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Old May 15, 2007, 09:48 AM   #1
ebutler462
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Has anyone ever......

I enjoy this forum very much. I have learned quite a bit and you members have helped me through some problems that I have had with my guns.

Now it is my turn to get a dialogue started that may be of benefit to you.

Has anyone on this forum ever fired a shotgun round inside a confined space? I am especially referring to those of you that keep a shotgun for home defense. I have no issue with those who wish to defend their home against intruders. I will do so. Don't blame you for defending what is yours.

Is a shotgun the best weapon for home defense? If you think so, I will respect your judgement. I am a retired detective that has seen many incidents involving home defense incidents. In fact, I had to fire a 357 in a home one night and suffered a bursted eardrum as a result. Had I missed with the first shot, I would have been totally helpless as I was completely blind, deaf, and disoriented during the crucial moment afterwards. Back during my law enforcement career, it was the practice to switch out 357 loads for 38 HP rounds just in case we had to enter a house. But in a foot pursuit, there isn't time.

The reason I mention this is not to start a Rambo fan fire that everyone will claim that they will get the bad guy with the first shot. You might. But you won't know it until you can hear and see again. Several crucial moments during which the bad guy, if missed or just wounded, can do some harm.

Many years ago, I read M. Ayoob's book, I believe it was "In the Gravest Extreme" in which he points out that even a high speed 22 shot at night in a bedroom is not pleasant for the shooter's eyes and ears.

A shotgun with no choke, a cylinder bore, fired from 12 feet, the average size of a bedroom, has a pattern about the size of your hand. A very small pattern.

I am sure that there will be some unpleasant remarks about my giving this bit of advice. Before you HD fans get too upset, go to an abandoned house that is going to be salvaged, or that you can fire out of the window, and fire one round out of your shotgun at night. You will not want to repeat the experience.

I don't know if M. Ayoob's book is in print now, "In the Gravest Extreme", but if it is, all HD fans should get one or borrow one and get some advice from an expert in the field of personal protection. A shotgun, high powered rifle, or big bore pistols are not what you want for inside the home protection.

The maximum he recommends, and I will agree with him, is a 38 with 115 grain HP's in your nightstand drawer. It will give you multiple shots, even though deafening and flashblinding to some extent. My own tip: you can close one eye with the first shot, the other eye with the second shot. The explosion of the 38 is not as disorienting as a shotgun blast in a confined space. He also gives some very helpful tips as to how you can protect your family during a home invasion without having to resort to violence. But in the gravest extreme, use the weapon and load that will not render you helpless.

Those HD equipped shotguns have had a lot of work put into them by the HD fans. I am suggesting that you reconsider your HD weapon for your own sakes. Outside the home or in a barn or outside building that is not insulated and tight, a shotgun might possibly be what is desirable. Not so in your domicile.

Notice that during home raids by police, shotguns are carried in by a couple of cops, but they are not fired. I've never known it to happen. They are the last resort weapon. Very seldom does an officer fire a weapon in a dwelling.

Those of us who have been in law enforcement and have been through the Quantico combat course will know of what I speak. Some things are very unpleasant and firing a shotgun in an enclosed space at night is among them.
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Old May 16, 2007, 08:02 PM   #2
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Keeping a set of ear muffs beside the shotgun is a prudent choice. If one has time to grab a shot gun they most likely have time to put on a set of muffs. The electronic types allow you to hear real well too.
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Old May 16, 2007, 08:15 PM   #3
hoytinak
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I've done it many times, usually I do have ear plugs in. The most you would really be shooting though is 1-2 rounds and the average. Your eyes and ears recover from that pretty quick. As long as it's only once in a while (as in HD), there should be no harm done.
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Old May 16, 2007, 10:14 PM   #4
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I have to respectfully disagree with slugthrower while somewhat agreeing with Mr. Buttler...

I have been awoke from a dead sleep by a bump in the night and had to arm myself to investigate, quickly grabing a firearm and tac light. I would never waste time on any sort of hearing protection (esp electronic ones that need to be turned on), furthermore I WANT to hear anything and everything... SWAT cops practice shoot / no shoot situations everyday and may be able to clear a house with ear plugs but I want every advantage I can get as I'd far rather live the rest of my life with diminished hearing than live with a bad shot on my mind, never mind the legal consequneces or the liabiliy that one might be exposed to by law sharks if you had time to muff up prior to shooting some BG.

As to Mr. Butler's comment I think of them as more of a relative contraindication than an absolute. And much of this is training dependant, let's face it much of this is training dependant and dependant on the individual.

Furthermore as much as I respect Mr. Ayoob and many of the points he makes I have to ask how did he arrive at the 115gr 38? I mean the relitive shock / flash value of a weapon is going ot be rather variable, both based on the individual, and the gun and round and many moderan rounds feature alleged flash suppressed powder. So I have to say the 115gr 38 reeks of kind of wild guess or estimate, now I'm not going to say I'd pick my 454 casuall to light off in the bed room however I'm also not going to think that there are not 40's and 45's that can be used with similar sucess to the load Ayoob reccomends.

As to shotguns, yeah it's going to be worse, I don't know where most here shake out but I keep both around. If it's a peak and see the handgun comes with, if it sounds like someone is knocking the door in I take the shotty.

Whatever the situation a training class that is very challanging, that lets you shoot at night, at close range and whatever. (personally the dispersed muzzle blast by a target frame close up was the most suprising thing for me to get use to, prior to a decent calss this had never occured to me and I would have likely been SOL in a true muzzle contact fight as I'd not have been ready ).
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Old May 16, 2007, 11:35 PM   #5
Slopemeno
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I have, and a shotgun with standard pressure ammo is always easier to take than most handgun rounds. I'd be interested to compare some of the reduced recoil buckshot thats now out there with just about any handgun round. Shotguns use much lower pressure to move the shot down the barrel.

When I was a smith we worked in an industrial park, and constantly had to test fire different guns, so we made up a "test-fire-tube" which was a piece of appx 9" well casing about 10' long, half filled with gravel, and sporting a "balance-tube" to give the gas somewhere to go. We were department armorers for about a dozen state and local agencies, and we conducted yearly safety/test fire inspections for those agencies, on top of our civilian customers work. I've heard everything from .22 shorts on the low end to .458Win on the high end of things...

Relatively easy on the ears: Standard pressure .41 mag ammo, .44spl, .45 acp. 12/16/20 gauge trap loads. .38 special target wadcutters in a 6" k-38, MP-5 SD in 9mm- like a sewing machine...

Kinda hard on the ol ears: .38 spl, 9mm, .223 in 20" format, ,45 acp comp guns, .30-'06 class stuff. 12 gauge goose loads or magnum buckshot.

Please-sound-off-before-you-do-that-again: .223 in an 11" barrel. .38 super comp guns, .44 mag, .357 125 grain, .300 win mag, .458, etc. Would someone call my audiologist please...hey look, dust is falling from the rafters.

12 gauge, in your average 20" HD gun, puts the lower pressure muzzle blast futher from your ears than a handgun. If you couple that with the long guns better human engineering (two hands and a cheekweld for indexing) your much better off when tired/confused/scared/rushed.

Someone should find all the home defense articles that involve a shotgun being used and figure out the round count. I bet its very, very low. From my exposure to the departments I serviced, I never saw one go beyond one shot- not saying it didnt happen, but the three I can remember off hand were 1 shot stops.
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Old May 17, 2007, 06:07 AM   #6
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"I have been awoke from a dead sleep by a bump in the night and had to arm myself to investigate, quickly grabbing a firearm and tac light." RsqVet.

I understand what you are saying about the ear muffs. I also have to disagree with you as well sir. Searching and clearing a house by yourself is not a good idea. If there is more than one intruder you could find yourself in an ambush from more than one direction very easily. Using a tac light seems a good idea as long as you do not use it until the very last moment. It is a better idea to use low level lighting, such as night lights to aid in identifying a threat. Shotguns are best used as a static defence from the bedroom. It is too easy to be disarmed in a surprise situation, unless you have very, very good hand to hand skills and weapon retention techniques. In my case there is only me and my wife, no children, I wouldn't leave her side as she is more important to me than any material items they can be replaced. So in my case the muffs would be able to be used even if I didn't have time to turn them on. Being a team, my wife would already have her .357 ready while I gear up. It is a possibility that the lawyers might try to use the muffs as a excuse to convict. However if they didn't know that I had them on during the shooting they couldn't use that against me. Simply removing them before the police arrive negates that problem in my opinion. I also believe that the time it takes for one to clear a room or two is plenty of time to deploy a set of muffs and wait for the BG to come get his just desert.
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Old May 17, 2007, 11:20 AM   #7
WeedWacker
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One thing to practice is keep your mouth open. It releaves stress on your eardrums when a loud noise occurs. And when the adrenaline is going you may not notice the noise as much. It may still knock your socks off but it won't be as noticeable. I remember shooting from a box blind with a ported rifle. Unfortunately it was a two man blind and my dad was next to me with the muzzel aiming past his window. The blast was redirected in to the blind, rebounded off the far wall and set the church bells a ringing in both our heads. Now it didn't disorient us that much but it sure woke us up to why hearing protection is good. I still have problems with listening to diction. I can pick up slight sounds but I can't discern as well. I also have a slight hearing loss in my left ear but not a whole lot. Just enough to be noticeable.
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Old May 17, 2007, 05:08 PM   #8
ebutler462
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It is my hope that every person interested in HD read each of these posts. There is a world of info here. I have tried to get these messages across to HD fans for many years. I learn a lot from the members that respond to the posts. You are very informative and reasonable in your thinking.

Thank all of you for your input. The next time you read a post about the best HD gun, refer them to these posts and they can make a more informed decision. It may save their lives and that of their loved ones. There are many Rambo types that could benefit from the wisdom of the fine folks who have shared their experiences and excellent ideas regarding HD.
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Old May 17, 2007, 05:26 PM   #9
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its a long embarrassing story but I touched off a 2 3/4 #4 buck shell inside my bedroom about a year ago.accidental discharge that niether my girlfriend or I knew was coming out of a 18 inch barrel with the door and windows closed.It was really loud and surprising but I think that I could have kept the fight going if it had been a self defense situation.My ears were ringing for the rest of the night but I could still hear.afew good things did come outa of this.I now know how loud a shotgun is inside,I no longer use #4 buck due to under penetration,learned how to patch dry wall and fix wires that were cut and I now know my girlfriend can hop out of bed like a ninja while cursing at me and get out the door in less then a second.The lights were on so I am unsure about the blinding issue.
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Old May 17, 2007, 07:23 PM   #10
Slopemeno
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Flash of your average high-base mag is big, but not prohibitive at all. I've shot my Mossberg 500 in near total darkness and the flash appeared about a foot long by about 2" dia, and a dull orange. It wouldnt have slowed me down much, if at all.
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Old May 17, 2007, 08:55 PM   #11
kcshooter
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I've fired a .357 indoors before, S&W Model 19, load was a Federal Hydroshock .357. The flash wasn't as bad as the sound was but with the adrenaline pumping I barely noticed until later that my ears were ringing. I could have kept going had need be. But I did switch to a shotgun for HD with lead #4 shot for the sake of less penetration.
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Old May 17, 2007, 08:58 PM   #12
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For the record I'm not suggesting the "clearing" of any structure by anyone other than the pros, Clearing defined as teh search of a structure for known or highly suspected hostile subjects, however when the dogs are alerting rabidly at the one window furthest from the bedroom one can either sit and quiver and wait for it to stop , or to hear the breaking of glass, or call the cops, (as if they don't have better things to do) or go and see if it's friend, foe or some lost fido, coyote or whatever outside the window. That is what I am talking about.

Clearing is a whole diffirent ball of wax, my point was simply that shoot no shoot discreshion under stress is very hard even if you are a pro and I don;'t want to hamper my skill there one bit, even if you are in the classic baricaded bedroom situation, the party crasher MIGHT not need to be shot... it could be a drunk, an alzimers patient or whatever, stranger things have happened and though in most states such a shooting would likely be justified no matter what based on castle doctrine, it may perhaps not be nessecerry and I for one don't want to shoot if I can avoid it.
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Old May 19, 2007, 05:39 AM   #13
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If a person breaks into the home they need to be dealt with. If you are awoken from a dead sleep, you have no idea the amount of time that has passed. There could very well be people already inside the home. The dogs are a great active warning system and negate that problem. Yes it could just be a drunk or lost animal outside, it could also be a person with a gun already drawn and waiting for you to open the door. It may be unlikely, but what if they decide to wait a split second, then as you are cracking the door open they shoot through that door? What if this person has a reverse peep hole tool? If you look through the peep hole, provided that you have one on the door, they will have a real good chance of center punching you. Home invasions are more common now than they have been in the past. Some criminals have no qualms about killing people for the thrill. Peeking though the blinds of a window could just as easily find one taking a bullet. If you live in a rural area it could be nothing. In the inner city it could be far worse. I have no friends that are foolish enough to come to my residence after midnight. If they really need me at that time, they had best call first.

Some people do not have dogs, though it is definitely a good idea, due to circumstances. Then you are left with the searching of your house. If a person has broken and entered it is best to assume that they are hostile. Granted, one should ID the potential BG first before sending rounds down range. Those little night lights fill that bill. Having a handgun and an off hand weapon is better than a flash light, unless you do go outside the house. Having a "Tac Light" to ID the disturbance outside the home is a very good idea. But then that opens up another can of worms. Some people have never been in an ambush situation. No matter how proficient one believes themselves to be, they are easy prey in an ambush. Two well trained men, or experienced criminals, can take a Navy SEAL out easily in an ambush. Now if you already know the number of BGs you are dealing with and reasonably believe that they are not armed. Go ahead and take the initiative. That momentum may very well work in one's favor. If not it is a gamble and one could very well find themselves injured, dead or dying.

The remark about quivering in the bedroom, for myself that wouldn't be the case, it would be called erring on the side of caution. The places that I have lived in the past are places that many will not go into without police escort. Not all people grew up in the safe confines of the country or a middle class neighborhood. That thin line between bravery and stupidity is a very thin line.

Calling the police to investigate the disturbance is their duty, they chose that job and my taxes pay for them to do so. Unless eating a box of doughnuts is more important of course.
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