On a home defense tool – part 2

If you have not read the first part of On a home defense tool, you should read that first so the following has context and makes more sense.

The following comes from John Holschen. The words and such are John’s, I’ve merely reformatted for HTML.

I’d like to share a few thoughts considering defensive long guns for your consideration.

I’ll start out by saying that a shotgun is my last choice to procure for employment as a defensive long gun. This is because:

  1. It is heavy.
  2. It’s manual of arms is relatively complex.
  3. It’s recoil is more difficult to manage for quick follow up shots (as might be required for multiple threats).
  4. It’s ammunition supply is relatively limited (this is not a critical factor in a typical home defense situation but it could become one in case of large scale civil disturbance).

Many people believe these drawbacks are offset due to various factors (which I believe are largely misconceptions), such as:

  1. “You don’t have to aim a shotgun just point it in the direction of the bad guy and pull the trigger.” (This is often an allusion to the fact that an untrained person will be using the shotgun.)
    • Reality – At the “across the room” distances likely to be found in most houses the shot column has not opened up significantly (especially with “Buck” sized shot.) Therefore you must aim.
    • Reality — Due to numbers 2 and 3 above, the shotgun actually requires more training for many/most people to shoot well when compared to a rifle.
    • Reality — The very people that would benefit most from additional training (those with small stature and/or less upper body strength) don’t want to train much with a shotgun because of the recoil and the weight.
  2. “Just the sound/appearance of a shotgun with dissuade attackers.”
    • Reality — In many situations it will not be tactically feasible to demonstrate either the sound or appearance of your weapon prior to using it.
    • Reality — Many/most bad guys aren’t switched-on enough for the type of gun you are using to even register with them.
    • And ultimately — I’m not willing to potentially decrease my effectiveness to potentially increase my bluffing power.
  3. “The shotgun is the most versatile defensive/survival weapon.”
    • Reality — Yes it is versatile; if by that you mean you could use it to hunt birds and up to deer sized game animals with the right loads. However, I suggest that people make an honest assessment of how likely it is that they will need to hunt birds with their primary defensive weapon. Also please keep in mind that versatility does have trade-offs as mentioned above. (I won’t even discuss gas rounds, bean-bag rounds, bird-bombs, Taser rounds, etc., other than to say that private citizens show not even consider these as factors in choosing their primary defensive weaponry).
  4. “The shotgun is less likely to over penetrate.”
    • Reality — A 5.56 mm rifle, with the proper ammunition, penetrates less through typical household construction than does 00 Buck.

I started by stating that the shotgun was my last choice to procure as a defensive weapon for my use. IT is even lower on my list of desired weapons for my wife and (adult) daughters to use. So what do I recommend for a defensive long gun? I suppose it will come as no surprise to most of you that my suggestions are:

  1. A semi-auto rifle (read AR)
  2. A semi-auto rifle (read AR)
  3. A semi-auto rifle (read AR)

If I absolutely could not have a semi-auto rifle I would rather have a pump-action rifle (or a lever action rifle) than a shotgun.

Just my (somewhat informed) opinions.

Again, let me state that these are merely opinions. However, they are informed opinions from people with solid backgrounds to shape those opinions. In the end, pick what is right for your situation and context, get training, practice, and be prepared.


Continue to Part 3.