But for the other 99.9% of the non-LEO population, I really don't see the application in a HD context.

Maybe they'd be useful to people living in a rural area who wanted to run stray/neighbor dogs off their property without actually killing the dogs - but if I point a shotgun at another human being, it's because I'm moments away from using deadly force against them, and I don't think it's helpful to make that situation less clear, to me or to the bad guy.

TXAZ
March 22, 2011, 10:22 PM
Good discussion, and stepping across a state line (like AZ to CA) could make a hugh difference. My question is, in a clutch event where everything is likely over in several seconds, why would you use a progressively stouter load (bean bag up to buck) to stop the threat vs. buck or a slug in the first place?

ep2621
March 22, 2011, 10:50 PM
I agree with the points TXAZ has pointed out.

Nobody here wants to take another life but I can't risk the lives of my wife and kids trying to scare off an intruder. Once someone is in my house, the time for threats is over. If it ever came down to having to protect my family, I will stick with 00buck.

5whiskey
March 23, 2011, 01:27 AM
I'll bite, coming from a very simple perspective...

I would never pull the trigger unless lethal force is legally authorized. However, the purpose of me pulling the trigger is not to kill someone, but to stop the threat against my life. If I give the BG a slightly better chance at living because I use a less LIKELY lethal first shot, then that's a conscience decision of mine. I don't use rubber shot or bean bags right now, the first round is #8 bird shot. That absolutely is likely to be lethal within 10 feet. Not as likely to be so as buckshot or slugs, but nothing to be sneezed at.

I've been to Iraq, I've been shot at, I've shot back. I'm prepared to take a small risk that may save a life, albeit a low-life's life.

shortwave
March 23, 2011, 07:37 AM
In my situation, I don't see the need for rubber buckshot/beanbags.

If a BG gets into my securely locked home, he has fooled the alarm system and starred down/killed a 130lb German Shephard. He's also entered to the sounds of a yakking 20lb killer Pomeranian. She's tougher then the Shephard :D.
At any rate, I figure the BG means very bad business to my family to overcome the odds of getting in the house in the first place. I'm not 20yrs. old anymore and won't risk hand-to-hand combat in my own house in the middle of the night if I can prevent it.

Thanks...I'll stick to my present HD load.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 23, 2011, 07:54 AM
However, as I try to think of and prepare for the scenarios that could occur in my home, on my property, I have yet to come across one where the first round being less-than-lethal becomes a liability to me or the GF

How about a scenario where you don't fire the first shot? It seems to me that there are lots of scenarios where the first-shot being less-lethal has the potential to be a liability. If anything, I would think it would be the other way around - a scenario where less-lethal rounds are useful is probably more likely to give you the time to load less-lethal rounds.

On another point, what kind of training do you have with these rounds? You note your girlfriend is backing you up. In the NIJ study I linked to, there were 373 incidents involving less lethal rounds amongst law enforcement and corrections. 10 of these resulted in fatalities. 2 of those ten fatalities happened when officers working with the person using the less lethal ammo heard the shotgun discharge and began shooting with their service weapons. Not typically relevant for most of us; but might be something to think about in your particular circumstance - how will your girlfriend know what load you've fired and whether she should be shooting back or not?

have 12ga rubber ball rounds fps is 900fps. I have fired a round to see the effects and for me to kill some one with it I would have to shoot them from the neck up.

Actually, the most common cause of fatality using less-lethal munitions in the NIJ study above was broken ribs or sternum lacerating the heart. In other words, being shot in the chest with less lethal munitions at less than 10 yds.

They way i look at it if you got a slug or buck shot in gun the law will look at it as intent to kill. At least with bean bag or rubber ball that intent to kill is not there.

Have you found out whether New Hampshire regards less lethal ammunition as deadly force? For example, in Iowa Section 704.2 of their Criminal Code (http://www.legis.state.ia.us/IACODE/1999/704/2.html) says:

"The term "deadly force" means any of the following:

1. Force used for the purpose of causing serious injury.

2. Force which the actor knows or reasonably should know will create a strong probability that serious injury will result.

3. The discharge of a firearm, other than a firearm loaded with less lethal munitions and discharged by a peace officer, corrections officer, or corrections official in the line of duty, in the direction of some person with the knowledge of the person's presence there, even though no intent to inflict serious physical injury can be shown.

4. The discharge of a firearm, other than a firearm loaded with less lethal munitions and discharged by a peace officer, corrections officer, or corrections official in the line of duty, at a vehicle in which a person is known to be.

As used in this section, "less lethal munitions" means projectiles which are designed to stun, temporarily incapacitate, or cause temporary discomfort to a person without penetrating the person's body."

So under Iowa law, less-lethal munitions are regarded as deadly force unless they are discharged by a peace officer or corrections officer in the line of duty.

Also, I am not sure why you feel intent to kill is relevant. If deadly force isn't legal to use, then it isn't legal to use. The fact that you didn't intend to kill someone when you used deadly force illegally just makes it something less than murder or attempted murder - assuming of course that the jury buys your story that when you pointed a shotgun at someone and pulled the trigger, you didn't intend to kill them.

I don't use rubber shot or bean bags right now, the first round is #8 bird shot. That absolutely is likely to be lethal within 10 feet. Not as likely to be so as buckshot or slugs, but nothing to be sneezed at.

Well, I don't think I'd reach the same decision, even if it was only me I was concerned about; but it seems like you've got a good grasp on the risks you are running and why.

And to be clear, I'm not looking for an ultra-lethal round. I am looking for a round that is effective in stopping the threat as fast as possible. However, the only way to physiologically do that (so that the attacker's psychological state of mind is irrelevant) is to shut down the CNS through direct damage or loss of blood pressure. Unofrtunately, that may also prove to be lethal in many cases - which is why a firearm is a last resort in self-defense that is strictly governed by law.

highvel
March 23, 2011, 09:11 AM
If someone invaded my home, I can not tell you exactly what would happen, I may use deadly force, or, I may not, it all depends on that moment in time and the circumstances involved.

One thing I know for sure, I would not consider LTL ammo for my families protection.

Joey V.
March 23, 2011, 09:14 AM
I took a defensive shooting class when I turned 21 and got my permit to carry. I learned that defending your LIFE is the only time you can shoot someone or even pull your gun. I was told to double tap in the chest only!!! He said if you take a less lethal shot the scum lawyer will say you didn't think your life was all that threatened if you only shot him in the leg.... Now with a shotgun you will not need a double tap but I would give an attacker one 3" mag of 00 lead shot right in the pump! Again if I used rubber bullets and it didn't kill him the lawyer could mount a defense that you used less lethal means so therefore you must have thought the threat wasn't life or death. I know this sounds sooooooo stupid but so did the case of the woman that spilled hot coffee on her privates and got millions of dollars from McDonald a few years back. Besides if your life is threatened why would you want anything less lethal anyway? the class and the lawyers are right now that I think of it. If I shot in the leg or something I must not have been all that scared right?

natman
March 23, 2011, 09:50 AM
The only reason that justifies discharging a firearm at someone, regardless of what it's loaded with, is if your life is in danger.

If that's the case, you want to be able to respond with lethal force. Right now and in large doses. Not on your next shot.

Omaha-BeenGlockin
March 23, 2011, 10:18 AM
Rubber? Nope

Anybody stupid or crazy enough to break into someone's home needs to be put down for good----no telling what they would do to you and your family.

leathermarshmallow
March 23, 2011, 10:23 AM
Idiot messing around with shotgun. Bean bag round accidentally discharged in the local PD office. Bag went through the wall and landed on the LT's desk. Thank goodness it was late at night and no one was there.

Jeff F
March 23, 2011, 11:10 AM
Only reason I can think of for using rubber buck or slugs would be for rousting a problem bear away from the house and away from the barn.

c0nspire
March 23, 2011, 11:22 AM
How about a scenario where you don't fire the first shot? It seems to me that there are lots of scenarios where the first-shot being less-lethal has the potential to be a liability.

If I am being fired upon, then I imagine the bean-bag round would still have some effect on the fight (causing the assailant to take cover, stunning him for a moment, etc.) If my first shot does not stop the threat, the second one will. The way my home is laid out, there are two places a shoot out is likely to occur. From the bottom of my stairs I am able to peer into the ENTIRE first floor while keeping excellent cover. From the top of my stairs I can peer down the stairwell and still maintain excellent cover. That stairwell is also a choke point, so if the BG is downstairs, and intent on coming up stairs, he will have to go through me first. My philosophy about loading the LTL round has a lot to do with control and understanding over my environment. Should I awake to find an intruder at the TOP of my stairs, I'm not reaching for the shotgun... it'll be the .45. In the future when I change residences, I may skip the LTL option depending on the environment and layout.

On another point, what kind of training do you have with these rounds? You note your girlfriend is backing you up... how will your girlfriend know what load you've fired and whether she should be shooting back or not?

She knows full well the first shot is a LTL round. She knows she will NEVER go downstairs to "investigate"... that's my duty. She knows I will announce myself if I return up the stairs. She has a tac light and good cover in our bedroom. If a single shot is fired, she will assume the worst, she will announce her presence and that she is also armed, and she will fire upon any unannounced individual that enters the room after ID'ing them with the light. She's a good shot too, so God help them...

If someone invaded my home, I can not tell you exactly what would happen, I may use deadly force, or, I may not, it all depends on that moment in time and the circumstances involved.

Exactly. I happen to know via the crime statistics for my neighborhood that B&E is far more likely (statistically) than a home invasion type assault, especially with the number of teenage kids near me. Not that someone won't come in shooting, I just don't think it's nearly as likely for me and where I live. So, my plan accommodates that statistically more likely scenario, and (I think anyway) the lethal option as well. If you're in my home and aren't supposed to be, I have the right to take your life (in NC anyway), but that doesn't mean that has to be my only viable option.

Again if I used rubber bullets and it didn't kill him the lawyer could mount a defense that you used less lethal means so therefore you must have thought the threat wasn't life or death.

Does anyone know if this has happened in a court of law? That might dissuade me from the LTL option if it had...

markj
March 23, 2011, 02:41 PM
If someone is trying to kill me in my home, I bet he isnt using rubber anything. So to be fair, niether will I :)

Would be a good thing for any dog decided to crap in my yard....

Edward429451
March 23, 2011, 04:13 PM
[QUOTE][Then the creep's wife can sue you for killing the bread winner of her family.
/QUOTE]

We surely wouldn't want that. So LTL it is, oh wait, sometimes they die from LTL...hmm what to do? Sell all the guns? Buy pepper spray? Dogs would be out, the Wife would still sue...:rolleyes:

Somebody better get that perp the memo that the price of everything went up at my house, so her thrifty husband best shop somewhere else. :D

Apple a Day
March 23, 2011, 04:30 PM
For when Gumby busts through your front door?
Rubber buckshot for the lopsided green freak. Bean bag rounds for that scrawny, underfed horse sidekick.

Carne Frio
March 23, 2011, 04:58 PM
" Why would you use rubber buckshot for home defense? "

I wouldn't. Home defense implies the use of deadly force.
00 buck provides that force and is readily available.

JNewell
March 24, 2011, 01:56 PM
You can ONLY lose using "less lethal" loads. Ask the Boston PD...anyway...

Lately, I've read several posts where TFL members have mentioned loading several rounds of less-lethal rubber buckshot as the first rounds in their shotgun in order to defend their home against intruders.

Yes, these people either fundamentally misunderstand the legal requirements for use of deadly force defense, or they misunderstand the real world, practical facts of defense against deadly force threats, or both. They are wrong - dead wrong.

And, for anyone thinking about firing "less lethal" loads against a non-deadly force threat, well, let's just hope they signed up for the "legal insurance" employee benefit program at work.

Brit
March 24, 2011, 06:58 PM
When I taught, 1980 to 2003, I leased an indoor range. Ontario Canada, one of my Buddy's wanted to test this NEW? 12 gage round.

Range, concrete bunker, 30 yd by 6 yd wide.

OK said I. Those rubber balls flew for ever! Did he get whacked.

Ralph Allen
March 24, 2011, 08:17 PM
5Whisky is the only one to mention using Birdshot, although he only says first round is such. Discharging a shotgun, loaded with buckshot inside of a house will probably cause colateral damage to a loved one inside the dwelling. I don't care what kind of outer walls you have, your interior walls WILL NOT stop buckshot from penetrating and continuing on in lethal velocity! The proper loads for self defense INSIDE of your home is # 6 to 7 1/2 standard high base, ie, Dove/pheasant loads that you bought from your local sporting goods store. I personally have seen the aftermath of close range lethal shotgun blasts using bird shot inside of a dwelling. You will be hiring a professional to clean the area if this situation ever happens to you. Very graphic, and also very deceased!
Ralph

shortwave
March 24, 2011, 08:50 PM
The proper load for defense INSIDE your home is #6 or 7 1/2 standard high base...

IMO, that is quit a generalized statement that would be hard if not impossible to prove. :confused:

Soooo.... I'll let you do that. References please???

MLeake
March 24, 2011, 08:56 PM
... until the pattern gets a chance to spread out some. Do some searches for penetration, you should find a couple of interesting graphics on just how much drywall birdshot can go through while the pattern is still tight.

beaver
March 24, 2011, 09:40 PM
Some one Breaks in while your home there not there to steal

armsmaster270
March 24, 2011, 10:26 PM
If someone breaks into my house with the intent to harm me or my wife I don't want to scare him I want to Stop him. There are people who have been shot with real bullets and didn't stop I will not be trying a rubber pellet/ bullet/beanbag to find out this was one of them.

Matthew1973
March 24, 2011, 10:27 PM
I live in Maryland, We have some of the worst home defense laws about guns, I load Bird shot first then 00 buck. I got a 5 year old little girl and a Young Wife. If the BG makes it through the Bull Mastiff they mean Business.Ill do the Time if it comes down to it, But i have considered LTL Rounds. But id just get sued. :eek:

Doc Intrepid
March 24, 2011, 10:49 PM
The bottom line for me is that I am a civilian, not a law enforcement officer.

In my state, the only situation in which I am authorized to use deadly force is in the gravest extreme - to prevent my own imminent death or that of a third party.

In a home invasion scenario I'm willing to assume that the intruder is armed and intends harm. I don't have to wait until the intruder shoots me to shoot at him. But it remains my responsibility to be sure of my target and to be able to later describe why I fired at the invader.

Therefore I'm unwilling to use non-lethal force in a home invasion self-defense scenario. If it is not a self-defense situation where I honestly feel my life (or that of another) is in imminent danger, then I have no business shooting the intruder with anything at all.

From my perspective, non-lethal rounds in a home defense situation have no utility. I'm not certain whether, in my state at least, their use would be defensible in court. If a civilian is not in a situation where they are defending life against imminent death, with a lethal round, then they are not justified in shooting anyone with a non-lethal round.

Just MHO.

YMMV.

44 AMP
March 24, 2011, 11:22 PM
Warning: anecdotal and possibly not germane to the discussion....

Whenever anyone brings up the "less lethal" ammo, I am reminded of a story told to me by my Grandfather. Back in the 40s, a neighbor asked him to load some 12ga shells with split peas. Seems the neighbor had a dog that was bothering the chickens, and while otherwise a good dog, needed a lesson, not killing. Grandfather suggested rock salt, but neighbor was insistant, split peas. So, that's what Grandpa loaded for him.

Grandpa always laughed when he told the rest of the story. "those split peas killed that dog dead as a stone!"

Rubber ammo was developed for crowd control, intended to be fired into the pavement in front of the crowd, and ricochet into the legs, causing painful, but not fatal wounds. Cops learned in short order that firing directly at people could, and did end lives. Just not as reliably as regular ammo.

Rubber buckshot for personal defense? NO! Not for me, or anyone I care about. The point of defensive shooting is to stop the attack. Not to kill. If they die as a result of being stopped, so be it. I have little faith that rubber ammo will be as reliable a stopper as conventional ammo.

If you use rubber ammo because you think it won't kill, and it will be just as effective, you're betting on the wrong horse.

dreamweaver
March 24, 2011, 11:41 PM
while i agree with most of the posts against using less than lethal ammo, i think we need to consider something my daddy taught me:
if you feel the need to fire a gun at another human being, then shoot to kill. if you are not willing, and justified to kill the person, don't draw your weapon.
i've only fired a gun in anger while deployed in the military. i did not shoot to disable, and they weren't rubber or bean bag rounds.
just my 2c

Bartholomew Roberts
March 25, 2011, 09:08 AM
The proper loads for self defense INSIDE of your home is # 6 to 7 1/2 standard high base, ie, Dove/pheasant loads that you bought from your local sporting goods store.

I disagree. However, that subject has already been discussed in the following threads:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=443798
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=395188
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=433709
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=424647

ET.
March 25, 2011, 09:59 AM
Years ago I had a local sheriff's deputy tell me that if someone breaks into your home while you are there they aren't a burglar. They are there to do you harm. He said that if you don't stop him he will harm you & your family. Shoot to kill or be killed was his advice. He also said even if the law allows you to shoot him before he enters your house it is in your best interest to have his body found inside your home. Some people have a problem with a person being shot outside the home so don't take the chance. Drag them to the door threshold and be sure a part of him is over it. I have never had the chance to put that into service (thank goodness) but I have always remembered it. Plus a dead perp can't sue you for maming him.

Then there is the story of the man who awoke to a figure in the hallway. He reached over to see if his soon-to-be wife was beside him & felt what he thought was her body. He then grabbed his shotgun and blew the figure away. It turned out to be his girlfriend. What he felt when he reached over the bed was the blanket bunched up by the girlfriend when she got out of bed. I guess rubber pellets could have only mamed her instead of killing her...maybe. Hummm, a ****** off (wow, can't even say that?) mamed girlfriend might not be such a great thing either. Rubber buckshot doesn't fix stupid I guess.

If you own a firearm you better be prepared to use it, but always know what you are shooting at before you pull the trigger. If you have to guess what your target is, then it shouldn't be your target. What ever happens you will have to live with it the rest of your life. (if you freeze at that moment your life might not be very long anyway).

Bartholomew Roberts
March 25, 2011, 11:34 AM
Some people have a problem with a person being shot outside the home so don't take the chance. Drag them to the door threshold and be sure a part of him is over it.

In addition to being a crime in most states, attempting to alter evidence or obstruct an investigation is a really bad idea because when forensic investigators figure out that you lied about one thing, they are going to assume that you lied about other things as well.

Instead of trying to alter the crime scene, a better strategy is to know what the law regarding self-defense is in your state and follow it.

JNewell
March 25, 2011, 06:53 PM
Bird shot is a great load.

For birds.

Sometimes it even kills them.

As Doc said, if I pick up a gun, it is because there is a lawful deadly force threat. I don't want a load that sometimes kills birds.

I sure as heck don't want a load that isn't even supposed to kill. :eek:

shortwave
March 25, 2011, 07:51 PM
Some people have a problem with a person being shot outside so don't take the chance. Drag him to the door threshold and be sure a part of him is over it.

Your not serious???

Thats just about the worse advice I think I've ever read on TFL. :barf:

I'd like to strongly suggest to you that you do some legal research before you ever have to defend yourself with a firearm(God-forbid).

Brit
March 25, 2011, 11:11 PM
I have heard that advice before! It was wrong then, and still is.

If some one is outside your house, and you engage them with bullets, it is a gun fight, not normally condoned by the boys and girls in Blue (or Tan!)

But if they have entered your dwelling, a place you are legally entitled to be, you had better shoot to kill!

You have no other reason to resort to firearms, unless you are defending your life, or the lives of other innocent party's.

Florida has no problem with you shooting to kill, if they are in your home, at night.

When you are sleeping, awake to the sound of some one (or more than one breaking in) I awake instantly, always have done, pistol, sure fire light, wait for stairs to bring targets, The Castle Doctrine is for the riotous.

911 is to alert the local Law enforcement of your situation, they can not get to your home in time, even if they were 1 mile away.

I had one small glass of red wine, at 6 PM, 6 hrs ago, that is the extent of my normal drinking, don't expect to deal with lethal threats, after ten pints.

No more preaching. You should be in bed already if you are going to Swamp Rats class!!

Archametes
March 25, 2011, 11:38 PM
I was recently having this discussion with my wife. (she is NOT happy about a gun in the house, period and so she suggested the LTL rounds because she'd rather not have a "murderer" for a husband) Now with that said I DID give it consideration to purchase some rubber slugs / 00 buck and keep them in the tube JIC. After reading more about them and concluding that the longest stretch of my home (in a straight line of sight) is about 50 to 60ft depending on which bedroom or door your at. Knowing that this would still keep the effect of possible death with LTL i figured why waste money and choose just basic target load instead... Although still lethal and can kill, it's SLIGHTLY less likely than 00 buck at that range... and a "sandblasted" chest does NOT make you wanna stick around to find out whats coming next. I hope to NEVER have to employ my shotgun for anything more than target shooting and maybe hunting (if I don't wanna use the bow), BUT i am fully prepared if the need arises. Following the 1 target load is the Winchester PDX rounds. :)

shortwave
March 26, 2011, 06:00 AM
...she suggested the LTL rounds cause she'd rather not have a "murderer" for a husband...

...longest stretch in my home(in a straight line of sight) is about 50 to 60ft...

Archametes,

Better hope the Mrs. doesn't find out about 'knee knockers'. :D

Welcome to TFL.

TheKlawMan
March 26, 2011, 12:04 PM
"Some people have a problem with a person being shot outside the home so don't take the chance. Drag them to the door threshold and be sure a part of him is over it."

Chances are that the cops will figure out that you moved the dead guy. Do that and you just gave the prosecutor evidence of having a guilty state of mind; that you knew you shouldn't have shot the bg else you wouldn't have dragged him over the threshold.

highvel
March 26, 2011, 12:45 PM
Like I have said before, using deadly force is THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU WILL EVER MAKE at least on earth anyway.

ANYONE who doesn't understand that, or realize how important that is,shouldn't be allowed around items that can inflict that force!

Macho has it's place, but it is far from consideration when you make a decision on whether you can shoot someone or not!

2damnold4this
March 26, 2011, 01:28 PM
the first round being less-than-lethal

A beanbag round is not "less-than-lethal." It's "less lethal."

ripnbst
March 26, 2011, 01:37 PM
Putting a less-than-lethal round into the shotgun could help you out in the event of legal proceedings following an incident.

Even if you have it in the tube, just to shuck it out, you could use that as a defense that while you never even shot it. You had the state of mind to consider the option of not ending someone's life from the point of making the decision to keep a gun in your home.

Then again as others have mentioned these situations have the potential to be highly dynamic and when seconds count racking the action a second time is racking the action a second time. Your call, I keep mine loaded to the hilt with the real deal.

TheKlawMan
March 26, 2011, 05:20 PM
ripnbst, Depending on your state's laws, using a less than lethal can backfire in the courtroom, where the jury is instructed that you are only justified in using deadly force if you used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against the danger. See California Crim Instruction 506 here http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jury/criminaljuryinstructions/calcrim_juryins.pdf

Consider if you have the option of firing a bean bag round but you stop the intruder with 00 buck. You might end up having to convince a jury why the bean bag was not all that was reasonably necessary, but if you didn't have any no one would question the use of buck.

JNewell
March 26, 2011, 06:51 PM
A beanbag round is not "less-than-lethal." It's "less lethal."


Right you are...should be labeled "less likely to be lethal."

Murphy's gonna getcha coming and going on this one. Let the hammer down on one of those things and one of two things will happen: either (1) the attacker really was trying to kill you and isn't slowed down at all by your LL load and proceeds to accomplish his goal unimpeded, or (2) it didn't turn out to be a good deadly force shoot and you will fork over everything you own or ever will own the the perp and you'll get an extended chance to think about how much fun he's having with your property while you cool your jets in the state pen. :(

Stevie-Ray
March 26, 2011, 08:36 PM
I fired some once at a rubber buck. Just bounced off.:confused:

Not for me, thanks. I'll stick to good ol lead #4 buck. Barring that, 00

TheKlawMan
March 27, 2011, 01:50 PM
Of course it bounced off. Even a furinur knows rubber pellets are for rubber duckies.

Webleymkv
March 27, 2011, 04:47 PM
While I don't use rubber ammo of any kind nor do I plan to (I prefer #4 Buck in my HD shotgun), I think maybe I can play devil's advocate on this one. I can see three possible reasons that someone might consider rubber buckshot.

1. The person has an extremely difficult time grappling with the thought of taking a human life regardless of the circumstances. Said person loads the first shell in their shotgun with rubber buckshot in order to give an attacker every possible chance to give up before resorting to more lethal means of defense (such a person is likely to get a rude awakening if he or she has to find out just how lethal rubber buckshot can be).

2. I suppose it might be argued in a courtroom that if you shot an attacker with rubber buckshot and then had to progress to more lethal ammunition in order to end the attack that you exhausted every possible option before resorting to lethal force (yes, I know this is probably a somewhat weak defense but I am trying to play devil's advocate)

3. (This is the most legitimate use for rubber buckshot that I can think of) You live in a rural area and your HD shotgun serves double duty for chasing pesky critters like skunks, opossums, raccoon, coyotes, and stray dogs out of your yard. You don't want to have to kill these animals if you don't have to so you keep your shotgun loaded with a shell of rubber buckshot for use at fairly long distance to chase the critters away and the rest of the magazine with regular shells in case you're accosted by a two-legged animal (I suppose this might work, but a cheap BB gun or airsoft gun by the back door would seem to be a better solution).

Honestly, the problem I have with rubber buckshot is the same problem that I have with most other "non-lethal" self-defense tools and that is the fact that they can very easily be very lethal particularly in untrained hands. As was mentioned already, rubber buckshot was designed for a very specific purpose for LE and requires pretty intensive training to work as designed. Joe Sixpack or Suzy Homemaker isn't all that likely to have been trained in the proper use of such ammo and thus is fairly likely to unintentionally kill the goblin crawling through the window.

jackpine
March 27, 2011, 05:23 PM
Short answer: use a "less lethal" round and you will kill or maim the SOB. You will be charged with manslaughter and you will go to jail.

Firearms are not tools of modulating force. Col. Rex Applegate

Bucks Gun Shop
April 11, 2011, 07:54 PM
If I am going to pull the trigger -- I want them DEAD...

egor20
April 11, 2011, 08:07 PM
Why would you use rubber buckshot for home defense?

When Gumby attacks, Pokeys gotta die also..... He's a witness

Terry A
April 11, 2011, 10:56 PM
"Why would you use rubber buckshot for home defense? " I never would.

There is no good reason to. If you need to brandish a firearm in your home, then something real serious is going on. Why take the chance that "rubber" will stop "whomever" from killing you? Does anyone think robbers, home invaders or other criminals are loading THEIR weapons with "rubber" bullets???