12 gauge birdshot is cheap, low recoil, and is available pretty much everywhere. Is it effective for home defense, compared to other options, or best utilized for target practice and hunting small game? Using common #8 birdshot, we’ll fire a round into a ballistic gel block at 20 feet and look at the results. The key point I’m trying to illustrate is whether or not birdshot has the potential to produce sufficient penetration, in volume, that could stop a viable threat in the home setting. It has probably been used for this purpose more times than we wish to count, but with mixed results. We should understand that simply conveying to a threat the presence of a firearm can be a deterrent (a highly preferred outcome), but unfortunately this isn’t always the case with an individual or group determined to commit bodily harm, or worse.
I’m using Winchester 2 3/4 shells, 1 1/8 oz. shot, 1200 fps. Product number is U128. Test gun is a Mossberg 590A1 Special Purpose with a 20″ barrel.