Shotguns are a multi-purpose firearm, suitable for a wide variety of sporting uses, hunting purposes, and home defense. You can find them used in law enforcement agencies in many roles, from specialized door breeching loads, to deploying less-than-lethal rounds (aka: bean bags) in crowd control situations. Using shotguns in sporting and hunting has always been incredibly popular. In today’s climate of unrest, more people are seeking out a shotgun for home defense purposes. While this is a fantastic option, there are a few things to be aware of as you’re shopping.
- Price points vary widely! A good, reliable, base model shotgun, produced by a well known manufacturer can be obtained for around $300.00. That being said, bigger brand names, such as Beretta, Benelli, and more can run $1,500 and up. I was blessed with the opportunity once to handle a custom Purdy, one of a pair, that was a cool quarter of a million for the pair. Do you have to spend big to get a good home defense gun? No- not at all. There are plenty of good shotguns out there.
- Calibers vary. Shotguns, much like handguns, offer a wide variety of calibers to choose from. Do some investigating, and find out which caliber is plentiful, and price points. This is but one part in determining which caliber is best for your needs. Being able to shoot several different style shotguns in varying calibers is also highly recommended. Your goal is not only to find the most comfortable style and options, but also seek out what is the highest caliber you can accurately shoot. This caliber is what you should get for your defensive needs.
- Size matters also. There are youth-sized models available, that offer a slightly shorter stock and barrel combination, allowing for a more comfortable fit for shooters with smaller frames.
There are two myths that are quite dangerous we are going to examine today. One we see also in the defensive handgun world- that of showing the Bad Guy the gun and they will stop / flee the scene. In this case, there is a belief that the sound of the slide being racked is enough to make the potential assailants decide to leave. This is not the case. Believing that a criminal is going to flee the scene because he/ they heard the slide on your shotgun in operation will get you or your loved ones hurt.
The second myth that is almost as dangerous as the slide rack belief is that you don’t have to aim a shotgun, as the pellets (or shot) contained within the shell will disperse in a wide enough pattern to stop a criminal. The cold, hard fact is that most encounters happen at 21′ or less, and there simply is not enough room for the pellets to spread. Aiming your shotgun properly is critical for maximum effectiveness.
Overall are shotguns a viable option for home defense? Yes. Do your homework, find out your preferred caliber, take your gun to a shotgun-friendly range and practice. You’ll find they are a joy to master and shoot!