View Full Version : Shotgun or AR for next level up from handgun?

October 2, 2001, 12:00 PM
I have felt the need to increase my defensive aresenal to include something with more range and power than a handgun. I posted over in the Rifle forum about a good general puprose shtf rifle and have received some very good responses. While I am leaning towards getting a AR type weapon in .223, I also did not want to discount the possibility that a combat shotgun would fill my needs nicely.

I'm looking for something that would allow me to engage bad guys at greater distances than a handgun if necessary, provide decisive stopping power, have adequate ammo capacity and be durable under adverse conditions and also have readily available ammunition.

I have a budget of $1000 which must include any extra magazines or accessories and some ammo.

I have my own reasons for wanting a weapon for such purposes, so please don't bother to question why I feel like a would need to engage a target a such and such a distance due to legalities or whatever. This is going to be used for worst case scenario stuff where terrorist attacks continue and perhaps there is a breakdown in law and order.

FWIW I always qualified high expert in the Marines with my M-16
and also carried a 12 ga while in Somalia. I have extensive training in the use of both weapons and feel comfortable with putting shots on target with either one.



October 2, 2001, 01:22 PM
every "good" American should own

a revolver

a pistol

a pump shotgun

a semi auto magazine fed rifle

a bolt action scoped .30 caliber rifle

a 22lr rifle

a Remington 870 is an excellent entry level to shotgunning,
you could get it (http://www.gunbroker.com/auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=2158921) and a mag fed semi AK (http://aimsurplus.com/acatalog/AIM_Rifles_1.html) with ammo & mags for under a grand

you might be surprised what you could walk away from Walmart with for a grand...

an AR 15 is an 800 dollar rifle, so there goes yer bang for a Kbuck

October 2, 2001, 02:04 PM
One note- if you're shooting indoors, an AR is extremely loud, esp. in the carbine versions and more so if you have a plain barrel or one of those AK brakes. A carbine w/ flash suppressor is a little better, but still very loud.

For that reason alone, a shotgun may be a better choice for indoor use.


Dave McC
October 2, 2001, 02:10 PM
There's lots of variables here. The shotgun has subsidiary roles, which may not be true of the AR.
Unless you're semi-rural and in open country, I'd get the shotgun first.

Positing a more/less complete breakdown of "Civilization", most actions will be at close range, under very short time constrictions, and probably under low light.The shotgun shines here. And a shotgun greatly broadens your possible food base.

.223 rounds do a number on small game. I wouldn't want to eat the target.

OTOH, the AR has more range, little if any application besides defensive use by a private citizen, some SCARE factor,larger capacity, and is easier for tyros and smaller folks to use.

Under your budget constrictions, I'd go for the shotgun, stock up on ammo, and keep them peeled for a bargain AR.


October 2, 2001, 02:17 PM
Consider your situation and decide accordingly. I live in the country and police response times are slow. My version of home defense (condition red) is to stay put, call 911, wait for the cavalry, and guard my position as required until then. The shotgun is my choice.

If things go bump in the night and I want to check them out (condition yellow), a pistol and a flashlight are more appealing inside the house.

If I have to go outside to address predators whether two or four legged, I want my rifle but would not feel under-equipped with a shotgun. Having to engage a two-legged threat at long distances seems pretty unlikely but I want the ability to drop a coyote at longer yardage.

I guess I'm voting for the shotgun based on my circumstances.

October 2, 2001, 02:50 PM
I saw an add for a new bushmaster X1 in Shotgun news for $599, then pick up a 870 for $250-$400.

October 2, 2001, 04:50 PM
Canis, explain these things in more detail:

"I'm looking for something that would allow me to engage bad guys at greater distances than a handgun if necessary, provide decisive stopping power, have adequate ammo capacity and be durable under adverse conditions and also have readily available ammunition"

I guess the big question is what do you mean by adverse condition? True SHTF? Home invasion?

How great of a distance? The attached pic is my Vang Comp Mossy 590. Using slugs at 50 yards - 1 ragged hole, at 100 yards, within 3", 150 yards at chest sized targets are easy money. (The amazing part is what it does with buckshot)

How much ammo?

If you have about $1,000:

Bushy Dissaptor - $750 (give or take)
10 USGI Mags (30 rd) $200
1,000 rnds ammo $140

http://communities.msn.com/The MarylandAR15ShootersSite&naventryid=120

Link has a section of the relative effecitiveness of the 5.56 vs a 12 ga.

Personally, I take a long look at an AR. However, a great shotgun and an AK would meet your budget - and an AK is pretty great too.


1911A1 fan
October 7, 2001, 04:56 PM
Canis, if you shop around you could pick up a good shot gun AND and an AK or SKS for $1000! The 7.62x39 is a whole lot cheaper than 5.56. And being a former Marine myself I know that you could stop any threat with an AK @ 200 yrds. You and I both know that the AR is a good gun, but the AK and a shotgun can be had for $1000. Stay safe.

October 7, 2001, 06:32 PM
Made the same choice to step up to longarm from handguns about a year and a half ago. I chose to go with a rifle (AK) as opposed to the shotgun simply because I wanted to have the ability to engage at longer distancs and I wanted to be able to lay out more suppressive fire before reloading. I do have to say, however, that the numbers from the vang comped shotgun are certainly very impressive!

I would get the AR first - it seems to be the multi-tool of longarms. For purely CQC, however, I would go for a shotgun.

Sure ya can't you stretch your budget and get both? :rolleyes:

October 7, 2001, 07:23 PM
You have exp with the AR type rifle and they are first rate. Much, much more range over any shotgun. A shotgun really doesnt give you any more range than a handgun. The AK types are much cheaper than the AR's and ammo is also cheap. I would get one of the 2 rifles and the shotgun later.

October 7, 2001, 09:14 PM
I'd go with an M1 Carbine- easy to engage out to 200 metres- for its low cost, dependability, and user-friendliness.

October 11, 2001, 09:08 PM
Here's another vote for getting both an 870 and one of the AR15 clones. It may not seem so but by carefull shopping you CAN get both. There won't be much $$ left for accessories like mags and ammo though.

But if you want to get one gun and do it right then I'd suggest the rifle over the shotgun. I'd definately go for one of the AR clones over an AK or SKS - but that's just personal preference.


Cavè Canem
October 12, 2001, 03:38 PM
I picked up a brand new Bushmaster AR-15postban (XM-15E2S actually) for $700. 20" chrome lined bbl. I had a hook up for USGI 30 round mags and I picked up 4 of those plus I have assorted other ones for around $40, scope and mount for $70, Black Hawk nylon Tac sling for $20.

I paid $250 for my MB500A with a 20" bbl. About $60 more for a sidesaddle, sling and pistolgripped full size stock.

Without the addons, you can have both for $1000. Then the next pay day, start to assorize you toys. The way I look at it, get all the toys first and then add on. You can pick up 1000 rounds of Wolf .223 for around $100. Its good factory loaded ammo, I have shot much of it with no problems.