A lot of shooters are going to the 20 gauge for home defense. And thats fine. It’s a shotgun and it’s not a .410, so that’s a good thing. What I find troubling though is that many of these shooters are doing it because they think 12 gauge is too much gun for them… that they cant handle the 12.
This is unfortunate. I took my 11 year old son out shooting, and he rocked one of my Remington 870 Tactical shotguns. He had no problem cycling the action, handling the recoil… He had no problem with a 12 gauge. Sure, he is the Son Of The Ogre… and he walks with large steps… but he’s still an 11 year old kid.
Some guys think the 12 is so brutal that they are all about gadgets that reduce your recoil… Specifically the Knox Stock. This has a spring system that turns the stock into a shock absorber. Yeah, it works. I like the pistol grip… but the rebound smacks a lot of shooters in the face. You don’t need that. A good, simple recoil pad and proper technique is all you need. My 870 that my boy used has a Butler Creek folding stock, which has hardly any recoil pad at all. But it’s plenty.
The shotgun is not about the Platform. It’s not about what gun you have. It’s not about what stuff you have on the gun. It’s about the shell in the gun. Load selection is everything. With proper load selection you can use the shotgun to hunt everything that runs, walks, crawls, or flies on the Earth.
Some Gun Trainers say that the Shotgun is of limited use. That it has a narrow purpose. That it is good for breaching or for prison guards. Well, yeah, they are good for those tasks. But they are great for a lot of other tasks as well.
If I was to pick one gun… for everything… for defense, for offense, for filling a camp pot, for taking big game… I’d pick the shotgun. Specifically, the Remington 870. In 12 gauge.
Why 12? The 20 has a lot less recoil and 80% of the power, right? Sure. But 12 gauge has a much wider assortment of shells to pick from. 12 gauge shells can be found everywhere.
You don’t need shell loops to carry your shells. In fact, I think loops are limiting. Look at most guys in Tactical Kit carry a small amount of shells, and generally only one type. Sometimes he might carry some slugs on the side. These guys will also wear vests or harnesses and all of the types of gear that allow them to carry just about everything they could ever want. Why not carry some bulk shell pouches? You don’t have to hold each shell individually. It’s faster to reach in and grab a handful of shells, than to pluck each one individually. So you can carry more, get at them faster, and you can hold different shell types in different pouches. Why spend more money on special carriers when so many people advocate the “Keep It Simple” approach?
The shotgun is a simple tool. So keep it simple. Keep it honest. And keep it fed.