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Mad Gun Science: Is Buckshot the Best Choice for Home Defense?

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Mad Gun Science: Is Buckshot the Best Choice for Home Defense?

Recently we looked at the pros and cons of using birdshot loads for home defense. Now it’s time to look at the flip side: using big and heavy buckshot for the same purpose.

The timing for this topic is perfect as I just returned from Tactical PreSchool at the Academi training facility in Moyock, North Carolina. Sponsored by my friends at Beretta, this abbreviated training program covered carbine, pistol, shotgun, and long-range precision rifle. You might know Academi better from its previous owner—Blackwater. The facility is 7,000 acres of shooting, non-stop destruction, and tactical training. Bigger tactical kids, like special forces teams from all over the world, go there to train for all sorts of scenarios. On any given day, you might see ship boarding, water insertions, dynamic entry drills, or parachute assaults. Cool stuff. I relate this as an indication of the quality of training—we’re not talking Yahoo! commando theory here. I was definitely placed correctly in the pre-school class among this crowd.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Our instructor Steve is arguably one of the most knowledgeable folks around when it comes to shotgun capabilities and tactics. Per the objective of the course, he taught from a viewpoint that a shotgun is the best tactical option for virtually any scenario at shorter ranges. Indoors? Yep. Home defense? Of course. Hostage rescue? Umm, yes, in fact. More on that later.

Before we go into this week’s testing and discussion, let’s clear one thing up. Far too many people make an invalid assumption about the potential benefit of shotguns being “you don’t have to aim.” Hogwash. Try unloading a dozen rounds at a steel plate as fast as you can pull the trigger and load from a range of 10 yards. The odds are that you’ll miss some like we all did. In fact, the whole point of this class was to demonstrate the value of aimed shotgun fire, using quality sighting options, and with carefully chosen and tested ammunition for a specific gun. We used the factory ghost ring sights on Beretta 1301 Tactical model shotguns, but I quickly added an Aimpoint Micro T-2 to my 1301 as soon as I returned home.

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