Steel Rain wrote:I think many of you are underestimating the power of a shotgun firing birdshot; especially if the shotgun were an auto-loader like the M2
It's not a question of power, it's a question of penetration. Birdshot fired from an autoloader doesn't penetrate any deeper than birdshot fired from a pump action. If birdshot were capable of penetrating the 12-18 inches required for stopping a human assailant, it would all blast right through a bird.
My intention wasn't to suggest that birdshot from an auto loader would penetrate deeper than birdshot from any other action. I was just making reference to the fact that quality auto shotguns in home defense appropriate configurations are now more available then they used to be. The increased rate of fire can't be ignored.
Bird hunting (especially goose) often requires you to shoot at distances far greater than you would encounter in a typical home defense situation; and its not uncommon for birdshot to blast right through birds.
I think we can all agree Wal-Mart's 100 round value pack of 12ga 2-3/4" #8 isn't ideal for anything other than inexpensive plinking... Having said that, its just not reasonable to dismiss the shotgun/birdshot combo as a viable tool for home defense. Its also not reasonable to suggest that a shotgun loaded with birdshot couldn't be equal to or greater than most handguns in a typical home defense scenario. YES, you can find economy grade birdshot that won't really do any job well, but significant variation exists amongst the various offerings of "birdshot". For example, when considering both its increased hit percentage and potential for causing damage, decent quality 3" tungsten alloy BB (a popular waterfowl load) puts most handgun calibers to SHAME at close range. The damage potential offered by more potent birdshot loads combined with the increased hit probability offered by the shotgun/birdshot combination can't be dismissed solely based on its lack of excellent penetration alone. What about the other advantages shotguns enjoy over handguns in the home defense niche category? When comparing a handgun to a shotgun at close range, which weapon are you more likely to actually score hits with? the damage equation is more complex than ballistic gel can show. Shotgun pellets tear skin, flesh, tendons and ligaments away from bone upon impact. Some will try to convince you that shotgun pellets don't offer sufficient penetration but do the tests they base their claims on include more decent quality goose loads? 3" shells with BB shot pose a much more serious threat than just an impressive looking (but really superficial) wound. An assailants hands, eyes, ears, nose, face, and throat (none of which are protected by 8"+ of muscle or bone could be hit by any number of apx 50-75 BB sized pellets. Imagine a group of pellets smashing into your throat with concussive force, leaving the area which once housed your windpipe, arteries, and spinal cord a bloody and mangled mess. Whats going to happen to your hands, eyes, ears, nose, face or neck when they get hit a second or third time?
Handguns are easy to carry, concealable and sexy ( vs rifles & shotguns), but they really don't compare favorably to long arms in any other category. Before the advent of firearms, the same was true of the sword. The sword was easier to carry informally compared with the larger more cumbersome long arms of the day, so it was useful in defense and/or policing but in general, the spear/pike/halberd prevailed.