Most criminals are too dense to realize that they face an equal amount of damage, maybe even more, due to shredding effect of all those little pellets from a close range load of AA Trap and Skeet as they do from the 00. However, don’t be misled. These loads can and will punch right through drywall at close range. Remember, they only spread one inch per yard, and at close range it is a lot like getting hit with a single, solid projectile.
If you have overpenetration concerns, you may want to closely examine whether a shotgun is the best weapon to choose. A lower powered handgun, which can still punch through a wall, but is only putting a single projectile at a time through it (assuming you are missing your intended target), may work out better for you, especially in an apartment where there are neighbors close at hand. Even then, you should limit your handgun ammo selection to pre-fragmented rounds like the Glaser Safety Slug or Magsafe.
For general home and property defense, where over-penetration is not a major concern, buckshot of various types and sizes is probably the best choice, not only for two-legged predators, but for large four-legged predators at close range as well. Those trap and skeet loads run out of steam pretty fast in terms of effectiveness over distance.
The law enforcement community dumped the use of #4 buckshot as a duty load and went back to 00 buck when we began finding out that #4 wasn’t giving the desired penetration. Rifled slugs are mostly to be avoided unless you need the longer range and penetration a rifled slug affords, or if you live soemwhere like Alaska, where your four legged predator problem involves large animals like bear, rather than the coyote of the Midwest.
Yep, for Alaskan defense, 3- to 3-1/2-inch magnum rifled slugs, and a six to nine round magazine capacity sounds like an ideal combination.
This article is an excerpt from Gun Digest Tactical Shotgun.
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