No! Birdshot Does Not Work For Self Defense

This is a rumor that won’t seem to die. Why I have no idea. In today’s information age, just about anything you want to learn is just Google-fu away. But for some reason, I will still occasionally hear someone, somehow, someway has contrived some ridiculous scenario where birdshot is their choice as a self defense shotgun loading.

And typically, the equation involves a wife or a girlfriend. Here is my advice, if you wish to set your girl up with a shotgun for SD; and some kind of reduced-recoil ammo isn’t in the cards, just roll with a 20 gauge stuffed with real ammo.

Birdshot wound

Birdshot wound

Look, nobody likes being shot with birdshot. But shooting someone isn’t about “fucking them up”. It’s about incapacitating them. Cold. If someone is engaged in activity that deserves being shot, you need to think about “stopping them” instantly from doing whatever it is they are doing.

Birdshot. Does. Not. Get. That. Job. Done. Even a shot to the face and neck isn’t incapacitating as shown in the infamous Dick Cheney v Harry M. Whittington shooting.

Any successful use of birdshot for self defense is a psychological not a physiological stop. Use psychology to avoid the fight. Use physiology to stop it.

 
Marky
www.john1911.com
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Writer at John1911.com
Writer for john1911.com. Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

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  • MickeyG

    #4 or larger shot is what I’ve used since ‘Nam, gets the job done !

  • Mikial

    True words, Marky.

    Some years ago, I was dove hunting with my (now ex) in-laws in the South Hills of Utah. I was wearing the standard old canvas bird hunting jacket popular back before all the high speed gear was available, and had just climbed up out of a small ravine full of scrub oak brush when my brother-in-law let loose with a couple of quick shots from his 12 gauge loaded with either number 7 or 8 shot (I don’t know which for sure), and hit me pretty square from a few yards away. I could feel the shot hitting my jacket and the tree branches around me. I felt a couple of stings on the side of my head, but other than that, none of the pellets even penetrated the hunting jacket. Let’s contrast that with a similar situation but using 00. No thanks.

    • MickeyG

      I also am a fan of fleschette loads !

      • Guy on the FB page brought that up. I have no experience. But maybe flechette’s as a side-select instead of slug? Tp defeat barriers are body armor?

        Marky

      • Mikial

        You can get flechette loads from several places, and while I am a fan of ending the fight as quickly as possible I don’t know if the added advantage of a flechette round in a home defense situation would be great enough to offset the obvious “intent to kill” prosecution strategy after a home defense situation. You can get the stuff for sure, but is it really that much better than good old fashioned 00 Buck in the short range home situation to offset the legal BS from the subsequent investigation? In some states, yeah it would be fine, like Utah, Wyoming and a few others, but in other states it would be setting yourself up for more after-action problems in exchange for a minimal combat advantage. In a SHTF scenario, absolutely,. Otherwise, you have to think like lawyer. I hate it too, but there it is.

        http://www.antipersonnel.net/sdllc/index.html

        http://www.firequest.com/exotic-shotgun-ammo.html

        • I have come to believe that even slug-select for home defense is just making things too complicated. If You hit someone with 00 buck and they don’t drop, what’s faster? Slug select drill or shooting them in the neck with buck?

          Serious buck is a serious capability. I’m not convinced the slug select juice is worth the squeeze.

          —Marky

    • Yup…two different universes. The advocates of birdshot for SD may not be realizing this but they are neutering their shotguns as a close-quarters only weapon. Problem is…by definition a long gun in a confined space, at close quarters has some significant disadvantages that the untrained and uninitiated might get burned by.

      —Marky

      • Mikial

        Exactly. You are taking a very powerful and effective CQB weapon and turning into little more than an annoyance. Not my idea of home defense.

  • Jeff

    Ahh I thought this would be common sense, but if it’s all you got, you might just only peeve them off. LOL Go buy Buck 00 000 what ever … I don’t think you want it in the house, too confined IMHO.

  • jbird

    The Cheney/Whittington shooting was at a distance of 30 to 40 yards, but yeah, that’s totally the same thing as 10-12 feet in your home.