Gun-Day Sunday: Birdshot as a Defensive Load

For Oxidized William and all the shotgunners out there, especially those who keep said weapon for home defense, here is an interesting look at how birdshot performs. Not exactly a conclusive test, but I like how he set up the target– denim, tissue, bone and meat. (Being an apartment dweller, I load with #6 shot and am now more confident about its performance.)

It only counts of course, if you’re using the shotgun as a serious defensive weapon, and not shooting it off your balcony into the air. And by the way, when one goes out on one’s balcony to frighten off burglars, does one have one’s domestic staff both open the french doors and hand one the loaded gun? What if only one servant is on duty? How does one cope??


  1. DaveO says:

    I'm not so scientific. I use steel shot for humans, lead for all others. No sense in lead poisoning keeping a criminal out of jail.

  2. Curly says:

    Your questions about the domestic staff is very apropos. I guess it would leave the most of out of luck since my family dose not have a domestic staff except me.

    • LTCOL P says:

      Me neither. But then again you and I wouldn't be discharging a firearm into the air recklessly. :-)

  3. Rusty Bill says:

    Just got back from running errands. Stopped by my local Academy… One (1) box of 20g ammo – 25 rounds of expen$ive plated heavy waterfowl load (Federal, IIRC. $15 for the box). Lots of 12g, including about a dozen case packs. Center/rimfire still behind the counter and quantity-restricted.


    Oxidized William

  4. Davey says:

    Just an observation about this whole question of overpenetration inside residences…

    Have you noticed that nobody in law enforcement that does dynamic entries ever worries about this? You don't see tactical teams using compromised ammunition. Well OK – they use special shotgun breaching loads on the door in order to avoid accidentally wounding anybody on the other side.

    I think birdshot is a great way to turn concealment into cover. Unless you're a Ninja, a bad guy will know that somebody else is moving. He's going to hide. This whole premise assumes that he's going to be standing in plain sight. I'd like to have this test repeated with a sofa in front of the target.

    BTW, if you don't have a compact, tactical shotgun, spend a little time maneuvering with your sporting gun in the confines of your home – in the dark.