Letter Re: Best Shotgun Pellet Size for Home Defense?

I recently got a Mossberg “Mariner” [12 gauge pump action] shotgun as my main home defense type gun. What size shot should I use for home defense? (The owner of my nearby gun shop said to use #8 bird shot, since buckshot or rifle[d] slugs ‘will go though two houses.” Is that true?) Thx, – Perry Noid in St. Paul, Minnesota

JWR Replies: I’m afraid that your local gun shop owner was spouting some oft-quoted urban folklore. For some genuine, Grade-A, tested truth on this subject, see this Box ‘OTruth article.

For what it’s worth, I am still a big believer in using #4 Buckshot for home defense. To my mind, it strikes the ideal balance between penetration and likelihood of a high number of vital organ pellet hits. The standard factory 12 gauge 2-3/4″ load of #4 buckshot contains 27 pellets of .24″ diameter. That is definitely a home-invasion countermeasure!