Sitting in my bedroom is a Remington 870 shotgun full of 00 buckshot. Because, in my opinion, along with a good handgun (mine is a Glock 19) everyone also needs a shotgun for home defense. However, thanks to Hollywood, many people are often confused about how to properly use a shotgun.
I’m going to try and clear that up for you. First off, as I just mentioned, I think the best home defense shotgun is the Remington 870. They’re simple to use and can take a beating. Plus, they’re cheap, costing less than $350. However, if you want the “Rolls Royce” of shotguns, then go for a Benelli. It’ll set you back around $1,300, but to each his own. I’d be willing to bet my life on either gun, so the 870 works fine for me.
Once you’ve chosen a gun, you obviously need to get ammo for it. I use 00 buckshot for my gun, but you have to be very careful with over penetration with this load. Many experts recommend using bird shot for home defense, but I know the layout of my house and I don’t have any children, so 00 buck is what I prefer.
Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty of actually using the gun.
In short, the shotgun is like any other firearm we use for self-defense purposes. It’s only used when you’re in immediate fear for your life, and when you pull it out you better be prepared to use it.
In other words, when I’m doing training I’m often asked, “can’t I just rack the shotgun and that noise will scare off a burglar.” The answer to that question is “if it does, that’s a blessing, but don’t count on it happening.” When you pull out your gun, you better be prepared to pull the trigger and defend your life. You should not be thinking to yourself, “I’m just going to rack the shotgun and wait and see if that scares him off.” That’s the type of mindset that will get you killed.
Think about it this way:
If you’re carrying concealed on the street and somebody is running at you with a knife are you going to draw your gun and sit there assuming the sight of it is going to scare them off without you having any plans of actually using it? Of course not. You’re going to draw your gun and if they keep coming at you, you’re going to shoot. (If they happen to stop when you draw, then that’s the blessing you hope for, but don’t count on it.)
Another important aspect of the home defense shotgun is making sure it has a butt stock and not just a pistol grip. I realize that a pistol grip shotgun such as the Mossberg 500 Cruiser looks cool. You see them a lot in the movies, but they’re much more difficult to shoot and be accurate with. And I’m willing to bet that when someone breaks into your home and you’re sitting there with a “cool” looking shotgun, you’ll probably wish you had the “less cool” gun that was easier to shoot. Also, as you’re sitting in your home with your shotgun you need to practice maneuvering
around your house with it. Ideally, if someone breaks into your house you’ll just lock yourself in your bedroom with the gun pointed at the door and wait for the police to come and do their job.
But if you have to go out and inspect a suspicious noise make sure you’re not knocking into the walls and you know how to handle the gun. In fact, just like with all types of new guns you should take a shotgun specific class or at least go to the range with a buddy who’ll show you how to use the shotgun.
As I often have to remind my wife, you should have multiple guns to ensure the safety of you and your family. So, even if you’ve got a Glock or Springfield XD sitting in your nightstand, consider getting a shotgun this week because you can never be too prepared. (At least that’s what I keep telling my wife every time I add a firearm to the Hanson Family Arsenal.)