Shotguns vs MSR’s for Home Defense.

A well respected Firearms Trainer and Friend,  has recently done a video about AR’s vs Shotgun for Home Defense.   Follow that Link, and check it out.  And then come back here.   I am forced to respectfully disagree.

Rob’s demonstration proves the effectiveness at stopping a threat.  A shotgun is a devastating weapon.   It’s the most potent stopping tool we have.   Rob’s conclusion though was that he prefers the AR-15 rifle (or other Modern Sporting Rifle) due to Capacity and Speed of Reload.   Which are good points, but forgets the mission and purpose the weapon is employed for.  This is for Home Defense.  So unless you live in Helms Deep, the shotgun will be the better option.


Wait… is that really true?  Would an AR be the better option at Helms Deep?

We saw the Battle of Helms Deep was pretty much going the way of the Defenders for most of the battle.  The Orcish Horde was suffering heavy attrition until one thing happened.


The Breeching Orc took several small caliber hits, but his hostile action was not stopped.  This is like what an AR-15 would do.   Don’t believe me?  Read the book “Blackhawk Down” by Mark Bowden.  The one the movie of the same name was based on.   Great book, and you should have it in your Library.    It describes in detail the lack of stopping power that 5.56mm has.

Warning:  Graphic Image Follows:

Shotguns provide the most stopping power most people are able to handle, and the most available in a platform suitable for Home Defense.   In the Helms Deep Scenario, the Shotgun could have stopped that Breeching Orc.   The wall wouldn’t have been breeched.  And poor Haldir wouldn’t have been murdered.

So even in the Helms Deep Scenario – Shotguns would have prevailed.


24 thoughts on “Shotguns vs MSR’s for Home Defense.”

  1. Man, he doesn’t really take into account “Know your target and what is beyond it” too much in this one.
    I live in an apartment. Good folks live across from me.
    Yeah, 870 for me.

    1. Don’t mistake the fiberglass in that drywall for Kevlar/Aramid. A lot of what that shotgun pukes out is going through that wall.

  2. Two dozen elves could have held that place with 18″ 12ga pumps and sufficient and appropriate ammunition.
    What’s a good Orc round? 3″ 00 buck? Magnum rifled slugs? Buck-n-Ball?

    1. Depends on the Orc. Moria Orcs – #4 Buck would be great. Urukai, well… I’d go Buck and Ball, or just Slugs. 3″ Slugs.

  3. My house is 42′ long inside and 23′ wide, so my home defense weapon is a 12 Ga. Mossberg 18″ cyl. bore pump and a mag full of 2 1/2″ #4 buckshot loads. The buckshot is pure lead. I take it out to play usually 1 weekend a month. The only reason it will ever get shot other than that is if someone’s in my house who should not be there.

  4. I’d probably still use one of my 5.56 bullpups, as I have a suppressor. I don’t think I should have to blow my ears out to protect my wife and I.

    I might get a shotgun suppressor eventually, but I don’t shoot shotgun enough as it is, to justify buying a $1000+ (after tax/FBI Donation) can for it right now.

    If they made a shotgun suppressor that could also be used on a rifle/handgun, that would be an easier pill to swallow.

  5. Although I agree stopping power is important, it’s not the have all, be all. Ballistics have advanced in the 20 years since Mogadishu, and civilians have access to rounds the military doesn’t due to international law. 5.56 also has the benefit of a reduced chance of overpenetration, which is why it has become the standard for SWAT teams Also, not everyone can be ogres, the light recoil and fast follow up offers significant advantages to smaller shooters, those who haven’t trained as much as they should, and people with mobility issues.

    1. That’s why we have 20 Gauge, and I know Little Old Ladies that can handle 20 Gauge.
      Also – Fast Follow Up Shots, are still easy to do with a shotgun.
      It just takes a little practice. About the same as a Rifle. And a lot less than a Pistol.

      1. Yeah, I’m with AV Willis on this one. There’s no denying the power of a shotgun but, for those of us who live in suburbia/apartments, the reduced hard barrier penetration of the .223/5.56 tends to win out.

        As to the “stopping power” of the 5.56 in The Battle of Mogadishu, they were running M193 ball. As a civilian I’m not limited to poking holes. Ammo such as Hornadys 55gr TAP or ballistic tip does some serious internal damage.

        1. Yeah, but you and I both know that 99% of the guys out there, are running XM193 and probably with some Green Tips mixed in.
          I know this because when it comes to ammo sales – That’s what 99% of the guys are buying.
          TAP and such – very few sales. Frighteningly few.

          1. Absolutely. I just picked up 900 rounds of xm193 at the local shops tent sale($.33 rnd) for range ammo. At nearly $1 a round for TAP, my nieces would bankrupt me in a weekend. As long as you know the difference in in POA-POI, it’s not hard to switch back and forth between ammo.

            You really only need a few boxes of the good stuff to sight in the gun and assure reliability. Then you just load up 2 mags and put them aside. If I need more than 30 rounds(nj 15rnd limit) for a home invasion, my tactics suck. And that’s not to say mister 870 isn’t nearby and loaded as well.

  6. From the research that I have done (over quite a bit of time) is that while the shotgun is a better stopper, the 5.56 projectile fragments once it passes through a single sheet of drywall and will stop in at least the 3rd sheet. A shotgun slug or even 00 Buck will penetrate around double that, if not more. 4 Buck is a better choice IMO in the average suburban home as you will still get a lot of power on target but with less over penetration than slugs & 00 Buck.

    I can see cases for both shotgun & AR and it’s not right to dismiss one over the other and personally I would be comfortable with either choice.

  7. I see his arguments as to capacity and speed of reload, and raise my 14″ Saiga 12 with 20 round drums. The main danger seems to be if I let them get to close, it runs the risk of the fireball cauterizing the wound.

  8. The “breaching Orc” was running though a mob of several 100,000 if not million other orc’s and he was being shot at from atop a wall likely 200 feet in height. The defenders were shooting down and out in the dark, flickering torch light and drenching rain while being shot at in turn. Hitting an armored running target with what (?) 00buck or slugs from atop that wall and hit him “enough” to stop him? Don’t think so unless you had massed fire from the wall…..

  9. I have a standard list of reservations about the use of long guns for home defense, none of which get answered by long gun home defense advocates. The reply always reverts to stopping power being the first, last, and only consideration.

    Can you, with long gun in hand-
    open a door
    use a phone
    hold a flashlight
    hold a child
    push a child to the floor to get them out of the line of fire
    deal with a very close aggressor who grabs the barrel
    (probably when you are going through a doorway and have one hand on the gun because, guess what, you have the other one on the doorknob…)
    get the gun into action when you are still in bed
    (for those of you lucky enough to never have experienced a home invasion, yes, this is a real life concern-trust me on this).
    (And if you do not have a kickproof deadbolted bedroom door, go get one before you spend another nickel on ammo.)

    These next are important too- there are a LOT of situations where things are ambiguous at the start- and most times are innocent encounters.
    Can you answer a door with the gun concealed and ready for use? Is the ups/lost driver/kid with the wrong address guy going to call the cops when he sees you with an AR at the door? Will they charge you with threatening? Unfortunately, in some places, they will- and maybe that guy has an obsessive anti gun grudge, who will want to press charges.

    Knock, knock, do you go to wherever your long gun is, before you answer the door? How about if it is kicked in? do you run to get your long gun, leaving your wife in the kitchen to bear the brunt?

    A handgun is way more practical inside a dwelling. Keep it with you all the time. Is it within arms reach as you read this?

    1. open a door-Yes, but why? I’m not clearing my house, I’m sheltering in a defensible position.

      use a phone-Yes. Press the button and say “911”. My phone goes to speaker phone automatically.

      hold a flashlight-Its mounted on my carbine, no need to hold it.

      hold/push a child to the floor to get them out of the line of fire-Not an issue for me, I live alone.

      deal with a very close aggressor who grabs the barrel-No less than if one were to grab a pistol. An added bonus is a 2 point sling to retain the long gun and more leverage to pull the gun away from the threat.

      Can you answer a door with the gun concealed and ready for use-Yes, when I’m not in bed, there is a pistol on my hip. It is only there if it becomes necessary for me to fight my way to my long gun. Again, if I’m laying in bed and hear the door kicked in, I’m not going to search for the problem.

  10. Irishman, that’s great. I would maintain however , that you are the exception and not the rule. And personally, I really get the willies at using a co-axial flashlight on the unknown.
    I had one of those ambiguous events today, and it was fortunate my weapon was concealed, it turned out purely by happenstance one of the people involved (as an ally) was wearing an anti-gun tee shirt.

  11. home invasion, home invasion. this is one-dimensional thinking. let’s look at it from a more survivalist perspective.
    with a good all-purpose shotgun and light shot I can:
    -kill snakes & other vermin easily.
    -put small critters in the pot for supper.
    -repel a home invasion without too much danger of overpenetration.
    with heavy shot at close to moderate distances I can:
    -put bigger critters in the pot for supper.
    -shoot over or under a TAC vest inflicting massive damage
    -engage multiple targets with a good chance of hits, even with hastily aimed shots.
    with slugs at close to moderate distances I can:
    -hit a bear, moose or other large killer animal with 1 to 3 rounds of maximum stopping power in the 4 seconds I have before it mows me & mine down.
    -maybe not penetrate a TAC vest, but hit it and whoever’s in it literally like a sledge hammer.
    can your CQBR do all these things?

    now admittedly the one thing I can’t do is snipe.
    but that’s what dad’s already finely tuned old deer rifle’s for.
    plus in a world of finite $$ i’ve now got two weapons for The Road to your one. for a whole lot less than you spent on your fancy AR.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *