Shotgun Ammo Dangers when using for Self Defense / Home Invasion

Shotgun Ammo Dangers when using for Self Defense / Home Invasion. I wished I could of
written a article that ever body that owns a shotgun, large or small, that could read the article
and there would not be another accident or negligent discharge of any type. Safety every second
that you carry and all safety rules apply, 110%. Praying still , but will not stop or give up.

Over penetration and other people in the line of fire. I believe in protecting your family and self
and you can use a shotgun of many types, but please do your research in this field completely
before you purchase that cost $1500.00 and take a masters degree to use it, totally. All your safety
rules, all the federal and state LAWS apply just like the Rifles and Pistols that we buy.

I love ballistics of all firearms and I have had the chance to watch, listen, and learn, but I am not
perfect in anything, including all firearms’. The ballistics that I was taught on shotguns had a DISPLAY, Actual Firing Test, and SIMULATION of what would happen if you shot through enter walls of any building,
outer walls, drywalls of different thickness, and different materials. Also, the effectiveness of that ammo.
But, depends on the types and sizes of ammo that you use in defense and targets, Education ALWAYS,
it is needed.

Over penetration is a major issue and please follow the proper way to use your shotgun at all times. It can be deadly and people in other rooms have been inquired and killed.


If, and I mean a big if. I am using my shotgun. It’s cause a pistol is not enough. Same for anything other than my box, stock, Glocks.


The old days a shotgun was primary firearm and you used it for your home and hunting; examples. Now
our homes are less than 20’ apart and the walls are not going to stop a 00 Buck or Rifled Slug, if you are
in the country and a wild boar charged you and you had a 12 Gauge with Slugs, please have at it to defend and stop the charge or a snake; your choice. In the house, there are not many ways to stop a slug and your family is at risk. Think of all the factors and enjoy your shotguns.


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I get it, you are worried about over penetration. I don’t need a bunch of ballistics reports to tell me about the dangers of over penetration. I worry about it as well. But, and it’s a big but, if I have transitioned to my specific shotgun, it’s because my Glock won’t stop it.

I live in a brick home. It’s just me and my wife, so I know where she is. It’s a good message but one that comes up about every 12 days.


You are an Instructor and teacher and I understand that very much. I only gave that ballistics and
safety concerns for newer people and people that are not trained. There are some people think that
can solve all the problems with a Double Barrel and not care where everything goes. You are needed to do your best to educate others, but I live in a place that people think they can use a firearm and NOT PAY
for the mistakes when made. Their comment is " I do not need training, I don’t think and I do not need
insurance, like USCCA ". I have trained for 4 years and desire to grow more. Thank you for your help, very much. Need more people like you.

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I’m not making light my friend. Its one of the 4 basic rules of gun safety. Know your target and what’s behind it. I’m in a bit of a different shotgun position than most. I don’t have a traditional shotgun. I have a Kel-Tec KSG, so if I go shotgun it’s a very deliberate decision.

It’s in a different safe, and it’s definitely not meant for hunting. It’s a SD/HD shotgun only.


Thank you for your help. I am a photographer with a Glock or Sig Sauer and I have been drilled very hard, but I enjoy it. I enjoy learning. Please stay safe / hope all is well.


I consider overpenetration a concern for any firearm, and mentioned on another thread when I have lived in very dense housing (e.g., an apartment building) I go for frangible handgun rounds to try to minimize the overpenetration risk. And even for my other ammo, I choose rounds that show a consistent behavior of being in that FBI 12-18" penetration range so they will be effective but limit the risk to others. For shotgun use it is worth considering either #4 buck shot or specialized self-defense rounds that have been optimized to reduce the overpenetration risk.

Just one important thing to bring up. For those who live in places where handgun ownership is severely restricted, a shotgun is often the only available and socially acceptable choice for home defense. So while I treat my shotgun as something saved for a “zombie apocalypse”, for others getting all the choices and training lined up just as most of us here do for handguns is crucial.


Thank you for your input too. That is necessary to know and I live also in close quartered homes
too, ever 20’ a home and neighbors across the street. My trainining guided me through areas like this.
I was watching ballistic testing on pistols and long guns. I have taken Safety and firearm courses and I am very active. I apply these course in my CC Firearm Life, but when I learned about someone shooting a child
on a hunting trip with his DAD, mistake in identity, not a TURKEY. ACCIDENT ? I do not think so. Over
Penetrations can kill a family too, this is preventive maintenance here.

@William_H while over penetration with a shotgun is very possible, what other gun can it be prevented with as easily? As many many discussions here have highlighted a shotgun can be loaded with birdshot loads to stop over penetration through building materials like drywall. Just as you can use frangible ammo in pistols and rifles a shotgun can also be loaded to safeguard against going through walls.


I have recently patterned #1 Buck for self defense. Smaller shot but still a reasonable pattern at 15 yards. Only 2 3/4 " though. Lucky Gunner has some good testing results to consider.


Well written. The size of Buck Shot, let us say 00, some of those rounds have from .22 caliber to .32 caliber
to .35 caliber pellets. Bigger the number the smaller the You have to use your choke system too, Full choke, smaller pattern, Modified, or IMPROVE Cylinder. You can easily use rifled slugs in that choke.

There is a 3" 12 gauge Shell that carries 1 rifle slug and 3 “00” Buck Shot for better assistance and a better chance to get your Boar or Deer. A shot with bird shot with out the correct choke will be EVERYWHERE, but the larger shot will probably have a pattern the size of a softball 40’. Close ranges, will be through and through and maybe a lot further, when your using 70 mm slug. What a bang for your $ 1 .50

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Shotguns have a place in the Home Defense world, no doubt. Many people only know the shotgun as a 12 Gage unit, when in reallity a 20 gage can be a better choice. A 20 is smaller, lighter and has less of a recoil. The ammo for a 20 gage is quite effective in a home defense sitting. Some people that buy the 12 gage donot consider the recoil and the time it takes to reset if another shot is needed, where as the 20 with the smaller round can recover in a shorther time if a follow up shot is needed. Another concideration is the mini rounds. The mini round is 1 3/4 inch in lenght, but can be very effective in close quarters. As fas as over pentatration I think the mini shell or the 20 gage would be my choice.



My point is that a shotgun can be loaded for home defense where over penetration is a concern. Using 00 buck (.33 caliber) and slugs would not be ideal loads where over penetration was a concern. Loading a handgun or rifle with ball ammo would also produce over penetration as well. If we loaded the shotgun with say 7.5 birdshot then the drywall will soak up most of it before going through into another room. As for the shot going everywhere, in a shotgun with open chokes (cylinder) the shot will be within a 20 inch circle at 10 yards, this is well within the black portion of the B27 target used in the IL CCW course which requires 70% hits in the black from 5, 7 and 10 yards.

Everyone needs to think through their home defense with all the guns they may use to defend themselves. If you are in a house with brick and/or your bedrooms are on the 2nd floor so you will be shooting down to prevent anyone from accessing a stairwell you can load heavier (#4 - 00 buck) but if you are in an apartment with shared walls then think about the birdshot options.


My information are from retired police officers and I appreciate every bodies facts and hard work. I am not questioning body here nor will I ever desire to get you upset or mad.
Please understand when you are taught in 3 different classrooms and several fine retired officers, you do not question them and their life’s work very much. I am still desiring to train for Defensive Shooting 1 and 2, but that will be later, but soon.

I do not live in a bullet proof house or on a 100 acer farm in the middle of nothingness, I needed your facts because I not military or police, not ever going to compete, just learn. My choice of firearms are pistol, just need to take a break. Thank you and stay safe, practice and be our best !

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This subject has been addressed many times, and here are 3 things I have found to be true.

Birdshot cannot be universally effective on humans, but be stopped by drywall.

Not all problems are nails and not all solutions are hammers. You cannot make a shotgun perform well if you are taking away it’s best feature, lots of damage on target. If it’s best feature does not apply to your mission or safety of others, then you should look into other choices. Possibly even less than lethal if you are really hamstrung by potential issues with home defense. I made a pros and cons list and decided that a shotgun was best for me and my house as a primary, and a handgun as secondary.

A quality HD plan where well thought out ideas, safety, and training are applied to all aspects of the plan will help ensure success.


Any weapon that is loaded with the wrong projectile will overpenetrate.
If you engage the gray matter to find out which load doesn’t overpenetrate, you’ll be fine with a shotgun.


Thank you Aaron for your help. I have been through 12 Gauge ammo from #2, to #5. Shot, from lead to
steal shot. With the Mossberg Choke System (Improved, Modified, and Full Chokes System). I do not no why I picked 40 - 60 feet at a open range and three sets of tests were complete. Every round hit their mark in the test with 200 rounds fired. I have 2 3/4" to 3 1/2", but I saved some of the 3 1/2" for better things with targets. Every body knows what 00 Buck to Rifled Slugs will do and I was interested and desiring to learn more about the 12 gauge shotgun, but I think I will go back to my 9 mm, .40 caliber to 10 mm pistols. I believe in safety and I live in a community that the houses are close and that is why I did testing, from lighter to the heaviest ammo possible. I have a Henry .44 magnum rifle and a 7.5" Barrel, .44 magnum SA Ruger Black Hawk, but that can get you into trouble very quickly. Thank You !

I think we all need a break from stress or do we need rehabilitation for ammoholic abuse.

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From what I have read, #4 buck is best for home defense.