Letter Re: Best Shotgun Pellet Size for Home Defense?

This morning I read the recent SurvivalBlog letter asking about buckshot, bird shot, and slugs for shotguns. Since this was a question of home-defense and you had mentioned The Box O’ Truth web site, I wanted to direct you to this article.

Apart from my feeling that a rifle is a better tool for home-defense, what I really wanted to point out was the collection of links from The Box O’ Truth, especially their articles #20 and #42.

If you are going to use a shotgun, it’s not enough to say “Okay, I’ve got such-and-such Buck in there, I’m good.” Make sure that you know your weapon. Take it to the range and use your preferred load (and take the time to research various loads from various manufacturers to find the one that works best for you and your shotgun [and your home and/or retreat defense situation]). Make sure you know how that shotgun and load patterns at 3 yards, 5 yards, 7 yards, 10, 15, 25, or whatever the longest distance is in your home (if not sure, then measure!). Make sure you know how it will behave so you can know what shots you can safely take and what shots you cannot safely take [given the available backstops. I don’t believe the original poster’s Mossberg Mariner has a changeable choke, but if other readers do then they should bring their choke tubes to the range and try them out as well to see if a different choke will work better for their needs. Yes, this costs time and money, but if you’re intent is to defend your life, then I’d like to think the time and money is well-invested.

#4 buck? 00 buck? Either way it’s going to be a bad day for the recipient of the pellets, but do mind how that number of pellets ends up patterning, and be sure you can account for every pellet. The last thing I’d want is for most of the pellets to end up in the bad guy and some of the pellets to keep flying [through interior sheet rock house partitions] and hit an innocent. Again, it’s not necessarily one pellet size or
the other, but knowing how that load will behave and how you have to work with it.

Finally, if you do choose to work with a shotgun, check out Box O’ Truth #83 for some good tips on fighting with one. This article has some tips and links as well. The bottom line: Know your tools, get training, and practice practice practice. Thank you. – J.C.D.