A recent comment went like this:

3″ with 00 buck has 15 pieces of ,30 cal pellets. Unless said ner do well is right on top of you, figure at least 4-5 pieces will miss the target.

That isn’t how shotguns work. Consider the picture below:

Spread pattern at 7 yards. Red is 00 buckshot, while green is BB shot. The black plus sign measures 7×7-inches.

Contrary to popular press, shotguns are not “street sweepers” and yes, you have to aim them. As you can see in the picture, every pellet hits within a 7 inch circle at 20 feet. It isn’t that you can’t miss with a shotgun, or that the shot spreads out at household distances.

It’s true that at longer ranges with lighter pellets that the pattern is wide- that’s why they are great for shooting fowl. The pattern on a cylinder bore shotgun with lightweight shot like BB is wide, and makes striking a small moving target easier than a single projectile. Again- see the above photo. Small pellets disperse faster, while larger pellets tend not to spread out as quickly.

The fact that heavy shot doesn’t spread much at short distances is what makes a shotgun such a great house defense gun- at the ranges typically found inside of a home, every shotshell sees the target getting hit with an ounce or more of fast moving lead. A 3 inch 12 gauge of 00 buck has a shot mass of about 500 grains, and it leaves the muzzle at about 1300 feet per second. That works out to 2700 foot pounds of energy. That’s roughly equivalent to being hit by 4 JHPs from a .357 magnum. Simultaneously.

Nothing zeros out an attacker’s blood pressure like a 7 inch wide wound channel through the middle of their chest cavity. There is a lot of important stuff within 4 inches of the center of a person’s chest, and poking 15 holes in that area means a high probability of multiple hits to important things like great vessels and ventricles of the heart.

At ranges from 6 to 20 feet, there aren’t many weapons that hit as hard as a 12 gauge. My 870 Wingmaster has a cylinder bore and can hold 7 two and three quarter inch shells. I also have a Chiappa nickel plated 12 gauge with a 3 inch chamber. It holds 5 of the hard hitting 3 inch shells. That’s a lot of serious self defense power that will put a hurting on even a drugged up intruder.

As an added bonus, it doesn’t look as scary as an AR and doesn’t come with the “evil looking black gun” label attached to it. If it ever is shown to a jury, they won’t get the “scary looking” image that an AR or a tactical shotgun will have.

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Matthew · August 24, 2023 at 6:39 am

“…figure at least 4-5 pieces will miss the target” – That’s why I keep a round chambered, a ghost, and 6 in the mag. With 9 pellets in each 2-3/4″ shell, I can allow for a few getting lost in all the excitement. The newspaper article will still include the phrase “pronounced dead at the scene”.

Elrod · August 24, 2023 at 9:06 am

Whole lotta myths circulating about shotguns.

Within their operating distance nothing else applies as much energy to a target. BUT you need to pattern YOUR shotgun with YOUR ammunition to learn the maximum operating distance.

Measure the longest possible unobstructed straight line distance inside your home at eyeball height. Subtract 3 feet (to approximate the distance from your back to the muzzle of a shouldered shotgun). Pattern at that distance, paying particular attention to center of pattern relative to point of aim. Record the pattern data.

For interior work, also pattern at 2/3 that distance, then again at 1/3 that distance, again paying particular attention to center of patterns to point of aim. Record the pattern data.

For exterior work, take your maximum interior distance and double it, pattern at that distance; alternatively, conduct pattern testing in 15 foot increments , beginning with 15 feet beyond your already established maximum interior distance, again paying particular attention to pattern center versus point of aim.

When 20% of the pattern (approx 2 of 9) exceeds a 20 inch circle you have established the maximum outdoor effective (trusted) range for YOUR shotgun using YOUR ammunition.

The anal retentive and OCD among us will install discrete range markers outdoors, measured from probable operating points, such as front door, rear door, garage door, etc. (colored reflective material is handy). Pro Tip: Rule Four is important, heed it.

The more versatile AR & OCD among us will also install discrete range markers from those same origin points for “other uses” such as 5.56, 7.62, etc, assuming they do not already have the appropriate range cards. Again, Rule Four is important, heed it.

    Dirty Dingus McGee · August 24, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    “you need to pattern YOUR shotgun with YOUR ammunition ”

    This right here is serious important. As I mentioned in a reply on the original thread, each gun will have a different pattern even with the same ammo. It’s incumbent on you to know how each different weapon will work.

    However, in an emergency situation, use whatever is at hand. Even if it’s a .22 pistol, it might just slow an attacker down enough for you to get to a more appropriate weapon.

      Matthew · August 24, 2023 at 6:31 pm

      I’ll skip the techie part and just let it all fly, if nothing else they’ll be disabled by smoke inhalation long enough for me to draw my 44.

D · August 24, 2023 at 9:22 am

> As an added bonus, it doesn’t look as scary as an AR and doesn’t come with the “evil looking black gun” label attached to it.

I have the DP12 by Standard Manufacturing among my collection of shotguns.

That thing looks pretty “evil” by Democrat standards. (i.e. my democrat sister got the vapors when she saw it).

It holds 14+2 and will do 3 inch shells. I stagger-load mine with buckshot followed by slugs.

Shooting it is a hoot.

Shooter Coe · August 24, 2023 at 1:47 pm

Saw a vintage shotgun and ammo pic from Filthie (h/t) page with rifled barrel and a huge bullet.
A HS bud had the two triggers double barrel and always dared anyone to fire both at once, doable if you stand against a wall.
There is a classic horror movie where the fighter against evil makes an 8 barrel beast that clears out a stairway!
One of the funnest shooting times was with a Streetsweeper versus speaker box in a pond that is now section 8 replacement housing, the box sank after a few slugs.
Never put magnum slugs in an old bird gun!

    Xzebek · August 24, 2023 at 11:55 pm

    Hey D,
    I also have the DP12. Great shotgun! If I have to use it in a home defense circumstance, and there’s any bad guys still standing after 16 rounds of shot and slugs, it’s time to call on an air strike!

shreck · August 24, 2023 at 4:11 pm

Never considered that a shotgun would look scary to the jury, but you never know. My dumbazz bought a mossburg 500 with out a stock because I was young and stupid. That was stupid so I put an aftermarket plastic stock that probably looks military-ish. Six round reload on the stock.

Jester · August 24, 2023 at 9:47 pm

If you know, you know. Pistols are great in a home situation due to not having as much of a likelyhood of being obstructed by items in the way or perhaps grabbed if you stick say a shotgun barrel outside a door frame and had someone waiting to grab it. But the mass of the round discharged is not comparable from a shot gun to a rifle or pistol. Say you rock a .45 and perhaps shoot the old 230 grain bullets. That’s nothing compared to even bird shot from a 12 gauge or even a 20. Switch to buckshot and you’re really putting a lot of hurt in to someone. Some people when shot continue to fight but the likelyhood of that when wacked with a 12 gauge drops a lot. Shoot someone in the arm with a .45, meh. Assuming a lower percentage of hitting bone vs a shot gun that will impact a lot more flesh and bone… There is not much else as effective as a shot gun inside a building at home ranges.

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