Shotgun as primary SHTF weapon?


February 23, 2003, 09:40 PM
I have been wanting a rifle. I'm probably going to get a Marlin 336 lever-action 30-30 sometime this year, but I've been thinking:

Would a shotgun be a better, or at least very adequate weapon, over a rifle even for SHTF-type scenarios?

It is possible to be accurate with slugs out to about 100 yards, right? Which is probably about max. distance you'd use an AR or other type rifle out to anyway. (IMO, if you're trying to go past several hundred yards consistently, you'd be much better served with a better tool than an AK/AR type, right?)

SO, what do you think of a shottie as a primary SHTF-type weapon? (Assuming of course that you aren't trying to snipe out several hundred yards, as mentioned above.)

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Kahr carrier
February 23, 2003, 09:57 PM
Not a bad choice you can use slugs,00Buck or Birdshot. A shotgun will fill the bill -self defense or game getter.:D

February 23, 2003, 10:00 PM
Oh yeah, that's the other advantage:

You can tailor ammo to the job much better than with any other firearm.

February 23, 2003, 10:04 PM
Depends on what YOU mean by a SHTF scenario.

It's easier to prepare for the wrong battle than it is to prepare for the wrong war.

February 23, 2003, 10:15 PM
This country was founded on the shotgun. It was the first modern day appliance. If you don't own one. I'd consider buying one.


February 23, 2003, 11:19 PM
I bought a shotty for SHTF, and HD. It was a cheaper investment for me, and it can fill other roles (like hunting) if the need ever arises for me. If you buy the right model, you can easily change out your barrels for length requirements, and have a variety of chokes for different types of game taking needs. And ammo isn't expensive for the most part.

February 23, 2003, 11:23 PM
Whats SHTF?


Derek Zeanah
February 23, 2003, 11:26 PM

Initial thoughts:

A rifle is going to get you more range than a shotgun. You're right about being effective out to 100m or so if you train well and find some slugs that work well in your gun, but you'll be in a position where you'll need to be shuffling slugs and buckshot according to range. If you're going to be shooting straight slugs, are you any more effective than a .308 would be? The advantage of a shotgun seems to be the ability to put 9 .30 cal holes in the target at a time...
Shot shells are bulky. Look at a 25-round box of shells, and roughly calculate how many .223 cartridges would fit in there. Now do the same with .308.
Shotguns seem fairly useless if your SHTF scenario involves hostiles wearing body armor.

February 23, 2003, 11:32 PM
A shotgun is a very good choice for a defensive weapon. For most of us in a SHTF situation, it is a DEFENSIVE scenario, ie., defending the homestead, protecting your family and food supply. Slugs are a good choice for longer ranges...copper solid slugs would be good against automobile glass/doors. 0 or 00 buckshot is good for shorter range, and #4 buck is great for close up. Even birdshot at across the room ranges is very lethal. If you are going to have only one or a limited number of weapons for survival, the shotgun is hard to beat. You can hunt any food source with it as well. Shotguns can be a good OFFENSIVE weapon as well...rifle sights can make it more accurate with slugs and a little more choke such as modified can improve shot patterns at a tad longer ranges. #4 buck patterns tight at even 50 yards with some gun/fuller choke combinations, which would probably be its max effective range. A good friend of mine only has 2 weapons for shtf...his 2 hunting shotguns. He has a Mossberg 835 with a 24" bbl and a Mossberg bolt action rifled slug gun with a scope. He says that 100ish yards is probably the longest shot he would have to take for a defensive scenario, and his ba slug gun will produce good groups at that range. He feels comfortable enough in not having a rifle for defense, in fact he says if he gets to where he needs a rifle, he will "liberate" one from an offensive goblin. Good theory, though I'm more comfortable with both shotguns and rifles...and handguns....and ammo, lots of ammo....and several spare mags.....and more ammo.:p But seriously, I would not feel helpless with "only" a shotgun.

Dave R
February 23, 2003, 11:43 PM
Wilhelm, SHTF means "Stuff Hits the Fan", aka some disaster causes a breakdown in society. Survival mode.

A shotgun would be a fine survival. As others have noted, it is more versatile than a rifle. It is probably equally deadly out to 100 yards, and probably more deadly up close. The downsides are the cost and bulk of ammo. If you reload, the cost factor is reduced somewhat.

The only issue I would have with your initial reasoning is that an AK/AR is probably effective out to 300 yards or so. At least, I shoot my AK out to 250 yards all the time. A .308 should be effective significantly farther than that, if you practice for it. I don't shoot that far, but I should.

In an "only one gun" scenario, its hard to argue with a shotgun. In another thread, there's a discussion about a "minimum battery", and I think everyone agreed that a shotgun is part of that minimum.

February 24, 2003, 12:00 AM
Shotgun as primary SHTF weapon?

You could do a lot worse! A 12 gauge and a handgun would be my first choice if limited to two guns in such a scenario.

February 24, 2003, 02:38 AM
If SHTF we all meet up at YSA. :) The shotty is a good all around type tool(food gathering, close up work or even holding down the fort. Holster your G30 and your good to go!


February 24, 2003, 02:49 AM

Sounds great!!!

Soon as I drove up and saw the ducks in the pond, I thought "oooohhh...TARGETS!!!"


And food of course, too!

February 24, 2003, 03:16 AM
hehe Ducks huh. I was too distracted by the guys jumping out of the planes landing near YSA!

February 24, 2003, 05:56 AM
Well, a shotgun is better than having only a handgun. But it is not a substitute for a rifle, unless you'll only be gathering food with the shotgun.

In a SHTF senario, a shotgun is great if your enemy is bringing the fight to you and is already at your door. But if that happens you've failed.

If your enemy is armed with rifles, they can engage you from a safe distance and your option at that point is only to evade and escape. Bad karma if you're giving up your base and have to leave a lot of need supplies behind.

El Tejon
February 24, 2003, 08:00 AM
It depends. It's just a tool.

In a city or where Hayzeus left his shoes? What do you plan to do with it? Have you considered the limitations of the weapon?

Joe Demko
February 24, 2003, 09:10 AM
Especially if you look for used weapons and/or shop around, it shouldn't be a "you can have only one" issue. At Wally-World, new Marlin .30-30's and Winchester pump shotguns are cheap enough that you can own both for the price of a new AR. As El Tejon said, it is only a tool. Try not to force yourself into having to depend on a single tool.

February 24, 2003, 09:38 AM
100 meters/yrds is pushing a shotgun. Yeah, I have hit steel at 100 yards. When I had all the time in the world to aim. When I had a place to brace the gun. When I had multiple shots to judge drop.

I'm a pretty fair hand with the gauge. I wouldn't depend on it past 50 yards. I would suspect I'd be to geeked up if the hordes are coming for me to be effective past that range.

Rifle is much better suited for 50 yards and farther.

BUt in any pinch I'm grabbing the gauge first. If there is time I'll go get my rifle.

February 24, 2003, 10:07 AM
12 gage slugs kick worse than regular shot shells. The idea of going target shooting with them again fills me with dread! the slug is also usually dropping several inches by 100 yds. I know people deer hunt with them to 100 yds. but why!!! :(
The shotgun rules out to about 60 yds, after that it's the rifle that takes the crown.

February 24, 2003, 11:20 AM
Remember, the shotgun was the gun that won the west (Tales of the Gun, History Channel).
The types of game that can be had with shot probably triples or quadruples against the number that can be taken with a rifle, even a .22. Squirrels, rabbits, birds, snakes, up to and including deer, elk, moose, caribou......well, you get the picture. The most versatile survival weapon available.

February 24, 2003, 11:34 AM
It is possible to be accurate with slugs out to about 100 yards, right? Which is probably about max. distance you'd use an AR or other type rifle out to anyway. (IMO, if you're trying to go past several hundred yards consistently, you'd be much better served with a better tool than an AK/AR type, right?)I'm forced to use a shotgun for deer hunting in this state. Yes, you can hit a man-sized target at 100 yards with a shotgun. But with my shotgun, only just. At that distance, you've got about a 7" drop, IIRC. And I get probably a 6" group at that distance, from a bench, with a low-power scope.

Use the shotgun for a SHTF situation? No thanks. For social occassions, I'd much rather use an AR15. Much more accurate. Much faster follow-up shots. Much faster to reload, and, with the larger capacity, much less need to reload. Can't be short-stroked.


February 24, 2003, 01:30 PM
Shotguns IMO are for PD inside 50 yards with Buckshot or taking moving food to about the same range. If I need to go to slugs, I'd rather use a rifle. After 50 yards, I'd rather go to an AR-15 carbine, which is also good at fairly close range. Outside 100 yards, I'd rather have a real rifle such as an M-14 clone or a Rem 700 in something like .308 or 30-06..

That said, my HD weapon is an 870 loaded with 00 Buck. A really nasty load inside 15 yards.

February 24, 2003, 01:43 PM
Seems like a good choice if in an urban environment, but not in rural settings. I would still want a intermediate rifle instead though.

February 24, 2003, 02:31 PM
Well a shotty can be a good way to get a carbine or rifle in a SHTF senario too. I'll keep my shotty, and have my dad by my side with the Rem rifle. And we'll both have sidearms as well.

February 24, 2003, 03:26 PM
I had a shotgun I used for trap at the ready during the LA Riots...I was never sure how bad things would get or how far things would spread. Soon after tho, I bought a Winchester Defender for house duty & my SHTF gun. I'm not going to engage anything past 40 yards (I hope!) and my son works it great if need be.

February 24, 2003, 04:41 PM
I don't know where you live but around here, DFW, there are alot of guns for sale at the weekend flea markets at reasonable prices, 150.00 shotguns, 75.00 surplus rifles. Pick up a Russian Mosin Nagant M44 bolt rifle for about 75 bucks and you have a rifle that is very accurate out to about 200 yards. There are a ton of shotguns for about 150 bucks that take care of the lower range end and you are set for most any situation you will ever come across. The M44 has a built in bayonet that you can stick them in the last resort. The AR15's discussed here will run big bucks. If you are in a situation where you need more than this to handle, you are definitely in the wrong place. One last point, a flea market sale is usually person to person so no paper trail leading to you.....chris3

February 24, 2003, 09:59 PM
If it came down to only one longarm, I'd want something in the .22MAG/.22Hornet class. Easy to carry lots of ammo & able to harvest almost any game. Fairly quiet, too...

A shotgun is a good choice if you're defending a fixed position or limiting your shooting ranges. I wouldn't want to have it for a one-gun-for-all-seasons, though. Now, if you had a breakdown single-barrel shotgun for hunting only, that would be welcome in a pack...

February 24, 2003, 10:04 PM
Everyone should own a 12 gauge!

February 24, 2003, 10:14 PM
I have a Win .20 gauge Defender loaded with #3 buckshot magnums as my bedroom muscle. Along with that, I keep an SP101 in +P .38 loaded with Federal PD. I can sleep soundly with that combination. In the house, the shotgun rules. Close range, under the covers, a revolver is king.

Need to control your street? Then a .223 AR15 or Mini-14 is in order.

February 24, 2003, 10:46 PM
Someone made this point above, but I think it bears repeating. If your plans call for bugging out to a cabin or farm, or if you just live outside a city, a shotgun alone just won't do it, because of the range limitation. If the bad guys want what you've got, they can set up a 200-yard perimeter with rifles, and how are you going to stop them? But if you've got a rifle and can return the fire at that range, maybe they'll go somewhere else. My opinion.

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