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What's the Best Shotgun Load for Home Defense?

Best Shotgun Load For Home Defense

Shotguns have been used for home defense for centuries in one form or another. But what's the best ammo?

For a bad guy or thug, nothing can be more terrifying than the sight of a double-barreled shotgun leveled at him.

How about the sound of a pump-action shotgun racking a shell into the chamber for sound deterrent? Both will make even the most hardened criminals think twice.

The question is, what's the best kind of load for a home defense shotgun?

Best Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense

Of course, sheer intimidation won't always solve your big problem. Well, what do you feed your semi-automatic or pump shotgun against your home-invading foes?

Well, each load from 7 1/2 shot to the mighty shotgun slug has a purpose in home defense.

Birdshot is a favorite of many home defenders. From close range, the blast of these lightweight small pellets hit like a solid fist.

People call shotguns "scatterguns" for a reason. The shot fans out quickly. Getting caught a shotgun pellet blast at a farther distance can still do serious damage. The bad guy will be in pain, but certainly still breathing and ultimately quite angry.

Birdshot has an excellent track record for up-close-and-personal damage with no over-penetration to household walls. If the distance is somewhat far, you'd better think bigger, such as the smaller-sized buckshot loads.

Shotgun ammo size comparisons will show how these projectiles stack up against each other. You can use any of the sizes in a pinch, but personally, I'd begin with nothing smaller than No. 8 for close range. No. 4 loads would be even better.

Remember, as distances and any obstructions you might encounter get larger, you should increase the size of your projectiles. Save the largest sizes for shooting through cover or barricades. Remember those larger projectiles will keep going and walls may not hold them. In urban settings, loads of 00 buckshot shotgun shells will get almost any job done.

What about shotgun slugs? Unless you're living in big bear country or have to shoot through heavy barricades, save shotgun slugs for big-game hunting. A 1,000-pound bear knocking down your cabin door takes more to stop than a home invader.

My advice to all who want to use a shotgun for home defense is to buy a variety of shells. Then, take various items, like drywall, plywood or jugs of water and test what those loads do to them at the gun range, if allowed.

This target practice will allow you to see how powerful your defensive shotgun really is, and learn its true stopping power.

Then you can make the right decision of what shotgun ammunition will be the best pick for your own home-defense situation.

When it's time to gear up on ammo, try SportsmansGuide.com.

NEXT: THE 8 BEST TACTICAL SHOTGUNS ON THE MARKET FOR DEFENSIVE PURPOSES

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What's the Best Shotgun Load for Home Defense?