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Old December 29, 2018, 01:39 AM   #1
Glockgreat23
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Pistol or long gun-home defense

I have always kept a pistol in the nightstand for home defense, but I have recently seen arguments for both shotguns and/or Rifles. Please tell me your preferences but also explain why ok? I have always thought 17 rounds and maneuverability were important but can certainly be convinced of alternatives
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Old December 29, 2018, 02:14 AM   #2
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A pistol in a nightstand is good if you are near the nightstand when you need it several guns placed around the house even better .With a rifle carbine or shot gun when held to the shoulder and your check next to the stock and your looking down the top of the barrel at in side the house ranges it would be hard to miss .Inside your own house do what you can to give your self the edge you need to protect your self and others in home invasion .I have shot pistols in the dark and rifles in the dark and it is not like shooting during the day .
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Old December 29, 2018, 07:12 AM   #3
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I have always kept a pistol in the nightstand for home defense, but I have recently seen arguments for both shotguns and/or Rifles. Please tell me your preferences but also explain why ok? I have always thought 17 rounds and maneuverability were important but can certainly be convinced of alternatives
I have both accessible... I like the shotgun cuz larger pattern of shot, not need to precisely aim and fear of a round going through a wall for the handgun.
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Old December 29, 2018, 07:44 AM   #4
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Each has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the best advantages a pistol has is it is its portability. It allows you to move more readily plus it is less likely to go around a corner before you are ready. Any long gun can easily present itself before you get to the corner or door opening. That can make it easier for an invader to seize the weapon. Once you know the advantages and disadvantages of each you will be able to design a home defense weapon system that works for you. Being a trained police officer I have all 3 for my system but usually the handgun is relied on most. Don't dismiss a good part of the system until you have analyzed its capabilities and decide whether or not that works for you. Example a rifle in an apartment may not be a good idea due to severe over penetration but a shotgun with the right size shot may do the trick. Sometimes the handgun is the best all around for most people. Now if you live in the country and your nearest neighbor is say 1/4 mile away a rifle may be a good idea along with a shotgun and handgun. It is a system and you can get the components that work best for you.
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Old December 29, 2018, 07:55 AM   #5
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Moving to General Discussion.
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Old December 29, 2018, 08:15 AM   #6
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The short answer is both. Handguns are convenient and easy to have available when you need them. That is by far the main reason we use them. I keep them handy and typically have one on me since criminals don't call ahead and give notice. That said, I would absolutely rather have a long gun in a fight. If I have the opportunity, I am grabbing one of the AR's with a light or 12 guage full of buckshot. Both are hands down better fight stoppers and that is the goal. If someone is enough of a threat to shoot, I want them to stop NOW.

Ok, let's get this penetration mess out of the way. Any projectile that will adequately penetrate the torso of a grown man will blow through interior walls like butter. Even a 22 will go through multiple walls. Hollow point pistol bullets will clog with sheetrock and act like a fmj. This is actually another area where rifles shine. They don't rely on a hollow cavity and often rely on fragmentation rather than expansion. 5.56/223 in particular has a wide variety of ammo that penetrates less than handguns or buckshot. It also has the benefit of breaking up. A fragment will lose what little energy it has a lot faster than a big chunk of lead. As for shotguns, it also depends on ammo selection. 00, 000, or slugs will penetrate a long ways. Personally, I like 1 or 4 buck at home defense distances. The downside to a shotgun if overpenetration is a concern is the fact that you own every single one of those 8, 9, 12, 16, 27, etc. projectiles that are spreading out as they go.

TLDR, I keep pistols handy for convenience but I am definitely grabbing a rifle if I can.
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Old December 29, 2018, 10:03 AM   #7
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Inside the home a handgun is going to be the 1st thing I reach for. If an intruder is already inside you need something that can be used with one hand. And with good ammo 9mm, 40, 45, or 357 mag revolvers are all potent enough to get the job done at those ranges.

Shotguns are in my opinion over rated for indoor use. You get limited ammo capacity in a heavy, cumbersome weapon with 300 WM recoil levels. At inside the home ranges you get no pattern, all the shot pellets are in a single 1-2" cluster that has to be aimed just like a rifle. And they are more likely to over penetrate and injure family members in other parts of the home. Where a shotgun has an advantage is outdoors at ranges between 10-50 yards where you get some pattern making it easier to hit moving targets.

If there are bad guys still outside the home trying to get inside then a long gun starts to make sense. I keep both a shotgun and an AR rifle accessible. If indoors I'd much rather use the AR than my shotgun. I get 6X the ammo with 1/6 the recoil in a shorter, lighter weapon than my shotgun. Either have to be aimed and with soft point ammo the 223 rounds are less likely to create over penetration problems than buckshot.

I have lights mounted on all of them, handgun, rifle, and shotgun.
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Old December 29, 2018, 10:25 AM   #8
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Home defense will always be at short distances. Handguns are made for short distances and long guns are made for long distances. A long gun is awkward and difficult to handle in confined spaces.
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Old December 29, 2018, 12:08 PM   #9
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I have a suggestion that takes us away from the usual stopping power, penetration rhetoric which is fun.

Take training with handguns and long arms in the typical civilian home defense situation. Which do you feel more comfortable using? Which do you use the best in maneuvering around the home and in what scenarios that might arise with you and your family.

See if you think a modern handgun, type of shotgun, or rifle/carbine works.

I once was run in a 360 shoot house with a coach gun. We were wearing smocks to cover our clothes. This was to simulate being naked in bed and jumping up with a double barrel Biden special. We also had a box of shells . The lights were out and the place was dim. You had several assailants in the 'house'. There were no shoots. Solve the problem

I ending up butt stroking a target as it surprised me when I was out. All actions were legit - this was not a match.

Needless to say, a coach gun is not my choice for the first pick up HD gun.

See if you get so excited that you short stroke the pump gun under stress. That is very common even with trained folks in stressful shotgun use.

So the stopping power argument is secondary if you have a quality firearm. It's how you use it. Gun guys love the tech and forget the mind sometimes.
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Old December 29, 2018, 09:31 PM   #10
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Handgun. 17 rounds of 9mm should get the job done. You've only got 3-5 rounds with the average shotgun.

On some what of a side note.... has anyone shot a 12 gauge shotgun onto paper at home defense ranges of 10 to 15 feet? I haven't, but if I had to guess, the hit zone would be 2 maybe 3 inches. Yes, bigger than the .355 of a 9mm, but if you miss with either gun at 10 feet, you may need training, or your adrenaline was flowing so bad nothing would help.
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Old December 29, 2018, 09:54 PM   #11
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I have always kept a pistol in the nightstand for home defense, but I have recently seen arguments for both shotguns and/or Rifles. Please tell me your preferences but also explain why ok? I have always thought 17 rounds and maneuverability were important but can certainly be convinced of alternatives
Fire both indoors without hearing protection and see which one doesn't make your ears bleed
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Old December 30, 2018, 01:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jmr40 View Post
Shotguns are in my opinion over rated for indoor use. You get limited ammo capacity in a heavy, cumbersome weapon with 300 WM recoil levels. At inside the home ranges you get no pattern, all the shot pellets are in a single 1-2" cluster that has to be aimed just like a rifle. And they are more likely to over penetrate and injure family members in other parts of the home. Where a shotgun has an advantage is outdoors at ranges between 10-50 yards where you get some pattern making it easier to hit moving targets.
In my humble opinion, I think a 12 Gauge shotgun, with 00 Buckshot, offers the advantage of being more powerful round for round, at close range, than most any alternative.
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Old December 30, 2018, 03:19 AM   #13
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Been thinking about this myself and my short answer is: whatever works best for you, except a shotgun.

As Glenn wrote above, running a pump isn't a sure thing and the movies have made it look easy. Do it under stress, when tired, or just not at 100% and you're handicapping yourself.

Semi-auto shotguns aren't my cup of tea, not reliable enough, not as capable with specialty loads or low recoil loads like pumps and break actions are. The only shotgun that I think has any potential for home defense is the KSG because of it's short length and 15 round capacity.

I think the whole "shotgun is the holy grail" concept stems from what was available way back in the early-mid 1900s for home defense. Then, you had revolvers which were slow to reload and didn't have good hollow points for, so they didn't hit hard, rifles were largely lever actions and bolt actions with long barrels and were unwieldy in the home, but shotguns were usually double barrels with a short OAL or a pump and had a definite advantage over the options at the time.

Today is different, we've got higher capacity pistols that run hollow points with no issues, rifles with 30 round mags, SBR's, braced pistols, PCC's. If you can run the handgun, I think that's a better choice because it gives you more room to move in the house and leaves a free hand to do whatever. A rifle, even with a pistol grip, is gonna be cumbersome and if you're only holding the pistol grip, an intruder can strip you of that rifle real quick.

Recently I've been thinking about bullpup rifles and the KSG and given how much less they stick out, how more of the weight will be closer to your body given the location of the bolt and magazine, they're superior choices for a long gun for home defense. Better than a pistol? IDK, I'll have to think more about that.

For a time, shotguns did have more "stopping power," yet the fact remains that no matter what effect the gun has on a target, you've got to hit that target and shotguns at short range distances, like across a room, have little to no spread, even with cylinder bore chokes. If a shotgun is all you have, imo the best addition you can put on it is a laser because inside the home, you'll pick up that laser a lot better than trying to find the front bead or lining up ghost ring sights and you'll need to actually aim the shotgun.
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Old December 30, 2018, 03:42 AM   #14
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Inside the home a handgun is going to be the 1st thing I reach for. If an intruder is already inside you need something that can be used with one hand. And with good ammo 9mm, 40, 45, or 357 mag revolvers are all potent enough to get the job done at those ranges.

Shotguns are in my opinion over rated for indoor use. You get limited ammo capacity in a heavy, cumbersome weapon with 300 WM recoil levels. At inside the home ranges you get no pattern, all the shot pellets are in a single 1-2" cluster that has to be aimed just like a rifle. And they are more likely to over penetrate and injure family members in other parts of the home. Where a shotgun has an advantage is outdoors at ranges between 10-50 yards where you get some pattern making it easier to hit moving targets.

If there are bad guys still outside the home trying to get inside then a long gun starts to make sense. I keep both a shotgun and an AR rifle accessible. If indoors I'd much rather use the AR than my shotgun. I get 6X the ammo with 1/6 the recoil in a shorter, lighter weapon than my shotgun. Either have to be aimed and with soft point ammo the 223 rounds are less likely to create over penetration problems than buckshot.

I have lights mounted on all of them, handgun, rifle, and shotgun.
Quote:
If there are bad guys still outside the home trying to get inside then a long gun starts to make sense. I keep both a shotgun and an AR rifle accessible. If indoors I'd much rather use the AR than my shotgun. I get 6X the ammo with 1/6 the recoil in a shorter, lighter weapon than my shotgun. Either have to be aimed and with soft point ammo the 223 rounds are less likely to create over penetration problems than buckshot.
Thing is, once the first shot goes off, the intruders will usually scatter like cockroaches. Unless you're in Witness Protection, are in some extreme circumstance where people are raiding your house for food, or it's a Red Dawn invasion, you're not gonna need 30 rounds in a rifle for home defense.

Still, I don't like the idea of being stuck with 5+1 or 8+1 in a standard shotgun. KSG, yeah, the short OAL and large capacity puts standard shotguns to shame. Apples to apples tho, is a bullpup shotgun at 26 inches OAL better than a bullpup rifle at the same length or a Kel Tec Sub 2000, Beretta Cx4, or Hi Point carbine at 30-32 inches? As you say, still have to aim the shotgun like a rifle because of the lack of spread and the bullpup shotgun is still a pump action.
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Old December 30, 2018, 09:33 AM   #15
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This is a simple question; but not a simple answer.

The most important component to stopping an attack using a firearm is shot placement. You must be able to operate the firearm proficiently under great stress. You must be able to hit on the surface of a 3D target where you want to hit. Your bullet must have enough energy and the right construction to travel from the surface of where it hit to the internal structures it has to damage to cause the threat to stop. Training and familiarity with a firearm is much more important than the actual firearm.

So, the first step is “Have a gun you know how to use.” If you don’t have a gun when the threat presents itself, the question of “What gun is best?” is moot. Handguns are designed to be convenient to carry and access. In return, they compromise power and accuracy.

In my mind, handguns are not the first layer of home defense (that’s reinforced doors, locks, ways to communicate without opening doors, landscaping, lighting, etc.). They are the first layer of “firearms defense.” Dog barking in backyard at 2am and unsure if possum or person? That’s a good role for a handgun. The handgun gives you options in a situation where possum is more likely than person.

So, having a gun, which you know how to use, when you need it, is a critical first step. And because it is much easier to have a handgun, that’s a good choice for most people in a layered home defense. But a long gun is way, way, more effective than a handgun. Even pistol caliber long guns routinely outperform their handgun brethern in stopping threats. Nobody who knew they were going to a gunfight would take a handgun over a long gun unless they were just untrained on the long gun.

If you have a good layered home defense system and your surveillance system alerts you to armed men with a hooligan bar trying to force open your reinforced door, use that time to grab your long gun.

And in the matter of training, it will take much less training to be able to use a long gun to the same level of profiency as a pistol. And the long gun will usually be much more powerful to boot. But again, if it isn’t in your hands ahen you need it, none of that matters.

Because every person has different individual needs and resources they can devote to firearms, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
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Old December 30, 2018, 12:23 PM   #16
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I prefer a hand gun for two reasons;

1. It fits in the safe I already have in my bedroom and a shotgun does not

2. (Most importantly) the only practice I can get in at my local range with.a shotgun is the 40 yard pattern board or on a bench with slugs. The handgun range at my range allows me more training flexibility therefore I feel more comfortable and confident with the handgun. I get to practice at HD distances.

Unfortunately I'm not in a tax bracket that allows for 40 yard HD scenarios
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Old December 30, 2018, 12:38 PM   #17
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Remaining alive is the first objective.

However, your ears are going to regret your pulling the trigger on a shotgun in your home / small enclosed space much more than a pistol.

As was said above, it's what works for you. For me it's a 9mm Sig vs. the shotgun or rifle.
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Old December 30, 2018, 02:16 PM   #18
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However, your ears are going to regret your pulling the trigger on a shotgun in your home / small enclosed space much more than a pistol.
Depends on the shotgun and the pistol in question and on the barrel length of both.

Magnum revolver rounds, especially from short barrels are astoundingly loud and typically top the list of common defensive rounds when sorted by descending loudness. For example, the discharge of a 4" bbl .357Mag revolver can actually put out 2x more noise power than a 18" bbl 12ga shotgun.

I know a couple of people who have noticeable and permanent hearing damage as the result of a single round of .357Mag indoors without hearing protection.
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Old December 30, 2018, 04:22 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Kvon2 View Post
I prefer a hand gun for two reasons;

2. (Most importantly) the only practice I can get in at my local range with.a shotgun is the 40 yard pattern board or on a bench with slugs. The handgun range at my range allows me more training flexibility therefore I feel more comfortable and confident with the handgun. I get to practice at HD distances.

Unfortunately I'm not in a tax bracket that allows for 40 yard HD scenarios
I didn't think about that, the places where we can practice shooting a shotgun defensively and get an idea for the spread at certain distances and the restrictions certain ranges put on shooting shotguns. My club only allows slug shooting on the rifle range, skeet and trap. The indoor range is the only option, so I can do it, but others may not have access to facilities I do.

Public indoor range that's also near me has a rule that minimum distance for long gun shooting is 15 yards, which is useless given the max distance I may have to make a shot will be about 5 yards.
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Old December 31, 2018, 11:02 AM   #20
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Square range shooting isn't really training in any sense beyond aiming and trigger control for the most part.

Look for competitive outlets that allow you to fire pistols, rifles and shotguns in a little more realistic and stressed scenario. Not that competitions are 'training' but they are better than the square range.

As I said, square range evaluations of the best weapon or shooting gel statistics are not that useful beyond establishing the lowest base line of function.
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Old December 31, 2018, 11:10 AM   #21
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I have always kept a pistol in the nightstand for home defense, but I have recently seen arguments for both shotguns and/or Rifles. Please tell me your preferences but also explain why ok? I have always thought 17 rounds and maneuverability were important but can certainly be convinced of alternatives


I keep a pistol on my nightstand as well. For many of the reasons mentioned above. Mine has 10 rounds of 45 ACP hollow points. If that doesn't stop the bad guy it will give the wife a good reason to remodel. What ever works for you works.
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Old December 31, 2018, 11:45 AM   #22
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I have a Springfield .45 XD and a Shockwave with light/laser in my bedroom. With loved ones in the house I do not feel a rifle round has any business defending the home due to over penetration. The same can be said for 00 buck, but for me, those extra pellets heading downrange outweighs this concern.

A pistol is fast and easy to manipulate, but easily taken away rounding a corner if you do it wrong. A short carbine with sling ties the weapon to me giving me an advantage. My home layout puts all bedrooms down one hallway creating a death funnel to whoever goes into it. I have line of sight to the front door and living room, but moving to the hallway and you are at the little end funneling bullets.

My job as Dad/husband is to protect my family, not ensure anyone who enters is killed at the risk of myself leaving my family defenseless. So long as I wake and get to my weapon before they get into that hallway my plan is to call 911, cover the hallway and wait for the Calvary.

I am former LE and Army. I've been trained in hunt/kill scenarios. Clearing my home by myself is a death wish. FAR too many hidden corners.

So, for me, given the opportunity I will grab my Shockwave. Besides the 00 buck, the audible message of a shotgun racking is powerful. But, it only gives me a few shots before reloading and as mentioned above fine motor skills free fall under duress. I'm not prepared to bet my families lives there is but one intruder or I won't need more shots.

For this reason I am considering going to a Scorpion with brace. Compact, sling, 30 rounds, easily mounted optics/lights, widely used platform in LE in other countries. Besides that, I'm a CZ slut.
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Old December 31, 2018, 12:57 PM   #23
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With loved ones in the house I do not feel a rifle round has any business defending the home due to over penetration. The same can be said for 00 buck, but for me, those extra pellets heading downrange outweighs this concern.
If your home is of typical 2x4/drywall construction, any round (pistol, buckshot, or rifle) that misses the target has the ability to injure someone on the other side of a wall (or several walls in some cases). Here is a recent thread on the subject with video: https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=599563

As that thread demonstrates, with proper ammo selection, rifles can penetrate less than pistol calibers or buckshot in some circumstances. Good ammo selection and training are key. As that thread also demonstrates, drywall is not bullet resistant. 5/8” of powdered gypsum and paper won’t stop someone behind it from getting hurt - so be aware of your backstop regardless of the weapon you choose.
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Old January 1, 2019, 10:35 PM   #24
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With loved ones in the house I do not feel a rifle round has any business defending the home due to over penetration.
Your thinking is correct but for some reason the message about wall penetration gets distorted.

Think of interior walls as concealment and never cover. While there is some variation in ability to penetrate, it is better to think/plan your defense as if they did not stop any bullets, which is not far from the truth.

Get something that is not going to penetrate your EXTERIOR WALLS and kill your neighbors. Teach your family to get down, take cover, and move to a designated "safest area" in their room. Essentially you should establish sectors of fire in your home. Not talking about making stakes or painting left/right limits. Be situationally aware of those safe areas when you make the decision to pull the trigger.

I personally use a pistol to defend myself on the way to getting my shotgun.

Quote:
so be aware of your backstop regardless of the weapon you choose.
Very good advice.

Quote:
rifles can penetrate less than pistol calibers or buckshot in some circumstances.
True but your then accepting other trade offs.

Personally I just skip the need to shop around for the "right" niche. There are other better tools in the toolbox IMHO.
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Old January 1, 2019, 10:57 PM   #25
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This paper contains the findings of an experimental evaluation on the behavior of
common exterior wall assemblies found in residential construction when impacted by
bullets fired from a wide variety of firearms of different caliber.
file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Resistance%20of%20Exterior%20Walls%20to%20High%20Velocity%20Projectiles%20%E2%80%93%20Technical%20Report%20-%20CPRC%20(4).pdf

Quote:
If you live in an apartment or town home a shotgun with something like #4 buck shot is ideal. You can still shoot through a wall if needs be, but you are not likely to kill your neighbors. The shot pattern is also going to be very small at CQB distances, and it will have great effects on any intruders. Check this video out, covering it’s benefits.
https://youtu.be/w6cmGHz-4O4

Quote:
If you have a single family home and live in a neighborhood you have a few more options depending on your location. You might choose a 5.56 caliber weapon for its superior ability to produce agonal wounding. However, you must be very aware what areas you may not shoot for fear of hitting loved ones or neighbors. If that sounds like too much for you in the heat of the moment, pick the shotgun.
Quote:
Lastly you need to consider you interior layout and family type. If you have a large family in different areas of the house then over penetration is a very real danger. For the vast majority of folks, a 12 gauge with with an extended mag full of buckshot, and a light will be the ideal setup.
https://www.tierthreetactical.com/th...-can-kill-you/
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