View Full Version : 16 guage for home defense?

February 14, 2001, 12:32 PM
My brother isnt into guns that much, but wants something for home defense, and no hand guns. So im leaning towards suggesting a shot gun, but think a 12g may be too much for him (recoil, as he is kinda thin+overpenetration in an appt).

1. What would be a lighter home defense guage...Would the 16 or 20 guage be sufficient or not enough?
2. Any suggestions on what shotgun to buy? (he is pretty wealthy, so reliability and quality is more important than price).
3. What defensive loads do you suggest he use for appartment and soon to be house protection.
4. It would be nice to be as compact as possible- but still with a stock.

February 14, 2001, 12:43 PM
20 should be fine, especially if you stoke it with buck, NOT bird shot. #4 Buck is probably about perfect for most folks. 16 would be great, but good luck finding ammo.

Reduced recoil/"tactical" 12 gauge is another- very popular- option.

Al Thompson
February 14, 2001, 02:13 PM
I am impressed with the Remington 870 Youth in 20 GA. I have one of these on my "sooner or later" list. This model has a 21 inch barrel (IIRC) and a 12 inch or so length of pull. I enjoy handling and shooting the guns even though I have an 18 inch neck and 36 inch sleeves. Very handy and quick little gun.

There are two buckshot loads available, # 2 in the 3 inch, # 3 in the 2/34. Either will do.

I respectfully disagree about the birdshot issue - at 10 yards or less, it's (IMHO) quite effective in the larger shot sizes. I keep a box of (3 3/4 dram, 1 1/4 oz.) # 2s around for my first or second shots in my HD shotguns.


February 14, 2001, 04:07 PM
20 with buckshot would be fine. I'd recommend that over a 16, as 20 guage ammo is easier to find.


February 14, 2001, 05:08 PM
Last summer I bought a Remington 870 Youth in 20 gauge for home defense. The recoil was rather much for me until I had the forcing cone extended, and increased the weight of the gun by adding a magazine extension & sidesaddle, and had a mercury-filled recoil reducer installed in the stock. It is now a nice and tame pleasure to shoot, and just as adequate for home defense as my 12 gauge 870 Police Magnum - which I bought LNIB when I learned that the 20 gauge (before modifications) was as heavy a kicker as the 12 gauge, and I was left without a gun for months while waiting to get the 20 gauge back from the gunsmith. My 20 gauge has a non-rifled 20 inch IC barrel with # 3 buckshot, which is my load of choice for HD.

[Edited by tyro on 02-15-2001 at 07:29 AM]

Dave R
February 14, 2001, 06:39 PM
My .02:

16ga is fine if someone already owns one or if he gets a smoking deal used. Ammo is harder to find but can be found. My boys still hunt with a 16ga every year.

If he is buying new, I would (slightly) recommend a 12 ga. over a 20ga. just for the increased versatility. Fact is, you can get "light" 12 ga loads that feel like a 20 ga, but you preserve the option to go to heavier loads over time if he ever gets into hunting. See the thread about Estate "light" buckshot. That looks perfect for HD in a 12ga.

I own a 12 ga and a 20 ga. any my 20 recoils as much as my 12, just because the 20 is lighter. And when I shoot "light" loads in the 12, it feels softer to me than the 20.

February 14, 2001, 09:57 PM
The greater ammo and gun choices associated with 12 gauge is a good reason to stick with it. 16 gauge ammunition may prove to be prohibitively expensive for practise.


Dave McC
February 15, 2001, 06:43 AM
Having trained hundreds of non shotgunners to shoot shotguns, my feelings are that as much as I like shotguns, there may be better choices for your brother, Ironballs.

Expertise comes with use, and your brother may not get the practice he needs,if he doesn't shoot shotguns recreationally.

Since handguns seem to be a non-choice, I'd recommend he trying a handgun caliber carbine, or an M-1 carbine, for a non kicking, effective tool.

Best thing would be to take your brother to the range with an assortment of weaponry, and let him try out stuff until he finds what he likes and is comfortable with.

Also, a 20 ga is fine for HD,and the 870 Youth Model one of the undiscovered wonders of the modern world, but some of the 20s on the market are vicious kickers.

February 15, 2001, 08:40 AM
Being yet a tyro, and recently experienced with new 20 and 12 gauge shotguns as well as a revolver, I heartily concur with Dave McC's advice and would stress the importance of it. Although the shotgun is my preference for HD, I am still working at learning to handle it well (having just recently needed more private e-mail correction and instruction from Dave, even though I have had my guns for months now). I practice live firing with the shotgun several times a week, and the more I practice, the more I realize how much I need to do so, and how far I am from being quite good at doing so. My revolver (Ruger KGP 141) is much simpler and easier to use, but I am determined to persevere with shotgun practice until it is 2nd nature for me to release the slide, rack a round, unsafe the trigger, and be ready to fire (while having been in the process of correctly mounting the gun during that four step process). Then to fire successive shots without failing to fully release the trigger between shots (aiming at and hitting targets seem to be the simplest parts of the exercises). Then, when the gun is empty or doesn't fire, to immediately safe the trigger, visually check the load status to be sure both firing chamber and magazine are empty, lock the action closed, load the magazine, and either store the gun in the safe or start another round of practice. There is more to it than that, but that is what I find I yet need to practice the most, along with the basic rules for gun safety.

February 15, 2001, 12:28 PM
Thanks 2 all 4 the advise.

I guess the first step is to get some light 12g loads and have him play some more with my shotguns and see if he can handle it. But i get the idea if the light loads are not comfortable to him, then the 20g is probably a bad choice.

If thats the case, ill look into that M1 you suggested. Ive always thought they were pretty handy feeling, but never shot one.
Thanks again yall.

February 19, 2001, 11:33 AM
If you already own a 16, go with it. If you are choosing then go with a 20ga., preferrably a 3" mag so that when he feels like more horsepower it will already be in the gun, he just needs to switch ammo.

February 19, 2001, 01:54 PM
Thanks guys, decision made.
I took him to see the 870, awsome parkerized finish, but rough/sharp edges were a turn off. Mossy was smoother (edge wise) but the pump wasnt as ergonomic. (its always something isnt it). Im pretty sure he is going for the 590 mossy now, in 12g with light loads. The 'intimidation' of the pump sound is a fantastic deterrant if you hear someone working on your door or window.