When it comes to home defense, the sheer number of variables that must be considered in constructing your personal plan can be astounding.
Taking into consideration distances, spacial organization, comfort, stopping power, and ease of use are all merely the beginning. From there we still need to have a serious and thoughtful discussion on what it means to use a firearm for home defense, and what exactly the intent of the weapon is within the situation.
This, of course, often leads to somewhat grizzly discussions on stopping power, spread, and rate of fire. At the end of this debate, many Americans find that scatter-guns, or shotguns, are the best best for keeping their families safe.
Given the versatility of shotgun ammunition and design, this often leads to yet another discussion altogether in which the weapon has been decided long before ammunition has been chosen. The daunting task of pairing shells to shotgun can be confusing and a bit convoluted at times, and that is why Keep & Bear is here to offer a helping hand with the help of the fine folks over at Range365.
“I believe I’m safe in saying that in a home defense situation, given the aforementioned commonly investigated distances of seven to 15 feet, anything—and I mean anything—you find that will reliably fire and/or cycle through your 12-bore of choice will, with few exceptions, eliminate the immediate threat to yourself, your family, and your dominion.
“Two-and-three-quarter-inch #7.5 shot? You hit him; he’s out. Four shot? Same deal. BBs? Uh-huh. Buckshot? Duh. You see the common denominator here.
“However, we’re not talking in a pinch here—we’re talking about a prepared plan including evaluation and practice. That said, when it comes to shotshells for home defense, there are good choices, and there are better choices.”
The author of this particular piece then investigates the use of two very particular rounds: #00 Buck and “non-lethal” rounds.
“At .33 inches in diameter, #00 Buck pellets are plenty big and pack sufficient punch; approximately 172 ft/lbs of energy per pellet when launched at 1,200 feet/second.
“Compare this to the .32 ACP (90-160 ft/lbs, depending on ammunition type) or the increasingly popular .380 ACP with 180 to 220 ft/lbs. Again, depending on the ammunition, it’s easy to see that the #00 Buck is right in the proverbial ballpark.”
The only huge concern with #00 buck ammunition, however, is something termed “over penetration”, or, the spread of projectiles through walls and into unintended corners of the home.
That is why more and more homeowners are looking into non-lethal shotgun rounds for home defense.
“There is also the option of what are commonly referred to as Less-Than-Lethal (LTL) shotgun shells, which are primarily used by law enforcement in crowd-control type situations, which may seem attractive. After all, the goal isn’t to kill, but to eliminate a threat—however, there are some serious things to consider when dealing with LTL ammo.
“Elementally, LTL shotshell ammunition is designed to incapacitate rather than eliminate a perceived threat, hence the crowd-control application.
“The biggest drawback of LTL ammo in a home defense role lies in its core concept—Less-Than-Lethal. Yes, it may slow or even stop a threat, allowing a homeowner time to restrain the intruder and law enforcement time to arrive on-scene—but it might not. And by virtue of its design, it’s not meant to eliminate the threat, but rather subdue the target.
“Other negatives include LTL’s reliability in semi-automatic operating systems; cost per round; reluctance to train due to cost; availability to the civilian population; and, in the case of distraction shotshells, impairment or incapacitation to both target and shooter.”
Other LTL round have been created recently that serve primarily as a loud deterrent to intruders, much like the old school idea that the mere sound of a cocking shotgun will have would-be thugs soiling their undergarments.
Unfortunately, in modern society, the advanced state of desperation that a number of these criminals suffer from will help them plow right through the scare tactics of non-lethal solutions.
Given the enormous range of options available to the home defense scattergun connoisseur, we will always suggest that our readers do their due diligence when choosing the device and ammunition that best suits them and their situation. Hopefully, our handy guide has provided you with a bit of a head start.