20 Gauge Adequate for Home Defense Gun?


March 6, 2006, 10:50 AM
Will a 20 Gauge be adequate for a home defense gun? I have the chance to buy an 18" Mossy pretty reasonable. JW

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March 6, 2006, 10:52 AM
I would think so. You wouldn't have the same amount of pellets (or same sized slug) as a 12 gauge, but the recoil (not to mention noise) would be much easier to handle.

March 6, 2006, 10:52 AM
The "20" will get the job done. Not as many different loads to choose from, but it will do what is needed.

March 6, 2006, 10:52 AM
It would be ok. 12 would be better, but if someone else is in the house besides you and the smaller gun would fit them too, go with the 20.

Remember .410 gauge is like a .45 handgun so 20 will be fine.

March 6, 2006, 10:55 AM

March 6, 2006, 11:10 AM
I was very pleased with the "Box-O-Truth" article, guess I'll buy the 20, looks like with #3 buckshot it should gitter done and not blow the walls out of the house. Recoil was a big consideration as the wife is 65 and slightly built.
Thanks for everyone's comments. JW

March 6, 2006, 01:54 PM
/me looks at his 18.5" 20ga mossberg 500 loaded with 2.75" #3 buck

works for me!

just make sure it FITS the little old lady.

March 6, 2006, 02:13 PM
20 Gauge is great. Home Defense involves short-range shots. 20 #3 pellets at 1200 fps are entirely adequate.

What would YOU do if you were hit by this load? And a lighter load means better followup shots, in case once isn't enough.

March 6, 2006, 02:14 PM
The 20 gauge goes beyond just adequate. I'd say it's PREFERRED for home defense against 2-legged intruders. There is no need to go to a 12 gauge unless you're dealing with bears or the like.

Pistol Toter
March 6, 2006, 04:40 PM
Generally a 12 ga is the choice, but if your married and the lady is a smaller frame woman the 20 ga would be an excellent alternative. Even in the last few years, I have not been able to enjoy a 12 ga. as everytime I shoot one my shoulder turns black and blue for a week before paling to that yellow green. The only 12 I have left is a Mossy 500 Persuader Cruiser; all the rest have been sold or given to sons. The 20 will make an excellent SD gun especially in a pump, and if you hunt it will take most upland game just be sure to purchase something with a changeable choke system. P.T.

March 6, 2006, 06:38 PM
Mrs. Scout gives two thumbs up to her Mossberg 500 Bantam in 20 ga, loaded with #4 buck for HD.

March 6, 2006, 07:32 PM
I have a Youth 870 in 20ga with #3 buck. I have no fear that it will not get the job done.

March 7, 2006, 07:01 PM
20 will work, but I like the added assurance of a 12 gauge. If 20 is all you have, then it's fine, but if not, use a 12 or larger.

March 7, 2006, 11:06 PM
Will a 20 Gauge be adequate for a home defense gun?

Naw, nothin' less than a 10-Gauge 3.5" Magnum will stop your average crackhead burglar. :rolleyes:

Be sure to chop the barrel to 18.5" and saw off the stock so you can fire it one-handed! :neener: :neener: :neener:

March 8, 2006, 05:55 AM
Don't they have an 8 gauge available? I'm working on a load for an M203 that would probably do the job. Seriously, The youth 870 Express is a sweet handling little gun would certainly handle any house chores required of it. I bought one at Academy Sports for $189.00.

March 9, 2006, 02:14 PM
I don't think the intruder on the receiving end would notice the difference in 7/8 oz and 1 1/8 oz.;)

Dave McCracken
March 9, 2006, 09:08 PM
10 or 12 years ago, the kids and I attended a series of Redneck Jamborees on the Eastern Shore. This was a gathering of friends at a hunting camp to eat too much food, joke around and shoot some to celebrate early spring and shake off some cabin fever.

During one of these, this question came up. A gong had been set up 30 yards away and I loaded up some 3 buck in the 870 YE 20 I had for the kids.It had the open sighted IC barrel on.

On command, I kept that gong dancing for five fast shots, dropped in a Brenekke, and left the gong with a bit of a dent and reverberating for a rather long time.

No one present expressed any doubts of the efficacy of the 20 for HD.

March 9, 2006, 09:44 PM
Being an NRA Instuctor, I consider the 20 ga shotgun ideal for a small statured person or a woman. It's a lot easier to teach someone to shot that gauge instead of a 12 bore.

stiletto raggio
March 9, 2006, 10:09 PM
I think we have established that the 20 is more than enough power for home defense. I don't own a 20 but have shot several. Recoil has never been a concern with me except in my pistol gripped shotguns (I considered getting a 20 guge Mossberg for this role) but I have seen the effects of a 12 gauge on two sisters, a mother and several girlfriends who weren't experienced shooters. When I get married, I'll start my wife off with a 20.

Also, on a mostly unrelated note, my dad is looking for an upland game gun and wants a straight-gripped SxS 20 more than anything.

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