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Picking the Right Ammunition for Your Home Defense Shotgun [PICS]

Truth About Guns

The shotgun has superb defense capabilities. Where do you think ‘riding shotgun’ came from?

These choices in home defense loads for your trusty shotgun will have you and your family sleeping well at night.

SEE ALSO: A Real Gun Gem: The Saiga 12

Shotguns have historically and internationally been chosen by law enforcement, military and civilians for their unmatched knock-down power. The modern shotgun loads have even more to offer the defense shooter. The beauty of a shotgun is the vast amounts of different payloads that can be chosen to be packed into a shotgun shell.

Here are some choices the home defense shotgunner will want to try.

Oklahoma Personal Defense


OO Buckshot 

The first that usually comes to many minds for home defense is the venerable OO Buckshot loading. In a standard 12 gauge 2 3/4-inch shell, anywhere from 8 to 12 .33 caliber lead, plated lead or other assorted metals projectiles pack a huge punch.

The perfect pick right? Not exactly. Large buckshot pellets have deep penetration that will also punch through interior walls and injure well past your aggressor. Buckshot pellets of larger sizes are great for longer distances and for penetrating power against hard targets such as large game and car bodies. It may not be your best choice for an apartment defense.

Below is a diagram of common shotgun projectile sizes for your reference.

Shotgun World

Shotgun slugs offer the option of shooting one very large diameter projectile. It is the choice for deer hunting and other big game. Options are rifled slugs for smooth barreled shotguns and saboted slugs designed for fully rifled barrels.

Unless you are defending your cabin from marauding bears, stay away from them. Over-penetration is an understatement and with only one projectile, there is more chance to miss your attacker.


Bird Shot

While the above shotshell loadings have over-penetration, is there another option? There certainly is. Bird shotshells loaded up for rabbits and squirrels at household self-defense distances will hit your intruder with authority. Try them at the range at close distance. The shot does not have a chance to dispense yet and hits the target like a lead fist. Targets are left with unbelievable devastation.

What would it look like on an intruder? Only the coroner likely knows. Also, this load will penetrate the least through drywall and other barriers making it a safer choice for close quarters like apartments.

Truth About Guns

What home defense shotgun shell is right for you? Buy some boxes and head out to the range and try them out. The experience will be quite entertaining too.


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Picking the Right Ammunition for Your Home Defense Shotgun [PICS]