View Full Version : Why is a shotgun so effective?

April 17, 2006, 05:49 PM
I do not understand the basics of a shotgun...why does a bunch of small balls cause a lot of damage? If people argue that a 9mm round does not cause so much damage why is a bunch of smaller balls considered so good?
Why is the shotgun considered so powerful?

April 17, 2006, 06:12 PM
raindrops to a tsunami?

April 17, 2006, 06:12 PM
For example a 12 guage shell has a lot more powder than a 9mm so the energy coming from the barrel is many times more. You have that much force propeling multiple projectiles that all hit the same target at the same time causing a devistating blow. So in recap ( much more energy+more bullets=more owie) :)

April 17, 2006, 06:31 PM
Thats just mentioning buckshot. Try comparing a 12 gauge rifleled slug next to a handgun round. In my 590-a1, for defense I'd carry 00 buck then slug then buck...... so on. Or perhaps just rifled slugs, since thats all I can practice with at the indoor range. Shotguns give only one thing to handguns and that is the larger size of one compared to a defensive handgun. But with the shotguns ability to cause large devestating wounds at and within typical engagement distances it reins supreme with home defense. You can easily obtain one shot stops with a 12 gauge I'd bet and likely without the overpentration that can potentially be a problem with many rifles.

April 17, 2006, 06:32 PM
What do you want?

One .38 caliber projectile hitting the target at 1100 fps, or 8/9 projectiles hitting the target at 1100 fps?

That said, be able to put hits on your target with your shotgun. If you can hit better with your 9mm, by all means, shoot your intruder as many times as it takes to stop the threat. Hits are good, misses with a weapon you can't handle are potentially fatal.....to you.

The shotgun isn't a cure all, it's just a tool, as is your pistol or revolver, or rifle.

April 17, 2006, 06:44 PM
since im in phsycis class lets relate it.

compare it to a 9mm. where a 9mm weighs a tenth or so of the shotgun projectile.

then relate it to kenetic energy= 1/2Mass x velocty^2

more mass= more E

April 17, 2006, 07:04 PM
This is a very easy concept to grasp once you can relate to combined destruction. When comparing a .45 bullet versus a 9mm (.35) bullet, the larger bullet has more surface space to to contact the target, and therefore, more surface space to crush tissues. Both will destroy a certain amount of tissue.

For my example, I will use a destruction factor of 1.0 for each 00 buck shot pellet and 2.0 for a single 230 grain FMJ .45 bullet.
A typical 12 gauge 2.75 inch 8 pellet 00 buckshot load would equal a destruction factor of 8.0 points and a single FMJ .45 bullet would equal 2.0 points.
A 9 pellet load would equal 9.0 points and a .45 bullet would equal 2.0 points.
A 12 pellet load would equal 12.0 points and a .45 bullet would equal 2.0 points.
A 12 gauge 3.0 inch 15 pellet load would equal 15.0 points and a .45 bullet would equal 2.0 points.
A 3.5 inch 12 gauge 18 pellet load would equal 18.0 points and a .45 bullet would equal 2.0 points.

00 buckshot loads between 8 to 18 points would essentially do more destruction than a single .45 bullet at 2.0 points.
I hope this has helped visualize the difference.

April 17, 2006, 10:26 PM
Getting hit with a shotgun (00 buck) is like getting shot in the chest 9 times simultaneously with a submachine gun.
The 9mm handgun only makes one hole. You do roughly 9 times the damage in one shot.

Tommy Vercetti
April 20, 2006, 06:41 AM
480 grains in an ounce..the equivalent weight of two 240 grain .44 magnum bullets hurtling toward their target at .40 or 9mm velocities :) from a lowly 2 3/4" shell every time you squeeze the trigger

April 20, 2006, 08:02 AM
put it like this, one double or triple ot is like shooting a 9mm around 10 times... you might get lucky and not get hit with a girly gun like a 9 but to dodge a wall of pellets, each one as powerfull as the 9mm round, is one hell of a feat... i like to think of it like this, the cops are shooting single round 9mms, thats nice, theyre well trained and have generaly good aim, but they have to hit , with a 12 gauage all i have to do is come close and pow youre hit 2 3 4 or more times... not that i have or would ever shoot a person but the power is just there plain and simple...
interesting enough i was looking into getting some buckshot for my .410 and heard those rounds, as small as they are, have 3 .22 sized rounds packed with more power than a 22... thats deadly in itself,

April 20, 2006, 04:17 PM
Would you rather be punched once in the head or 10 times?

Simple answer. More bullets=more holes. More holes=more trauma. More traume= Less bad guy.

April 20, 2006, 11:06 PM
Not to mention the sound of a pump action being worked would make me pee myself if I as somewhere doing something I shouldn't.

44 AMP
April 21, 2006, 01:49 AM
The smallest standard shotgun is .410. 41 caliber. .410 slugs are the equivalent to a .41 magnum pistol round. And it just gets BIGGER, up to 12 gauge, the largest standard size it "tactical" use. .72 caliber. (we will leave the mighty 10 ga out of the picture for now;) )

Think of it. .72 caliber, and doing 1300 fps, or better. Double the eneregy of a .44 mag round, and that doesn't even take into account the MASSIVE area of the slug. Buckshot may be like multiple 9mm bullets, but that is somewhat misleading, as they all impact at the same instant, unlike multiple shots from a pistol. The difference is tremendous. At close range, where the shot column has not had time to spread out, even tiny birdshot hits with tremendous energy, as if it were a solid mass, like a slug.

Why is it so effective, because SIZE does Matter!

FYI 437.5 grains to the ounce 480gr would be close to 1 1/8th ounce

April 21, 2006, 05:52 PM
Bear in mind there's also the issue of the projectile transferring its kinetic energy to the target. If I've got it right, a 12-gauge slug has about the same amount of kinetic energy as a 7.62mm NATO FMJ, but the latter is likely to drill straight through the target and out the other side, leaving a small (comparatively) neat hole without transferring an appreciable amount of its KE. A 9mm Para FMJ is likely to do something very similar, so you've got to hit something vital to stop your target quickly. Shotgun ammunition, by contrast, transfers way more of its KE to the target, thereby inflicting blunt trauma.

April 21, 2006, 06:20 PM

Blunt trauma is well expressed in this video.

April 21, 2006, 06:53 PM
You also have the advantage of multiple projectiles causing injuries (possibly to multiple organs and systems within the body) at once. The body doesn't deal as well with that.

I don't have any actual data to support that. Perhaps one of the readers has information regarding this.

April 21, 2006, 09:37 PM
i've read....and ill find the source sometime later....

with a hand gun wound, or rifle would, it does not damage the CNS with one hit, unless its a head shot, which is the fastest way to kill soemone. when somone is shot with a single projectile, the blood vessels constrict around the wound and help to stop alot of the internal damage. even after 2 or 3 wounds, someone still has motor functions and might not die for a long time, untill they bleed out. However the trauma inflicted to the body by buckshot is so severe that it damages major organs, tears lots of tissue, and consequently the body cant respond in the same way it does to a small wound. Someone will bleed out much faster after a buckshot wound then after a rifle or handgun wound.

thats why a shotgun is more effective.

April 21, 2006, 09:52 PM
my take, to be redundant.

i'll just use buckshot as the example. i believe 00 buck is .335" diameter, 50-60 grain - so basically about the same diameter as a 9mm bullet, just lighter. now you figure you have 10-20 of these flying out between 1000 and 1400 fps, both depending on whether you're shooting normal or magnum shells. so on the high end, comparable to 9mm velocity and diameter, just less mass per. let's say ideally half of them hit at the range you'd be using a home defense shotgun. that's a lot of damage and energy, and i've read that multiple traumatic wounds incurred simultaneously create shock faster than several hitting in succession over a time period. same could go for birdshot, although the penetration wouldn't be what it needs to be to assure high single-shot stop ratios, not that those are the be all and end all. slugs will mess anything up, when the box-of-truth guys did their bulletproof glass test i definitely started giving a lot more credibility to shotgun slugs.

at close range nothing's better than a shotgun. whether or not it's flexible or the best choice in very close quarters is arguable, but in terms of the old "stopping power" premise, you're not going to find much better.

April 21, 2006, 11:51 PM
check this site out www.theboxotruth.com a thick peice of bullet resistant glass can stop every assault rifle round and cabine except for a 12 gauge slug.

April 24, 2006, 07:46 PM
Only bad thing about shooting someone with a shotgun at close range (Most SD situations occur at under 25 yards), is you will be doing quite a bit of cleaning up. If you're not picking up teeth and brains, you're picking up chunks of human organs and muscle tissue. But yeah shotguns are far more effective in SD situations, and even an amatuer shooter (like myself) can actually hit the poor shmuck who had the nerve to try and break your home. People who actually survive being shot by a shotgun are very lucky to be alive.

April 24, 2006, 08:14 PM
I never think of a shotgun as a home defence weapon, I just hunt with it. But at the risk of being highly repititve it is one of the largest firearms you can still buy, mine kicks like a horse but it does a number to what ever animal is down range of me.

I don't know what you plan to do with a shotgun, nor do I know how big you are. If you are planing to use it like a "sniper rifle" well that is just plain not going to work (read more about shotguns if you dont know why). And if you are one of those 6'5 95lb a 10+ lb shotgun with slugs is not going to work well with you.

A shotgun is far from the best anti-human weapons. But it makes a dandy bird gun.
If you are just in the anti-human dept I will not help as I don't care for the thought.

April 25, 2006, 12:42 AM
Well I'd say the "box O Truth" pretty much somes it up, the old 12 or 20ga can be a excellent defensive tool :D