View Full Version : shotgun vs handgun for home defense
August 1, 2000, 01:08 AM
I am looking for a good defense weapon for my wife. She shot my glock 27 and liked it. She hasn't shot a shotgun, but maybe will get a chance to this weekend. What do you think as to pros/cons of say a glock 27 vs a mossberg 500 or remington 870 with 18" bbl for home defense? Seems to me like the shotgun would be more intimidating to an intruder and would be easier to aim, but the pistol might be easier to handle.
August 1, 2000, 02:25 AM
My little sister wanted something that would scare the Sh*# out of any BG who happens to come for a late night visit so I took an old 20G SS double barrel shotgun I got for $50 from a neighbor and had the barrel cut to just over 18". With 2 rounds of #6 low velocity shells (Walmart special) in the chamber (action kept open under her bed) and 5 more on the butt cuff she is pretty efficient with it and accurate out to about 10 yards. I was thinking about Youth size Remington 870 in 20G but she didn't like having to slide the action after each round (too complicated for her). It's a simple and cheap setup but she likes it. By the way, she is 5' 1" and about 100lb. with tiny hands but it works for her. Now she wants me to get another one made to keep next to her front door.
August 1, 2000, 06:33 AM
Few tyros can start off with the shotgun and be effective w/o major committments in time and work. Also,being easier to aim is an urban myth. At HD ranges, it hits like a solid projectile anyways and must be aimed to be effective.
Before purchase,take her to a range and let her try out different firearms. Perhaps the simplicity of a 38 revolver will appeal to her,or a 380, or that shotgun, but let HER decide....
August 1, 2000, 08:51 AM
***AMEN*** to that last point. She's gotta pick. If she doesn't end up getting something she's comfortable using, she won't practice, and if she doesn't practice it doesn't matter WHAT she gets.
Besides...how would you feel if someone decided for you what weapon you would use for self defense?
Yeah...thought so ;)
PS Also, remember...her choice might change over time. Are you still using the very first pistol you ever bought for defense as your primary weapon? I am...but I went out and bought a BHP right out of the gate. Few are so fortunate as to have guessed right the first time. ;) ;) ;)
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -Robert Heinlein
August 1, 2000, 12:48 PM
Thanks for all your advice. I am very open to the idea of her choosing her weapon but she doesn't really care or understand everything. It is good that she likes to go to the range and shoot, but I can barely drag her into the gun store. She judges guns primarily by their appearance and not their functionality or how well they fit here hand. She likes my G27 because she says that it is "cute" I think a full size glock like the 17 or possibly a revolver would serve her well. I have taught her how to operate the action, change mags etc on the glock and she is quite proficient at it, but I could reload nine rounds before she could get them in the magazine.
I also agree that at close ranges a shotgun blast is like a projectile but I think that shoulder mounted shotguns are easier to aim then handguns for novices. it is just more natural IMHO. It takes alot of practice to be accurate with a handgun.
August 1, 2000, 08:34 PM
I've seen a short, lightweight woman use a Remington 870 20 gauge to very good effect in a recent training class.
Some may snort at a 20 but I've heard it has over twice the energy of a .44 Magnum.
I would see if I can borrow some kinds of shotguns for the wife to try out with birdshot, slugs, and buckshot. If you can get some competent help to teach her, that would make the experience positive. There's something about spouses ....they make horrible firearm instructors for each other!
Failing that, what I've told women is
-Keep the firing side elbow as high as it will go. Watch this because the elbow wants to droop during a shooting session.
-PULL the buttstock into the shoulder pocket HARD.
-Lean forward aggressively. For some reason many women don't lean forward in fight mode too well. Leaning forward doesn't mean put your hips forward; rather put the support side foot way forward with that knee bent and the firing side leg straight and driving back into the ground. Shoulders leaning forward of the hips.
-After doing the above 3, then show the basics of front sight, trigger press, follow through, etc.
If it's a pump then she should learn to rack the slide HARD and FAST right off the bat.
If she likes semi-auto shotguns, the 11-87 20 gauge is supposedly a VERY light kicking choice.
Finally, choose some ammo like Remington reduced recoil slugs, not the 3 1/2" Magnums.
If you can find a professional instructor, that would help immensely. The best defensive shotgun instructor I know of is Randy Cain www.guntactics.com (http://www.guntactics.com) though I also hear Louis Awerbuck is incredibly good with scattergun training.
As a complement to the handgun, I think shotguns have a very useful role in home defense. I strongly believe that long arms are much easier to aim than handguns unless you get to about 3 feet or less. From where I lounge in my house usually, it's about 7-10 yards to one entry point. That's stretching it for a handgun under stress, but a snap for a shotgun. Also, once I was in my garage when someone drove up and approached me (total stranger!) asking for directions. Nothing bad happened, but the distance from where I was in the garage to the driveway was much farther than simple handgun range.
The shotgun and handgun don't replace each other in home defense. They support each other in overlapping roles.
Hope that makes sense.
August 2, 2000, 05:46 AM
Bdog, it takes lots of practice to be good with ANYTHING.
Urban Myth #264,"You don't have to aim a shotgun, just kinda point it towards the right zip code".....
Edmund brought up a good point, maybe some lessons from a qualified pro would help her more and stress your relationship less.
And 20 gas are viable in this context, the sole advantage 12s have for HD is the variety of ammo on the shelf.
August 2, 2000, 09:29 AM
There is no perfect gun for home defense. Pistols and shotguns have advantages and disadvantages.
- easy to store safely in a lock box.
- easy to carry discretely when there's a late night knock on the door.
- harder for a perp to take away from you.
- easier to maneuver through hallways if you have to leave your safe room to go get your kids.
- less stopping power.
- harder to hit your target.
- possibly less intimidating.
As others have mentioned, your wife will have to decide. What works for you may not work for her. You did not mention your wife's stature, but I do strongly suggest you consider a .20 guage autoloader. That will have a lot less recoil than a 12 guage pump. I'm not a big person (160 lbs), but I am larger than many (most?) women. And I really don't enjoy 00 buck out of my 870. I know better than to let my 110 lb wife try my 870 (and she knows better than to accept such an offer).
Regarding the Glock, how big are your wife's hands and how strong is she? Many womens' fingers are too short for double-stack magazine autoloaders -- they can't comfortably reach the trigger. Also, many women have trouble racking the slide on compact, large caliber autoloaders. If your wife can handle your Glock 27, great.
Of course, if you're really just looking for a reason to go buy another gun, then buy all means, go get a shotgun ;)
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