There’s no doubt that the defensive shotgun is an awesome weapon. A load of buckshot–or slug–placed properly will usually give the bad guy extremely celestial thoughts. We used to say that his case would be pled to a Higher Court.
If you have a pump shotgun at home, you have to read this article. The point he makes about patterning buck shot is very important. Years ago I took a shotgun class and the first thing we had to do is to figure out how buckshot spread at different distances.
The drill was simple: On a target, tape 4 sheets of regular letter-size paper each marked with a different distance in yards (5-10-15-20). Start at 5 yards and shoot once at the paper marked 5 yards. then move back to 10 yards and shoot at the paper marked 10 yards…and so on, you get the idea. By then you should have a pretty good idea how much the pellets open at certain distances and you can tailor your buckshot defense accordingly as in how far away can you deliver the maximum amount of pellets to the target in a vital zone and when it becomes inefficient or a crap-shot of missed pellets going where they are not supposed to.
One important detail: this pattern will work only with the specific brand and model of buckshot you are using. Do not assume that all shells will create the same pattern over the same distance: make sure! The smart among us (idiot here not included) will buy several different brands, perform pattern tests on all and then select the one that delivers the tightest pattern the farthest for that particular and individual shotgun. Yup, you cannot even be confident that equal make and models of shotguns will pattern the same with the same shells.
Once you know your shotgun/buckshot limit, then is time to transition to slug and to learn and practice the drill told by Sheriff Wilson. Be slow, deliberate, patient and safe (do get the dummy shells) as you will be all thumbs on a drunken monkey trying to juggle all at once from the get go. On Step 3, do not try to save/keep the ejected shell; forget about it. You are supposed to be training to perform the switch of shells because you need it right-at-this-minute and have no time to be adding an extra step or fishing for a rolling shell.
If you are able to find a shotgun class, take it. It is amazingly fun plus you will be amazed at all the things you can do (and cannot do) with a shotgun. Be ready to be sore the next day 🙂