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your first home defense firearm

I published the information below a year ago, but am refreshing it now as many people wake up to the need for providing their own self-defense, family-defense and home-defense. There are many serious, fatal accidents looming when untrained, inexperienced people purchase firearms just cuz they suddenly recognize the utility and are able to purchase a gun.

Single-shot guns are the simplest of all. The user places a round in the chamber when they are ready to shoot something, aim and shoot. The utility is limited and not a great choice for defense.

Revolvers are also straightforward in that novices can readily see whether they are loaded or not, reducing some of the possibilities for negligent discharges, damage and death. However, handguns do require training and practice before they hit targets beyond arms’ reach.

Long guns have a much greater sight radius, meaning that most people can figure out the long tube is either pointing at their intended target or is not before they pull the trigger. I think the best beginner home-defense gun is the 20-gauge pump shotgun.

Get a 20 gauge pump, 100 rounds of buckshot, 200 rounds of birdshot (minimum), and a box of clay pigeons (optional).
Ideally, the shotgun has an 18″-20″ barrel and extended magazine holding 6 or more rounds.
The shotgun should be stored with NO ROUNDS IN THE CHAMBER, but a magazine full of buckshot.
CHUNK, CHUNK, chamber a round, most threats retreat upon hearing the audio track.
Stupid ones need stronger medicine.

Several 40-round practice sessions with the birdshot, clay pigeons or improvised targets (aluminum cans work).
Set targets on the base of a hill.
Stand back 30-40 feet.
Put on your hearing and vision protection (shooters call it “eyes and ears”)
repeat as needed
Don’t bother trying to wipe the grin off your face for at least an hour.

Oh, these tools do need specialized cleaning kits to be applied every once in a while. Your local dealer will have all the gear you need to clean and maintain your new weapon.

I just realized that rather than gearing up for, and learning how to safely disassemble, clean and reassemble your new firearm, treat it like other appliances: have a service man handle it. A couple times a year, or after lots of use, take it to a gunsmith for checkup, service and lubrication. Be sure you have some reason to trust them – like they are an established business, or a really meticulous expert that you know and trust.

Today my recommended Mossberg is still available. Do not wait for long or they won’t be.

Please get help learning to use and care for your new firearm. They are incredibly dangerous without training. Since only a portion of people willing to be firearm instructors are competent, I will give you a couple hints for selecting your teacher.

Before you touch a gun they insist you understand and repeat
1. All guns are always loaded
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target
4. Identify your target, and what is behind it

Notice I did not say they merely know this stuff, but that they want to be sure YOU DO.

If they insist that a guvamint forty-five is the only real handgun, smile politely and walk away. Nice handguns fershur, but time and technology left those lovely relics behind. Similarly, if they insist full-sized 12-gauge are the only shotguns, their machismo exceeds their sense. Walk away.

Beyond that, as with any teacher worth having, they should make sense. If they cannot explain it well, they probably do not understand the subject matter.

20 gauge tactical youth-stock pump shotgun

I continue to extol the virtues of this platform as your basic home defense firearm. You will never regret having one of these, find many people who it fits perfectly and know it could serve anybody well as an only home defense weapon if you have limited choices.

It has not been long since I published 20 gauge youth pump as #1 home defense weapon choice (April 26th), but I did not include a link to the one I would be purchasing were I in the market today:

Mossberg 500 Tactical 8 Shot Pump Shotgun

I would simply go to a local dealer, even if it cost a few bucks more, shopping local is always a good idea when their prices are within reason, service is good and selection is adequate.

Why do I keep singing the praises of the 20 gauge? … and why the shorter stock?

8 gauge shotgun

An intelligent man watching his wife at 60% of his muscle, meat and bone shoulder, hold and fire my lovely, heavy, full-sized ‘Marine Corps’ Mossberg 590A Special Purpose 12-gauge would find it disproportionate. In simpler terms, “This ain’t right”.

Simply holding it up is far more effort for her than he. Then the 12 gauge recoil kicks in. Mister 200-pound tough guy is moved slightly by it. If he is fortunate enough to have a cute 120-pound mate, it rocks her world. Idiots and those of frail egos are amused. Intelligent men see lack of balance.

For proportion Mr Weak Ego should track down an 8-gauge shotgun and fire off a dozen rounds. He might be getting the point somewhere along the way.

IF you want your slighter-built mate to be part of your household defense system, acquire a shotgun you both can use. A 20-gauge youth-stocked pump shotgun with a generous magazine tube is about as good as it gets.

For commparison sake, check out the shotgun energy chart here:
The mighty 12-gauge is not blowing away the 20. Suffice it to say, “Twenty is plenty.”

Manufacturers are FINALLY getting it. Therefore, we can get them. For the guys, shooting a bunch of targets is easy and fun. Pretty much the same for the gals. Velocity and payload are way more than adequate for self defense, home defense, hunting and clay pigeons.

I’ll point out that women generally are smaller than men and the youth stock puts the long gun in a similar position as adult male stocks put full sized guns on full sized men. How can that bit of common sense be new? … but it seems to be relatively so.

THE gun readily accessed by her should be this 20 gauge. If you have two, go ahead and set your 12 gauge by its side…
or a second 20 gauge with the adult male sized stock…
then put in a supply of 20 gauge birdshot, buckshot and slugs to share.

Here is a video covering much of that turf.

Why a 20 gauge? Youth model???

There is no RIGHT ANSWER.

But there are some poor choices often made.

The Mossberg below is not among them.

Mossberg 500 Tactical Pump Action Shotgun 20 Gauge 20″ Barrel 3″ Chamber 7 Rounds Ghost Ring Fiber Optic Front Sight Bantam 13″ Length of Pull Synthetic Stock Matte Blued Finish

As I mentioned and linked to above the 20 gauge delivers a slightly smaller load than the 12 with both having similar velocity. That is to say, each pellet hits with the same force the only difference being the number of pellets (not a big difference) and the recoil (A BIG DIFFERENCE).

Other shotguns in regular use are the 28 gauge and .410. The four-ten is primarily an expert’s gun – more expensive to buy, with more expensive ammo, and a much smaller payload. Shotgunners who easily hit everything they shoot at with a 12 or 20 gauge sometimes buy a nice four-ten for the challenge and bragging rights earned by taking targets and game with a small fraction of the payload compared to a 20 or 12 gauge.

Similar in recoil to the .410 and even more expensive to feed is the 28 gauge. A slightly larger payload with similar velocity to the other shotguns mentioned its main attraction is in a lightweight single-shot for expert upland game hunters who want the quicker action compared to the heavier guns and a few more pellets over the four-ten.

You might notice I label both smaller bores as “expert’s guns”. Thus we have 12 gauge for big recoil-insensitive people, 20 gauge for everybody else and choices between 12, 20, 28, .410 and even more obscure others for the experts with a particular itch to scratch.

Start with a 20. If you ever want another shotgun, you will know what it should be and why.