AR-15 “overpenetration” only exists if you do THIS wrong…


Today, we’re going to talk about one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about the AR-15.  To be fair, they get this misconception honestly.

They’re repeated ad nauseam at gun ranges, in articles, blogs, forums, videos, and even on TV without proper context.  To complicate matters even more, there’s an element of truth to it.

What is this myth?: “I think AR’s are bad for home defense because of over penetration.  I don’t want to shoot my neighbors or kids in another part of the house.”

Good.  I don’t want you to shoot anyone who’s innocent either.

But let’s dig into this a little…

First off, penetration is good.  It gets you to vital organs and stops threats fast.

In the FBI Miami Shootout, there was a famous bullet that stopped just short of hitting the heart of one of the bad guys…it was called “the bullet that failed.”  You don’t want to use bullets designed to fail.

You’ve got to have penetration to maximize effectiveness…you just don’t want to miss your targets and have ammo go through walls into bedrooms or into your neighbor’s house.

There’s 2 components to this…

The first and most important rule to minimize innocent people getting hit in a gunfight is to hit your target with every shot.  Don’t stop training when you can hit your target…keep training until you CAN’T MISS.

That is the standard that you should set for yourself.

100% hits and no misses.

It’s not reality and there’s a really good chance that Murphy will step in and mess things up, but you want to train so that any misses you have are beyond your control…not because of a lack of training or practice.

Second, you should realistically expect ANY ammunition that’s going to have effective penetration on a person to go through drywall, sheetrock, and other wall materials if you miss your intended target..

Ordinary defensive 9mm hollow points can go through 6 layers of sheetrock or 3-4 layers of steel in a car.

There’s a good chance that ANY caliber of defensive pistol or rifle ammo has the ability to go through walls and hurt innocent people.

Hollow points that may expand when they hit soft tissue oftentimes get plugged when they go through sheetrock, don’t expand, and act like a full metal jacket round.

There are bullet designs that claim to reduce over penetration on sheetrock, and some do better than others, but regardless of how realistic it is, the best way to minimize the chances of hurting innocent people is to make your hits.

One thing that’s surprisingly consistent in penetration/overpenetration testing is that typical defensive handgun rounds penetrate MORE layers of building materials than .223 from a carbine.  They both penetrate a few layers, but handgun rounds tend to penetrate more.

But what about shotguns?  

If we look at both ends of the spectrum, slugs have a serious over-penetration problem and bird shot has a serious UNDER-penetration problem.  In the middle, Buckshot shares a problem that’s common to all shotgun loads—the recoil is harder for smaller shooters to control and slows down followup shots.

In addition, the recoil and weight of a shotgun make it less enjoyable to shoot for smaller shooters and less practice translates directly to less comfort with the gun and lower performance under stress.

Finally, there are fewer ranges that allow you to practice with a shotgun than there are that allow you to practice with a pistol or AR.

Additionally, there are .22, pistol caliber, pellet, bb, and airsoft training versions of the AR…but not so much for the shotgun.

So, if all bullets are capable of penetrating through multiple walls, it stands to reason that you might want to use a weapon platform that will give you the highest probability of hitting your threat.

For most people, the increased barrel length and controllability of an AR makes it easier to hit man-sized targets at in-house distances in low light conditions under stress.

The proof is in the pudding…while nationwide hit ratios for law enforcement are in the 12%-25% range, hit ratios with rifles for many departments are over 80%.

In addition, it’s generally easier to put a light/laser on an AR than on a pistol.  There are great laser/light options for pistols, but most shooters find them easier to operate on an AR than on a pistol.

Prices on ARs have dropped to levels that would have been unbelievable a couple of years ago, and a LOT of people are buying one “just in case.”

I want to strongly encourage you to take the next step and get solid at-home training for the AR >HERE<.  And, even if you live in an area where ARs aren’t practical or legal, 90% of this course applies to lever actions and other long guns that ARE allowed in commie states.

It will add to and reinforce any live training that you’ve had AND, if you’ve had military or law enforcement training with the M4, it’ll help you make the transition from military & law enforcement tactics to tactics that are more appropriate for a civilian home defense situation.

In fact, what you see Law Enforcement or military personnel doing overseas could be a disaster for you, your family… or even your next door neighbor.

Plus those tactics and rules of engagement could land you in jail.

So what does a responsible AR shooter need to know?

I’ll tell you. Just click >here<

You’ll see how, with the right setup and tactics, your AR may be a MUCH better home defense gun than a pistol OR shotgun. I know it’s hard to believe, but this is a case where facts beat opinion and could save your life.

Click here to see what really works in a home defense scenario.

Look, this is more common than you may think. There were more than 100 news articles about home invasions JUST in the last few days. This is a case where you can’t prepare once it’s happening and a few simple steps can give you a HUGE advantage if it happens to you. Take action now.

What about the questions from the email…

I have this gun set up to respond to “notifications” from my dogs that there is something that they want me to respond to in the middle of the night.  Usually it’s a deer, elk, or moose and I go back to bed.  Occasionally, it’s a coyote, wolf, or other predator and this gun is set up to be light, quiet, and take care of those problems at the distances that they present themselves.

The optic is a very affordable and kind of old Primary Arms red dot.  It’s been a great optic for it’s size and generation.

The “device in front of the red dot is a Spartan laser/light combo.  It is not the best laser/light combo in the world, but it is darn small and it works great for non-rugged applications.  Most importantly, for MY application & needs, it works great at night on targets out to 50-100 yards, depending on ambient light.  Would a 1,000 lumen light be better?  Yup…and I’ve got several of them, but the goal with this gun is to keep it as light, slick, and fast as possible.  I have BUIS I could put on it…I even have 45 degree offsets…but it works great the way it is for what I need.

Why no backup iron sights?  I don’t need them for my application.  Regardless of whether I consider the laser or red dot to be the primary, the other serves as the backup.  In addition, I’ve spent enough time on this gun to be confident aiming down the rail without sights/optic/laser at targets 50-80 yards away.

Why do I tell you all of this?  Because you don’t necessarily need to put the gear on your gun that the coolest guy on YouTube or your favorite gun magazine is using.  It’s OK to think through stuff and figure out what kind of a setup will work best for you and go with it.

What about the selector and the trigger?  When the hammer is down on an empty chamber on an AR, the trigger is back and it’s not possible to engage the safety.  Some call it “Cruiser Ready” and it’s how I recommend people store carbines.

So, what are your thoughts on ARs for home defense?  Please sound off by commenting below!


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  • Rosy

    Reply Reply January 25, 2024

    In discussing home defense with retired instructor, his objection to any rifle is ease of movability ie around corners, protecting oneself in doorway or similar. Also, in purchasing an AR, does that mean also buying a gun cabinet ?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply January 27, 2024

      SWAT and direct action units seem pretty comfortable manuvering around corners with an AR. There are specialized techniques for it that are covered in the Home Defense Rifle course…and they’re not difficult to learn or use, but you DO need to know them. It’s very possible that the retired instructor who had that objection just hadn’t been exposed to modern techniques.

      You definitely need to secure an AR if you buy an AR. That could be with a lockable gun cabinet, safe, clamshell action-safe, or other options.

  • rod vanzeller

    Reply Reply February 17, 2023

    Ruger 10 22 is my choice

  • rod vanzeller

    Reply Reply August 4, 2022

    Why an AR?
    AK uses a more effective round and is more reliable.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply August 4, 2022

      Why not both?

      If you want the same ballistics as the AK, just get an AR chambered in .300blk 🙂

      As for reliability…if the guns are abused, then I’d agree on the AK being more reliable.

      If the AR is an inexpensive, untested homemade gun, then I agree on the AK being more reliable.

      For the average shooter, though, the difference in reliability won’t be noticed and the ability to buy so many different platforms with the same manual of arms is an awesome benefit.

      I don’t have a problem with AKs and I like AKs, but I’ve standardized to the AR because of the benefits I mentioned, the instructors I trained under, and the groups I work with.

  • Ethan

    Reply Reply August 3, 2022

    thanks for the thoughtful analysis. This point I feel deeply: “Finally, there are fewer ranges that allow you to practice with a shotgun than there are that allow you to practice with a pistol or AR.”

    I got this new shotgun and no where to practice. I live in Seattle and I might have to drive over an hour to find a range that allows shotgun.

    One aspect that wasn’t covered was the noise level. AR15 is a lot louder than other guns – it could be good or bad. It all depends. Loud noise could make intruders run away and alert neighbors. But also, this WWII veteran defended his grandkids from armed intruders at his home with his rifle, but when cops came and gave command to lay down his rifle, the veteran could not hear. Cops killed him.

    I don’t know much about gun, so is that a can on your gun?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply August 4, 2022

      Super sad story on the WWII vet.

      Yes…that’s a can under the foregrip. It’s a 9mm pistol with (I believe) a 4″ barrel. Everything else is the can.

  • Keith Giesler

    Reply Reply March 11, 2021

    Great blog and info! thx. I’ll just add (just to be kidding with you a bit, but, seriously, you’d love the difference) that when you were saying “what’s this optic and that optic, you may ask?”, I was indeed wanting to know that. But I was also asking out loud to my screen, “Dear God, why does he still have that completely crappy, cheap GRIP on his nice AR? Brother needs a Hogue grip replacement asap!”. It’s very tactile-feeling rubber over (I think) steel, it feels 10 times better than that hard, completely plastic grip that so many ARs (like both of mine!) come with.

    Just a thought. 🙂 Thx for all the great info here. Take care

    • Ox

      Reply Reply March 13, 2021

      lol 🙂 I’m with you on the cheap crappy grip and you’re exactly right. I do have a Hogue grip on my 3-gun JP, but a mishmash on my training platforms. I used to make every gun exactly the way I wanted it until Chris Graham told me why he didn’t. It has to do with fragile vs. resilient technique.

      In short, he spends a lot of his time doing pre-deployment training for OGA security teams and meeting up with teams downrange and doing sustainment training.

      He never knows what kind of piece-of-junk he’s going to pick up and need to perform with.

      He saw that guys who had spent a LOT of time on really tricked out gear sometimes had hiccups when they had to shoot more milspec gear.

      I realized the same thing. My tricked out gear worked for me like a well-worn glove, but I’d have a moment of hesitation when I mounted a gun that was set up slightly differently…different grip, trigger, sights/optic, buttstock, etc.

      As a result, I’ve now got a mishmash of training platforms. Some are set up mil-spec and some are set up the way I like them…but I switch back and forth between them so that I don’t develop too much of a rut in technique. I’m still a little smoother when everything is set up just the way I like it, but there’s no lag when I get handed a craptastic frankengun.

  • George Eusterman

    Reply Reply March 10, 2021

    Ox, thanks for your work. Long time follower. I’ve owned AR platforms over 50 years. My favorite defense rifle is 10.5” braced pistol, red dot, small light and suppressed. I do all my hunting and varminting with the platform in variety of calibers to maintain familiarization. One thing I’ve learned is never varmint with fmj because one never knows what cow or county the bullet may end up in.That said, Hornady Vmax in 55gr or simple soft points 55 to 62gr are great defense bullets. Police use Vmax but pay double and having killed thousands of game you can count on the bullet to really dump energy in the target and stay there. Besides, if the range opens up you have a 300m tack driver. I’m glad we have moved on from pistol caliber carbines.

  • Julie

    Reply Reply December 8, 2019

    We got some guys from a temp agency to move materials on a job site, and this one guy we ended up hiring because he was muscular. He also had a good sized belly. He showed everyone his scars at lunch one day- several on that round belly, where he got shot with a .22 in a bar fight during his ‘lively past’. Said there was no internal damage and he barely felt them when they hit. Something to consider. I think under penetration is a bigger worry.

  • Bud

    Reply Reply December 8, 2019

    Frangible rounds were available a few years ago, powered metal break up after firing minimal damage to surroundings. Can’t find them lately

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 8, 2019

      I draw my carry gun and shoot varmints on a regular basis and, as a result, carry frangible rounds as the first or first and 2nd round in my magazines. MidwayUSA and several other big sellers have frangibles in stock…TNQ/Fiocchi/Scinterfire or inceptor are both great options.

      On frangible…make sure that you’re making choices based on accurate information. They break up when they hit HARD stuff…but they’ll go right through sheetrock.

  • Infidel

    Reply Reply December 8, 2019

    I have been on many EMS runs on shooting recipients. I’ll avoid “victims” here.
    We had a “recipient”, of a 12 ga., #6 shot, at close range. The recipient, had removed the homeowner’s extension phone, on the back porch, from the cradle, so the homeowner couldn’t call the police. Then pointed a gun, at the homeowner, through the back window. He wound up with a chest full of #6 shot, and glass shards. We took him to the nearest Level 1 Trauma center, where they cracked his chest. His heart and lungs were totally destroyed. He had had a long criminal history, but his Burglar’s Comp. ran out, that night.
    I have been on many many more shootings with 9’s, 40’s, 45’s, .38’s, .556’s, etc. But, a lot of those, were still awake, when we arrived, unless, they were head shots. Many survived. But, the shotgun wounds were devastating, regardless of shot size.
    I usually load my shotgun with #6’s, after witnessing the damage done, to our burglar. I’m reasonably confident, that this load won’t penetrate, two layers of oak lath and plaster. I’m only worried about overpenetration, when the grandkids stay. I back the shotgun up, with a Glock 21. The wife has her .38.
    The warning sign, on the house reads: “Nothing here, is worth your life”.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 8, 2019

      Thanks for your input on that.

      There are 2 keys to using shotgun for self-defense…

      1. Range and spread can turn a great self-defense load into a worthless one. As you said with the #6 shot instance, it was CLOSE RANGE. If your threat is far enough away for the shot to spread, it becomes relatively ineffective at stopping threats.

      Think about it this way. The purpose of a bullet resistant vest is to distribute the cross section where the force of the bullet is applied, reducing the pressure. The recipient absorbs the same amount of force…it’s just spread out so it doesn’t do as much penetration and damage.

      It’s the same with a hypodermic needle…the giver is touching the syringe with a large enough surface area that it doesn’t penetrate, but the recipient is absorbing that same force concentrated on a small point that overcomes the integrity of the skin.

      With a shotgun, #6 and #8 shot are only predictably effective if the pattern is tight enough that they’re able to focus their energy and penetrate. You could visualize it as the individual pieces of shot acting in concert as a team at extremely close distances and as relatively weak and light individuals at longer distances. If you’re at a distance where a shotgun load won’t penetrate sheetrock, it’s unlikely that it will be able to penetrate an attacker enough to stop the threat in a timely manner.

      2. This is the biggie…the most dangerous thing about using a shotgun for home defense is that people tend to believe that the sound of chambering a round in a pump shotgun will be enough to scare off an intruder, don’t know the performance envelope of their shotgun, assume the just have to point it in the general direction and shoot, and use this combination of factors to justify not practicing with their shotgun. They don’t know what it means when they can’t pump a pump shotgun or how to see if there’s a round in the chamber, they don’t know how their shotgun patterns, they haven’t run it enough to know the consequences of short stroking, what it feels like, or how to fix it.

      Regardless of whether it’s a pump, break action, or semi-auto, there’s not enough familiarity to use it safely and effectively under stress.

      Now…if someone addresses those 2 issues with practice and real-world testing, the right shotgun can be an AWESOME home defense gun.

      As to oak lath and plaster…I can make assumptions that are similar to what you’ve made, but in the end it requires testing to know.

      As to overpenetration…again, the best way to avoid overpenetration is to have the projectiles go through your attacker before hitting your walls.

      Thanks, and please let me know if you’ve got any other questions.

  • Harry

    Reply Reply December 6, 2019

    The decibel range created by various arms is rarely mentioned topic in gun-related articles. In real self-defense situations a person is not likely to be wearing gun range ear muffs. Doesn’t the “big bang” from the “big gun” affect accuracy or performance indoors?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 8, 2019

      It can…but the brain oftentimes turns off audio input to the cortex during high stress events and it’s relatively common to not hear the “bang” or even have ringing ears afterwards.

      • Jim

        Reply Reply February 17, 2023

        I’m an average guy with decent handgunning skills having shot PPC leagues at my local gun club, IDPA for one season at another and we’ll accomplished with my shotgun having shot sporting clays competitively for 20+ years. I also have ARs and am capable with it on paper targets. All that to say that if I had to defend my home from an invader he would be at a decided disadvantage regardless of the weapon I was using. Home field advantage is something I rarely read about in these columns and I feel that such would play an important part in a home defensive situation which should greatly tilt the outcome in my favor no matter which firearm I was using.
        I wouldn’t hesitate to use #7 1/2 shot with my Briley Spreader Choke tube on an intruder. An upper torso/neck/head shot would most certainly end the engagement immediately. I would feel most comfortable with my shotgun in my hands regardless of the load I had chambered.
        Probably a bit lengthy and divergent of topic but there it is.

        • Ox

          Reply Reply February 20, 2023

          You’re right about the importance of home field advantage, but I do discuss it and how most people give it up or don’t exploit it nearly as much as they could/should. It’s also a core tenant of the Home Defense Rifle course, regardless of what kind of firearm you use or if you are able to use a firearm at all.

  • Scott Roder

    Reply Reply January 17, 2019

    During my law enforcement career my agency shot 2 people with .357 magnums, both lived. We shot 4 people with 9mm, none of them survived, and 1 with a 5.56 who lived, but is now one armed. In the 5.56 shooting the guy pulled a pistol from under a sleeping infant, and pointed it at a swat officer. One burst was fired. All 3 rounds penetrated the guys arm. Causing him to drop the gun, one of the rounds followed the bone down into his chest, taking out his artery in his arm. So it stopped the threat, did not over penetrate, and made him a one armed dope dealer.
    In my opinion, placement of the bullet was the major factor. Those shot with other than 9mm rounds were not hit in the chest.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply January 17, 2019

      Excellent info. Thank you.

      It’s worth noting that .357, .38, .380, and 9mm are the same diameter bullet. The weight and muzzle velocity are normally different, and the trigger press on a .357 is normally longer and heavier than a semi-auto double action only or single action 9, but the bullet diameter is the same. There are SEVERAL variables that may have been at play, but the shorter, lighter trigger press could very well be one of the biggest factors why the people shot with the 9 were shot in the chest and those shot with the .357 weren’t.

  • John Turner

    Reply Reply January 10, 2019

    Comments on shotguns for home defense
    They’re ammo deficient. Pistol calibers are ballistically deficient
    A pump shotgun can be short stroked. Click.
    Just like a semi auto pistol can be limp wristed
    How many of you have your malfunction drills down cold
    to where clearing a double feed in under 4 seconds is instinctual?
    So 12 gauge 00 buck? Great stuff. The best I’ve seen is Federal Flite Control. Patterns are 1/2 the diameter of regular stuff
    at the same distance. Meaning my Benelli gets 5 00 Buck
    pellets into the thoracic cavity at 25 yards with the Flite Control
    With regular stuff? 15 yards, 5 of 9 pellets.
    If you get a 12 gauge for home defense get an extended magazine. I’d recommend a semi auto, tac light and laser like the Streamlight TLR 4. I’ll add Benelli semis have low
    felt recoil. Downside? Plan on $2k. You have 8 red
    Now a really nice AR15 set up could cost 1/2 that and you have
    28 rds loaded in your 30 rd mag. Collapsible stock. Short barrel
    Suppressor. OK so there’s another grand but try shooting one in an enclosed area at night without ear pro. You’re blind and deaf after the first shot! Try it once.
    I’ll add that ARs take work to be proficient. Good instruction.
    Practice reloads and malfunction drills. Oh yeah! Dry practice

    • Ron

      Reply Reply September 13, 2020

      .380 and 9mm are the same diameter bullets… not even close.

      • Ox

        Reply Reply September 13, 2020

        Last I checked, .380 and 9mm both use .355 inch bullets…sometimes .356 or even .357, depending on the barrel.

  • william

    Reply Reply January 10, 2019

    Ox, sometimes you use frangible ammo in your carry pistol. Is frangible ammo made for 5.56, and might this ammo still be effective in this application and add a margin of safety? However, as you say, there is no substitute for accuracy!

    • Ox

      Reply Reply January 10, 2019

      Hey William,

      You’re right, I pretty much always use frangible ammo as the first 2 rounds in my carry pistol. And, yes, TNQ and Polyfrang both make frangible 5.56 rounds (I prefer Polyfrang in this case because I’ve talked with the owner at length about it’s use in suppressed guns)

      And, yes, frangible MAY add a margin of safety, but it won’t disintegrate when it hits sheetrock…it will when it hits a cement floor, solid rock, or steel (not all metals…as an extreme example, it’ll go through an aluminum can) and it will break up when it hits fluids, but it’s not a miracle bullet that stops on a dime when it hits 3/8″ sheetrock.

      I certainly wouldn’t discourage you from using frangible. It’s a solid, proven solution that MAY provide a little more margin of safety, depending on your backstops.

  • Dave Sain

    Reply Reply January 9, 2019

    What are your thoughts on pistol caliber carbines for home defense?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply January 9, 2019

      I shoot a Next Generation Arms X9 Pistol Caliber Pistol (short AR pattern pistol in 9mm with a 6″ barrel) and am a HUGE fan of PCCs and PCPs, which I’ll refer to collectively as PCCs.

      They let people do AR training way cheaper and in more places than what you can do with a .223 and they don’t have the .22 specific malfunctions that you get with a .22 conversion kit or 15-22 (which we use a lot)

      Recoil isn’t as hard on PCCs as ARs, but I’ve found that PCC recoil throws my sights off more.

      With a good barrel, trigger, and decent ammo, you can shoot hand sized groups out to over 100 yards.

      As for a home defense weapon…

      The shortcomings of self defense pistols are because of bullet design, so they apply to both pistols and PCCs.

      That being said, let’s go back to the fact that the best way to avoid a bullet going through several walls is for it to go through your intended target first.

      Now we’re not just looking at the bullet, but how to get that bullet on target 100% of the time and as quickly as possible.

      And, when that’s the goal, I’d argue that the PCC beats a traditional pistol every time…and that’s why tactical teams are using PCCs over pistols in both military and law enforcement applications. Most still use traditional ARs more often, but PCCs are carrying more and more of the load when teams aren’t expecting distance shots or body armor.

      This isn’t a new thing. The PCC is basically an MP5 in an AR shell and the MP5 has been a proven and effective tactical weapon for decades.

      Personally, I run a Spartan 200 lumen light/laser combo on my PCC that’s intended for a pistol rail and it is a very effective setup…more effective than a pistol, but still not as effective as a .223.

    • John Turner

      Reply Reply January 10, 2019

      M1 Carbine? Good or better surplus.
      30 carbine caliber. About the same ballistically as a 357 magnum
      5 1/2#s. 30 rd mags available. 15 rd is standard.
      Easy to shoot. Very reliable and size is small enough for close qtrs
      Worked in WW2, Korea and the Nam.
      Also since they’re not black they’re not scary looking. ALSO since the milsurp varieties are C&Rs most states don’t require any registration
      However!!! Have a knowledgeable gunsmith look it over. Plan on $850 for a decent one.
      Lots of spare parts around too since over 5 million were made.
      Tons of fun to shoot even for say a woman, your wife perhaps? No recoil to speak of

      • Ox

        Reply Reply January 11, 2019

        Great point. Longer barrel for easier sighting, multiple points of contact, and you can get a scout mount rail so that you can use the Spartan light/laser combo or another similar setup.

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply April 19, 2018

    I have to disagree about a shotgun. Too many people don’t know that there are other loads besides birdshot, slugs and buckshot. A #2 shot or BB shot will have more penetration than birdshot but lack the penetration of slugs or buckshot. In addition to full strength buckshot, there are light buckshot loads available. Everyone talks about putting enough rounds on target to put the perp down. Nobody expects to do the same with a shotgun. Why is everybody only considering one round? Two shots to the torso and one to the head. I guarantee if you have a 3/4 of an inch diameter wound in your face or head you won’t much feel like continuing any aggressive moves, especial if you already have two 3/4 inch wounds in your torso, even if they are only an inch and a half to two inches deep.

    I can remember one case where the deceased was shot at about 18 inches with birdshot from a 20 ga. The coroner said that if he had fallen on an operating table with a trauma surgical team ready to start it wouldn’t have mattered the damage was so overwhelming that no amount of medical care could have saved the individual.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that the old saw about “You don’t have to aim a shotgun, all you have to do is point it in the direction of the perp and pull the trigger” is by any means accurate. You have to aim the shotgun just like you do any other firearm. A high base goose load, even at 2 3/4″ in #2 or BB shot will certainly take the fight out of a bad guy in short order. At household distances even with a cylinder bore the shot column doesn’t have a chance to spread much so the perp is going to get hit with a .75 caliber bullet weight close to 1,000 grains going 1200 fps. Who thinks that isn’t better than a .35 caliber bullet weighing 124 grains going about the same speed?

    A gun writer, Will Dabbs, MD, who writes for Guns Magazine did a test in the last 18 months using a shotgun with bird shot at household distances. Even at the magic 21 feet the shot column had not spread that much and it tore a vicious hole in the plywood that he was using as a backstop.

    You can do the test yourself with gallon milk bottles. Fill them up with water, back off seven yards and see how many get blasted with the shot column.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply April 20, 2018

      Great points, Chuck. A shotgun is definitely better than nothing and has been used for home defense since (at least) frontier days, but two big factors for a home defense gun are how quickly you can put an accurate second shot on target (the same or different) and how easy it is to practice with. I’m not about to argue against a shotgun, but I will argue for a carbine over a shotgun in most cases…California laws may change that equation, but in a semi-free state, a carbine has a big advantage.

    • John

      Reply Reply January 12, 2019

      100% in agreement. Good article and great points

  • Larry Douglas

    Reply Reply April 19, 2018

    The best gun (or weapon) for self & home defense is the one you’re most comfortable using and have handy when needed. If a rock is my only choice, that’s what I’ll use.

    • Fred

      Reply Reply January 9, 2019

      Larry Douglas, I agree with you 100%. 30+ years as LEO, I was trained for a long time on the use of a hand gun, .357. Shotgun came later when the department I worked for could afford them.
      AR 15s did not come into play for about 20 years later and then only in certain circumstances. One of the biggest downfalls to any long gun is space, tight spaces. Hand gun is better in my opinion for what its worth.

  • H

    Reply Reply April 19, 2018

    I can speak from personal experience. My sister in law was killed by a guy she had just started dating. He used AR ( illegally owned as we later found out he was a felon). He also fired on police. he shot her 5 times from about 8 feet away as she sat in a chair. Not one round exited her body. She was hit from the left side. From the autopsy results ( yes I requested a copy and read it) the bullets did some major damage to her internal organs. Again not one exited. I don’t know what grain or type of bullets he used. I can only guess they were typical 55gr FMJ. I don’t know barrel length or twist either. If I remember correctly all of the bullets fragmented to some degree inside her body.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply April 20, 2018

      I’m very sorry for your loss, H.

  • Charlie Buck

    Reply Reply April 19, 2018

    I keep a Taurus Judge loaded with Winchester PDX ammo in it along with a Kimber Ultra Carry II with Crimson Trace grips loaded with Hornady Critical Defense Ammo in it. Used to be a bullseye shooter and still shoot on a regular basis.

    • Bountyhunter

      Reply Reply April 21, 2018

      CB,, I always knew you were a decent shot, but I never remember you deer hunting with a revolver/pistol. ( not that it would have surprised me ).

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