What is the best shotgun ammunition for home defense?

Hornady Zombie Max Shotgun Ammunition
Hornady Zombie Max Shotgun Ammunition

One of the very hot questions today. What ammunition to use for home defense? Less lethal? Birdshot? Buckshot? Or maybe slugs?

This question always rise lots of debates and opinions. Answer the poll and leave a comment. Let’s discuss what is the best shotgun ammunition for home defense.

Please answer the poll, what ammunition do you prefer for home defense? You can select two variants.

What is the best shotgun ammunition for home defense?

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Shotgun Ammunition Sale on Brownells
Shotgun Ammunition Sale on Brownells


  1. RavenMedic

    Since we’re talking shotgun ammo for use inside the home; buckshot is heavy stuff and more likely to overpenetrate, likely it will penetrate a few walls in a modern construction home. On the other hand, a good birdshot is far less likely to penetrate as much, yet at the close ranges inside a home it will pattern tightly enough to still pack a good stopping punch. Just my $.02 worth. I do like BB or maybe BBB shot too…

    1. RavenMedic, over penetration is a very good point. Birdshot is very effective in close range, not so sure about longer distances though. But can we really call it a home defense if we shoot at somebody 20 yards away?

      Still, buckshot is my first choice for home defense.

  2. Totally dependent on your situation. A buddy of mine lives out in the boonies in a house by himself, and he loads up with slugs, because overpenetration isn’t a big deal, and because he could conceivably take shots out to 50 yards on his property. I live in an apartment building, with max ranges of about 7 yards. I load with #4 buck, but I’d be comfortable with birdshot.

  3. i use Hornady TAP critical duty 00 buck with versa tight wad technology. I also have a tac choke on mine so the grouping is really tight which will reduce my odds of missing. The real problem is if the shooter can hit their target to stop the 00 bucks from over penetrating. Its all about shot placement and knowing where you’re shooting and what lies in that general direction. I am a very confident shooter and have trained on the 870 for years, what I’m saying is i would only take the shot if he didn’t run after seeing me and i felt my life and my families was in danger and i could get a shot off center mass in the chest its likely the rib cage would stop any over pen.

  4. I prefer #4 Turkey (BB) for the home. Reduces excess penetration and allows greater control for potential follow up shot. Additionally, if you have never fired the weapon in dark/low light situation I recommend you practice doing so. Lights are a double edged sword. You see them better, they see you better.

  5. In order of loading, 2 birdshot(whatever is laying around/ on sale), 2 of the hornady CD 00 buck, then 2 of the Winchester PDX(buck slugs).

  6. I use birdshot for the first 2 rounds and slugs after that in case I miss. Highly unliked due that my house is small but that was a recommendation of a very good friend who is a police officer here in Southern California. Closest I ever came to using it was a couple of years ago one night while I was still awake and heard someone was playing with the front door. All I did was rack a round and heard hin run off.

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