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20ga vs. 12ga for home defense

Old 03-13-2019, 11:15 AM
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Default 20ga vs. 12ga for home defense

I have an 870 in 12ga and it is big and heavy and I don't think my wife could pump it easily. I also have a pacemaker and not supposed to hammer that part of my body.

And I am vertically challenged. Anyhow I was thinking about adding a youth size 20 semi-auto. I have a youth (compact) 10/22 and really like the way it handles.

Is 20 OK for defense. I know it is better to have something usable vs. something hard to use but ....
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:23 AM
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I don't know too many people who would willingly stand in front of a 20 gauge.

if it is what you can handle it will work just fine, in fact it will be much better then a gun you cannot handle.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:26 AM
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I don't believe there's enough difference in recoil to significantly matter. When and if it we're needed I can assure that you won't notice any recoil or pain when firing it.

Have you and the wife had any practice time? Have you guys practiced shooting it from positions other than the shoulder? Such as waist level? At a close range that's all that's needed. I use #4 buckshot, 2 3/4 inch shells. That will clear any house and have less recoil then larger magnum shells.

Having said that if you or she can't use it then it's worthless to have. Get the 20 or a handgun.

Last edited by round2it; 03-13-2019 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:28 AM
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A 20 ga for self-defense? Absolutely! Buy some 3" #4 buckshot, load it in an 870 pump and you've got a potent self-defense package. You can minimize the recoil punch with a Remington Supercell recoil pad.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:29 AM
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If the 870 full size is too long you will feel less recoil with the youth stock.

Anyone that can take the recoil of a 20ga should be strong enough to operate the slide with a lil practice.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:32 AM
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Saiga .410 with a 10 rd mag
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:37 AM
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Remington 1100 Lt,youth model, my 9yo grandson shoots one,very little recoil.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:38 AM
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Don't know about shooting people but a 20 gauge has a lot less knock down power on deer than a 12 gauge, ask my son. I watched him put a kill shot on a buck when he was 11, I was sitting right next to him and saw the whole thing. He hammered it at about 35-40 yards, buck jumped, went on a death run.....and we never found him. Looked till well past dark and then again the next morning. We found him 3 weeks later when a friend of mine shot him during six day firearm season on a deer drive. I did an autopsy and sure enough there was buckshot in the boiler room area, just didn't penetrate well, buckshot was just below the skin. I bought him a 12gauge 3" 1100 with a 30" full choke barrel the next year, it is a killing machine. The 20 gauge he was shooting was a youth model 1187 that he got on his 10th birthday, it is good for small game only. Now if you put slugs in that 20 gauge its a different story.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:40 AM
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My stoeger 20ga has more felt recoil than my Brother in laws 870. I would say just get out and shoot more to get comfortable with the 870. If you must have a 20ga it will do just fine for home defense.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:53 AM
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My brother has this 20ga for home defense and he really likes it:

https://www.gunsamerica.com/digest/h...p-full-review/
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:00 PM
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My thought is this, the avg. burglar will run for the hills when confronted by a gun of any size if they are not armed. The same guy will run like hell if you shoot at him with a shotgun and miss, just the sound of it going off will scare most idiot bad guys.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:01 PM
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For Home defense you need to remember a couple critical issues: first are there others in your home besides the bad guy. Anything over 6 shot will blow through a drywall/stud wall and could do serious damage to a loved one behind it. The other is if the bad guy is in your home then you're not going to be more than 15 or 20 feet from him. Regardless of gun/chocks used/or shot...it's all going to be in a very, very tight pattern and will be deadly to a human inside a home.

I have a Mossberg home defense 20 ga. w/ birdshot loaded. I guarantee if you're standing in front of that anywhere inside my house and I point it at your chest...you are going to die.

Carry on,

Sidney
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:05 PM
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I have both, figure I will decide when I need to. I grab the kids 20 guage almost every time I decide I have to put my pants on at night.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:13 PM
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A 20 Gauge is just fine for home protection.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:15 PM
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One of these in 4 gauge.

All three barrels at once !!!




Kidding aside, I'm no self defense expert, but I would think a 20 gauge would be quite adequate.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BIGnUGLY View Post
I have both, figure I will decide when I need to. I grab the kids 20 guage almost every time I decide I have to put my pants on at night.
How often do you have to put your pants on at night? I'm in NJ and have gotten out of bed once in the past 10 years because I heard something, turned out to be nothing.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:31 PM
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The felt recoil thing in shotguns is a lot more complicated than most people make it out to be. It's not a 20ga vs 12ga problem. The weight if the gun, shot weight and velocity all play into it. For home defense a simple pump is probably your best bet, but a 20ga probably isn't going to recoil any less than a 12 and it's going to put less shot down range.

I'd just stick with the 12 gauge and shorten the stock if the gun is too big for you. Keep some target loads in it if you're still worried about recoil. Someone 10 feet away isn't going to notice the difference between #7.5 and 00 buckshot.

At the end of the day though any shotgun pointed at someone going boom boom is going to do the job. On that note, I would avoid an autoloader in this case because sometimes they don't go boom. Or only go boom once and need some fiddling.

Last edited by acme54321; 03-13-2019 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by joe.giuliano View Post
I have an 870 in 12ga and it is big and heavy and I don't think my wife could pump it easily. I also have a pacemaker and not supposed to hammer that part of my body.

And I am vertically challenged. Anyhow I was thinking about adding a youth size 20 semi-auto. I have a youth (compact) 10/22 and really like the way it handles.

Is 20 OK for defense. I know it is better to have something usable vs. something hard to use but ....
I bought that EXACT gun because of my wife. She can't figure out how to rack a pump when she's practicing.....no way she could do it under duress. She's small so a youth version works well.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:12 PM
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Mossberg 590 shockwave. Not sure why this isn't a NFA gun but they figured it out somehow.

https://www.range365.com/mossberg-sh...un-test#page-4

There is a member here who just bought one. Hope he chimes in.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Sidney64 View Post
For Home defense you need to remember a couple critical issues: first are there others in your home besides the bad guy. Anything over 6 shot will blow through a drywall/stud wall and could do serious damage to a loved one behind it. The other is if the bad guy is in your home then you're not going to be more than 15 or 20 feet from him. Regardless of gun/chocks used/or shot...it's all going to be in a very, very tight pattern and will be deadly to a human inside a home.

I have a Mossberg home defense 20 ga. w/ birdshot loaded. I guarantee if you're standing in front of that anywhere inside my house and I point it at your chest...you are going to die.

Carry on,

Sidney
This is the way. Hot loads with buckshot inside a house will easily blow through walls and endanger family members. Much better off "spraying" bird shot in a wide pattern. You won't miss. So what if they are able to run. Their life is negatively altered for the rest of their days. They won't forget the experience, even if they are blind....
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