Shotguns have long been considered the king of the home defense realm, and only recently have the carbine and pistol stepped up to challenge this. That’s a different article for a different time, though. Here, we are going to focus on the shotgun for home defense and property defense.
In my opinion, a shotgun is a thinking man’s weapon. It’s incredibly capable and adaptable, and has more applications than any other weapon. The shotgun can be adapted to your situation and your environment, with specific loads tailored for your situation. The shotgun is capable of taking all sizes of game in North America. It is capable of killing birds to bears — and everything in between – and is especially useful against two-legged vermin.
Now, we are strictly talking regular power loads, with a preference being for 2 and 3/4 over 3. Three inches is more powerful, but produces more recoil. Three inch magnum loads are capable for hunting rounds, but not necessary for self-defense.
Let’s look at the three loads that make up the majority of shotgun ammunition: buckshot, birdshot and slugs.
Birdshot for self-defense seems awesome, with little to no penetration of walls, and you’re protected from the dreaded over-penetration right? Well, not a single birdshot load penetrates the required 12 inches to produce a reliable killing shot. Let’s also remember that Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend, a man well into the middle of his life, in the face with birdshot and the man made a full recovery.