[Crossfire] Do Shotguns Suck?

This is the first installment of a new series we’re calling Crossfire. In this series, we’ll feature a topic and two separate authors who have opposing opinions on the subject each present their case. It’s your job as the reader to tell us in the comments who you think laid out the better case.

To make it fair, we will both be writing our portions before reading the other’s.

So, Dear Reader, read on and tell us in the comments what you think.

Ozone: Why Shotguns Suck

When asked “what gun should I use for home defence” or listening to fuddery at my local IDPA match. People always bring up the time old classic shotgun as an answer to the problem of someone trying to be somewhere they should not be. However in my humble and not qualified opinion let me lay out why they quite frankly….suck. If you set aside the lore of one ounce of lead drops all, the pump is 100% reliable, the sound scares off evil do-ers, you don’t have to aim. ECT. The shotgun really does not answer any problem a rifle or pistol can solve.

Lets first discuss the accuracy issue. Shotgun sights are typically crude or not very precise. Much less able to be adjusted for zeroing. Raise your hand if you have ever patterned your shotgun at all, let alone used different loads at various distances to see what the ol scatter gun is doing? At 3 to 7 yards most will pattern in a small circle then open widley past 10- 15 yards.(unless you are using federal flight control, in which case it will be a lot tighter.) Which leads us to ammo selection. Your favorite September 1st Dove load is not suitable for self defence. It lacks the penetration and weight to be effective. Buckshot or slugs need to be used. Then the argument of over penetration comes back into play just as it would with a centerfire rifle or pistol round. Buckshot is just as capable of going through residential walls as your rifle but is less accurate. 

So once you get your shotgun dialed in and load the combo set. The next issue that arises is ammo capacity and the ability to reload quickly. Most big box shotguns hold 3 or 4 +1 rounds, granted some “tactical models’ ‘ do have slightly higher capacity, space in a tube is limited. Even the newer magazine fed shotguns are limited to 5 or 10 rounds before the magazine gets so ridiculous and cumbersome they lose the necessary maneuverability to be effective in anything other than a 3 gun match. Give me 20-30 rounds in a compact pmag anyday. **quad load in the garage guy has entered the chat with bloody fingers and spilt rounds at his feet.**

Barrel length is also a concern the longer barrels help your reach out but clearing hallways with a 26” goose gun isn’t ideal and that mossberg shockwave pistol grip things….good luck trying to accurately aim. Iv tried and maybe you are more skilled than me but it wasn’t good.

Next on to reliability. Yes manual operated actions are cool and fun in movies and at the range, but under duress of just a timer not an actual conflict I have seen,and done it myself, short stroked a pump action and induced jams or FTF. “GeT MoAr TrAinIng” guy has entered the chat. Semi Autos are a good solution but the plastic shells can deform over time and mushroom. This can also cause malfunctions in pump or gas operated systems. 

While a proofed out, patterned and well maintained shotgun in a well trained and experienced shooter is a formidable force. The steep learning curve and ergonomic drawbacks lead me to believe they are not the answer for everyone and kinds just suck.

**guy who takes everything personal and doesn’t pick up on tongue in cheek articles on the internet well has entered the chat/comments below**

Sunshine_Shooter: Why Shotguns Kinda Rock


First off, the limited capacity of a shotgun isn’t that big of a deal. Yes, 3 rounds is dumb, but most pump guns have removable magazine blocks that can be removed to bump that number up to 5 or 6. Six rounds doesn’t sound much better, but we’re not talking about pistols here. We’re not talking about tiny little varmint guns or poodle shooters, either. We’re talking about power. We’re talking about “putting a hole through a man that a beer can will fit through”-power. A 12-gauge shotgun (aka, 95% of all of them) has a bore so wide that to rifle it would classify the weapon as a destructive device.

When you’re shooting 00 buckshot, it’s equivalent to shooting a 15-round burst from a 9mm sub machine gun. Yes, if you’re a bad shot then you can waste all of your ammo into nothing in no time flat, but that also means you can absolutely dump tons of lead in a hurry. Considering that most of us will only ever need a firearm in a situation that loosely follows the rule of 3’s (three feet, 3 rounds, 3 seconds), I find that “limiting factor” to be pretty moot.


Shotguns can’t be beat on price. Low pressure cartridges mean the barrels can be thinner than a rifle, which also means less expensive to produce. When you’re talking about a pump action, a good, high quality weapon can be had for much less than a comparably good handgun. You will not find a rifle in that price range worth purchasing. You can use your extra cash on upgrades (red dot, magazine extension, weaponlight, etc), training, or just on ammo.

Oh, and the ammo is super cheap too. You can buy cheap 12 ga ammo for less than cheap .223, and comparably priced to handgun ammo. The key to overcoming a shotgun’s limitations is through practice, and that includes live fire.

When you branch out of pump actions, the price quickly escalates. Some of the most expensive production guns around are in fact shotguns, but they are not the defense-oriented pieces you & I are interested in.


Recoil sucks. It slows your split times (time between shots) and it hurts. If you have a lot of recoil, then it hurts a lot. Shotguns, since they put out a lot of lead, have a lot of recoil. It’s the price you pay, and physics doesn’t help us out here.

There are techniques and skills you can use and develop to help mitigate that recoil, but I am no expert in them. It will require practice. Thankfully the ammo is cheap, so it won’t hurt your wallet as much as your shoulder while you learn.


What do you think? Are shotguns a good idea? A bad idea? Let us know in the comments below.

We’ll see you next week.


8 thoughts on “[Crossfire] Do Shotguns Suck?

  1. Good article, read it over at looserounds.com. Shotgun proficiency makes a guy a force to be reckoned with inside 40 yards or so. It’s on the eventual to-do list, but so far rifles and pistols have been higher on the list.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think you’re both right, to a point. As with many things, the “best” answer is “what works for YOU”. I might favor the 12 gauge loaded with flight-control, whilst my (petite) wife would do much better with a braced 9mm PDW. It’s all a matter of what fits you, and what you can use most effectively.

    Very good article with interesting, though opposed viewpoints.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. S_S takes this round in my opinion. I like shotguns…but I also like pretty much everything and will make it look good. Ozone’s points just weren’t the best.

    Point: most shotguns come with poor sights.
    Counterpoint: most ARs and Glocks (the flagship fighting rifle and pistol) usually ship with no sights at all or plastic “dovetail protectors” that should be immediately replaced, respectively.

    Point: you have to pattern a shotgun.
    Counterpoint: you have to zero a rifle and a pistol.

    Point: some shotguns are too long for home defense.
    Counterpoint: some ARs have 26” barrels, too, driving is all to the “tactical” models.

    I think there’s definitely some cons to using a shotgun, I just don’t think they were clearly stated here.

    Liked by 2 people

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