View Full Version : When to use what for self defense.

April 24, 2008, 11:53 AM
Suppose you have an AR-15, Glock 17, and a 7 shot remington 870.

Under what scenario would you be best off using the shotgun?

I was guessing its best use is against home intruders when you are inside the home. Some will argue the AR-15 is a better choice. However if the perpetrator is armed and you want to make sure the perpetrator cannot return fire after you shot him, I was thinking the shotgun with 00 buck was the best choice.

Any other scenario where you would be better off with the shotgun for defense?

April 24, 2008, 04:22 PM
Any self defense situation is a good time to have a shotgun. The practicality of toting one around wih you everywhere you go somewhat limits its use in every situation though. Just my $.02

April 24, 2008, 04:34 PM
Do you need to open any doors or use a light (not mounted to a weapon). That makes the long gun a little less viable.

The first thing I would grab would always be the closest. If I am awake it is the handgun I have on me, even at home. If I am in bed at night it is likely to be the 870 in the closet.

I do not have an AR. I would like one but certainly do not feel I need one to effectively protect my home and family.

April 24, 2008, 04:50 PM
Inside a structure at close quarter ranges, and in a defensive situation, my nod goes to the shotgun. Having shot patrol rifle, shotgun and pistol extensively, I believe you come up on target better and have a better chance of hitting your target with a shotgun due to the simplicity of the sight. The downside is there is an increased chance of strays hitting an innocent. For offensive manuevers and longer ranges (25 yards or more), there is no doubt that the rifle is the superior weapon, especially if equipped with a good optic such as an Aimpoint or an Eotech. Both are exponentially better than a sidearm for most circumstances. Of course, a pistol may be your only practical option so train with it as much as possible.

April 24, 2008, 05:10 PM
The first thing I would grab would always be the closest.

I have a 9mm on the nite stand and a short barrell 12 gauge mounted behind the head board.
the shotgun would be my choice if someone made it back as far as the bedroom. the 9mm is for hunting down that "bump in the nite" in the rest of the house.

April 24, 2008, 09:00 PM
The best gun to use in any situation is the closest.

April 24, 2008, 09:08 PM
My .02cents it would have to depend on the situation my sons room is directly across from mine so i would want to be shooting towards that direction with a 12 gauge or anything for that matter but i would more than likley use my handgun less chance of blowthrough and it keeps a tighter group so i can place my rounds where they need to be insted of blasting the hell out the way behind him... not knocking the shotgun just my .02

April 24, 2008, 09:10 PM
Shotgun: inside the house (with in 25 yards) defense

AR/AK type rifle: longer range (100-400 yards) SHTF or multiple intruders?

Pistol: secondary - or if it's the closest thing you can get to.

All above options are better than nothing!

April 28, 2008, 10:56 PM
I don't know who said this, but I think it sounds good.

Pistol...keeps the BG off your body.
Shotgun...keeps the Bg out of your house.
Rifle...keeps the BG off your property

It just rings true to me. :D


Rifleman 173
April 28, 2008, 11:50 PM
The shotgun is good for close range shooting. With 00 buck, once you get out beyond 15 to 20 yards the shot will begin to start to pattern pretty wide. Beyond 25 yards most of your buckshot could be off the silhouette target. You need to test your shotgun and choice of buckshot/slugs at different distances to see how they pattern and how you have to aim to get them to print on the target. At 100 yards, with slugs, most of us were aiming completely off the target and down low to the right of it to get a hit on it. Other slug options could vary requiring different points of aim. But, for close range work like across the room's length, 00 buck will probably work well. So if I were deciding which to use it would be the shotgun first, followed by the handgun with the rifle last. If you manage to force them back, you'll need that rifle for the last, longer distance shots.

April 29, 2008, 03:20 AM
Others have said it, and I concur, Handgun to hunt the "bump in the night", Shotgun to keep the nefarious felon out of the bedroom and the rifle to keep him a distance away.

Here's my personal SD Distances, not saying I can't or won't shoot further, this is just what I consider the best "optimal" distances.

0-7 Yards: Handgun (Very Likely)
7-25 Yards: Shotgun (More Likely At Closer Ranges)
25-100 Yards: Rifle (Not Very Likely)

April 29, 2008, 10:27 PM
I like the Shotty with 00 buck, lets them know you mean business when you rack it!

May 12, 2008, 12:26 AM
Get family to "safe room" ASAP if you can. Take a defensive position within that room with weapon of choice. (mine would be a SxS double barrel). Call 911 if possible and let LE know your present location within the structure. Do not leave that position until LE arrives. If intruder is ID'd as a threat by invading your safe room, fire until the threat no longer exists. Pray to God that you didn't kill an innocent person. Thank God that you and your family are safe. Be prepared for the impending investigations, second guessing, possible criminal prosecution, and civil law suits that may follow. Remember that if you are alive with a safe family you did what you had to and leave it up to Gods judgement of your action, no matter how badly it may turn in the aftermath.

May 12, 2008, 03:58 AM
The handgun gets the call for concealed carry, when I must investigate a strange noise on the deck or in the driveway but which have no been confirmed to be hostile, and those instances (God forbid) that an intruder is basically on top of me before I awake.

The rifle gets the call for pretty much anything else, unless I am attacked en masse by a group of ravaging pigeons.

May 12, 2008, 04:17 PM
A Shotgun?

Inside the house for close defence, when you have a lone target and you are in danger!

A Pistol would always be closest to me, on the table next to my bed. I would use that if I were in imminent [Like someone had just walked into my bedroom type thing brandishing a gun...] danger [And the law allowed me...].

An AK-47 would truly be my last resort. Because of the power of that Baby... Because of the way my current residence is built if I had an AK-47 I would be fairly bloody careful it didn't kill anyone in my house...

But come on... All I think for a burglar would just be the sight of one...

Is that the door I hear slamming?

Glenn E. Meyer
May 13, 2008, 10:15 AM
Zombies, Hannibal Lecter, Zombies

Any of them are quite legit if you know how to use them and they are available. It's really a nonissue except if you want to posit extreme scenarios.

Body armored terrorists - the AR-15.

Have you trained and practiced with each or is it just the usual stopping power discussion?

May 13, 2008, 11:28 PM
you need to consider what your house design is and neighbors. while an ar is an excellent weapon it will go thru a couple houses if you miss. also you dont want to be sticking a long barrel around corners as its a dead giveaway your coming and an awesome lever for someone to grab on to in an effort to disarm you. ofcourse training and common sense mitigates these issues.

i personally think a shot gun or hand gun are the best choices. its a toss up between the two. one is more precise the other more forgiving.

the best is a 12 inch shotgun. sure you need to get an aow stamp but its powerful forgiving and can be maneuvered around easily.

May 14, 2008, 12:06 AM
I've been lurking and doing some posting on TFL for some time and I am just amazed at all of the postings about penetration and killing or wounding friendlies. Then I read all the posts about how most people can't hit a bad guy at 7 yards when shooting at him. Here's my question. Should we just aim at our kids bedroom and then we might just hit the guy we want to?:confused: If you think that you can't drop a bad guy with a round heavy enough to stop him because you are worrying about possibly hitting a family member or neighbor, use a knife or invest in a state of the art home security system and don't waste your money on guns and ammo. When you commit to using firearms there is always a chance of someone getting hurt or killed that you didn't intend. IF YOU ARE SO WORRIED ABOUT THIS TYPE OF ACCIDENT, DON'T USE A GUN. :eek:

May 14, 2008, 12:57 AM
you need to consider what your house design is and neighbors. while an ar is an excellent weapon it will go thru a couple houses if you miss. also you dont want to be sticking a long barrel around corners as its a dead giveaway your coming and an awesome lever for someone to grab on to in an effort to disarm you. ofcourse training and common sense mitigates these issues.

i personally think a shot gun or hand gun are the best choices. its a toss up between the two. one is more precise the other more forgiving.

the best is a 12 inch shotgun. sure you need to get an aow stamp but its powerful forgiving and can be maneuvered around easily.

FACT: Anything powerful enough and offering sufficient penetration to stop an attacker is going to go through several common interior walls.

FACT: The 5.56mm penetrates less interior walls than most handgun rounds due to the high velocity and fragmentary characteristics of the round.

I am constantly amazed at how many people will complain about the barrel length and handling characteristics of a carbine rifle, then recommend a shotgun. The legal minimum length for a rifle barrel without a permit is 16 inches, compared to 18 inches for a shotgun. And it only takes a little training to mitigate most weapon retention issues. Overall, the advantages a rifle has over a handgun (and IMO, a shotgun) much outweigh the disadvantages.

May 14, 2008, 02:15 AM
Under what scenario would you be best off using the shotgun?

I have practiced enough with a full-stocked shotgun that I can walk with it ready and sufficiently ready to retain in a struggle. Sure a long gun makes it a PITA to negotiate doors (closed to save heating), clear rooms in the narrow hallway, etc.
However. If I have to light an intruder up, much less in MY OWN HOME, I want the best tool for the job. Yeah, M4's have replaced the combat shotgun on all fronts, but still ,when each shot has to matter, my shot is low recoil 00 Buck. There is just no disputing the stopping power, within HD ranges. I just feel better stacking the deck in my favor.
I also plan for the local m.o. That is a violent entry of multiple armed assailants. You could likely have to engage two, maybe more, criminals before they flee. Almost always this is just punks looking to head up on their supplier or dealer, probably the occasional rich folks in a nice home. My home is the 16th most dangerous city in the US (and all violent crime, property crime is below average), good deal of murders go down 2 miles down the road (between home and work) and while that makes me a more likely random target, lifestyle choices that avoid trouble and BG interaction allow me to feel safe in my own home. But you can never be too careful. i have to think though, those crack dealers and whatnot, while lacking any gunfighting skills (they do know how to pick out the iron though, .223s and SKSs are pretty popular with BGs here,apparently, they turn up in raids regularly), they have an advantage in staying sharp-the realistic expectation that people could bust in and start shooting. If not, even having already experienced shooting someone, that subconcious question or hesitation gone. And these are the people we'll be dealing with! This is why I trained in scenario terms. Visualise something, most likely situations, and work out the best way to address them, then repeat several times. Hoping it will help reaction and efficiency, and buy time if I go on autopilot. Revert to what I practiced, so I keep it simple and practical. I have always been interested in the mindset aspect too, studied great gunfighters (and other combatants too) throughout history trying to find something that might help me survive in that situation. A loved one could be counting on that one day.
I live alone and am perfectly fine answering a pounding/screaming at the door in the middle of the night with a 12 gauge, or a window being messed with... Something that out of the ordinary is cause to roll out and have ready the artillery.

A shotgun should at least be kept to fortify a safe-room. Even a 20 gauge is not a huge compromise.

The Carbine is a good choice too, and IMO better than a handgun anytime you have the time or opportunity, and elbowspace to use one. Handguns have traditionally been the close quarter gun. History, well common sense in fact, shows that the rifle (and SG) is the superior fight stopper. More power. Better hit probability, hell, accuracy potential. More control. I am not blowing off handguns nor consider them no good for anything but carry and backup. A fine tuned 1911 (or other fine shooting SA, or a striker, or TDA) is IMO a fine choice of a HD weapon on it's own, if you are satisfied with the limited power a handgun can offer, and you trust your skills with it. I don't feel comfortable with either.
I used to use a Mini 14 with 18x 40 gr. JHPs/unchambered as my first resort HD weapon, though the Mossberg and .45 were loaded too. I was concerned with overpenetration, as I then lived at home with my parents and the threat would likely come from the direction of their room.
I wouldn't use that load today. They may virtually explode but they're still just 40 grains. .223 is the heaviest I'd go indoors whether in a cabin or thin walled tentament. Many cannot understand a handgun cal. carbine which is understandable. But the mildness of this setup is a big advantage in weapon control, no giant muzzle flash or ear splitting report to further disorient you in a fight or flight altered reality, no getting rocked momentarily by a 12 gauge recoilling. Sort of a .22 with real punch on the muzzle end. For the portability you give up, vs. the same round in a pistol or revolver, you get something that increases the power of the shot, and the chance it will go where you want.

I would use the handgun, as a backup (tucked in when I go for the shotgun), to replace a dry or jammed primary, or pull if a disarm was going on. In the event it would be faster access (meet the threat ASAP with whatever you have adequate). Or, having one handy when I walk into the house after work, or later at night. Carrying at home sounds more and more like a good idea.

I just know I for one will have a lot better of a chance if using a rifle or shotgun. Could be from training more with them, but... say a 25,30 yard target. That's cake for anyone with a M4 or 870. Same target, no stress, the results will be a lot different using your best pistol. Does this apply to HD, those ranges? I think so, just pointing out the more inherent 'hitting potential', magnified under stress. Headshots with a carbine are not the likely miss that they are to many pistoleers fighting for their life (Just a point, COM is the way to go). People don't miss as much with long guns, they're just a lot easier to use effectively. And when they strike the target, more likely gets the results you need. To me those are definate advantages that matter, and take priority.
What works for me, and why, no advisory intended

May 14, 2008, 11:29 AM
But come on... All I think for a burglar would just be the sight of one...

Is that the door I hear slamming?

You hope that's the case, but it's most often not. The increase in "Occupied Home Burglaries" is truely astounding. Criminals are getting more brazen and are more willing to use violence than I've seen in my past twenty years.

I'll take the Shotgun if given a choice, thank you.


May 16, 2008, 03:42 PM
Damage from shotgun blasts is not covered in your homeowner's policy.

My son has handloaded the new Barnes Varmint Grenade bullet in .223 for use in his AR-15. These bullets cause very wicked wounds.

I would just rely on my Glock 17. But I have a shotgun available for backup, loaded with copper plated BB shells.


May 16, 2008, 05:19 PM
I know I will get hammered for this, but here goes:

I have a P-22 with a silencer and a laser ( sighted in at 7 meters/21 feet, for home defence 6 feet is the best).

The laser eliminates the need for light (open sights need light:rolleyes:), and puts the fear of God in most bad guys that have ever watched TV.
You can also aim over an obstical, while looking around/under the obstical. This hides/shifts your positon by a few feet.

The silencer (Ase Utra) will prevent damage to you and your loved ones hearing and prevent trauma for the younger ones.

I know that saving your life is more important than your hearing, but why not?
Another positive about using a silencer is that family members, that are not used to firing a gun in close quarters (Who is:confused:), can also fire in self defence, without loosing consertration due to decible overload.

For some reason you dont want the neighbors to call 911 before you do:rolleyes: a silencer is a VERY good idea!

The choice of caliber is up for grabs! Of course a 9mm., .45, 12 gauge or a .357 will destroy tissue (I have them all) in a manner that we all want to see an intruder suffer. But the recoil and blast is way to much for a non military/police person, in a life and death to fire with any amount of accuracy.

But a .22 is "controllable" AND I think most crack heads would change there mind after a couple of shots in the face.
Shots to the head(Target= 15 inches wide at 6 feet) orifices(eyes, sinus and mouth) will cause enough damage to deter most any assailant.

But now my family and I live in a place where my guns are locked away, and my doors are unlocked most of the time:D

Now Hammer me!

...and I´ll wip out my little .22..

May 16, 2008, 06:50 PM
1- it is the only firearm you have in a life threatening situation.

May 17, 2008, 01:56 AM
Fortunately I'm one who has never had to kill someone but I know what I can shoot. I'm a good sized guy at 6'2" and around 200#'s. My 'go to' gun is a 9mm full of Black Talons. Why? Because I can control it better than a 1911 or .44 Mag. which have too much muzzle jump for follow up rounds.

13 rds. accurately placed or maybe one or two from a hand cannon, the choice is yours.

Capt. Charlie
May 17, 2008, 11:59 AM
A few here will note that their posts have been deleted. That tends to happen when things get too personal and others are trying to keep it civil.

I strongly suggest that those involved take the hint. ;)