Rob Pincus

Gel Test: Winchester Defender 20-Gauge 2¾” Slug

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   5  mins

Using a standard FBI ballistic gelatin block, Rob Pincus tests the Winchester Defender 20-Gauge 2¾” Segmented Slug to evaluate its suitability as a defensive round.


Rob prefers the 20-gauge shotgun to the 12-gauge for home defense or any building, workplace or other area where a security officer may have a shotgun or keep a shotgun staged.

20 gauge delivers a lot of energy onto the target. When using a slug, we are concerned about overpenetration (even more so if it’s a 12-gauge slug). But 20 gauge is a lighter gun and easier to shoot than 12 gauge in terms of recoil.

A 20 gauge is much easier to handle and shoot than a 12 gauge during shotgun training and practice sessions and especially over full one- or two-day classes.


What is the Winchester Defender 20-Gauge 2¾” Segmented Slug going to do in a 16-inch gel block? Rob is standing about 15 feet away from the block, a typical home- or workplace-defense distance such as the length of a hallway or a stairwell.

This segmented slug is designed to stay inside the target, though in a demonstration of how much energy this round has, it blasts the gel block clear off the table. When Rob gets the block back in place, we can see that the round is still inside the block. Twelve to 15 inches is the desired penetration distance and the type of performance we are looking for from a defensive round.


The segmented slug is also designed to break into three pieces. At about four to five inches, this slug starts to break apart. In our test, one petal went high, one went low, and one stayed level but veered to the left. In other words, it spread out the damage, which is what we want.

The slug breaking into three pieces also means reduced weight for each projectile, which means less momentum, which in turn means less penetration. That’s why the slug didn’t rip through and exit the block like a traditional 20-gauge slug.

Total penetration was 14 to 15½ inches — ideal for a defensive slug. To sum up, this is another great design from Winchester.

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