View Full Version : Is a lightweight 20 gauge good for home def.

June 13, 1999, 09:32 PM
I am looking to buy a 20 gauge for my wife to use in emergencies. I would use it too but prefer my handgun. Is this gauge sufficient? My longest straight shot in my house is about 25-30' so what load would keep the spread down? Our room is on oppisite side of house from kids so if I fire it may penetrate walls. I have imaginary lines in my mind where I can't aim but I may not have the luxary of choosing in a real situation.

Blue Jays
June 13, 1999, 10:49 PM
Hi leedesert-

Either shotgun, whether 20-gauge or 12-gauge, is a formidable tool in the hands of a determined homeowner.

A goblin coming through the window or through the backdoor need only sense your COMPLETE RESOLVE to defend home and hearth, he'll soon turn on his or her heels!

I've heard many positive comments about 20-gauge for people of slight build (men or women) who find this caliber less punishing than stepping-up to the powerful 12-gauge.


~ Blue Jays ~

June 13, 1999, 10:58 PM
The 20ga will be fine, the truth is that most men cant handle the 12ga, recoil properly(only because they dont train to do so), and would be better served with a 20ga imo, not knowing what is around your house neghibors, other folks in the house, etc., at the short distances your talking about you might want to consider hunting loads instead of buckshot, at those ranges of 25-30 feet the shot should still be a small enuf mass to act as a frangible and most likely not overpenetrate through the walls of the house, this could lead to a problem shooting through furniture if necessary--but thats something you could experiment with.

[This message has been edited by fubsy (edited June 14, 1999).]

Art Eatman
June 13, 1999, 11:39 PM
In a word, yes.

Illustrative story: A married couple I know got into a squabble over her parrot's being loose in the house, regularly; the issue was parrot-poop on his favorite chair. An excess of beer was involved...He grabbed the parrot and headed out the door. She sez, "if you turn that parrot loose, I'll shoot you!

Well, he did and she did. 20-gauge, #9 Skeet at about 20 or 25 yards. He lived through it, but they took an incredible number of pellets out of him, and he was in the hospital for a couple of weeks.

History says nothing about the whereabouts of the parrot. My friends went on the wagon. And had it been 25 or 30 feet, he wouldn't have survived.


June 14, 1999, 09:21 AM

Had it been 25 or 30 feet, he probably would've been cut in half.

#9 is *nasty* at close range, whether 20 or 12 gauge. A few hundred teeny little pellets, about as big (diameter) as an IV needle, traveling at 900+ fps, acts much the same as a flechette.

Which, BTW, you can get <a href="http://www.iidbs.com/hitech">here</a>.

Art Eatman
June 14, 1999, 10:36 AM
Coinneach, what did you go and post that site-info for? You're gonna cost me a lot of money, dammit...

June 14, 1999, 10:39 AM
Sorry, Art. I'll try to buy out their stock before your ol' lady locks up the credit cards.

Al Thompson
June 14, 1999, 11:47 AM
Hi leedesert, Go with a Remington 870 Youth Model. The LOP and short barrel make this into a very user friendly gun. Our local GS has them for under $300.00. I like this model very much and have the Winchester equal. Massad Ayoob pointed out that no matter how good one is with a 12, they'll be better with a 20 simply due to it's ease of handling and recoil recovery. The buckshot loads are OK and the slug is fine. Nothing wrong with either a cloud of #2 Buck or a 400 odd grain .60 caliber soft lead slug traveling in excess of a 1000 fps. If over penetration is a concern, go with a birdshot load. I have no idea if they're available, but # 2s through # 6s would be my choice. Please remember that interior walls are not very good at stopping any projectiles.

Practice lots!!