Shotgun Ammo For Home Defense | Buckshot VS Birdshot

Feature | Double shotgun and ammo | Shotgun Ammo For Home Defense | Buckshot vs Birdshot

With the shotgun being one of the best firearms to defend your home with, it becomes inevitable to discuss which shotgun ammo is better for the job.

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In this article:

Shotgun Ammo | Which Load Is Best for Home Defense

Buckshot vs Birdshot Comparison

What is the best shotgun ammo for home defense? The shotgun is one of the most popular firearms for home defense.

Of course, we all want something powerful and easy to use when we talk about home protection. With all the crazy things happening everywhere, it is only natural to find a way to defend our family and home.

Our family's safety is something we cannot risk, which is why I'm here to help you today with the ideal tactical shotgun ammo types to use. Let's take a look at the difference between buckshot and birdshot and how it impacts your home defense ammunition.

Learn the differences between buckshot and birdshot ammunitions and decide which is best for your home's protection.


The sheer devastating power of buckshot 12-gauge ammo types is one of the most convincing arguments of using a shotgun for home defense. The shells are loaded with a volley of small lead pellets.

12-Gauge Definition: Refers to the total number of lead balls that equals in weight to one pound for the particular bore diameter.

Each pellet in a shell of double-aught buckshot is 0.33 inches in diameter. Think of 9 pellets and about 32 or 33-caliber, a buckshot will penetrate multiple walls inside your house just like shooting a 380 automatic or a 9 millimeter.

It may not be a problem if you're living alone or out in the woods. But if you have family members in the house or neighbors close by, penetration will be a serious problem.


Birdshot for home defense, with its very small BBs, tends to under penetrate. This doesn't mean they're ineffective against an unarmed bad guy.

Experiments have shown a buckshot and birdshot being virtually equally effective at close range. A 12-gauge shotgun loaded with a number 8 birdshot for home defense will absolutely protect you and your family.

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Shot Comparison

Two shots were made with a Remington 870 shotgun which is typical for a home defense shotgun nowadays. At 5 yards, which is just across the room, the number 8 birdshot covers a larger area while the buckshot had its bigger pellets spread out a little bit.

At these distances, both buckshot and birdshot shotgun shells will be very lethal. In the case of a birdshot, the majority of the wound is clustered right in the middle causing a rathole effect.

This is where a large portion of the shot actually goes through, causing a very significant wound.

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  • Securely holds six 12ga shotgun shells in durable, flexible carrier, Rapid access design reduces chances of snagging
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Learn more about the difference between buckshot and birdshot for home defense in this video from fmgpubs:

The experiment clearly showed both shotgun ammunitions would more likely stop any threat you have. Both shotgun ammo types have devastating power capable enough of performing in defense situations.

However, an important factor to consider is using the birdshot ammo won't over penetrate and pass through two or three walls. Compared to using the buckshot ammo with solid 32-caliber, this can easily endanger your family members or even your neighbors.

Hopefully, with this information, you can better decide which is a better choice for your shotgun ammo home defense.

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What do you think about this buckshot and birdshot comparison for home defense? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Shotgun Ammo For Home Defense | Buckshot vs Birdshot |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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