Shotgun chokes for home defense

While a shotgun is not my #1 choice for home defense, it certainly can be used in that capacity. One thing that came out of the KR Training Defensive Long Gun class was the realities of using a shotgun in a home-defense situation.

Home defensive shooting is likely to go from 3 to 25 yards, or rather, very close range to the longest distance across your house. Measure it if you’re not sure, but most houses won’t be more than 25 yards. By nature, a shotgun shooting pellets will have those pellets spread. Just how much those pellets spread depends upon the shotgun’s choke and the load, even being different across manufacturers and brands.

Old_Painless over at the Box O’ Truth has BOT #44 discussing this very topic. He takes a look at how chokes affect patterns and how different brands of buckshot affect patterns. Conclusion? In general full choke does tighten groups up, but the actual load seems to matter a lot more. The take-home is that you shouldn’t just buy any old buckshot and expect it to behave like you want it to. You need to try different loads in your particular gun until you find the load and gun (and perhaps choke) “pairing” that works to give you your desired results. This is consistent with what came out of the KR Training class. Bottom line is you have to know how your tools will perform.

One nice thing that came out of BOT #44 was seeing that the Remington low-recoil buckshot worked so well. I believe Old_Painless used this product, but I can’t tell (his website doesn’t say exactly, and his box picture doesn’t match the Remington website, but this is likely the same load). Not only is that a tight pattern regardless of choke, but managed recoil is arguably a better choice for home-defense situations. The reduced range of managed/reduced recoil products isn’t an issue in the limited ranges of home-defense situation, it doesn’t beat you up as much, you can manage the recoil and get to follow-up shots faster. Win-win.

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