by Andy Stevens, GRNC Vice President of Operations
Last month you heard Shotguns are for Birds, Not Bad Guys from Justin Hinckley, LPNC’s Second Amendment Issues Coordinator. He challenged me to provide a good-natured counter argument, so here it goes...
I’ll repeat Justin’s caveat: Rule One of every gunfight is have a gun! That said, and acknowledging circumstances among individuals differ, I take his challenge justifying my shotgun as my home defense weapon of choice.
Justin's argument last month to using an AR-15 to defend his castle can be summed up as follows. (1) he wants to shoot (numerous) bad guys, (2) without shooting friendlies, and (3) without overpenetration (4) by taking numerous follow-up shots with (5) the need for reloads while (6) protecting his castle. WHEW! Sounds like the Zombie Apocalypse!
Let’s instead look at the reality. In North Carolina, Castle Doctrine (thanks to GRNC!) is well established law. You have the right, assumed without question, to protect yourself and your loved ones "within" your "castle." This means you're not engaging mutant zombies hundreds of meters away but rather those immediately breaking through your doors or windows, or worse, already in the hallways of your home. In other words, distances of ten to thirty feet or so. Also, if there's more than two or three individuals, then it’s probably the ATF stacking up to take your guns and ammo and you're NOT going to win that fight.
If your loved ones are between you and the bad guys in this scenario then your odds of success are nil, so let’s assume that you’re engaging the bad guys directly to your front. (Your loved ones can be behind or adjacent to the bad guys or behind you.)
In this scenario your two or three assailants will likely be stacked up and channeled by the confines of the structure of your home. Your two or three rapid-fire shotgun blasts will approximate something between a softball to a basketball sized mass of 00 buckshot pellets that stand a far better chance of immediately tagging and incapacitating your assailant(s) than even emptying the magazine of your AR-15 will accomplish. Suddenly accounting for all thirty of your FMJ 5.56 or .223 rounds are out the window and your near-by neighbors are all at risk! There’s a big difference between a 500-meter and a 50-meter effective range, you know.
In these circumstances, the shotgun is the hands down choice of weapon between the two. After all, while the recently deceased Senator Diane Feinstein wanted to send your AR-15 to hell, my shotgun is literally a weapon from hell! Remember, the Germans in WWI not only wanted the shotgun banned from the battlefield but promised to summarily execute Americans found in possession of the dreaded weapon so effective in clearing trenches in that conflict. A hallway, or even a doorway is merely a ground level trench in a home defense scenario.
You can learn more about the trench gun here.
Keep in mind, too, the effects of noise and flash. Your thirty-round burst has probably blinded you (in a nighttime scenario) but worse, firing in an enclosed space, you’ve now most likely ruptured your eardrums, too. (Darn, I should have grabbed those earplugs on the nightstand, too, right?). Your indiscriminate firepower of your AR-15 is far more harmful than the surgical shotgun blasts pose to your eyesight and hearing.
So now the remaining assailants (if any and able, lol) are on the run and retreating. All fired up with adrenaline, you slap that second thirty-round magazine into your AR and start slinging 500-meter lead all over the neighborhood. Whoo Hoo – see the lawsuits coming? Remember, Castle Doctrine only protects you in your castle and not beyond, and certainly NOT once the bad guys start retreating.
In summary, I'll agree with Justin that an AR-15 (or a flamethrower, lol!) makes perfect sense in defending the exterior of your castle from invasion by marauding zombies but it is not the weapon of choice to protect yourself and your loved ones within your castle. For that you need your own personal weapon from hell, the tried and proven 12-gauge 00 buckshot firing shotgun!