Home defense, or zombie hunting…?

Okay, I think we may have established that we’re not an anti-gun household. For the record, we’re not gun nuts either.  A gun is a tool. Like a 9/16″ wrench, if it’s the tool you need for the job, nothing else will do.  Okay gear heads, I hear your mumblings. For the 9/16″ wrench there may be a Metric near-equivalent, but you know what I meant. If a home defense shotgun is part of your preparedness plan, then a home defense shotgun is part of your plan. The question is, “Which one?”

Well, that’s always the question.  But there are a number of others as well. What gauge (10, 12, 20, .410)? What style (single barrel, side-by-side, over-and-under, pump, semi-auto)? Barrel length (influenced to some extent by the answer to the previous question)? But which one? Do we want or need accessories for it? Below are the answers we’ve come to, along with how we got there.

We know we want 12 gauge  ̶  for ammo variety. No other size of shotgun offers the variety in available ammunition that the 12 gauge does. 20 comes close. But for sheer off the shelf variety  ̶  from low recoil practice loads to heavy magnum loads for hunting larger game   ̶   you’re not going to beat the 12 gauge.  The wide variety of manufacturers and volume of it available also seem to make it cheaper, relatively speaking. 

We know we want 12 gauge  ̶  for power. So, why not a 10 gauge? It’s overkill. 12 gauge is plenty.  Back in April of 2009, a user on  shotgunworld.com  – someone called “Montana Bound” – posted a truly awesome article on the penetration and ballistic qualities of a number of off-the-shelf shotgun loads for the 12 gauge. It is perhaps the most comprehensive article I have ever seen on the subject. It is replete with photos of the effects of the various loads on a standard depth and density of ballistic gelatin.  You can access the article here:  http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=109958   

We know we want a pump action shotgun. For one, it is relatively easy to operate.  The loading is intuitive. Chambering a round is intuitive. Also the sound of the pump itself can be a serious auditory deterrent.  Everyone  ̶  and I mean everyone   ̶  knows THAT sound.  The only time I ever needed to use a shotgun against an intruder, all that was necessary was to chamber a round.  The guy dropped everything he had in his arms and ran shrieking away. Auditory deterrent.

We know we want  a barrel length of 18 – 20″ to be faster, lighter and adequately maneuverable in tight spaces  ̶  like my house.  My house is old. My walls are thick. I don’t have a cookie cutter floor plan with predictable squares and turns. I have nearly square angles and tight turns and narrow doorways. Shorter, faster, lighter and more maneuverable are good.

Now, if you’re like most, you’ve already chosen one of the two following shotguns: the Remington 870 or the Mossberg 500  ̶  or one of their variants   ̶    and you’re probably thinking we’ll do the same. Heaven knows they’re both available in different colors and finishes to match every taste or school of thought. Both companies even make “marine” versions  ̶ not the Semper Fi kind of Marine, but the gonna-be-exposed-to-salt-spray kind.  Some say these make it easier to acquire a good sight picture in low light conditions because of the brighter metal. But I digress.  If you chose either of these guns, you wouldn’t go wrong. But we’re choosing neither.  

Huh? That’s right. We’re choosing a different gun entirely. Because we have a special consideration that often gets overlooked when buying weapons in a world of right-handers. That’s right. We have both right- AND left-handed shooters in our house. Both the Mossberg and the Remington are right-side eject. What this means is that left-handed shooters will get “tinked” in the face by spent shells and will be forced to reacquire their sight picture every time. So we’re choosing a shotgun that solves our problems: the Browning BPS High Capacity. Manufactured in Belgium. Forged and machined steel receiver. BOTTOM eject. Spent shells drop at your feet instead of hitting you in the face. Magic. Basic black. Nothing fancy.

Plus, if push came to shove, the Hi-Cap could be used to take small game, or spook varmints. It wouldn’t be the greatest shotugn for hunting as it sits, but in a pinch, you could make it work. Plus, Browning makes a variety of replacement barrels. It would be a simple matter to swap out the original barrel for  “bird barrel” with adjustable chokes. That is, if we suddenly developed a taste for duck. Still, multi-use is good.


We don’t much think we’ll be shelling out cash for all those “tactical accessories.”  We sort of figure that simple is good.  Some people are fond of  “the look” of a black shotgun that’s weighed down by tactical flashlights, slings, shells carriers, folding stocks, pistol grips and all sorts of doo-dads that look great on film in the hands of zombie hunters…  or Milla Jovavich.

Too many bolted-on gee-gaws  and a tool becomes useless.  Like most things, we figure that any tool’s functionality is more a matter of technique than gadgetry.  And gadgetry won’t overcome poor technique. It’s like a sensei of mine once said, “You can’t speed up bad code.” In the future, once we’ve bought the gun, brought it home and played with it a while, we’ll be able to tell you what we wish we had on it, or what we’re glad we didn’t buy… and then we’ll write about that, too.

So, the Browning High Capacity is our choice. When we get it, we’ll take it out for a spin and post pix.

As always, thanks for reading. You’re the best. Happy holidays.

~ L.


Browning logo and BPS Hi-Cap image ©  2010 Browning. Morgan, Utah.

“Resident Evil” © 2006 Constantin Film Produktion

Zombie Hunter patch image   © milspecmonkey.com


4 Responses to “Home defense, or zombie hunting…?”

  1. Elisheva Levin Says:

    In our household we have the Mossberg 500 for the guys. The Engineering Geek is right handed, and the Rasta Jew writes with his left hand, but does everything else right-handed, including shooting. I am hopelessly and totally left-handed. So the Browning is the next on my list. The 4-10 I shot as a kid is still in the Peoples Republic of Illinois, in my dad’s care. It is a good little gun, and for scaring away intruders who don’t want to fight it is superior because it won’t penetrate walls. It also requires a better aim, so that one does not become sloppy. But for all-around usefulness–the tool concept–I agree with you that a 12 guage is the most versatile for the purpose. Without the Zombie movie gee-gaws.

  2. TZH Says:

    its really tempting to get on the tacticool wiz-bang gadget wagon. you now, those mall-ninja weapon mods.

    using what works for you and beating the peer-pressure is the best advice out there. low-tech and reliable is what I’m endorsing to my family as well. 🙂

    • legitimatecitizen Says:

      Yes! Low tech and reliable. Less to rattle loose. Less to break off. Fewer sharp edges to snag on things. I absolutely agree with you. I mean, seriously, when push comes to shove I’m all about protecting my family — even if I don’t look cool doing it.
      Thanks for reading!

      • TZH Says:

        Dude! We’ve had a Belgian-made FN Browning Hi-Power since the early ’80s. It shoots flawlessly and never had reliability issues since we got it. It was even my dad’s competition gun in the mid 90’s for IPSC. Anyway, during a huge flood, it was stored in the basement and was literally drenched under water for 3 months. We cleaned it a little and fired it. It worked! Even the ammo! This is not my primary home def gun buy maaan it sits in our quick safe loaded with a mag in case we need it. That is a gun we’re real happy to have.

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