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Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Talk about non-lethal self defense, personal safety, and home security.

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Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Lynda » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:02 am

I finally made it to the firing range at the sportsmans' club after months of not shooting(elder care issues.) Surprisingly I did really well. I own a S&W .22 revolver and a .22 rifle with a scope(which I did not bring.) My husband has Walther .22 pistol and a S&W .40 pistol and he always does well(former military and police).

While we were there we noticed two fellows with all kinds of weaponry including shotguns. They were nice enough to let us examine their weapons and I noticed a Mossberg shotgun. I have never fired a shotgun before and the owner would have allowed me to but he had run out of shells. He wanted to test it out as he had purchased this for his wife for home defense. I saw one at the gun dealer when we stopped in last week to get some ammunition and have been toying with the idea of finding a reasonably priced shotgun.

So, any recommendations would be helpful. Both my husband and these gentlemen explained that a .410 would be much easier to handle than a 10 or 12 gauge, especially with a pistol grip(which is what I would want.) Or, do I really need a shotgun at all? This would be used for home defense.
Any ladies here who have a shotgun? Are you comfortable with it?

What do you gentlemen recommend? Stick with what makes me comfortable or take a chance and research this more? I guess I'm just a little bit intimidated by this. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Bobdog » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:20 am

IMHO....you need to be comfortable and happy with whatever you use. But, I'd prefer a long gun over handgun any day.
A .410 is a bit of a pipsqueack and pretty limited in use. How about a 20 gage? Much more versatile, not as heavy duty as a 12.
Getting to try some at a range would help solve your questions I think.
But remember....either way you must be at ease with what you use.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Lynda » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:42 am

Bob, how's the recoil on a 20 gauge? I really don't want to land on my butt. You're correct in that I have to be comfortable with what I use. I dislike semi-automatic pistols and prefer a revolver. The one great thing about my required gun course in MA was that I had to fire all manner of hand guns to determine which one I'd be most comfortable with before I bought the gun. I ended up buying one of the revolvers they had used for the class.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Tobor » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:20 am

Detentus unless your 5 ft tall and 100 lbs soaking wet a 20 ga will be no problem..you have to remember that you are defending against a person who most likely will be 150 -200 plus pounds in body weight and a .410 would just make them P O'ed especially if they are wearing a heavy coat or layers of clothes such as in the winter time..you need something that will hit them like a brick wall if they are coming after you...if you dont they will keep coming and you dont want that ..
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby oldasrocks » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:35 am

My wife has a pump .410. At close range I'd hate to get hit by it. She also has a double 12 gauge. She is 5 ft and100 lbs. The 12 gauge I load with the minishells. At 20 ft it will penetrate 1/2 inch plywood with the 8 double 0- BB's Any gun is worthless if the shooter is afraid to pull the trigger.

The trouble with any pistol is hitting the target. She also has a Wather .22 but spends too long lining up the sights. A shotgun fired from the hip will still hit a target. Any bad guy looking down the barrel of a 12 gauge will hesitate. He has no idea the weapon is loaded with minishells or magnums.

Unless you can snap shoot accurately a shotgun is a better option.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby gman » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:14 am

Hello from Idaho. While I believe a shotgun would be an ideal home defense weapon for man or woman I would suggest anything larger than a 410. Keep going to that shooting range and trying larger calibers. A little practice and I'll bet you will be able to handle a 20 or even a 12 gauge just fine.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Lynda » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:01 am

Thanks so much for the ecouragement everyone. I have to get past my own fear of these. My neighbor has all sorts of shotguns and has offered to let me try a few.
Tobor, I'm 5' 2" and about 130 lbs.
I also ealize that I became quite complacent in not practicing more often. I'll go every week now, weather permitting. Still hit the bullseye 3 times at 50 feet with my revolver. Standing.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby MrDanB » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:36 am

I'm thinking a 12 gauge is perfect for home defense, even for a 130lb 5' 2" tall gal... You can get all sorts of shells for it, the cost is small compared to alot of handgun ammo, you don't have to be nearly as accurate with it, and you can start small, say target load's, and then work your way up to slugs and "00" buck! My first shotgun was a very cheap Russian made number. It had NO rubber pad on the butt stock! On top of that, I didn't have it wedged into my shoulder very tight. I was so excited to "blow stuff up", that I ended up with an extremely bruised shoulder! In short, get a well made shotgun, make sure it fits you good, start with smaller loads and get used to it before using heavy loads and you will be fine. A Mossberg 500 comes with a pistol grip and can be changed around in a minute or so :) Good luck in your decision!
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Lynda » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:24 pm

Dan, thanks. I did see a Mossberg 12 gauge at the gun dealer's where we purchase our ammunition(and guns.) It had a pistol grip.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby guncat » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:30 pm

I use a dead mule recoil device in my shot guns this makes them much less painful to shoot. :gunsmile: Midway stocks them
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby paladin » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:24 pm

MrDanB wrote:I'm thinking a 12 gauge is perfect for home defense, even for a 130lb 5' 2" tall gal... You can get all sorts of shells for it, the cost is small compared to alot of handgun ammo, you don't have to be nearly as accurate with it, and you can start small, say target load's, and then work your way up to slugs and "00" buck! My first shotgun was a very cheap Russian made number. It had NO rubber pad on the butt stock! On top of that, I didn't have it wedged into my shoulder very tight. I was so excited to "blow stuff up", that I ended up with an extremely bruised shoulder! In short, get a well made shotgun, make sure it fits you good, start with smaller loads and get used to it before using heavy loads and you will be fine. A Mossberg 500 comes with a pistol grip and can be changed around in a minute or so :) Good luck in your decision!
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby markerman » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:49 pm

Hi Detentus!!

I have a Mossberg 590A with pistol grip and ring sights. I absolutely love it!!! High Brass Magnum Slugs make an absolute mess of anything they hit, but that may be a bit much for you. Lots of kick :)

While I have had no trouble with mine, my silver dealer says that he and a buddy pulled the pump mechanisms off of two Mossbergs in one day while out target shooting, so according to him they are not the most reliable. Like I said, though, I love mine.

On a side note, do you know why you never keep a shell in the firing chamber of a shotgun? Because the sound of that shell being jacked into the firing chamber is enough to make a strong man's knees weak and his bowels watery. The deterrent value of that sound just might be enough all by itself to make someone decide that maybe another location would be a good place to be right pronto. :eek:

Good luck on your quest!!

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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Bobdog » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:24 am

The recoil depends on the shell more than the gage. You can shoot heavy or light loads in a 20 gage. There are many choices and they are more different than most handgun cartridges. If you can get some hand loaded they are even more choice's.

One word of caution when you try them out don't go shooting with a bozo. I once witnessed a bunch of yahoo's hand a lady a 3" magnum in a 12 gage to try for her first time. They thought it was funny....I didn't.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby Lynda » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:31 am

Bob, no worries, as he's a responsible gun owner. I'm leaning toward a 20 gauge or 410 right now. I have to practice first before I make my decision. Thanks again, everyone, for pointing me in the right direction.
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Re: Shotguns vs. Hand Guns

Postby mr bill » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:17 am

There are more choices of ammo available for a 12ga. 410 and 20ga varieties are sometimes hard to find. Shoot a variety of guns before you make a choice. Allot of women shoot 12ga and feel secure and comfortable with them. Whatever you choose make sure there is ample ammo availability.
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