If you think a shotgun is a great home-defense tool because you don’t have to aim, think again. A shotgun can be a great home-defense tool for many reasons, but the “wide pattern” is not one of them.

You can see from the results of this video that the pattern of birdshot pellets at 5, 7 and 10 yards does not guarantee a hit if you fire without aiming. Consider the fact that buckshot provides even fewer pellets, and you should be able to see that you are REQUIRED to aim carefully to ensure that you score a hit with every shot.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that, if you have a shotgun, you can just “spray and pray” in hopes of hitting the target. As always, you are responsible for every projectile that comes out of your gun’s muzzle. Aim carefully. Know your target and what is around it. Ensure you have effective target isolation when taking a shot.

Test That Pattern

When you choose a home-defense load for your shotgun, remember to test it. Shoot your chosen defensive ammo at a variety of distances that are similar to the internal measurements of your home. This will let you know exactly how wide a shot pattern you will get at a given distance. Knowledge is confidence.