Shotguns, why?


Personally- I believe that selecting a shotgun as your primary home defense weapon when you may have even the remote chance of needing to take a surgical precision shot (saving a family member) then that act is criminally negligent.

It simply cannot perform in that capacity consistently, not even with Vang Comp barrels or Flitecontrol.
What about with slugs? Genuinely curious as to whether or not slugs could be used to that level of precision.


What my brother from another mother Longeye said.

Most people I teach don't have the luxury of brickface walls like I do, over-penetration is a valid concern.

Slug size can also get a little tricky when you are doing some real difficult value percentage shots when under stress and shooting from standing. I recommend Paul Howe's sniper targets if you wanna do some testing in that field.

Steve F

Sentinel Concepts
How are either load on car doors with glass behind them?
buck works better in most cases the slug info i talked about was on bare gel every vehicle is different i haven't shot enough cars with it in enough spaces to make a full ruling
I would love to get issued one of our new scatterguns. I traded my old Beretta 1201FP for a patrol rifle and haven't looked back though. If I can get the new Berretta 1301 and not give up my rifle I'd prefer that. From a patrol officer pov I'd probably use my patrol rifle for most everything because of the higher degree of accuracy at distance. I will take our 5.56 load over our Federal slugs in a school or a house any day of the week. But for vehicle assaults or post chase where they don't jump and run and wont get out of the vehicle I'd use the scattergun for it. If our shootings into cars didn't look like crap with Ferderal 55gr TRU, or we switched back to Black Hills 77gr I'd probably go patrol rifle and really never look back. That being said I would still put in for a scatter gun.


I am not LE and up to about a year ago I have had minimal expose to using shotgun. Though over that year I have had to become pretty proficient with it and in a hurry as we speed towards the new .mil LEWTAQ qualification which covers pistol, rifle and shotgun. (If you are remotely familiar with and of the Army MP Qual you know it is a joke, the new stuff will test their mettle).
I will always choose my carbine first as the HD gun. It's going to hold more ammo, faster to reload, more maneuverable, ergonomically lighter and more controlled to name a few reasons. I can grab the carbine plus an extra mag which gives me 60 carry that with a shotgun I would need my murse or end up looking like Poncho Villa.

From an efficiency stand point, the manual of arms to operate my carbine is simple where the shotgun is more complex and runs a higher risk of a shell getting hung on ejection as well as the shotgun (I run a Moss 590 A1) lacks simple one handed manipulation that can be performed with the carbine. Advantage goes to the shotgun when it comes to destruction and fear though, nothing like using 00buck to smash holes in faces and drywall to make someone truly understand that you are not playing. In the case of either weapon running dry on ammo or suffering a catastrophic malfunction they turn into a hell of a nice baseball bat where you can beat someone senseless. My order of choice would be the carbine, shotgun and then pistol.
(The following comments are from a civilian Home Defense perspective. I cannot comment about LE or mil usage of a shotgun, because that's not my lane.)

I've noticed that there's one positive aspect of the shotgun that hasn't been mentioned in this thread: price. You can get a decent shotgun for around $300, while a basic, quality AR (ie with no accessories) is going to cost at least $800-$1000.

Now, I know what you're thinking: you shouldn't cheap out on your home defense. I'm with you there, BUT we need to consider that not everyone has the same economic means; some have more disposable income, some have less.

Is a $1600 Midwest Industries Sentinel Concepts AR (or another AR of similar quality) with a Vortex Razor HD Gen 2 and a Surefire P3X Fury as a WML the best gun for home defense? Sure. However, is a $3000+ gun (with all accessories included) the most practical option for a man with a family barely making ends meet?

Probably not.

A shotgun can help people with limited income be armed, which is one of the more important factors of winning a gunfight. After all, it is better to be armed with a cheaper gun than not being armed with a more expensive gun, assuming reliability is equal.

Now, I personally use an AR as my bedside gun* for all of the reasons discussed here and in other places in P&S, and I'm not denying any of the shortcomings of the shotgun discussed in this thread. But if my income was limited and I had a family to provide for, I wouldn't look askance at a shotgun for home defense. Civilians have been successfully defending themselves with shotguns for years, and just because better options exist now doesn't mean previously good options are now garbage.

*Not necessarily home defense gun, as Aaron Cowan pointed out home defense situations can happen at any time, and you're probably not going to have enough time to get to a bedside gun if home invaders kick in your door while you're watching Netflix with your beau. Having a bedside gun, or even long guns stashed throughout the house, does not supplant the need for carrying your pistol on your person all day.


Regular Member
I'd say the termination of the Oklahoma shooter is a good case of "have both" as the trooper involved went through a lot of ammo in a hurry, shooting one handed while driving. I'm certainly a proponent of shotgun slugs for antivehicle work, but one-handing an 870 behind a Tahoe wheel at 70mph isn't something most can pull off. For ambush/barricade type work where the vehicle is stopped and you need to shoot through it, the slugs would be handy, but I'm still damn glad an AR is my primary long gun in the rack at work.
I will preface this by saying I love my fighting shotguns.

I think for the average civilian the shotgun is a better tool than a carbine with one cavet, you have to practice with the gun. Taking a course whether it be rifle, shotgun and handgun and then not running the gun for the next year doesn't help you at all. Shotguns are harder to load and "can" be harder to run but they are cheaper and effective. Shotgun shells are still pretty cheap and for $15+/- of birdshot you can do a lot of good drills. Empty load, multiple targets, emergency loads etc. I have taken to running my house shotgun to the range once a month and shooting a box of birdshot through it. My skills have improved and at the risk of sounding like a cheapskate for pretty cheap as well.

No one will argue that a shotgun is a good tool to use at close range as far as the ballistics. As a civie now I don't forsee getting into a 200 yard fight unless I am having the mother of all bad days. Is a rifle better at distance of course but I prefer the options of multiple projecticles (buckshot) every time I pull the trigger to help cause more damage and hopefully stop the fight faster.

Just two more points. In America the average non-gun folk don't think that using a shotgun to defend yourself is overkill because it is the traditional home defense tool. Whereas a carbine has gotten an underserved bad rap. Also shotguns are legal in all the lower 48 states. There is something to be said for aviablity and commonality.

Just my two cents.


Both have their uses, and in the sense of a HD gun, it all depends on what the user is most comfortable with. If a person has used a shotgun for x years and knows the manual of arms, spread patterns, etc like the back of their hand then they'll be much more efficient with that system over an AR that they've never used before. Personally, shotguns have never been attractive to me. I just don't care much about them. What's ridiculous is LEAs that still haven't issued rifles. Shotguns definitely still have a place, but a lot of their uses can be replaced with an AR. There was a manhunt/officer down in a neighboring county that ended up with a 150ish yard engagement between officers and the suspect. Sure slugs can go that far, but we have to keep the lowest common denominator in mind. That can also be applied to incidents such as Dallas, etc
The main appeal of the shotgun for me, is the absolutely devastating brutality of the thing. I've seen people shot to shit still fighting in my ER. Spine severed (near enough), and still trying to punch people with the limbs that work. If I ever shoot someone, I will do so because I feel that they are determined to do serious harm to me or a loved one. In that case, I want to take them apart. Not out of malice, but because that's the most surefire way of immediately stopping those actions that I am choosing to potentially end their life to stop, and a 0.73" chunk of lead weighing 1oz or more at over the speed of sound, or a swarm of buckshot weighing an ounce and a half or two, is the most effective tool I can imagine for that job. I can set the shotgun up just like my carbine, and aside from recoil and how the safety and charging handle and loading work, it's pretty much the same, but with a lot more terminal effect.

If I were a law officer, I would prefer and M4 carbine, because as you note, you never know where you're going to be called out to. I'm pretty sure what my property is like, on the other hand, as a civilian.

Ultimately, I think you nailed it...mission dictates the tools. You don't argue the merit of Phillip's vs. Flat Head when your task is tightening header bolts.


Regular Member
With the efforts by the antis in this state to ban any/all self loading firearms, the pump shotgun might be something that we have to turn to once more.
I don't use my 870 much nowadays, but I do practice with it to keep up my skills.
An 870 with wood furniture definitely has a different appearance than a EBR to the average person (juror).


I love the shotgun for an HD role. I'm just a civi, I won't be hunting people through houses or around cars, etc. For me, a 14" vang comp'd 870 with surefire forend and Aridus sidesaddle is more than enough. The thing with gauges too is that while you might have fewer actual shots in the thing, in the case of 00 buck at least, each of those shots carries 9 32 caliber projectiles.

That is some fearsome lead to be sending downrange. A 9mm is a 38 caliber projectile, so close enough for the comparison. Each pull of the trigger on a gauge sends roughly 9 9mm projectiles down range. You fire 5 rounds you've got 45 projectiles seeking out that target. You learn how to effectively run the thing from Fisher or Haught etc and you can send those 5 rounds down range in just a few seconds. That's in a pump.

Step up to a semi-auto and it's an insane amount firepower. I have an FN SLP Mark 1 and it will hold 10 rounds of 00 buck. I can empty those 10 rounds in 5.5 seconds, on the timer and on target at 25 yards. That's 90 projectiles in under 6 seconds. That will shred anything in front of you. Sure, reloading is slower and the side saddle only holds 8 but hopefully you can eliminate your threat with that amount of firepower.

Again, I'm just a civi, but I have pistols and carbines as well as shotguns. The shotgun is what is beside the bed for the bump in the night issues.


And yet, HD may start or end up in your yard, or across the street, or down the block in the neighbors yard. Or the break and rake crew might have a sentry in the get away ride.

If you miss with one round of gauge, that is 20 percent of your ready ammo gone. In the gauge that means four more chances. In the M4, that means 29 more chances. Assuming you hit with all five, that is still only five bad guys. With the M4, even firing pairs you can put hits on 15 guys before going winchester.

If you learn how to run the carbine from anybody decent, you can spread 30 rounds on plenty of dudes in a similar time frame.

With the gauge, you need to don a chest rig plus the shotgun to get 30 rounds. With the M4, you simply pick up the carbine.

I have yet to be in a spot with my M4, and think, "Man, I wish I had a freaking shotgun in my hands" There have been a number of times that I have had a gauge in my hands that I have thought "Man, I wish this was a M4 right now."

The one time I had a phucked up AR (It was an pool issued Bushmaster, go figure) in my hands, I fervently wished for another M4. It was a burglary call and it was thought dude had bolted out into some brushy green space with a ravine behind the RP's house. I did not want the "fearsome" power of the gauge that was sitting in the rack, next to where the POS Bushmaster had come from. I needed a bright light and the ability to control 85-135 yards. Even slugs would not have been the best answer.
The search ended up in some out buildings, and either would have worked for that, but a working carbine covered the whole spectrum. Shenanigans...

The shotgun is great in close fights and on the range, but all purpose fights favor the carbine.

Instinctively, the gun banners realize this as well. The bans tend to target the most effective tools, and ignore the less efficient ones.


If I end up in the yard, down the block or in the neighbors yard or going after the sentry in a get away ride, I'm going to jail. I love carbines, I shoot them and train with them all the time, for my particular usage in strictly HD the shotgun is my goto. If things go sideways enough that I'm chasing some dude down the block there is zero way I can express in a court of law that I was in fear for my life. LEO/Mil are in totally different situations. You get/have to chase them down the block, I don't.