Rob Pincus is on an indoor range at the Bristlecone Shooting, Training and Retail Center to talk about birdshot for home defense. When it comes to home-defense shotguns, one of the most commonly asked questions is, what about birdshot for home defense? There are many purpose-designed rounds to go into a shotgun, especially a 12 gauge, for home defense, for tactical use, and for armed professionals. Many proven hunting rounds will work on big game. Birdshot really is for birds.
But Don’t Dismiss It
Birdshot for home defense is something Rob has talked about a lot over the years, especially its viability as a home-defense round. Nobody wants to stand in front of a shotgun loaded with 12-gauge birdshot at inside-the-bedroom or down-the-hallway distances. Birdshot is going to hurt. It will probably stop most people.
When someone breaks into your house, they’re not expecting to walk into a load of 12-gauge birdshot. You’ll probably get what most defensive shootings are — a psychological stop. But the chances of getting a physiological stop with birdshot are not high enough for it to be a primary round Rob would recommend for home defense.
Rob fires a load of 12-gauge birdshot and the result is a very wide spread of pellets, larger than a human head size and about as large as a high center chest area. Next he fires a #4 buckshot round, a very popular round that many people recommend. It produces a spread of pellets similar in size to what the birdshot did, but the #4 buckshot is a much denser pellet, which means it will penetrate into the human body, not just cover the outside of the flesh. This is why Rob does not recommend birdshot for home defense: it will not penetrate deeply enough to cause a physiological stop.