Beyond Buckshot – A Look at 20-gauge Rifled Slugs for Self-Defense in the Smoothbore Shotgun

Beyond Buckshot - A Look at 20-gauge Rifled Slugs for Self-Defense in the Smoothbore Shotgun
Beyond Buckshot - A Look at 20-gauge Rifled Slugs for Self-Defense in the Smoothbore Shotgun
Beyond Buckshot - A Look at 20-gauge Rifled Slugs for Self-Defense in the Smoothbore Shotgun
Beyond Buckshot – A Look at 20-gauge Rifled Slugs for Self-Defense in the Smoothbore Shotgun

Shotguns are not everyone’s favorite weapon of choice when deciding what weapon is the “go to” device for protecting the castle or ourselves.

First, they are unwieldy and awkward. They are loud and have a lot of recoil that, for most people, may be unacceptable. Buckshot is the preferred round while Shotgun slugs, according to some, are not a good choice for home defense in general, as they have the capability to over-penetrate a human body and common building materials. The same can be said; however, of handgun, carbine, and rifle rounds.

I have several shotguns in 12 and 20 gauges and two of them have deer slug barrels in both 12-gauge and 20-gauge. Both are dedicated sabot slug guns. The remaining shotguns are all smoothbore with a Mossberg 500 12-gauge and a 20-gauge dedicated to home defense. Of the two home defense shotguns, I have come to favor the 20-gauge over the 12-gauge for a number of reasons; It is light (about 7 pounds dry), the recoil with rifled slugs is easily managed, the muzzle flash is less, the muzzle blast sound level is less, and the wife will actually shoot it. When compared to a 12-gauge, the 20-gauge delivers 75% of the lead with a recoil that is 40-50% less. This is equivalent to the ballistic force of being hit with two .44 Magnum rounds simultaneously. In addition, the reduced recoil of the 20-gauge is conducive to accurate, rapid shots.

The working barrel length for a shotgun slug round is somewhere in between 18 and 20 inches with the rest of the barrel adding drag to a slug or otherwise affecting the shot pattern for buck and bird shot. A 24” inch rifled barrel seems pretty much standard for a slug barrel. For a defensive shotgun, the 18.5″ barrel seems standard with barrel lengths out to 20″ becoming more standard, and which allow a couple of more rounds stoked in the feed tube.

The smooth bore shotgun is a tradeoff for rifled slugs and the rest of the stuff that can be loaded into the breech (specialty rounds, for example). Shotgun slugs were originally developed as a convenience to the hunter who already owned a shotgun and did not want to purchase a rifle for hunting game. In fact, some states require that shotguns be used for hunting in heavily populated areas. Of the two types of barreled shotguns, the smoothbore is the more common.

When it comes to slugs, I was always in a quandary about what slug I should be using in my shotguns. The 12-gauge is easier to experiment with because of the proliferation of ammunition that is available for it. The 20-gauge – not so much, as the 20-gauge is limited in the slug and buckshot categories – but not as much as you might think. Moreover, just like in handguns and rifles, the correct selection of ammunition for the gun can make a world of difference.

Shotgun Slugs
Shotgun Slugs

The first basic lesson that I have learned is that Sabot slugs are for rifled barrels and rifled slugs are for smooth bored barrels. They can be interchanged (sabot in a smoothbore barrel and rifled slug in a rifled barrel); however, the results may not be worth the interchange and would probably cause more aggravation than not. It has been said that a rifled slug can be used in a rifled barrel, and produce some good results, but a lot of it depends on the ammunition. Some ammunition, like the Remington “Buckhammer” sabot slugs can (supposedly) be fired out of a rifled or smoothbore barrel due to the round’s design with good accuracy.

For this write-up, I wanted to concentrate on the 20-gauge shotgun. While the 12-gauge is still the favorite for most when it comes to defensive purposes, those who are recoil sensitive or of small physical stature, may favor the 20-gauge over the 12-gauge. Note that only 2 3/4″ length shells are under discussion. Most 3″ 20-gauge ammunition, in slug form, is usually sabot rounds and I would like to keep the presentation strictly to rifled slugs for the smoothbore.

Remington Slugger
Remington Slugger

Lately, I have been shooting the Remington 20 Gauge Slugger 2 3/4″, 5/8oz. Rifled Slug. At 7 yards, the POI is almost POA with a 0.5-inch drop @ 25 yards. The round however really starts to fall off with -2.1″ @ 50 yards, -5.3″ @ 75 yards, and -10.4″ @ 100 yards. At about 1750 fps out of the chute, the Remington 20 Gauge Slugger 2 3/4″ 5/8oz. Rifled Slug will just about handle anything that steps in front of it. My Mossberg 500 20-gauge is laser-equipped and the shotgun zeroed at 50 yards with this ammunition. With the zero at 50 yards, the slug will hit about -3.2″ at 75 yards and is just beyond the edge of my 3″ window of opportunity. This round is readily available and easily found at most sporting good stores. I have shot 3″ groups at 25-yards with this round with the help of the laser.

Remington Slugger High Velocity
Remington Slugger High Velocity

Remington® introduced its first high-velocity Foster-style lead slug. This higher velocity slug exits the barrel at 1800 fps, 13% faster than standard 1 oz. slugs out of a 12-gauge barrel. The 1/2 oz. Slugger High Velocity delivers 200 ft-lbs more energy at 50 yards with flatter trajectory. For the smoothbore 20-gauge shotgun, only a 2 3/4″, 1/2 oz. lead slug, is available. This round, because of it capability of over-penetrating at close distances, would not make a good indoor-defense round.

Federal Power-Shok Rifled Slug
Federal Power-Shok Rifled Slug

Another rifled slug round that would not be good for indoor-defensive use is the Federal Power-Shok® Rifled Slug. The Federal Power-Shok® Rifled Slug is a round that pushes the limits of the 20-gauge rifled slug. A 3/4-oz. slug exits the muzzle at 1600 fps, has a relatively flat trajectory, is designed for a 100-yard zero, and has just enough energy to take down a deer at 125 yards. Designed specifically for smooth bore barrels but can also be used in rifled choke tube barrels or fully rifled barrels. The following are some statistics regarding this round:

Muzzle: 1600 fps/1865 fpe
25 yards: 1426 fps/1482 fpe
50 yards: 1278 fps/1190 fpe
75 yards: 1158 fps/976 fpe
100 yards: 1068 fps/831 fpe
125 yards: 1002 fps/731 fpe

Trajectory (assumes a 0.5 sight height):
25 yards: +1.5
50 yards: +2.4
75 yards: +2.0
100 yards: 0
125 yards: -3.9

Winchester Supreme Rackmaster Rifled Slug
Winchester Supreme Rackmaster Rifled Slug

There is also the Winchester® Supreme Rackmaster Rifled Slug: 20 ga. 2 3/4″ 7/8 oz. Muzzle Velocity: 1550 fps, Muzzle Energy: 1920 fpe. This is a high-velocity slug intended for deer.

NobelSport Law Enforcement Shotshells
NobelSport Law Enforcement Shotshells

Also, NobelSport Law Enforcement Shotshells provide a top quality product for both security and law enforcement professionals. This round looks promising as an indoor defensive round. They are packaged in 10 round cardboard boxes and are made in Italy.

Nobel LE Slug
Technical Information:
Gauge: 20
Shell Length: 2-3/4″
Slug Type: Lead Slug
Slug Weight: 4/5 oz
Ballistics Information:
Muzzle Velocity: 1350 fps

All of the aforementioned rounds are for smooth bore shotguns, as would be more commonly found in most homes as compared to a rifle-barreled shotgun. For defensive purposes, the smoothbore shotgun is the most popular. Of the above rounds, the NobelSport looks to be the most promising as this round is accurate at 25-yards with little recoil as compared to other loads. It is, however, harder to find than Remington or federal.

For distances greater than 50 yards up to 75 yards, and depending upon the ammunition used, one might have to compensate for targets closer or farther. Then again, there is not a lot of compensation for up to 50 yards in most cases, as with handgun and rifle ammunition, some rounds shoot flatter than others.
There are quite a few reduced recoil slugs for the 20 gauge, but they seem to be for rifled barrels (sabot) slugs. Can you shoot sabot slugs out of a smoothbore barrel? Well, yes, you can, but why would you? It would be nice if manufacturers could see fit to oblige us with a reduced recoil rifled slug for smoothbore shotguns, as many youths, smaller framed, and recoil-sensitive people are discovering the world of the 20-gauge.


The degree of penetration, with regard to walls, may surprise you when shooting a shotgun slug such as the Remington 20 Gauge Slugger 2 3/4″, 5/8-oz (273.437499999 grains). Rifled Slug (my short-range shotgun solution). In one test, and at a range of 21 feet, the “Slugger” penetrated 12 squares of wallboard spaced 1″ apart. The degree of penetration is actually less than a 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and M-193 out of an AR (all penetrated 12 panels of wallboard plus some water jugs placed behind the 12 panels). The reason for the surprisingly lack of penetration is quite simple.

Consider the 9mm round (9×19mm Parabellum, 0.356 in diameter). The following are the results of ballistic gelatin testing (common performance parameters):

  • Remington Golden Saber JHP: 147 gr., 990 ft/s (muzzle velocity), 320 fpe (energy), 0.62 in (expansion), 14.5 in (penetration).
  • Speer Gold Dot JHP: 124 gr., 1,310 ft/s (muzzle velocity), 472 fpe (energy), 0.70 in. (expansion), 13.25 in (penetration).

Also, for comparison purposes, consider the Remington Gold Saber .40 S&W, 180-grain Brass-Jacketed Hollow Point

  • Golden Saber™ MV @ muzzle: 1015, MV @ 50-yards: 960, MV @ 100 yards: 914
  • Golden Saber™ FPE @ muzzle: 412, FPE @ 50 yards: 368, FLP @ 100 yards: 334

The 20-gauge bore diameter is about 0.614″ (15.6 mm) and is almost twice that of the 9mm’s diameter. We have a large round with a lot of frontal area leaving the barrel of a shotgun at about 1,580 fps (Remington Slugger) as compared to a .356 round leaving a 4″ pistol barrel at about 1,310 fps). The larger frontal area of the 20-gauge slug equates to more drag on the round than would be for the 9mm round (regardless of bullet configuration).

The benefit of the larger round is, of course, blunt force trauma and a large wound channel. While the 9mm round may be capable of expanding to 0.70″, the 20-gauge slug essentially starts at that point. However, and due to the design of the Foster-style lead slug, the shotgun slug is more prone to breaking up rather than expanding. In effect, there will be a shallower, but larger, wound cavity than with the 9mm round. There may be through-and-through penetration or a massive energy dump in the body, depending on what the slug strikes. Sabot-type shotgun slugs are better at retaining mass but there again, I am writing about the smoothbore shotgun. It is the sheer mass and cross sectional size of a full caliber shotgun slug round that makes it so effective. Even a 20-gauge slug has more weight and size than any fully expanded rifle or pistol caliber projectile.

The 20-gauge rifled slug may not be any more intrusive to your interior walls that the 9mm defensive round and probably less so if you were shooting 9mm of FMJ design (with the exception of a larger hole, of course). While slugs are short-range ammunition, all slugs do carry lethal energy beyond 200 yards. You must exercise the same care when using slugs just as you would use with a rifle or handgun.

Just Point and Shoot?

The old adage about just pointing the shotgun, pulling the trigger, and hitting your target just will not fly – especially when shooting slugs.

The sights on most smoothbore shotguns are rudimentary at best; plain bead front sights somewhere near the muzzle. These days, even shotguns intended for Turkey have a means to mount optics and rifled deer barrels are coming equipped with extensions for mounting optics and most rifled deer barrel have front and rear sights since these barrels are intended for use with sabot slugs. Later model Mossberg smoothbore shotguns come with drilled and tapped holes on the receiver for mounting optics. My Mossberg 20-gauge defensive shotgun is equipped with a laser system, which leads me into the next phase of this write-up – improving accuracy.

Accuracy is Important:

Accuracy is Important
Accuracy is Important

To put it simply, we must hit what we are aiming at. A shotgun that shoots slugs is not any different from a pistol, revolver, or rifle. Accurate shot placement is highly important. There is a vast difference between knowing what direction your barrel is pointed and pointing to a target in that direction.

One such method to help in the accuracy department is the use of chokes. By using a choke, the shooter can customize the shot pattern at various ranges for different applications. Many shotguns, even those deemed “tactical” in nature, are being sold with an internal choke already installed. Commonly, the choke will be a “cylinder choke”, which essentially means that no change in the bore size at the muzzle end has occurred. However, when the shotgun is to fire slugs, any restriction in the bore will spell change.

As responsible shooters, we have to account for every round we fire. This leads to a real problem in the general use of buckshot. While #00 buckshot is a tremendously effective man stopper, with cylinder bore shotguns it just simply cannot be used for targets beyond 12 to 18 yards, depending on the gun and the shooter. Targets beyond the effective range of your buckshot require a transition to a slug in order to ensure you do not have stray pellets going past your attacker. What is needed is a barrel choking system that will tighten your pattern with buckshot and provide better accuracy with slugs while extending the useful range of your shotgun.

With that said, the Improved Cylinder is the choke that has the best benefit for slugs. This choke size has a few thousandths of an inch of restriction. Improved Cylinder choke is OK for all smoothbore slugs and can enhance accuracy and velocity by improving barrel gas seal and forcing the slug to center itself in the bore. In fact, there are chokes specific to shooting slugs and have a rifling to assist in stabilizing the rifled slug. I cannot attest to the effectiveness of such chokes but if they actually improve accuracy, they are all right with me. An improved Cylinder choke will also tighten up the pattern of buckshot loads.

While we are on the subject of patterning, please consider this; All shotguns pattern differently and their patterns change depending on the load. DO NOT take this lightly. You must pattern YOUR shotgun with a given load, and stay with the load that patterns best in YOUR GUN. As the ranges increase, the likelihood of the pattern passing completely around your intended target increases. Fortunately, a simple change in load can sometimes fix this. You need to know, BEFORE THE GUNFIGHT, what your gun will do and how far out it will do it. For the 20-gauge, I agree with Chuck Hawks and recommend the following: The 20 gauge 3″ shell Federal “Classic” #2 buckshot (F207-2-5PK) with 18 pellets, or the Winchester “Double XX” Magnum #3 with 24 pellets (X203C3B). If your gun cannot accept 3″ shells, choose the Remington 2 3/4″ #3 with 20 pellets (SP20BK5PK-3). All of these loads provide definitive short-range stopping power. My shotgun patterns well at 21-feet with the Remington #3 load and I can find it on most sporting store shelves. The Federal “Classic” #2 buckshot (F207-2-5PK) is harder to find.

My Mossberg 20-gauge defensive shotgun is equipped with a Center Point laser system
“My Mossberg 20-gauge defensive shotgun is equipped with a Center Point laser system”

For shooting slugs, I consider optics a must for better accuracy out of the shotgun. My Mossberg 20-gauge defensive shotgun is equipped with a Center Point laser system, which I consider excellent for my indoor purposes. The laser negates having to sight down the top of the shotgun. I can keep both eyes open, scan for the target, click the laser on and the pinpoint dot tells me where the round is going to hit. I zeroed the shotgun at 25-yards, which would be the maximum distance indoors in the house. A COM POA should be effective whether using buckshot or slug ammunition. The laser is good for 50 yards with indoor lights and up to 200 yards outdoor at night.

When moving outdoors during bright sunlight; however, the red laser is useless beyond 40 yards and I would have to consider a different sighting strategy (better open sights, scope/laser combo, tube red-dot, or holographic red-dot). Within about 40 yards, though, I have no issues with the laser. After all, this particular shotgun is for indoor home defense and not for hunting. I have other guns for hunting.

Mossberg SA-20 Tactical
Mossberg SA-20 Tactical

Some tactical smoothbore shotguns are now offered with rifle type sights. Of the 20-gauges, the Mossberg SA-20 Semi-Automatic Tactical shotgun is a good example. The Mossberg is at least a good step in the 20-gauge defensive class of shotguns that many are considering in lieu of the heavier recoil of the 12-gauge. The rear sight on the Mossberg is adjustable for both elevation and windage. I consider the ghost sight (or peep sight as some refer to it) as one of the best sighting systems around. Another feature of the SA-20 is that it is semi-automatic, which automatically means a reduction in recoil, which translates to better control of the shotgun for fast follow-up shots (if need be).


Intended as a primer, this write-up targets those who are considering a home shotgun in general and the 20-gauge shotgun in particular and who are curious about slugs for the 20-gauge smoothbore shotgun.

Although some may disagree with using slugs in a shotgun intended for defensive purposes, shotgun slugs do have a place in the area of self-defense. A smoothbore “slug gun” with rifle sights can shoot groups in the 3″ (6 MOA) range at 50 yards/meters, making them satisfactory deer hunting and self-defense weapons at short range.

Select the slug ammunition for your 20-gauge smoothbore that will give you the best accuracy. In my Mossberg 500, the Remington ‘Slugger’ seems to work the best for (short-range) indoor purposes but the round has a problem of its own, as mentioned later.

You can shoot a sabot slug through your smoothbore, but it does not increase accuracy and cost more. Save the sabot slugs for rifled deer barrels.

The use of an Improved Cylinder choke may help the accuracy of the shotgun when firing slugs as well as tightening patterns when firing buckshot or birdshot.

I agree with Chuck Hawks, up to a point, that shotgun slug loads fired from smooth bore barrels manage to combine the worst properties of any projectile: marginal accuracy, low velocity, low sectional density, low ballistic coefficient, rainbow trajectory, and heavy recoil. However, with advances in rifled shotgun slug technology, the shotgun slug’s ballistics has improved over time.

In comparing buckshot with rifled slug in a test performed by The Box O’ Truth, #3 buck actually penetrated further (equivalent to 12″ of flesh) than the Remington ‘Slugger’ (equivalent to 4″ of flesh). Over-penetration of the Remington ‘Slugger’ is not an issue but, in fact, under-penetration may be. The 20-gauge Remington “Buckhammer” load has a MV of 1500 fps and ME of 2236 ft. lbs. The 100-yard figures are 995 fps and 1074 ft. lbs. Remington also offers a “Managed Recoil” version of the ‘Buckhammer’ round that is claimed to generate 40% less felt recoil but retain the slug’s ballistics. A “Managed Recoil” load for the 20-gauge “Slugger” round is not available.

While slugs are short-range ammunition, all slugs carry lethal energy beyond 200 yards. You must exercise the same care when using slugs just as you would use with a rifle or handgun.

It is important to remember, however, that for maximum effectiveness you must aim the shotgun regardless if you are shooting slugs or shot. You cannot simply point your slug or shot-loaded shotgun at the bad person and cut loose. Shotguns require skillful aiming and firing just like handguns and rifles.

If you have a shotgun dedicated to home defense, you may want to consider some sort of mounted optic, as optics may help in the accuracy department.

If you intend to use the shotgun for the purpose of self-defense, I recommend picking up a copy of Massad Ayoob’s ‘Stressfire II: Advanced Combat Shotgun’. Incidentally, Massad Ayoob favors the 20-gauge for home defense and prefers the Mossberg 500 to the Remington 870.

I also recommend taking a training class for the defensive shotgun.

The Final Word:

I do not consider the 20-gauge slug to be the definitive answer to defend the castle. However, I do consider it an option under certain circumstances.

Whether the shotgun is the primary home defense gun or not, the use of slugs in a shotgun intended for home defense needs to be carefully weighed.

The shotgun is not my first choice of defending the castle. However, if it is in my hand, I prefer a 20-gauge loaded with Federal 3″ magnum #2 Buckshot or Remington’s Premier 2 3/4-inch 20-gauge #3 Buckshot as my main up-close-and-personal load for in-house duty. Because of its performance in my shotgun and the fact that it is easily available, I use the Remington 20 Gauge Slugger 2 3/4″, 5/8oz. Rifled Slug for my short-range slug needs. For (shotgun) long range, my choice is the Federal Power-Shok® Rifled Slug.

I hope that I have helped those who are on the fence about the 20-gauge being a viable option for home defense and if rifled slugs should be an option in your ammunition stores.

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Daryl Dempsey is an Oath keeper, veteran, ex-law enforcement officer and trainer, and an independent conservative libertarian that believes in the Constitution of the United States. He has over forty years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer and has as many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.
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Troy M

While you might not consider the shotgun as a “primary” home defense weapon, in the defense situation I would reach past my 9mm to my pump 12 gauge.  I’ve heard from many police officers that the best “weapon” is the sound of racking a pump shotgun.  It is a distinctive sound that everyone recognized and much more menacing than a nervous cracking voice trying to shout a warning!

Not that the sound is the only weapon – barking without a bite is just dangerous.  I have buckshot loaded with slugs in my stock bandoleer.  With 5 in the tube and 5 more on the stock there are few “gunfights” I would be afraid to enter – and those ones wouldn’t go much better even with my 9mm!


A loud and commanding voice followed by the racking sound might be more effective. Please remember, that those who wish to harm you or yours may not be thinking straight or be in a thoughtful frame of mind. Loud, verbal commands is the first line of defense as would be an alarm system, disorienting lights, and dogs that can do more than bark.


I respectfully disagree with both of you.   Why give up the tactical advantage by making noise and letting the intruder know exactly where you are?  Would it not be better to close the door of your room, block the door if possible and call police while waiting with your self defense firearm?   A gang banger is not going to be intimidated by a shotgun being racked. 


I keep my 9mm in my side table drawer im a thumbprint lockbox. However my neighbor, K9 sheriff’s deputy, suggested I purchase a shot gun for home defense. His argument was about accuracy during a 3am home invasion. It made a lot of sense considering at the range your are in a controlled setting.

I went to the gun store & picked up an inexpensive yet effective Chinese built 12gauge. My neighbor also said to use bird shot, that at such close range, will be plenty & won’t need to worry about much recoil & wall penetration. Looking for thoughts & opinions on the ammo. Another buddy of mine says to use buck shot. I hanged it loaded with bird shot now, but thinking of changing…


For the 12-gauge, #4 Buckshot is highly recommended (by Massad Ayoob and others, including myself) for indoor use followed by OO Buck. Slugs for the 12-gauge are not recommended for indoor use. At close distances, #4 Buck is devastating to say the least.

Pattern your shotgun for 7-yards and 15-yards. At 25-yards, the pattern really spreads out for the smoothbore 18 and 1/2″ 12-gauge.

Also, forget about pistol grips for your 12-gauge. Stay with a full stock. A full stock (with pistol grip) will actually give you better support when firing your shotgun.


#4 buck is marginal.  It does not consistently meet the minimum 12″ penetration guidlines.   #1 buck is actually the smallest size that meets this value.  I would recommend #1 buck (not 00) in 12 gauge and #2 buck in 20 gauge.


Your 9mm will do just fine, provided you are using hi quality JHP’s.   Massad Ayoob did a write-up on those.   Stopping the attacker needs to be priority #1 and unfortunately, any round capable of the recommended 12″ minimum penetration in flesh, will also penetrate a several drywall boards and that includes 9mm.  Please don’t trust your life to bird shot.  Its for birds, not self defense against two legged predators.


I agree with the bird shot selection.  Buck shot is designed to kill a deer at 100 yards. I don’t know many folks whose home (let alone a room in the home) is 100 yards long. At a typical room size bird shot (I load #4) is tremendously effective, and will stop anyone. 00 in a side saddle can be combat loaded if the #4 isn’t cutting it. The arguments about the choke is a good one, but again – keep in mind that in a home defense situation one will be in the range of around 20-30 feet at most.


bird shot is for little birds and if cobra is really LEO then he should know this.  Name one department in the country who issues shotguns and authorizes bird shot?  Name one!

The average deer is about the same size as a man.  That should be a clue of what to use.
do you really want to experiment with several rounds of bird shot in a gunfight before switching to OO as you’ve said?  I sure would not do that.  I want my FIRST shot to end the encounter.   Exchanging gunfire is the LAST thing you want to do.

rich 56

When on guard duty at the ammo dump at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannha Ga we were issued 12ga birdshot loads. In my house I’d use something about that size rather than buckshot that would go through a few walls


For home defense I favor #11 bird shot, my house is 20 yards long and my bed room is just past the middle which is 15 yards max.  Also prefer my pump in 20 ga., nothing has the sound of “racking” a pump


After 28 years of law enforcement I personally have a Rem. 870 in 12 gauge with #7 birdshot and #4 buckshot next to my bed at night for home defense.   Any rounds more powerful can be a law suite waiting to happen with neighbors nearby if all hell breaks lose at your home.    Family members in an adjacent room can also be injured so keep that in mind when thinking you want 00 or 000 buck.    I must admit a 20 gauge makes a lot of sense as well, especially if you are uncomfortable with a 12 gauge.

As everyone else has already stated, there is nothing like the sound of a racking pump shotgun to give an invader pause.   That sound alone and the sound he knows is about to follow, usually sets the intruder in swift flight.    Make no mistake about it though, a shotgun does require you to aim, although it is mildly forgiving and that gives you a critical edge.


Cobra,  I have to respectfully disagree with this idea that an intruder will “soil their pants” at the sound of a shotgun racking…as a former LEO, I’m sure you are well aware that there is an abundance of hardened criminals (eg. gang bangers) who are not afraid of death and will not be swayed by a racking shotgun.  I say this because no one should think that if they make a little show with the shotgun, the bad guy will run away.   All should be prepared for the fight of their life.


“Daryl Dempsey is an Oath keeper, veteran, ex-law enforcement officer
and trainer, and an independent conservative libertarian that believes
in the Constitution of the United States. ”

Daryl,  excellent write up about 20 gauge.  But you should keep the politics out of it.   You “believe” in the constitution?   Well, everyone does.   Why do libertarians think THEY are the only people who believe or are true to it.  If you bother to read the constitution, you will see that the articles are written in a very vague way.  Thus, just like the bible, a lot of it is open to interpretation.   Thus, your view on what a particular article means, is no more valid that that of a liberal.


To be a conservative or a Libertarian has nothing to do with the article. It is part of my profile. Why did you include me with all Libertarians? I am an individual with thoughts of my own and may not reflect those of others – Libertarian or not.

By the way, I have read the Constitution of the United States. To infer that I have not is a mistake on your part. I have also read the Bible.

Your personal attack is unwarranted. If you disagree with any aspect of the article, please express your opinion about that aspect. As to attacking one’s personal beliefs; a wise man keeps mouth closed, lest people think him a fool. A foolish man opens mouth and removes all doubt.

Kristy Johansen

Wow, I somehow managed to read that excellent article and not once consider Daryl’s politics. I find it ironic however, not to mention moronic, that Minerran would make Constitutional criticisms and not try to absorb the information. You can be lead people to water but there will always be an idiot who becomes distracted by pond water.

Alex Nava

i plan to use my over and under 20 gauge using remington 2 3/4 5.8 oz slugs to hunt deer will that pose a problem

bigtoad45 .

I am an older gent with cervical stenosis and lumbar issues. I opted for 20 gauge youth model shotguns for home defense because they are shorter yet give me the option for choke tubes. I use 9 pellet #1 buckshot at 1300 fps. (foreign made) I am planning to purchase some slugs to try out. Good to have something to add a bit more range should one need it. I am happy with my choice.