Friday, February 15, 2013


Until recently, most people recommended a shotgun for an ideal home defense weapon.  It's powerful, more so than any pistol.  There is that whole "the sound of racking the slide makes burglars lose bowel control" myth.  Plus the "you don't ahve to aim it" myth. The bird shot loads won't over penetrate through dry wall and injure other folks in the house or neighborhood.  Myths that can cause problems.

Lately people have been rethinking that advice and suggesting an AR would be better.  The .223 supposedly dump energy fast enough that over penetration is less of an issue that people think for a rifle round.  It holds 30 rounds instead 5, 7, or maybe 9.  It's often more compact and lighter to manuever around.  Easier to attach a sling and flashlight to.  Yeah, for me, I like defending the house with an AR better than a shotty. 

But if you can overcome the myths of a shotgun there is one advantage I (stupidly) hadn't considered...  Cost.  An AR, cheap, will run, what?  $700 for a bare bones one?  More?  (when the market isn't screwy like it is now...)   A typical shotty for home defense is south of $300.  Even today, during the gun buying frenzy.  As Joe Biden says, that price delta can be, "a BIG friggin' deal..."

If you HAVE an AR, or can afford one, or want one more than a shotty and have a line on one, I'd say use the AR.  You don't HAVE to run out and get a shotgun if you don't want one.  If you have nothing, now, or don't have deep pockets, getting a shotgun today to defend your house is better than waiting a while to get an AR.  And if you just moved out of your parents house or graduated college and took a job away from your hometown or what have you and can't find and AR now for love or money.

Please don't use bird shot for a defense load, and have a backup plan if the sound of racking the pump doesn't scare off badguys.

[addendum:  'But T-bolt, you don't use your AR or shotty for primary home defense!  You use .357 revolvers'  True.  I still haven't prepped the place to keep a longer gun secure yet accessible for bumps in the night situations.  My choice, when I do, is an AR or a 18 inch 12 gauge.  I will go with the AR, then.  But there is something to be said for ease of use when you wake at 3AM to kicks at the door and the revolver can excel here.]


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Not considering cost was a serious blindspot in my thinking process.

Anonymous said...

Spread that cost over 30 years. How much do you pay now for insurance to protect your *house*? What's it worth to protect your *LIFE*!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

If you don't have the $700 now, then you have nothing to protect your life with now if you insist on waiting for the money to accumulate to get the 'better' platform.

Charles DuPre DeAntonio said...

I don't know this, but my experience suggests that shooting either an AR or a shotgun inside might render the shooter temporarily deaf. My house gun is a 9mm pistol. If I had the spare change I would invest in a 9mm carbine as an ideal house gun simply for the reason that it would be less ear shattering. Am I wrong?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Certainly a consideration, CinSC

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, as far as I have been able to research, even in the Worst of the "Gun Free Volksrepubliks," a Pump Shotgun is still legal to own and use INSIDE a Home. And it can be Legally purchased by anyone 18 and older (who's Legal to do so, that is).

And you're right about Price and Availability. The Ammo though is tight. But if one is willing to drop down to a 20 gauge and use some #4, one could be Protected in about an hour (at least around my neck of the woods).

SiGraybeard said...

I've seen tests that show that 00 buck really does over penetrate. It will go through drywall like it's talcum powder, and through concrete block. I live in a suburb, with a neighbor in just about any direction. It scares me. I can't plan to make sure that my shots that go through the wall don't go through a window on the other side.

9mm over penetrated even more than 00 buck. Don't even think about slugs.

But you have to remember that anything that will penetrate deeply enough in human tissue to meet FBI standards is going to go through drywall like it's not there.

I don't know what the right answer is. As CinSC said, just the sound may permanently damage hearing.

I think a shotgun - 20 ga or bigger - with #4, or BB or something smaller than than buckshot is a winner. Bird shot kind of scares me as too small, but that's just based on hearsay. It would take someone really determined to shrug off a load of bird shot in the face.

As Mas Ayoob said, the only difference between a 20ga shooting #3 buckshot and a 12ga. shooting 00 or 000 buck is how much work the coroner has to do.

The Contrarian said...

I concur on the general assessment. Drywall alone ain't gonna do much to...any shot shell, actually. Even the lightest shot will blow throw two layers of it, but #4 shot has a lot less stopping power. I wouldn't want to rely on it in a tight scenario. The best home defense gun is the gun you're familiar with, but honestly, if you've got the money and time to train with it, there's no substitute for a good AR setup.