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Old March 10, 2000, 10:09 AM   #1
Hantra
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First off,

Thanks a lot to all of you guys who responded to my first post about which pistol to get. That information was very helpful, and I am glad this is a BBS where people actually respond to posts and are active.

So, I am hoping this will fit in under this topic, but forgive me if it doesn't.

I have been reading, and talking to a lot of people about this. Since this is my first firearm purchase, I want to be sure I get what is right for me.

Reading the rec.guns FAQ, I note that it highly recommends a shotgun as the ultimate in home defense. Since this will be what I will need a firearm for initially, and other people have said the same, should I go that route?

I mean, what are your opinions on this? All I want to be able to do is stop a guy from harming me, or anyone else in my house. Would a shotgun be better?

If so, any recommendations?

Thanks again!!!!

BTW, not to ramble on, but I know some of you wonder what my nickname is about. It is wierd, but it is a nick I have used in FPS gaming online. My real name is Brandon, and I am a North Carolina native. Most people think I am from the Middle East when they see my nick!! hhehee

Brandon
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Old March 10, 2000, 10:22 AM   #2
Oleg Volk
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Shotgun is much more effective on a round-per-round basis. However, it requires more training than most people have and may be hard to manuever or point fast indoors. Note that entry teams often use pistols because of the importance of fast pointing.

I have a 20ga riotgun and a number of rifles but, unless I had plenty of time to prepare, handguns would be more accessible and I am far more likely to be able to avoid knocking over furniture trying to point them inthe right direction.

I would start with a handgun as more flexible and add a shotgun later. The exception to this is if you shoot trap/skeet or wingshoot birds, in which case you may already have the skill to operate and point a scattergun effectively.

As far as recommendations, I'd try several. My choice, Winchester 1300 isn't to my liking and I have found things to dislike about Mossberg 500/590 and Remington 870, the top riotgun choices. Moreover, IMO, an autoloader is a better choice because of reduced recoil and the self-loading being at least as reliable as a newbie operating a slide. A side by side double-barrel coach gun could also be considered because it is quite simple to operate but think of how you'd carry extra shells. In short, ask folks in the shotgun forum for specific recommendations.

On gauges: 12ga is cheapest and most effective, but I personally can't take the recoil of a pump 12ga (can do with autoloaders). 20ga is more expensive to feed and less effective but still sufficient. 410 ought to be used only if you have some disability that prevents you from using a bigger round and at that point I'd recommend a carbine.

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Old March 10, 2000, 10:47 AM   #3
Hemphill
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If home defense is the primary reason by a good amount, then get a shotgun. A good pump action with a short barrel and decent mag capacity can be had for about $300 in most areas. If just having a carry or just plain fun gun is the more realistic use, then a pistol could be a viable option.
The shotgun would be easier to learn to use in defensive situations, and cheap birdshot practice loads can be had for about $5 a box of 25 pretty routinely. Buckshot and slugs can be purchased for about $5-10 for 5 rounds and are good for defensive use. If you get a pistol, the ammo runs between $10 and $15 for practice ammo in boxes of 50, and about $20-40 for the same number of rounds of premium hollow points.
To achieve a good level of competence in the defensive use of your chosen weapon, you will shoot a goodly amount of ammo. With the shotgun, you will probably need less ammo to get to the same level with the pistol. Add that cost to the lower cost of the shotgun, and it is obviously the lower cost option of the two. But if cost is not that big of an issue, learining to use a pistol defensivly is not an impossible task. Whichever route you choose, I advise you to get some training. But before you do any of this you need to ask yourself some serious questions ie if you can use a firearm in a defensive situation, ie can you kill your attacker if need be and why do you want a lethal weapon.
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Old March 10, 2000, 12:08 PM   #4
Ford
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Shotgun. OK, a little boring but realy more effective. Go with either a Remington 870 wich is a pump and is about the easiest to add all of the self/home defensde gadgets to.It is about the best shotgun you can get for self defense. Or a Remington 11-87 semi-auto. There are also Special Purpose models in the 11-87. Others to consider the new Benelli Nova is supposed to be a really good gun for the money. Winchester, Browning, Ithaca, Mossberg, Remington are all good manufacturers of shotguns. Oh yeah stay away from this new craze with the 31/2 mags if somebody trys to sell you one of these guns. I am still trying to figure out what in the heck you need a 31/2" mag for except a dislocated shoulder.
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Old March 10, 2000, 01:07 PM   #5
Puddle Pirate
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Ford,
If the gun and ammo makers don't come up with something new every once in a while, how are they going to sell more guns?

Hantra,
I can see the point of both options. That's why I have both a shotgun and a 1911 for HD. The shotgun is much better for stationary defense, i.e. barricading yourself in a bedroom while waiting on the 911 call to be responded to. The handgun is better at mobile. Such as going downstairs to check if that noise was your son sneaking in past curfew, or a crackhead looking for money. Best idea is to try both, and pick the one that best suits your defensive plan.

The difference between a 12 ga and a 20 ga in HD scenarios is very small. If recoil sensitivity is a major concern the 20 is a much better option. 12 ga is slightly cheaper for the normaly recommended HD rounds, but general purpose shells run about the same here. Stay away from 16 and 28 ga though, they are getting pretty rare, and as a result, the ammo is quite expensive.

Just remember that a shotgun doesn't really live up to its nickname of "scattergun". I don't have my pattern results handy, but IIRC, a modified cylinder, one of the more common of chokes, has a pattern of about 2" at 10 yds. It's not as easy as "point it in the general direction."

I hope this has helped. Good luck with whatever you decide on.

Eric

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Old March 10, 2000, 01:29 PM   #6
Ezeckial
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Hantra:
First off, I have been reading, and talking to a lot of people about this. Since this is my first firearm purchase, I want to be sure I get what is right for me.

Reading the rec.guns FAQ, I note that it highly recommends a shotgun as the ultimate in home defense. Since this will be what I will need a firearm for initially, and other people have said the same, should I go that route?

[/quote]

A shotgun is definitely better for home defense. I use a Mossberg 500 Persuader with a full length tube (8 rounds plus one in the chamber, but I don't keep more then 6 rounds in it and an empty chamber).
Some may say they're too long...I disagree. You may want to do some home defense drills to ensure your proficiency (EMPTY!!!!SHOTGUN, please!!).
Pistol grip 12 gauge guns are a handfull...I don't like 'em.
You may want to consider a .410 pistol gripped pump shotgun, especially if your spouse may want to learn to use it.

I once saw (on TV) a bounty hunter talking about shotguns...he stated that just the sound of the pump being racked will intimidate most burglers. It does sound intimidating!

The handgun (and I love handguns) does doesn't have the stopping power...nor the intimidation factor.

So, for realistic home defense...a pump shotgun (you decide if a 12 gauge or .410 is best for your family). Get the handgun for CCW and as a backup for the shotgun.

Good luck!

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Old March 10, 2000, 01:41 PM   #7
Erik
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I pitch in:

(Concerning home defense)

Shotguns are the best HD weapon. When you are home, where transportation and concealment are not issues, shotguns should be the rule, not the exception. If all you have at home is a pistol, fine. But do not reach past a shotgun to get to a pistol.

Erik


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Old March 10, 2000, 01:44 PM   #8
Oleg Volk
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I patterned my 20ga Winchester 1300 with 20-pellet #3 buck earlier this week. #3 buck contains .25 caliber pelelts. At 75ft, the pattern just about fills a doorway from side to side and looks pretty sparse. At 20ft the pattern is about the size of a human head and the wad ends up somewhere around the edge of it.
The point is that where I live 20ft is the longest shot I am likely to take and 8ft is far more likely, at which point that spread would be under 3 inches. Moreover, in order for the target to get all of the load, I have to center it on the desired point of impact, so aiming is helpful.
The plus side is that even a 20ga with buck or slug is more formidable than a .357mag or .45acp and less loud. The down side is that slugs may well travel through the perps and the wall behind and the next one. Birdshot that is so often recommended appeared not to penetrate sufficiently in my very informal tests.

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Old March 10, 2000, 02:16 PM   #9
Master Blaster
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Ever consider a lever action 30-30 for home defense? It also has the ability to penetrate a vest. Would a soft point 170gr.
at 2200 fps overpenetrate any more than a shotgun slug.

and you have the sound of the lever being racked which could have the same effect on a burglar.

The recoil on my Winchester Model 94 is much less than a 20 gauge shotgun, and it is short and handy and holds 7+1 rounds.
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Old March 10, 2000, 02:29 PM   #10
Dave McC
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Here we go again....
Over on the shotgun bb are plenty of threads concerning this. I'll summarize a little. BTW, I taught hundreds of rookies to shoot for the Md Division of Correction.

First, nobody that did not shoot a shotgun recreationally moved past bare minimum with it. Most could load, chamber, fire and make safe,and that was about it. OTOH, those that hunted, shot clays, or just got off on stuff that makes noises and holes did do well.

Second, an 870 is part of our personal insurance here at Casa McC. BUT, neither Wife nor Daughter like shooting shotguns, so there's other choices available at a moment's notice. Are you married?

For the non- gunner, a mid caliber, mid sized revolver makes a lot more sense than a Loudenboomer SP with all the accessories.

I see a lot of advice here.It's all free and well worth the cost. A coupla things...

First, pistol grips make sense if you're auditioning for Miami Vice II, and darn little for keeping yo' %^*( intact. I had to use one for work,until sense prevailed on the brass, and fired hundreds of rounds that way with good results.Most of the troops found it more difficult to qualify, some impossible. But, in an AS scenario, my weapon will be fired from the shoulder at anything more than at kissing range. Darn few serious WIHTF types use a PG at all.

Second, there's lots of accessories for shotguns out there, ranging from excellent to egregious. Instead of gizmos and gadgets, spend the cash on ammo and range time.
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Old March 10, 2000, 02:52 PM   #11
Matt VDW
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The primary advantage of a handgun over a shotgun would be handiness. This is not a trivial issue, since a weapon is useless if it's inaccessible in an emergency. So here are a couple of questions for you:

1) How would you store your weapon securely?

2) Would you be able to reach it and make it ready to fire in the time between your first sign of trouble and the arrival of the bad guy(s)?
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Old March 10, 2000, 03:41 PM   #12
jthuang
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I will echo the recommendations to get both a handgun and shotgun for home defense.

Thoughts on selection of a defensive shotgun at http://www.members.tripod.com/~jth8260/shotgun.html

As mentioned, the shotgun is an excellent stationary weapon. House clearing is a different story -- if you don't live alone, you may need to go wandering about to gather everyone into the safe room. Manuverability will be at a premium, and that's not easy with a shotgun.

House clearing can be done with a scattergun by pieing corners with your gun in the extreme low ready or underarm assault position but you will gain much more manueverability with a handgun.

Retention is also more of a problem with a longarm. If you have a handgun as well it can greatly reduce retention problems. For example, Gabe Suarez mentions that if a goblin grabs your shotgun, let him have it -- draw your handgun and put him out of commission. You can get your shotgun back after he's down for the count.

Otherwise, you are left with standard long-arm retention techniques (maximize your torque by lengthening the moment arm) or using your shotgun as an impact weapon (the bayonet lug on the Mossberg 590 may come in handy there ).

As Matt mentioned, a handgun is easier to keep secured and ready to go. You can buy a fast-access safe with push-button lock and store a loaded handgun within. If you've got to get it into action, you punch the buttons and voila you've got a loaded firearm. With long guns it's a bit more difficult -- usually they are secured by trigger locks or within a heavy gun safe.

HTH,

Justin

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Old March 10, 2000, 06:22 PM   #13
Erik
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I don't want anyone to interpret my last post to think that a service grade pistol is undergunned or inappropriate. Waking from sleep it is certainly easier to bring a pistol to bare- one usually simply reaches to the nightstand, holster or bed side. I believe that when you have time to prepare for trouble, such as you hear someone kick in your door, you are better served making ready with your shotgun. Shotguns are decisive, and this is the object in defensive situations. I also believe your pistol should be on hand as secondary weapon for reasons sited above.

A point about the psychological impact of racking the slide of a shotgun. While it certainly may be true that the sound will sent fear coursing through the mind of the BG, DO NOT assume that he will quit his purpose. That could be a fatal error in judgement.

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Old March 11, 2000, 02:31 AM   #14
vega
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Now you're a lot more confused. You should have posted this thread first . If I were you I'd go get that HK and then the SIG. After that, I'll save enough money for the shotgun.
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Old March 11, 2000, 03:09 AM   #15
Ford
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Hantra,
Ok here is what you do.If money is a concern here then here is a suggestion. If you dont do any type of hunting with a shotgun which I am guessing that you dont or you would have already had one. Go and pick up a good used Remington 870 or any good used shotgun. Depending on what you can handle, if you have never shot a shotgun before then you may want to go ahead and get a 20 gauge. I hardly ever shoot my shotguns just for fun or anything only when hunting. But you may enjoy a shotgun more who knows. A handgun is my "fun gun". Which brings me to my second point. Ok a used shotgun under $300 maybe $250 been a while since I have bought a used but a pump will be cheaper and there are a million 870's out there. Ok anyway now you can get a revolver which I think you stated you had an interest in earlier for under $400 new like a compact .357 or something or go the used route on a revolver. You could also go used on a pistol which I am always leary of because I am not good enough to tell what in the world could be wrong with a pistol were less could be wrong with a used revolver. What I am trying to say through all this rambling is you could get a good used shotgun and a used revolver or used pistol or new revolver for probbably around maybe $700 or so. The cost of one new pistol! And all of you self defense needs would be met. My fingers hurt and now I have confused myself!

------------------
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Old March 11, 2000, 08:20 AM   #16
Hantra
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Hehehe! You're right. I should have posted this one first. But now, I think I am going to get a pistol, then a shotgun. Just b/c the pistol is a bit more versatile, and I can never predict the situation.

You are never sure that when the time comes, you will be in your safe room pointing the firearm at the door. They may come through the window in your safe room. Then, a pistol may be easier to get at and use than a shotgun.

Thanks for everyone's help! This is a great BBS!

Brandon
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Old March 11, 2000, 09:34 AM   #17
Sid Post
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The Remington 870 Express shotgun can be had NIB for ~$230 (I got 2 for $200 each at a Sporting Goods chain store about a year ago).

If you don't shoot shotguns much, get a 20 gauge to cut recoil. A 20gauge will also have the stock cut differently which is apt to fit smaller framed people better. 12 gauges can be a little harder to shoot well due to more recoil (reduced recoil loads help here but, most "home defense" people buy the hardest kicking stuff on the shelf) and will generally have the stock cut for a longer length of pull. Whether you have a pistol or shotgun, house clearing is a very bad idea unless you have had training to do it safely (I know your home is your castle but, if your killed in the process of clearing your house for the 'safety' of your family, what will they do for the rest of their lives when you are not around?).

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Old March 11, 2000, 11:04 PM   #18
Glenn E. Meyer
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IMHO:

A shotgun without specific self-defense oriented shotgun training is not a good idea.

If you want to use one at home, train with it.

Racking to scare the bad guy is naive macho BS. If you keep the gun unchambered then rack it as soon as you get it in your hands. If you rack for effect - stupid.

That said, a lot of folk handle self-defense scenarios by simply displaying the gun.

Just spent a few day out in the boonies. Part of that was shooting slugs at a mansized target at 100 yards with a 12 gauge Winchester 1300. Ouch - sore shoulder time.

I agree with Justin that a good 12 gauge if you know how to really use it - is a great selfdefense gun. But it is not a novice gun.
Many chestpounders recommend them for that though.
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Old March 12, 2000, 12:53 AM   #19
Schmit
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Going to chime in here.

Living out in the country I have 3 firearms immediately available.

The first of which is my 1911, which resides right next to my bed along side a Surefire 6z.

Next up is a Berretta 1201 with Gunsite Police Shotgun mods.

Finally there is Colt Competition H-Bar.

If I'm checking out something within the house I'll have the 1911 & 6z. It's next to the bed and I'll be moving in close quarters.

If I'm checking out something outside around the house I'll have the 1201. Shots could be longer and quarters are not so tight.

If I have to move out to the pasture/woods the AR will be my partner as shots could be fairly long.

I will say that I do practice with each. Which is, IMO, the bottom line. Each has different techniques and must be learned.
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Old March 12, 2000, 07:26 AM   #20
Hal
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Pistol or Shotgun? ?

Sometimes one, sometimes both, somtimes neither. Sometimes what Master Blaster said, or a variation of his theme.

Whatever it is, it's whatever the grumpy old fart that stares at me every morning in the mirror is the best with for any possible what if situation.

This ain't a Church Social we're talking about. It's a do whatever it takes to draw breath situation. Guns run dry, people miss,he11 people even freeze up and bad guys don't run away all the time. Fact is, I have no friggin idea how I would react to a BG after my tail. I like to think I know, but plan for the worst. If it means missing with 6, or 10 shots or a malfunction- My Trapper 94 is a pretty decent club, my Kimber ain't and the 870 is too long to swing.
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Old March 12, 2000, 01:11 PM   #21
pluspinc
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Dave is 100% right. I had some corrections officers in class this week. One told of going into a tower and having no clue how to check and see if it was loaded and that was after her firearms class. Few shooters will use or practice with a shotgun enough to rely on it. Shotguns seem to attract more testosterone than common sense. Even recreational shooters of shotguns can fall apart in a real deal.
Nobody will discuss a serious concern but I will. Imagine shooting one in a ROOM without ear protection. It is an experience you won't forget. It isn't the noise but the concussion to the ear drums etc. The compression of air will hit that fluid in the ear and you will think you are on a two week drunk. Been there done that.
A shotgun is indeed devastating, but practical application is another issue. How secure is it when you leave home? You may come home and find yourself on the wrong end or it is gone. What about access by kids including your own and others. Trigger lock? How many other family members could use it? Maybe self defense of the home is a one person job. NOT!!You can come up with a ton of excuses but you have to use some common sense. I have trouble finding and getting my shoes on when I wake up. A shotgun is just complex enough to pose a problem.
Frequently residents wake up with the criminal IN the bedroom. What do you do then? If the criminal has you in view do you think they will let you reach for it or anything else?
Clearing a house? PLEASE forget that gun rag nonsense. I wouldn't try it and I've got 40+ years experience. When you do that you in fact become a preditor and it becomes self OFFENSE.
And the "sound" of the gun racking? PLEASE!
Enough cliches and urban legends abound without that one sticking around. Criminals don't run when they hear the police arrive or cops even shoot at them at times. It also tells the crook WHERE YOU ARE and what if the thug racks his shotgun? Wanna go there? I tell rookies that come to class with that one, that on the job they should drive around town at night and turn on the squads PA and rack the shotgun to bring crime to a halt.
Wish it was that simple.
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Old March 12, 2000, 03:59 PM   #22
Oleg Volk
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I have found, through practice, that the ideal in-house long gun for me is the M1 carbine with 15rd mag of soft points and some spares. It is tiny, light, fast to point, doesn't kick all that hard. The next one for short range is the Mak90 but it is far less suitable. Garand, HBAR15 and 20ga paump would all be worse. The access question is also real and I'd likely end up with either of the Glocks in practice. The plus side is that I'd need to miss 40-50 times with .45 or 9mm and by then most threats would deem me crazy and depart to let me discuss the condition of the walls with the landlord...not that I'd be bale to hear much of that dicussion.
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Old March 12, 2000, 04:14 PM   #23
Allen_Raiford
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I would take the portability of the handgun over the power of the shotgun.
If you have to answer the door late at night, it is much better to have the handgun behind your back than the shotgun at your side.
Just because you only envision using it for home defense, don't discount the possibility of taking it with you on a trip. You will attract much more atention lugging the scattergun to your hotel room, than you would carrying the pistol in your bag.
There are othere reasons, but I'll leave it at that.
BTW, it is hard to beat a quality duty sized .38/.357 revolver for a first handgun.
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Old March 12, 2000, 04:39 PM   #24
Jody Hudson
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Hantra,

There is a missing ingredient here: wall penetration.

Are there others in your home? In other rooms? Is your home made of concrete or brick to stop the handgun rounds? Are there others in homes withing a few hundred yards of your home that will be endangered by flying bullets?

If you need to be wary of through the wall dangers then a shotgun; perhaps 20 gauge or a 12 gauge with reduced-recoil loads will protect you and others from your misses. And there WILL be misses I suspect even at 10 yards.

With modern shotshells the lead pellets stay in a plastic shot cup for about 15 to 18 feet; then the plastic cup peels away ant the shot pellets continue on. In that first few feet, the likely distance for defense, your shot is contained in that plastic cup and is in actuality a single projectile. Although it won't penetrate a personal armor vest -- it will likely stop and maybe even kill the person from broken ribs and shock as it hits.

That shot cup however is shed beyond 20 feet at most, or if you hit a wall with it. What penetrates the first side of the wall is mostly absorbed by the second side of the wall and has little danger left, if any, beyond even the skimpiest third wall or outside wall of another home. For that reason, after having shot a lot of different loadings at different types of interior and exterior walls -- I have decided on #7/12 to #9 shot in a FAST trap and skeet load for my 12 gauge. At up to 16 feet this is effectively a slug and past that it gets safer faster than any other round and is less of a threat for through-the-wall dangers.

IF you do get the shotgun however, as has been pointed out so well by the other pros here -- you are well advised to practice considerably with it, until you are WELL skilled and at ease with it.



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Old March 12, 2000, 09:51 PM   #25
Edmund Rowe
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Hantra/Brandon said:

"...But now, I think I am going to get a pistol, then a shotgun. Just b/c the pistol is a bit more versatile, and I can never predict the situation.
You are never sure that when the time comes, you will be in your safe room pointing the firearm at the door. They may come through the window in your safe room. Then, a pistol may be easier to get at and use than a shotgun.

Thanks for everyone's help! This is a great BBS!"


Whew. Yes. Handguns and shotguns don't replace each other, they complement each other/do different roles than each other.

What to grab, handgun or shotgun in HD? I'd grab maybe both. Note that whatever you get, you need to know how to use it well for ALL anticipated scenarios and then some. Sounds like you are thinking beyond just home defense and this is good. Kinda tough to have the shotgun handy at a walk-up ATM.

I agree with PlusP that house clearing is something you should avoid if you really think there's somebody in the house. Training helps but it doesn't make you superman.

Some stuff you should be able to do with any firearm you choose for self-defense:

-Load, unload, and check the loaded status of the chamber
-Carry in a safe manner yet deployable in a timely manner.
-Hit vital organs on the bad guy(s) in a timely manner at distances you may encounter in your daily life. Not just hit the bad guy, hit his vitals. Lot smaller target now.
-Cover the bad guy and call for help (nice role for a handgun now!)
-Clear malfunctions or at least have an alternate plan/firearm
-Replenish the ammunition you shot

Now do the same during a power blackout. No, I'm not suggesting shooting in the dark. I'd keep a flashlight right by the firearms. A stereo set of amplyfying ear muffs is a great addition, also, if you have time to put them on.

This is a very short list off the top of my head.

Having said that, my preferences in shotguns:

-pump or semi-auto kept clean as a whistle
-no pistol grip
-fixed shoulder stock
-ghost ring or rifle type sights.
-18-20" barrel.
-cylinder bore

Hope that helps.

Edmund
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