Gunfight Science: Do Shotguns Suck for Self-Defense?

It may be a controversial position to take, but that has never stopped me before. Gin is superior to vodka. Also, shotguns are not the end-all, be-all solution for self-defense. Especially not for new shooters. There are so many myths and legends about shotguns, most of which are about as true as that “Secrets of Apache Knife Fighting” VHS set that they use to advertise in the back of gun magazines. We were all young once, and that was a lot of lawns to mow back in 1993 dollars to pay for that. This one is on the house, though. Walk with me down the path Padawan and learn the strengths of the rifle … .

Keeping a shotgun fed requires a very specific manual of arms, and these steps differ from model to model.

Keeping a shotgun fed requires a very specific manual of arms, and these steps differ from model to model.

Don’t get me wrong; a shotgun is absolutely lethal in the right hands. So is a set of nun-chucks though, and that is kind of the point. You have to make sure you pick the right weapon for you and your situation.

I thought a lot more of a shotgun as an all-around tactical weapon before I started using one on the regular. 3-Gun ruined me on ever choosing one as my go-to gun. Yes, a slug or a well-placed pattern of buckshot will kill your ass dead. But that hit is harder to achieve than Hollywood would have us believe. Unless you are the good guy in this story of course, in which case the shotgun will just explode couch cushions and appliances all around you. My TBI must be kicking in, that had nothing to do with anything.

Anyway, we were talking about accuracy. One thing that has happened over and over again as I taught competition guys to use a shotgun was that I discovered they had never patterned the gun on paper. Tactical guys are even worse at this. Insanity to any bird hunter or skeet shooter, this is something that has absolutely been lost in shotgun translation. If you want to use a shotgun as your home defender, I challenge you to go out and actually see what your pattern does. Many a competitor has had his eyes opened once those BBs appear on a bullseye.

Author's first shotgun, a Remington 870. Bolt is almost worn shiny from use.

Author’s first shotgun, a Remington 870. Bolt is almost worn shiny from use.

Not every shotgun has the same point of aim. Depending on rib height, intended use, and I would guess input from that manufacturer’s pro staff, shotguns can pattern up to a foot different at 10 yards. Some you hold under, some over, some right on target. But you absolutely can miss.

If you are looking at close range work, don’t be wowed by the fact that birdshot will turn a cardboard target into confetti at 5 meters. Look at how close together the pattern actually is, and then translate that to how easy it actually is to miss completely. People rarely hold still while you shoot at them.

While a semi-auto can be really cool and move a lot of lead fast, they can be unreliable when compared to a simple pump-action shotgun. They are much more reliable, but even they are not immune to jamming. When shotgun shells were getting very hard to find, manufacturers justifiably started letting some things out the door that were not exactly quality controlled. I distinctly remember opening all the new boxes I could lay hands too, from good ammunition companies, and being able to visibly see at least 1 bulged out or other non-spec round per box. I ran some through my pump action just to see, and on multiple occasions had to bash my buttstock on the ground to unstick the rounds. It can and does happen, and anyone that says they didn’t short stroke a pump gun once or twice when they were learning, is a damn liar.

A variety of options available to feed your scattergun, from Federal Ammunition. Dummy rounds in the box for malfunction drills.

A variety of options available to feed your scattergun, from Federal Ammunition. Dummy rounds in the box for malfunction drills.

Last but not least, let’s not forget manual of arms. A shotgun is many things, but unless we are talking about an over under, simple isn’t one of them. If you really stop and think about the skills you need to run a shotgun, and fix one if it jams, it is a pretty complicated affair. An AR-15 is much simpler to run, more reliable, easier to keep fed, and all-in-all a better choice in my opinion. So, if you decide you want to harness the amazing power of a shotgun for home defense, then make damn sure you know how it runs, what it runs well, and where it hits. You would do the same with your rifle, wouldn’t you?

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 90 comments… add one }
  • Mike August 28, 2017, 5:04 pm

    I agree, the author is a wanna be gun expert and should keep his opinions to himself. How do we know he has seen combat and especially anyone who has (done the Lord’s Work) does not share his feats of bravado. I think its all garrison crap.

  • Wayne Cornelius August 28, 2017, 10:58 am

    Opinions vary.but, at inside home distance a shotgun can’t be beat. Of course like anything you gotta practice. I’ll share something with the author. At one time, a group with far more combat experience than the author of this piece, were faced with a daunting task of facing overwhelming odds. Do you know how they prepared to meet this challenge? They grabbed every 12 guage they could get their hands on. I’m talking about the u.s. marines preparing to invade japan. Nuff said

  • adverse4 August 13, 2017, 5:02 pm

    I have never turned a shotgun upside down to load/reload. It’s not gravity fed.

  • fred flinstone March 15, 2017, 12:18 am

    i personally like a shotgun as a backup to bouncing betty and frag grenade….
    click BOOM! no more bad guy

  • Mike February 13, 2017, 10:06 am

    I don’t even have to watch the video to know this guy is full of it. Just by the comments, I can tell most people think a shotgun is a 28″ field gun that you keep for home defense. It’s actually the total opposite. I use a Winchester 1300 18″ Defender Speed Pump with 7 round tube + one. It has a pistol grip with no butt stock, so overall length is approx. 29″. That’s plenty short enough for hallways, etc. I have a heat shroud on it it case I need to reload, so I don’t burn my hand and drop it. I use Federal Low Recoil #1 buck with flight control the preferred choice of a lot of LEO’s. OO shot is the size of a 9mm and #1 is the size of 7.62mm and #1 has 15 pellets vs. 9 pellets for 00. With the Flight Control wadding, it keeps the grouping tighter at extended ranges. If I want long range, I’ll use a slug. However, slugs go through walls, cars, and crack engine blocks. So, what’s the point of slugs? Deer hunting. But, at close quarters, in the night, #1 shot is preferred. That’s why I keep my semi-auto pistol in the bed stand until I get to the Defender. If I want to shoot something out to a 100 yards or more, I’ll use my 5.56mm rifle. But, where I live, they have to be inside or thereabouts to make using deadly force justifiable. Otherwise, you go to jail, no matter what the intent was. I’m an Army vet ’71-’72, been raised by a career Air Policeman and Deputy Sheriff who started me shooting at about 8 years old. I’ve had P.O.S.T. training in P.C. 832 Firearms Safety and CQC shooting. I own pistols, shotguns, and long guns. You don’t bring a spoon to a gunfight and you don’t use a back hoe to dig up a sprinkler head. It’s just common sense.

  • Rem870 January 16, 2017, 3:11 pm

    Shotgun is the ultimate home defense gun. Of course, you need to train with it to be able to use it. Author is right that patterning is one of the first things shotgun owner needs to do.

  • Keith December 9, 2016, 11:46 pm

    LOL, Here we have that classic case where a guy insults a Ford, Chevy, Dodge, AK-47, or a shotgun and the fanboy rage ensues. Its your house, your life, and your gun. Hope you don’t have to do it, or care how. For country boys that have and love their shotguns, their shotgun is the way to go for two reasons. First, its there, they already own it. Second, they believe in the massive pipe they’ve held in their hands, and the way it hits their shoulder like an elephant gun, and think that pepper spray will wax that a_ _. Confidence is everything when it comes to opinions.

    So now that I’ve validated the shotgun users, I fully intend to tell the truth to people that haven’t made up their minds on what kind of gun to use yet. Truth is shotguns are good for hunting birds and pest control, but anything else is a stretch. Police and the military use shotguns mostly because their members grew up with and own shotguns.
    Here’s why shotguns suck:
    1 most of them are very long and don’t turn corners well, the longer the gun the worse it is for CQB
    2 they’re really big and the only time they aren’t in the way when you are not defending the house is when they are on the other end of the house.
    3 They feature large cumbersome ammunition and low capacities
    4 They splatter lead everywhere and often over penetrate. They can go through walls and cause collateral damage.
    5 Despite having large ammunition and an impressive feel in the hand shotguns really aren’t as devastating as one might think, nor is that devastation necessary.
    6 Shotguns are very range sensitive. They are effective between 3-35 yards, anything outside that is another guns territory.
    In conclusion, shotguns are for country boys that have and know them. For anyone else they’ll disappoint.

    If your shopping for a gun for home defense, get a pistol. If you don’t have kids or want to carry, get a awesome full size combat pistol in 9mm, .40, .45, .44 mag.
    If you got kids of want to carry gun between your buttcheeks all day something smaller like a .380 or 32 maybe a .38 special can really limit the over penetration dangers involved in home defense.
    Store it with a flashlight to positively identify the target.

    If you must get a long gun, you need to understand that it is overkill for home defense and over penetration will be a major danger. There will be many, many directions you can not shoot at the bad guys for fear of hitting family members and neighbors. Long guns are great outside the your home where it is illegal as hell to shoot anybody in just about every circumstance.
    Get a shotgun or a rifle if you want to, especially for something other than home defense. If you wanna shoot a possum that wont stop eating the dog’s food the shotgun may be the way to go, but if you want to fight of martian invaders or shoot deers get an AR-15 in the appropriate caliber. 6.5x39mm or .25-45 sharps are very nice. Its way better than shotguns that ran out of shells and cant shoot far enough or penetrate as deeply,

  • Billybob November 26, 2016, 1:53 pm

    SAN ANTONIO – Police say a man trying to stop another man from beating a woman in a crowded San Antonio parking lot has been shot dead and a bystander has been critically wounded. The shooting happened Friday afternoon outside a Wal-Mart store. Police Chief William McManus says a man was assaulting a female companion when the other man drove up and demanded he stop. McManus says the attacker drew a handgun and fired at the man, killing him and critically wounding a female bystander. A woman in the vehicle with the man who was shot was injured by shattered glass. McManus says the beaten woman escaped and a police helicopter followed the shooter\’s vehicle for 10 miles before his arrest. …

  • RON November 1, 2016, 11:56 am

    FOR $114 BACK ABOUT 1971.






    • Roger Funk November 24, 2016, 10:08 pm

      Ron –
      Top Flight comments Ron. As George Carlin once said,”Wow, reality what a concept”. Experience counts, as does luck, a good sight picture, and the intent to do the right thing. The best HDG I ever held and used is an M3-A1. (I’m a Korea vet.) Beyond that a 12ga. open bore, short barrel, pump action is hard to beat. A big factor in my choice is the short learning curve. A bigger one is the flat metallic sound of chambering the first round in a home hallway.


      • Peter Dragon September 11, 2017, 4:12 pm

        Times change…seasons change…people change. I keep a clown-mask and a chainsaw by my bed. The only thing scarier in the dark, than the sound of a pump-shotgun being ‘racked’ is the high-pitched banshee-wail of my Husqvarna at 10,000 RPM and me running naked down the hallway wearing my ‘It’ mask….chainsaw held high above my head…in hot pursuit of ‘trouble’. Whatever you do..DO NOT ‘visualize’ that in your mind. Great, and after I told you NOT to do it. I know what you’re thinking….and the answer is ‘NO’. I don’t wear the clown shoes. I just go barefoot. After all…I’m not an total ‘F’ing clown you know! Me and Clay have TBI’s and it’s the best we can do under the circumstances. But the great thing is…we’ll never be convicted… eh Clay???

  • Kenny October 26, 2016, 1:46 am

    I’m in absolute agreement.

    Most shooters that even own shotguns, don’t regularly train with them. I’m guilty of this.

    Add in the technical aspects of possibly clearing your house with a long gun. I actually prefer a pistol for home defense. Take any long gun, walk thru your house and see how awkward it can be in tight spaces.

  • mka October 24, 2016, 3:48 pm

    3 inch shotgun shells loaded with triple ought buckshot will shoot completely through a deer at 30 yards.
    I have no children at home and 30 yards is larger than the length of most houses. I defy anyone to say a human on any type drug would survive just 2 or 3 of these completely perforating a body much less the entire or most of the entire load.
    Deer drop right now when hit with these and they are much tougher than any human.

  • flintman50 October 24, 2016, 8:23 am

    VP “joltin” Joe Biden told his mama “to get a double barrel shotgun and shoot both barrels off the balcony, that will stop anybody dead in their tracks” – he guarantees it…..listen to the wise old sage…..there’s a man that knows his s***t………

    • Larry October 25, 2016, 1:09 pm

      That’s ’cause crazy uncle Joe has been full of it his entire life.

    • RON November 1, 2016, 12:00 pm



  • matt i October 21, 2016, 10:39 pm

    first off … you leave the comfort of you house your in a whole new ball game. unless your a cop or military your threat will be in your home. personally I use a Mossberg 500 in 20 ga. momma and the kids know how to work it. (practice, practice ,practice) we use 3″ mags #2 birdshot, tool is always loaded safety on fuck racking it they don’t need the warning. also has a side saddle after the second round buckshot is loaded side saddle has slugs for out side if needed but bandolier has buck in it. safety is the main concern here if more then one person is at home when this happens we are a team everyone has a job to do and we practice this.

  • Steve G October 20, 2016, 5:48 pm

    “…I’ve seen grown men F$#% this up over and over…” No kidding. And sometimes all it takes is the beep of a range timer. Good video Clay, like usual. Carry on.

  • Holdigr October 19, 2016, 6:51 pm

    I find interesting when a person who claims to have knowledge of ballistics advises the use of the AR15 as a viable home defense tool. The AR has been touted as a definitive answer for any number of problems. For my part, I cannot imagine what real world circumstance it is perfect for, but I can say that the AR15 is definitely NOT a proper choice for home defense. The devise is far too complicated for the average person effectively deploy in the middle of the night while still half asleep. Add to that the “Ballistically Challenged” .223/5.56 cartridge and you have defeated the purpose of home defense. Any such encounter that requires that the the hostilities cease with as few shots fired as possible. The attack must be stopped abruptly. This means the use of slugs, not buckshot. Fewer shots fired means less chance of unintentional injuries. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

    • matt i October 21, 2016, 10:46 pm

      agreed what about safety of others people in your home or the house next door there is other rounds you can use… 300 blackout in a leigh defence round in a 78gr. bullet or a 110 gr. you should see what it does to coyotes at close range

  • Gordon October 19, 2016, 1:51 pm

    Sorry, but I do not appreciate your language. Is it necessary to make your points? I do not think so. I lost all interest after the third F–k

  • DBM October 19, 2016, 12:23 pm

    The advice to pattern your shotgun is spot on and was taught to me by my dad when I was 8 which was a very long time ago.
    A guy whom I found out has some experience shooting people told me that my first round in the shotgun should be #6 birdshot for the bigger pattern increasing the chance of a 1st shot hit (talking home invasion here). He said people freeze for a second when they get shot so that gives you time to jack the 00 into the chamber and shoot again with a well aimed shot.

    You can also now order a choke like adaptor used in the SA army years ago that shapes the shot into a lateral spread and can be used with BB shot and smaller.

  • Robert E. Miner October 18, 2016, 4:33 pm

    I would like to submit that it is always easy to give, what one thinks may be, a thoughtful, knowledgeable opinion. However, I as I have grown older, I have found that it is not always thoughtFULL, or KNOWLEDGEable. I truly appreciate Clay’s desire to present safety in his instructions! This is first and foremost, always! He is obviously knowledgeable of the guns that he is using, and appears to have some very good personality traits that enable him to communicate and teach. I encourage him to continue pursuing his path in firearms safety and instruction, and I believe we will see much more of him in the future.
    Two things that came to my attention, that may of differing opinion are:

    1. Clay seemed biased towards the AR, as he compared it against a variety of shotguns, making an assumption that the AR is the only semi-automatic rifle available for home defense. He mentioned that there are all varieties of placement of safeties, slide release buttons/levers, not knowing if the gun is chambered or not, on the shotgun and having to check it, to see if it is chambered. Well, one has to know the operation of WHATEVER gun they choose and how they store it, especially if it is for self-defense. By the way, not all states allow more than a 10 round magazine. Therefore, his comparison of number of rounds does not only apply. Consideration for offender’s movement seldom allows 20+ rounds to be fired, unless he/she is hit in the beginning and stopped. I have fired a lot of semi-auto and pump rifles that vary in operation, too.
    This is not a complaint, but a SHORT opinion . . . simply to make a point. We’ll hold it there.

    2. However, I stopped watching/listening to the video when, I believe, Clay did not consider his possible audience. I say that because of his poor use of adjectives and verbs. Now, before you think me a prude . . . Clay said NOTHING I HAVE NOT ALSO SAID. HOWEVER, in all my public instructional classes, tapes (dating myself), conventions, programs, etc., I have NEVER resorted to foul or crude language to get my point across. (This has nothing to do with whether or not I was, or am, a Christian. My father, who was a 1st Sgt. in WWII, having entered France via Utah Beach – through Belgium – into Germany [Battle of the Bulge], taught me to be a gentlemen and polite to all with whom we might conduct business, and carry myself as such at all times. He said that shouting and vulgarity does not make your argument any stronger. Knowledge and ability to communicate properly does.) Anyway, my wife and grown daughters, and grandsons, will never see, nor hear, the rest of this tape. Who knows? It may have helped them. I share with them as much as I can, as I see the increased danger in the days ahead!

    Robert E. Miner
    The following is offered only for credibility purposes, not a boast:
    Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Home Firearm Safety and Combat/Concealed Carry Instructor, Former Fed. & State Lic. Firearms Dealer and Gunsmith, CCL since 1972, Competitive Shooter since 1974: (NRA Practical Pistol [Bullseye – Master Class], Police, Metallic Silhouette, some trap and skeet & some rifle, and former hunter safety instructor, hunter (gun & bow). Continuing to shoot and instruct privately.
    Life Benefactor NRA, Life NYS Rife & Pistol Assoc., Life Police Marksman’s Assoc., Platinum Life USCCA.

  • Christian October 18, 2016, 10:11 am

    Guys, I think you are taking this a bit too serious. I am very interested into the videos of Clay Martin, although sometimes I have a few troubles of understanding his fast speech but that’s still okay, because videos can be viewed again and again until I understand everything he says.

    Yet, Clay is, in my belief, just giving you his own opinions and suggestions. Just because he says that he is preferring his AR-15 rifle for self-defense, this doesn’t mean that you guys actually have to. I wouldn’t be surprised if different gun instructors give you different instructions because all of them have gathered different experiences, during their time of service. Yet, his videos are very helpful for people like me, people that drop by just to gather some information because they are interested into these things, while living in a country where you can only carry some pepper spray or cheap stun guns for self-defense. Concealed of course and officially only against animals, especially the pepper spray.

    Anyway, Clay prefers an AR-15 for self-defense, some other guys prefer their shotguns, some other say that semi-automatic shotguns are in fact reliable, well, that is okay. Clay maybe had some trouble in earlier days with the reliability of his Benelli M2 and that is why, from his experience, he says this. Remember to listen to the words very closely, he just said this about his Benelli M2, not about the reliability of semi-automatic shotguns in general (see in the video at 4:00). I do believe if he would get his hands on a USAS-12, maybe he would have a lot of fun shooting this awesome gun. Easy to reload too because it even uses drum magazines, so it doesn’t require every single shell to be loaded into the tube, so I guess this thing might be very reliable, same goes with a Saiga-12.

    Very interesting for me was also to see some facts about the pellet spray, although I already knew there are some ammo types that keep the pellets together in the air. I heard that sawn-off shotguns have a nice spread but I also heard that in many states in the USA they are also illegal. Maybe a different ammunition type will do the trick and give you a bigger spray? But I guess if you have to defend your property and you want to do so with a shotgun, you obviously don’t want to change your furniture after doing so.

    I am already very interested to see the next videos coming from you Clay, thank you very much!

  • JPHamilton October 18, 2016, 9:20 am

    Utter crap – it’s that old adage about the poor craftsman who blames the tool. Handgun, shotgun, rifle; any of them will be adequate for home defense, if the person behind the trigger takes the time to get proficient!

    • Aardvark October 18, 2016, 11:55 am

      He did state: “Don’t get me wrong; a shotgun is absolutely lethal in the right hands”

  • Mr. Sparkles October 18, 2016, 8:16 am

    Very good informative video. One thought that I would offer is the price break for the first time gun buyer. It would be better to have the $250 Mossberg then be waiting for the ability to purchase the AR platform. I also would ask that you tone down the expletives as I would be reluctant to share this with my daughter or mother in law. Thanks again.

    • Jody August 12, 2017, 3:48 pm

      Another option for shotgun ammo is low-recoil-slugs.
      I use an offering from Fiocchi, 1 ounce in 12 gauge.

      >> I also would ask that you tone down the expletives
      Me too, I agree. Recommend scrubbing the foul language.
      I noticed a person below expressed hostility to the foul language comment.
      Thanks for making the video. God bless.

  • Chuck Roast October 18, 2016, 7:16 am

    The author of the article mentions having to …”bang his stock on the ground” to clear out a bulging shotshell from an 870. I take it he didn’t have to do this in a gunfight, or he’d not be an author writing an article about clearing a bulging shotshell from an 870 barrel, but wouldn’t it make sense, if this happened while he was instructing folks on shotgun use, to unscrew the cap which retains the barrel on the 870, put a cleaning rod down the end of the barrel and push the stuck shell out? That’d be how I’d do it. However, I have never had that issue occur. But I’ve only had my 870 for forty or so years. In defense of the 870, I hunted geese near El Campo/Louise, Texas prairie for years, and anyone who’s ever done it knows the amount of mud you find in plowed under fields in January, and March in Texas. After the hunt, you clean it with a garden hose and fill it with WD 40 after you get the mud out. Never had a problem killing geese with an 870, but I kinda doubt if you laid in a muddy maize field all morning loading rounds into an AR with muddy gloves on, that an AR-15 would cycle more than one round. Love my 870, andGod Bless the folks who make WD 40. (Semi-Auto anything vs. a Pump 870 isn’t even a fair contest when it comes to reliability,)

  • jaygreen October 17, 2016, 11:22 pm

    Okay everyone, gather up all your shotgun ammo, pack it on a palate and send it all to me. I’ll keep your disgrace quite and disposed of it all quiet-like.

    pm me for mailing address.

  • Tom Horn October 17, 2016, 9:47 pm

    I think more important than, Shotgun vs AR, is are you prepared for an intruder?
    #1. phone by the bed
    2. handgun to fight your way to long gun (a holster once there).
    3. tactical flashlights, both mounted + handheld (I.D. target first)
    4. armor plate carrier/ballistic vest accessible/ballistic safety glasses (walls splinter, etc.)
    5. bladed weapon in case of being disarmed
    6. defense + escape plan for the family
    7. conventional wisdom: defend in place, unless a loved one is in harms way (many exceptions)

    • Bob M. October 18, 2016, 3:41 pm

      Good council. Nice order to it.

    • matt i October 21, 2016, 10:47 pm

      right on tom

  • Smitty October 17, 2016, 8:58 pm

    Great video Clay. I still like my Mossberg for picking off menacing possum that show up close to the house at night, but if there’s a chance someone is going to shoot back (hopefully not the possum) I’d rather default to overwhelming firepower. (VZ-58/AR-15 Congrats on being picked up as a regular.
    I really wish people would stop criticizing the language. If they don’t like it go to another website like “The Squeaky Clean Mainstream I Promised to Support The Republican Nominee But Now I Changed My Mind Because I Lost Channel”. 🙂

  • KC SMITH October 17, 2016, 8:35 pm

    Shotguns are very misunderstood, and this article doesn’t help that at all.

  • Patrick October 17, 2016, 6:48 pm

    I enjoyed the article and like most comments here believe choice of weapon is personal preference. My choice is a Kimber 45 to get me to my benelli M4 which will dish out a massive amount of destruction in short order.

    I think the main point of this article was that if you are going to use a shotgun you had best know that it’s not magic and has different characteristics (shot patterns) at different ranges.
    for a real life scenario , Google “Oklahoma teenager kills intruder”. She used a shotgun.

  • Just be cool October 17, 2016, 6:00 pm

    I have seen what a load of 00 buck can do to some one at 30 feet and out to 60 feet in NAM for 19 month and as a cops, Don’t give up on the shotgun it can and will do the job you ask it to! The 223/556 is a joke 30 rounds for one tack down ,2000 in combat think about it Clay this is spray and pray time!!!!

  • james f.stringer sr. October 17, 2016, 4:39 pm

    I carry a1911a1 in .45 acp . easier to manipulate around corners in a house, or outside if need be, also have a .30 cal carbine, quite easy to use in a house, as well as outside, thinking about getting a lever action carbine in .45 lcolt….for inhouse and outside, have serv eral houses around me, over 100 ft away from me,,,,,,what about those carbines for home/self defense?????? any info would be appreciated.

  • Jonn Brosius October 17, 2016, 3:02 pm

    Now that you have more funding it might be wise to watch the language.
    Don’t want to turn off conservative shooters that might not want their kids
    to hear the F.word while watching good training videos.Just a thought.

    • John J October 17, 2016, 8:58 pm

      I concur with Jon. I’m not “conservative” (except perhaps in my politics), and am not averse to using obscenities when they make a point that can’t be made otherwise (a rare occasion). Usually their use just suggests a limited education or a desire to sound like a tough guy. Your points are well taken, Clay, but ditch the “fuckin'” talk, Tough Guy – we already know you’re bad.

  • dward October 17, 2016, 2:08 pm

    Articles like this, as well as other similar articles, seem to be based on a concept that self defense only belongs to those with years of experience or long hours of training. NOT SO. While it is good that any responsible gun owner knows how to handle his or her weapon, the idea that endless training and 1 inch patterns in a pistol at 30 feet is the only way to defend ones self is ludicrous; and probably comes from those who have never been in a life threatening situation where there is not time to aim for that 1 inch spread, there is no time to do anything these teachers of tactical defense say. In fact, some of the most so called trained individuals like police officers wind up dumping dozens of rounds and hit nothing, yet make qualifying patterns all day long on a range. So, while it is good to become proficient, and while it is good to make some reactions rote, it seldom happens in real life threatening situations.
    I spend a lot of time at the range, not because of reasons for self defense, but because I enjoy shooting. There are, however, many who do not have the time and cannot do this. Yet they still need to have home defense capabilities. This generally does not include a massive knowledge data base of how to tear down every gun under the sun. And while keeping weapons in good operating order is important, in the time it is needed for home defense, cleaning is the last thing to worry about. Accuracy is also relative, just watch video of the cop dumping two clips at then get shot by the bad guy with a rifle at close range if you think it does.

    • Kelly Lee October 17, 2016, 11:49 pm

      You totally missed the point of the article.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude October 17, 2016, 1:46 pm

    Clay, don’t listen to these ‘chairborne rangers’. Ive been saying the same thing for years on this forum. There’s nothing anybody can do with a shitgun that I can’t do ten time better with a lightweight compact AR platform. Most of these shitgun anal retentives still believe the .45 v. 9mm myth and for some cognitively deranged reason still think the AK is better than the AR despite the untold dollars I’ve made betting them otherwise. They are like children who won’t give up their pacifiers.

    Shitguns originally gained urban legend status with the ignorant cowboy movies. And for short periods they found some use in some types of close quarters military warfare, but then got phased out. They they gained some popularity-especially when Remington offered big city PDs super bulk discounts of their 870 models after the ’68 riots for back up firepower since most regulation police pistols back then were still only six shot revolvers without even speed loaders.

    Originally they were thinking M-16’s but since the war was still on Colt wasn’t giving any discounts and they reasoned that a shotgun would provide less collateral damage than an automatic rifle. So the shotgun was more litigation safe and would suffice since most confrontations would be of ‘close encounter’ kind. So then every beat car began to carry mostly 870s.

    Today, shotguns, for all practical hard core CQB police purposes are virtually obsolete.

    This was a very good Video-article, Clay, keep up the good work!

    (If you ever want to do a part II on this, email me and I’ll tell you how to do a demo that will bitch slap and smack down any and all comparison between a shitgun and an AR-15 carbine for any and all defense work FOREVER in terms of how advanced the AR is over a shotgun. So then all these igno-nits will STFU once and for all.)

    • Alan October 17, 2016, 8:54 pm

      Now how are we to take YOU seriously when you use stupid phrases like this??
      And you refer to others as childish???
      Not to mention your history of combat shotguns is sketchy, The Germans totally feared the shotgun in trench warfare, and even filed a protest for its “barbarism” with the U.S. Govt.
      Another incident had an 1897 toting American Sergeant routing more than 30 Germans singlehandedly from a French village.
      Some Marines in the PTO swore by the shotgun for close in jungle fighting, as did many in Nam.
      All that aside, the idea of the title of this article is at issue, to imply that shotguns “suck” for defense is complete garbage, and although an interesting piece for discussion and even argument, it sure beats a baseball bat or fireplace poker.
      And frankly, for those not able or unwilling to practice much, I submit it’s better than any handgun.
      And I love them all.

    • matt i October 21, 2016, 10:58 pm

      boy your penis must be so massive its like having a yacht in a bath tub (if you don’t know how to use it, it ain’t going no where) what about over penetration( this is probably a big issue for you) I can see a car in 9mm or 10mm or 357 sig that is cqb

  • OutdoorsGuy October 17, 2016, 1:22 pm

    I have a years old Mossy 500, 20″ barrel, 20″tube, 7+1 pump, nuttin’ fancy, just something that will reach out to the other end of the house interior if ever needed. I am amply stocked with Winchester Ranger LEA 00 Buckshot, the equivalent of 8 .38 Sp./.357 mag. projectiles per round depending on how close the unfortunate “visitor” is to the muzzle when I say “Hi” to him at 2 AM.

    Like another responder, my children are grown with their own responsibilities to tend to so I am not concerned about having “guns” stashed around the house at strategic places. This weapon won’t punch a nice clean 3″ hole in anyone, I’m sure, but it WILL turn about a 3″ diameter area of ballistic gel to a mushy mass of gelatine from 15′ away. None of my interior rooms are much longer in “move around” floor space than that so I feel relatively confident that I can protect myself when needed.

    Regarding moving around the interior of a house or other building, it is a common occurance for LEO’s clearing a building to move around inside the building with whatever “long gun” they are using. My shotgun is shorter than many long guns used in such close quarter movements. Regarding those buckshot blasts not penetrating a car door, there is a reasonable answer to that problem which is one of the reasons why there are less injuries and fatalities in broad side collisions that in past years. Inside all of the vehicles manufactured in this country and most other countries are reinforcements called impact strips or impact bars which are passive safety devices which help minimize the intrusion of another vehicle into the interior of a vehicle during a collision, particularly a side impact, commonly called a “T-bone” impact. Many are constructed from high impact very strong, heavy plate steel that is shaped to resist bending and tearing upon impact in any of the door areas. Most of these impact bars are about 7″ to 11″ wide and will stop a .223 or a .45 if fired at the center of the door area. It was not a very impressive demonstration of penetration for guys like myself who have owned and operated a collision repair shop for any length of years. It is like trying to shoot a round through a sheet of shaped HSS after it penetrates the exterior sheetmetal skin of the door. That round has lost quite a bit of velocity once it exits the door skin into the door interior and then runs smack into a 1/8″ shaped HSS impact bar just inches away.

    Like everything else in life, we all have to make decisions and face some choices for our health, safety, and welfare and it’s up to each of us to make the best decisions for our own situation. Videos like the one in question only seem to be showing what one person’s sometimes limited knowledge of the subject he is trying to explain actually covers. My opinion on the matter is, if it works for you in YOUR situation and you feel confident and can keep your mind calm under pressure, then use what best suits you.

    Nobody ever wins in the event of a tie in a gunfight. For me, it is better to have to say “Huh?” over and over from some hearing loss from the sound of my 12 Ga. firing enough times to stop an intrusion than it is for me to die with perfect hearing and leave only a grave for my children to visit with flowers on occasion.

  • Joseph R Petrik October 17, 2016, 12:29 pm

    This video is asinine. For one, who in a home defense situation will need to shoot 30 rounds or more (and need to reload FAST) at perps?? If you do, you had better get your ass out on the range and learn how to hit a freakin’ target. Too damn many nitwits, like this guy, are too focused on SLINGING TONS OF LEAD all over the damn place than they are with hitting the damn perp with one or two rounds RIGHT OFF.
    I have a semi-auto 20ga in an AR 15 platform loaded with #3 buck w/ defensive slugs attached on standby. It has never misfired or failed to cycle. This guy is full of bluster. Probably has stock in an AR 15 manufacturer. Both my wife and daughter love this shotgun. And no worry of a penetrating round or miss killing the neighbor’s kid.
    I did not watch his whole video. I had quite enough of bullshit pretty quickly.

    • UNIT-14 October 17, 2016, 4:03 pm

      Home Invasion Crews. I had a former whom was proficient with a baseball bat and she was living with her shotgun-proficient Uncle, too. The shotgun evidently jammed and it ended up with the both of them tied up and their home robbed. At the heart of the shotgun’s faults is the disconnect. Per the 1968 Gun Control Act. pump shotguns must have a disconnect. This adds an extra step that people stress situations donot need. Rossi needs to start making a .20 gauge circuit judge, the .410 variant is hyper popular because of its reliable more than a pump, too. Detachable box fed magazine semiauto shotguns run up to $700.00+. They are more reliable than a pump shotgun, too. The tragic 1983 by most gun companies to quit make bolt action shotguns was a dreadful mistake, too. Any time I face trouble, my laser sighted 9mm or 1911 or AK will be in my hands. They work. If you’re a poor guy, get a used SKS or HI-Point .45 carbine, too. Even a Ruger 10-22 with a BX-25 magazine is a wiser choice, also.

  • LBear October 17, 2016, 12:16 pm

    Good article, however I prefer a pump shotgun for home defense. After all, don’t all Police cars have a shotgun in a rack beside the officer? I purchased a Remington 12 guage 870 Wingmaster 35+ years ago and keep it over the door inside my closet. It’s loaded with 2 bird shot rounds, the next buck shot, and the last 2 slugs. I’ve measured off the distance from my bedroom door to the front door, then the front door to midway down the front walk and then to the street. I think I have everything covered with my shot selection. I’ve shot skeet with this gun so I know it’s accuracy. I recommend anyone who doesn’t own a weapon to make their first purchase a shotgun. (Any popular gage). Since they probably don’t know much about a pump I recommend a semi automatic. And most of all, don’t buy a cheap gun. All my shotguns are Browning. Your life may depend on it!

  • Tripwire October 17, 2016, 11:46 am

    I see a lot of negative comments about this issue but I have to ask how many of the commenters actually ever went out and checked this stuff out on their own? First off yes I am a fan of the shotgun when things go bump in the night, my choice is a 12 ga double with 20 inch bbl and loaded with 00 buck, now I’m not a fan of 00 buck, but inside my house for CQB yes I like it, the spread at close range won’t be much but it works for me because I’m old I wear glasses and waking up in the semi darkness of my house my shotgun works, but I also have a high-cap 40 beside the bed.
    But I agree with Clay when he says the shotgun is not a good choice for a newbie, I own and use four different shotguns, the aforementioned sawed off double, two different pumps and an FN/ SLP auto. all are different and if you don’t know your guns then you could have a bad time if that bump comes in the night.
    As for loads the only one for me outside my home is the controlled flight number one buck. but all this crap about how deadly buck is out at 60+ yards is just that, crap, if you set up a man sized target at 30 yards and shoot 00 buck at it you might get enough to drop the target but don’t count on that to stop them from shooting back and at 60 yards? you might get lucky and get a hit on their eye and that would stop the fight but don’t count on it. I’d rather have my handgun for 60 yards. but I agree with Clay on the rifle, I do have a PSA PCC in 9mm and it is a killer! from muzzle to a good 150 yards it is deadly, yea it’s not a 223 or a 308 but at CQB ranges it don’t matter, 32 rounds of 9mm hp is bad news.
    All in all I agree with Clay, the shotgun is an experts gun if it’s needed in the night by a half asleep person, but we all have our own opinions, this was mine.
    And yes I’ve short stroked my pumps so many times I can’t count them, in a gun fight I’d likely be dead if I did that, and I’ve used pumps in 3 gun for almost 30 years, I went to an auto because of the short stroke thing, and he’s right about the cheaper ammo.
    So, over all I think Clay is more right than wrong and frankly I’m sure he has more combat time than 99% of us so it can’t hurt to listen to somebody who has been on the pointy end of the spear.

    • Joseph R Petrik October 17, 2016, 12:45 pm

      “More combat time”????? In home defense is a FAR CRY from “COMBAT” wouldn’t ya say??
      And “Newbie” is sooooo dumb. A newbie can become an oldbie quite quickly with a few days out on the range with their NEW SHOTGUN, no? And if they don’t go and PRACTICE and become FAMILIAR and PROFICIENT with the damn weapon they are choosing to use for self defense, they are dumbassbie’s and have no business having a gun in the first place. Geesh!!! We don’t need a bunch of fool-ass 30+round LEAD-SLINGERS filling our neighborhoods. We’ll all need to put up bulletproof walls around our property, no?!

  • Nick October 17, 2016, 11:35 am

    The argument makes sense, to a point. But the conclusion doesn’t seem to follow. For instance, a lot of time and energy is spent pointing out that it’s actually way harder to get a hit with a shotgun than owners might think, because the pattern is actually very narrow. But, more narrow than, say, .223 inches? Whatever arguments are made with respect to shotguns seem like they’d apply, but even more so, to the rifles the article is apparently espousing. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anything explaining why rifles will be somehow easier to get a hit with, for the folks who don’t train with their weapons and don’t know what the point of impact will be. There’s no mention of ballistics; many folks choose shotguns because they think rifle rounds will penetrate walls further and place innocents in potentially unwarranted danger. I don’t know the science behind that claim, but it goes unaddressed here. And, the argument touches on reliability, but the AR-15 is often popularly derided as having reliability issues (which I disagree with, but I digress). A good shotgun doesn’t strike me as more likely to have errors than a good rifle, and a cheap rifle can have all kinds of problems too. In short, really what this article seems to boil down to is that you should train with, and ensure the reliability (mechanical and otherwise) of, any weapon you choose to use for your self-defense. That’s indubitably true. But the argument seems to take it a step further and argue that rifles are better or that shotguns are bad for self-defense purposes, and I see little in here to recommend either one of those additional steps. What am I missing here?

    • Joseph R Petrik October 17, 2016, 12:50 pm

      I agree. IMHO this guy really has some other agenda !! Like you say, his presentation is VERY LACKING in other basic commonsense info. And your point about the .223 rifle hit vs the what, 3.5in shotgun hit, was perfect!!!

  • Ron B October 17, 2016, 11:32 am

    Who the hell uses bird shot for self defense. Bird shot will penetrate about 1/2″ into flesh. As a deputy sheriff I used a Remington 12 guage 870 Wingmaster for 25 years. Never jammed, never broke down. 12 guage 00 buck is nine rounds of 32 cal lead pellets. A 12 guage deer slug will take down anything on the American continent within 50 yards. Don’t tell me a properly configured shotgun isn’t a good self defense weapon.

    • Joseph R Petrik October 17, 2016, 12:56 pm

      AGREE!!!! In the past, as a NJ Police officer, deer and duck hunter, I have also relied on “THE USELESS PUMP and SEMI-AUTO SHOTGUN” and never had any issue with them. This guy is SELLING $$$$$$$$ AR-15’s somewhere, is my bet!!

  • rico October 17, 2016, 11:04 am

    Don’t forget about that magic racking sound. You know, the one that makes all bad guys $#@! their pants and run away when they hear it. /s

    • Turk October 17, 2016, 4:48 pm

      \”That magic racking sound\”..LMAO!!Yeah, the sound that says………..\”HERE I AM!!\”……..\”SHOOT ME!\”

  • Keith October 17, 2016, 10:59 am

    ARs are fine. Shotguns are much better for sheer stopping power within self defense range of <50 feet. People just need to shoot and understand their guns (regardless of type). Operationally and results on the target. All firearms are VERY LOUD and disorienting indoors. Unless they have time to put on ear protection, most people will not be able to hear much of anything for a few minutes after the first shot. I have numerous ARs in the closet/safe, but my bedside gun is a Mossberg 500 loaded with low recoil, law enforcement #1 and 000 buckshot. I am confident in the effectiveness of the weapon and those rounds at self defense ranges inside the home.

    • Joseph R Petrik October 17, 2016, 1:10 pm

      Correct!! MANY have walked or ran away or continued to attack after being hit with .223 rifle round. In fact, one or two at the Orlando “Pulse Nightclub” shooting spree survived after being hit 6 and 7 or more times by the NUT-JOB Muslim terrorist with his .223 AR. I have heard of and seen cops being STILL attacked after shooting a thug multiple times with their .38″s, .357’s, 9mm’s. I have not heard of this happening with anyone hit, even in the leg, with a BUCK SHOT round. Have any of y’all out there??! Furthermore, I have heard of MANY innocent bystanders being HIT or KILLED by the 17-32+ round LEAD-SLINGING cops and thugs, have y’all not?? NOT ONE BY A SHOTGUN BLAST!!Give me a freakin’ break!!!

  • Bob October 17, 2016, 10:55 am

    The statement of :”While a semi-auto can be really cool … they can be unreliable when compared to a simple pump-action shotgun.” is simply NOT TRUE! I have a Catamount Fury 1 shotgun (based on AK platform) that is a 12 ga semi-automatic and uses 5 or 10 Mags and I can EASILY keep it on Target, shooting 5 rds of Double Ought Buck! The only Jam I’ve seen is a FTE and all I have to do is pull back the charging handling (AK style) and let it go forward and I’m back in business. As compared to your AR 15, I can make a KILL SHOT at a 100 yards with a SLUG round and it will do more damage than your 5.56, just ask many a DEER about that one , eh! Like everything else in the GUN World, if you know your Gun and how she shoots you’ll be just fine! The most IMPORTANT fact when it comes to shooting is the SHOOTER!

    • Joseph R Petrik October 17, 2016, 1:11 pm

      This has got to be one of the dumbest gun videos I have ever seen.

  • Dr. J L Smith October 17, 2016, 10:38 am

    After reading all the comments, I don’t see anyone weighing in on the auto v. pump aspect, so I will say something. I have fired most brands and both pump and auto loaders in competition and in training – and find no difference in reliability or frequency of malfunctions. I confess to short pumping a few times under stress, but have never had a single jam with an auto loader! If you stick with the companies that make them right (I like Beretta, Benelli and Mossberg), you won’t find a more reliable weapon. During police academy training, we learned about situations where, during a fire fight, cops have been found dead surrounded by unfired shells from having pumped all their rounds through their Remington 870 without remembering to pull the trigger. Google stories about pump shotguns failing to feed, jamming, or how difficult they are to load or rack with one hand…(see FBI Miami shoot out).
    Find what works for you – but I keep a 9 rd. auto loader with an 18″ bbl. by my bedside, and trust it with my life.

    • Joseph R Petrik October 17, 2016, 1:18 pm

      DITTO!!! I have both. A 12ga Mossberg pump for me and a 20ga semi-auto AR platform for the misses. Don’t EVER break into my castle. This guy in the video is “off his nut” !!

  • J. Dexter Smith October 17, 2016, 9:44 am

    I personally like a .20 ga. slide action, with pistol grip stock & pistol grip slide with a 850 lumen light with a squeeze bulb next to the trigger, 18.5 inch length from the chamber, using #3 buckshot(.24 cal. and about 25 pellets per round). Lightweight, easy to slide, covers about a 5 to 6 foot circle at 15 to 18 feet. Ex-duck & squirrel hunter so leading the target is no problem nor is center shot displacement. But just one round is like discharging 25-.22 mags. all at one time(something is going to get hit) + 4 more rounds to follow…or the way I think…125-.22 mags going off all within 10 to 12 seconds. Now, a .223 is about the same caliber as a .22 mag.(which have the same/similar muzzle velocity as a .38 special) why would one want to shoot 125 times with a semi-auto rifle(even though slightly more powerful than a .38 special) when 5, #3 buckshot shells from a .20 ga. pump will do the same task? Just an old-timer’s observation.

  • Spencer Adsit October 17, 2016, 9:38 am

    I do not disagree with a lot said here, but saying a pump shotgun like an 870 is more complicated than an AR 15 is just stupid.

  • Ian October 17, 2016, 9:35 am

    I have to agree, the shotgun is not the best for accuracy at close range. Ive missed quite a few stationary clay discs under 5 yards shooting 3 gun. Plus it may be pretty easy to get under the muzzle and muscle away from the shooter.

  • Alan October 17, 2016, 9:12 am

    C’mon Clay, did you really ask yourself if you thought this through?
    If you’re implying that a pump or Auto shotgun is any more complex than a AR, those of us who actually take our guns apart to tune and clean them are going to question that statement, as the systems are very similar.
    And you must know that.
    And if you’re implying that shotgun ammo (well made, quality stuff of course) is less reliable than the 5.56 stuff out there, I’m calling B.S. partner.
    I actually enjoy your hutzpah, but I seriously question your conclusions on this one.
    Like your choice in liquor, this is an article more of ones personal tastes than one of objective clarity.

    • clay martin October 17, 2016, 9:58 am

      well made, quality stuff- valid point, but you can’t buy that at your local wal mart, and most people won’t bother.

      I stand by my belief that an AR is easier to learn, less steps.

      • Alan October 17, 2016, 11:38 am

        Ok, load an AR mag, load the shotgun tube mag (1 step), insert AR mag (2nd step for AR), actuate the loading (2nd step SG, 3rd AR) .
        Sorry, you’re wrong.
        If the weapon is standing by for home defense,(in a safe place of course)and is at the ready, that point is again invalidated.
        Both can be brought to action at the same basic rate of time.
        Capacity is an issue, granted. BUT a good home defense plan has that covered. And C’mon, few will ever need THAT much firepower. You might admit many overdo firepower. I certainly love firepower, but recognize my and my fellow gunnies as having a tendency to overdo it.
        For the average home invasion, the standard SG has the capacity.
        Shooting is same. Sight, release safety, squeeze trigger.
        They are VERY similar, to the point of YOUR point of ease of use and learning being moot.
        If someone loads an AR mag sloppily, it can jam, I’ve seen it. Hard to do that with a tube mag on a SG.
        Seriously Clay, I recognize your very high qualifications on this matter, but IMHO, you’re not making any points here.

  • robert fugate October 17, 2016, 9:11 am

    Like the title of this article with the word SUCK! Do Shotguns Suck for Self-Defense. Makes me wonder is this country or world going into a cesspool of trailer talk? Children are called KIDS, something that’s crappy of poor quality now SUCKS! Wonder where the editor received his education from, cause it SUCKS!

    • rich October 17, 2016, 10:10 am

      Couldn’t agree more.

  • flintman50 October 17, 2016, 9:05 am

    The Alaska DNR’s agents use high-cap 12 gauge pumps or semis’ (their choice), alternating 00 buck and slug, that’s all I need to know.

  • billybob October 17, 2016, 8:58 am

    Black Aces 8\” barrel (NON NFA) 12ga clip fed !
    When I shot a note book size piece of paper targets at 100 yards with slugs (1 oz ) & man size targets with buck shot at 25 yards from the hip using buck shot or #9 stopped by sheet rock ! MY 223 & 308 will go through my house & my neighbors ,even through their cars !
    My Judge or Circuit Judge 45 acp /buckshot/slugs /bird shot 410 WORKS JUST FINE , my 454 Casull / 410 HAND CANNON Grizzly Bear stopper for those BILLY BAD ASES (show offs )

    • Irish-7 October 17, 2016, 1:57 pm

      Although I own an M4, Mossberg 930 SPX and multiple .45 automatics, the gun that I keep closest to me at night is a revolver. I load my S&W Governor with 3 rounds of .410 defensive loads (odd chambers) and 3 .45 Long Colt 300 grain “Bear Loads” (even slots). If necessary, my first reload would be a moon clip of .45 ACP, as it is quicker than .45 LC or .410 GA in speed loaders. I think the 5-Star speed loaders hold the shot shells and revolver rounds best. There are a few of those handy. I consider the M4 and 930 SPX better suited for keeping assailants away from my home than using indoors.

  • Mark October 17, 2016, 8:25 am

    Been shooting most every weapon available for regular folks for over 40 years and I will always stand behind a load of 12 gauge 00 buck in any defensive situation. Nine .32 caliber balls all going down range at 1200fps with a 12-30″ kill pattern,with one pull of the trigger. Nothing else even comes close for stopping a threat up to 50-60 yards. If you can’t run a shotgun,you can’t run an AR either. As far as accuracy…unless you are very proficient with a single projectile weapon…chances are you are going to miss often. With a shotgun,you have a 30″ kill zone. All my other weapons are so I can get to my shotgun.

    • Major Payne October 17, 2016, 8:52 am

      I couldn’t have said it better myself … so I wont.

    • David October 17, 2016, 11:26 am

      At home defense ranges, you have a 3″ kill zone, not a 30″. That was the point of his video demonstration. You need to watch the video as well.

  • Jeffrey Frischkorn October 17, 2016, 8:12 am

    Great advice if you’re the kind of guy who loves to talk a lot with the swager of a person who thinks black and scary looking are the cool factors that kill. Modern day shotgun ammo having poor performance? Yeah, right. Point of aim? At the distances an actual defensive use is needed that’s less of an issue than the point of aim for a black rifle with a woefully unnecessary 30 round magazine or a pistol bought because you hold fast to the latest and misguided “because they don’t make a .46 caliber” gun magazine story. But it’s know-it-all authors like this who can convince through the use of bravado that their words are sacred text worthy of worship. Of course there will always be those who will drink that serpent’s sweetener if only because they want to fancy themselves as being firearms authorities based on their buying and reading habits alone.

    • Chris Squier October 17, 2016, 11:24 am

      You must be joking, sir. You are certainly mistaken about the author. This is a man who has not only seen combat but has had to do the Lord’s work in it. Have you? Driving on, it is not an easy thing to shoulder. As for Our Man’s delivery, he has EARNED it, so please, why don’t you go sit back down in your easy chair. Men like Mr. Martin have with their blood, sweat and tears preserved the American Way of Life for you to enjoy. I may not worship the man, but I sure respect where he has been. I suggest you think first before you post.

  • Richard October 17, 2016, 7:48 am

    The statement about patterning is great but needs to go a step further. With a large sheet of cardboard or plywood supported upright and a target in the center, raise the gun quickly to the firing position and fire, as you would at a bird. If the pattern is on target, the stock fits. Low and to the left, too long and needs to be shortened, high and to the right too short, ad a spacer. Obviously the clothes you wear normally, heavy jacket, vest etc should be used during this process. Before wasting a round bring the gun up quickly several times. If it catches it’s obviously too long, if you catch yourself pulling it back, too short. If it comes naturally to the firing position it should be right on when you fire. The right length stock is extremely important for a “Point and shoot” weapon.

    • Trapper October 19, 2016, 5:48 pm

      5 star comment – make sure your gun fits. Same with a handgun. Close your eyes and point at a stationary target. If the sights don’t line up when you open your eyes – some fitting is needed.
      Use the range. I bought a Judge. I shot at paper at regular, close ,hand gun range. Was shocked to see zero hits with expensive judge shotshells. Tried 45 lc. Zero hits. Shortened the distance till I hit. Found it necessary to be in spitting distance. Useless. I loved the idea but paper proved it worthless. POS !
      I have several cut down SINGLE Shot 20s. Rounded butts that come up fast and handle the doorways fine. I have buttstock ammo carriers with 5 rnds of # 3 buck. Cheap and SIMPLE – I prefer the mossy pump in 20 again simple and cheap but reliable and intuitive for me.
      This author(?) is a swaggering bullshit artist typical of most gun shops I appreciate his service but not his fit to educating people. An AR has its place but having owned and used several I decided to shift to more appropriate guns. I love to shoot and since I am older than dirt and on a fixed income I shoot ammo I can afford. Shooting a 10-22 often is better than seldom shooting. Proficiency comes with practice. Hitting is much better than missing. If you can’t kill a tin can or piece of paper and KNOW where the round is going what good are 30 rnds? By the way a 30 rnd magazine on a black rifle is going to scream at the local cops if you need to defend your home. A shotgun is much more “normal” than a cussing swaggering gunslinging ninja wannabe.- plus its overkill for home defense and one more thing to hang up. KISS.
      These expert articles are great if you are his age/gender/experience/income level and want to agree with him. Bad-asses unite.
      How about the rest of us? I own 25 different firearms and I am at least skilled in using each. This required time and effort not to mention bucks. Each has its place – I have my preferences but do not purport to tell anyone that something as tried and true as a shotgun for home defense is wrong. Quite the contrary, A single shot shotgun is simple,cheap and reliable and can be understood by anyone. Even a 410 or my preference a 20 with buckshot is potent. A double is more expensive but a fine simple choice. A mossy pump or an 870 is not much harder to learn and with light field loads affordable to practice with. Switch to buckshot and pattern it with a shorter barrel and its a dual purpose gun. Field or defense. This is sensible.
      And finally – knock off the bad dude BS you sound like a teenager trying too hard. Trapper

  • R.W. October 17, 2016, 7:42 am

    Interesting; but virtually none of those scenarios and potential problems apply to me. Time it takes to load is irrelevant, as I have no kids at home and I’d have either my AR or 12 gauge already loaded and ready to go. Familiarity with the firearm and its controls? Irrelevant; every owner, newbie, experienced, whatever, should be familiar with how his firearm operates and where the controls are within a couple hours of owning it… certainly by the time he/she’s broken it in. Reliability? My 930’s as reliable as any gun I’ve got; never a single malfunction with a wide variety of ammo. Birdshot? Agree with the author; useless for self-defense at any but the closest ranges. Penetration? This is actually one of the reasons I choose the shotgun; seen at least a dozen real-life instances of 5.56/.223 rounds passing through 4 or 5 walls and still killing someone in the last room where the mangled bullet is found… have even seen rounds pass entirely through a house into the next house. As the vid shows, the buckshot didn’t penetrate through the car door; and since I’ve yet to see anybody do a home invasion by driving their car into the house, that’s not really a concern of mine… killing my neighbor’s kids is. Capacity and/or reloads? Unless the burglar who wants my TV and is trying to be silent brings an army with him to accomplish the goal, the 9 rounds of 00, 000, or buck-n-ball that my shotgun holds should be plenty; if it’s not, then I’m not doing my part by spending time at the range. Most important to me is which round is most likely to prevent rounds from coming back, even with imperfect shots? At the ranges we’re talking about it’s hard to top the effects of a 12 gauge blast to the torso. Granted, the 12 gauge isn’t for everyone; some folks are intimidated by the recoil, and that could certainly prevent them from being efficient with it. Me, I embrace the power, even at my age; I love shooting my 12 gauge, .45-70, and .375 Ruger. To each his own I guess; I’m still keeping a Judge with Federal’s 3″, 5-pellet 000 .410 rounds on the nightstand and my 930 1 step away in the closet… my poor AR will just have to keep company in the safe with all the other high-powered rifles.

    • hogger1960 October 18, 2016, 12:28 am

      Thank you R.W. My thoughts exactly (although I do not, and probably will not ever own a “high powered” rifle). I do not want to kill my neighbors in the “event” either. Just the thugs I’m firing at. Cleaning, disassembly, number of parts… all totally irrelevant when someone comes uninvited to your home. All the hype about the AR-15’s being alike is just to disregard the fact that one needs to be proficient with the firearm that THEY are using, be it shotgun, whatever handgun, slingshot, blowpipe or whatever.

  • Ken October 17, 2016, 7:33 am

    Inside a house a long gun is probably not your best option. First, its hard to move room to room without offering your gun to your problem. Next, if you fire in a confined space you may lose most of your hearing. Last its hard to point shoot in confined spaces. I know that in some States it is possible to have a long gun in the home without the hassle of a permit for a handgun but given the choice I would use a handgun of moderate power and frangible ammo for personal Protection in the home.
    Stay SAFE!!

  • Abe Froman October 17, 2016, 3:40 am

    I have an 870 Express and 1k rounds of mixed slugs & #4 Buck. I hope to never need them. I bought a Beretta CX4 Storm and a handful of 30 round magazines. Devastatingly accurate out to 75 yards, yet won’t over penetrate like 5.56 or 308.

  • Will Drider October 15, 2016, 1:32 am

    Even the beloved/hated 1911 has more capacity then most produced shotguns! Good article and vid. Though you might touch on “Is 2 3/4 chamber enough?”, maybe another time. The question isn’t what a shotgun can be used for, the real issue for “defensive” shotguns is what mission requires it? On a tactical side it could provide standoff less then lethal rounds and limited breaching. It has always carried a intimidation factor though.

  • Tom Horn October 14, 2016, 6:51 am

    Could you give us your take on modern sporting rifle optics/sights for home defense/CQB. I see many folks at the range with small diameter (20-24 mm) focal plane scopes that many manufacturers are now touting as AR scopes. I only know from squirrel hunting with 24 mm focal plane scope on a .22 pistol, that they can be a pain in the butt to locate a target, even with both eyes open (small field of view). I don’t get it? Seems to me a reflex sight (red dot), or reflex sight with magnifier would be a much better option out to 100 yds. Past 100 yds, a larger focal plane scope, 40-50 mm, has worked great for me coyote hunting, and provides fast target acquisition, even at higher magnifications. Add to that the co-witnessing ability of the reflex sight, and it seems a no-brainer. What is your take on it?

    • clay martin October 17, 2016, 10:27 am

      I kinda covered that in magnified optics vs red dots, published a few months ago. but the short answer is, a red dot is always faster if you are under 50m

  • Tom Horn October 13, 2016, 9:38 pm

    I asked a SWAT officer/ex-SF soldier teaching a tactical rifle course if he offered a tac shotgun course. He said he did not at this time. I asked if they used the shotgun in breaching/room clearing/etc. in SWAT. He said, “Not so much, anymore.”
    He said the rifle delivers rounds with more precision, with less collateral damage.

    I have patterned my 18″ barreled pump (cyldr bore) with 9 pellet, 00 buck. In the average home hallway the pattern is baseball, to softball size. I believe, I have also read somewhere that over penetration is greater with buckshot, than 5.56X45mm. ???

    Where can I get one of those Hollywood shotguns that makes a man fly backwards through the air for 5-10 ft, after being hit with a shotgun blast? Anyway, Joe Biden says all we gotta do is shoot them up in the air if our life is ever threatened.

  • DRAINO October 13, 2016, 10:45 am

    Good Article! Good advice for new shooters. Educational from a ballistics aspect.

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