Home Defense Shotgun Ammo
What is the best shotgun ammo for home defense? It depends. I have researched the Internet to find a few ideas about this. Some definitive studies have been done using ballistics gelatin to determine the penetration and expansion characteristics of various shotgun loads.
My take on all this information is that;
1. The use of the shotgun is about protecting life, your life and that of your family, and that leaves no room for the uncertainty of non lethal force. I’m not interested in bean bags and other such non lethal ammunition. Personally, I would not shoot someone if they are outside my home and going away. But coming into my home, or already inside my home puts me into a self defense and home defense mode. To protect my family and myself pushes me into a mindset that intends to eliminate that threat. Eliminate the threat and not to incapacitate, stun, or otherwise chance the possibility of failing to eliminate the threat. Because of that intention, the ammunition I use is lethal. I use 00 buckshot and slugs in my home defense shotgun. I started using slugs after I learned how accurate a shotgun can be. That’s why my shotgun has ghost ring sights. I can put huge 3/4 inch holes into any bulls eye I choose. Slugs however can easily penetrate through walls, car doors, and generally have a devastating result.
2. Penetration of #8 birdshot is about 3 inches more or less depending on the amount of clothing worn by the assailant. The use of birdshot will cause a large wound but may not be lethal because of the low penetration. An advantage to small size #8 birdshot is that it will penetrate less through the walls inside the house.
3. 00 buckshot penetrates to about 12 inches more or less which is considered enough to deliver a lethal wound to vital organs. My 2 3/4 inch 12GA 00 buck ammo has 9 .33 Cal. pellets. I prefer the 9 pellet loads because the pattern is tighter with the particular brand of Ammo.
4. The shotgun pellets will spread out to form a pattern at the rate of about an inch to 1.5 inches per yard more or less. The spread is dependent on the ammo, the barrel, and the distance. At 10 yards the spread on my shotgun is about 10 to 15 inches in diameter. At 5 yards the spread is about 6 inches more or less. Because of the short distances inside a house, a home defense combat situation will result in a spread of from 2 or 3 inches to maybe 6 inches at most. The shot pattern spread depends on the distance to the target, the ammunition used, and the barrel and choke characteristics of the shotgun. The only way to determine the spread is to practice with your shotgun and try different loads and types of ammunition.
5. Penetration can become a liability if any pellets miss the intended target. Shotgun 00 buckshot pellets are .33 inch in diameter and can easily go through wall board. You are accountable and responsible for all 9 of the .33 Cal. pellets shot out of your shotgun in a home defense situation.
6. It is important to practice with your shotgun so that you can quickly, reliably, and safely identify the threat, quickly determine a correct course of action for the situation, then if required aim, and fire your weapon to accurately hit the intended target and eliminate the threat.
7. Seek training from a professional trainer or an approved home defense training course.
8. Practice, practice, practice and then maintain your edge by having regular practice sessions.
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