Shotguns vs Handguns for home defense

If you were to ask five different self defense instructors about what weapon you should use in your home for personal defense, you’ll likely get five different answers. You can bet though that one will most likely recommend a shotgun and another a handgun, but of the two which is better for you and your needs?


The shotgun has been touted as a defensive weapon of sometimes mythological proportions and, while it is formidable, the shotgun has drawbacks. This is something every shooter, no matter how experienced, needs to know.

First of all, a shotgun is not a magic wand, dispatching evil by merely pointing it in the direction of the bad guy. Shotguns with defensive loads like buckshot really do not cover a large area, only a few inches at 7 to 10 yards with a short barrel and improved cylinder choke. This is hardly the wall covering shot pattern a typical Hollywood film depicts. And no, it won’t send someone flying through the air either.

What a shotgun does do however is deliver in a single load of buckshot, no matter if it is 00 or #4 buckshot, much contains more lead and projectiles than any single handgun round can deliver. Depending on the size of the buckshot load you’re using, you can deliver anywhere from eight to 27 pellets or more on target in one shot. The shotgun is a fight stopper and it can do this very quickly.


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