If a person of limited means could only afford one weapon to defend his family and property I would recommend a 12 gauge semi-automatic or pump action shotgun for a number of reasons;

Effectiveness -The 12 gauge is really unsurpassed for close range lethality when loaded with any of the various buckshot loads. Number 4 buckshot is probably the best general purpose load, it contains 27 projectiles of .25 caliber each and will produce a four-foot-diameter killing pattern at 40 yards, making each trigger pull nearly as lethal as the emptying of a full magazine from a submachinegun. This makes the combat shotgun suitable for any close to medium range combat situation, in built up areas, in dense forest or jungle and indoors. Powerful and versatile the combat shotgun is not only capable of inflicting devastating damage with buckshot at close range but is also reasonably accurate with rifled slugs out to about 100 yards. Rifled slugs are capable of penetrating wooden walls and barriers, car bodies, body armor and can tear a basketball sized hole in a human target at 50 yards.

Flexibility -A myriad of specialized loads make the 12 gauge shotgun also unsurpassed in its flexibility. Buckshot, rifled slug, incendiary, explosive, flechette, tear gas, oleoresin capsicum(pepper spray), flare, sabot, tracer and rubber low-lethality rounds are all being commercially produced. See the Modified Ammunition section for instructions for the construction of specialized 12 gauge loads. Another advantage of the shotgun is the inability of investigators to link a shotgun to a murder through projectile analysis. This is because the smooth bore of the shotgun doesn’t leave any traceable marks on the projectiles. However a spent shell casing can be linked to a shotgun by studying the marks left on the primer by the firing pin and also by analyzing other marks left on the shell by the gun. The shotgun's spread pattern can be analyzed and matched, with some reliability, to the crime scene evidence. This limited traceablity, coupled with the 12 gauge shotgun’s awesome lethality at close range, give the shotgun some potential as a weapon of assassination.

Practicality -The 12 gauge shotgun is used worldwide for hunting, sport shooting and for military/law enforcement purposes. The universal nature of the 12 gauge shotgun means that ammunition will be available and access to it will be relatively difficult for governments to control. Along with bolt-action rifles, shotguns will probably be among the last firearms to be banned by repressive governments.

Winchester 1300 Defender with pistol grip and 8rnd tube magazine

Remington 870 with synthetic stock and short barrel


- Only semi-automatic or pump-action models have any combat value. However single shot or double barrel break-open type shotguns may be desired for selective assassination because they don't eject the spent shells, leaving little forensic evidence.

- Try to obtain a shotgun chambered for standard 2 3/4" as well as the more powerful 3"and 3 1/2" magnum shells.

- Be sure your shotgun has at least a five round tube magazine or better yet a seven or eight round magazine. Some shotguns on the market today have detachable box magazines or revolving cylinder magazines, again be sure to choose one with high capacity.

- Never purchase shells smaller than no. 4 lead buckshot. Lead shotshells are numbered from smallest projectiles No.12 and 11 which are unsuitable for combat, downward through No.10 to No.2 then BB then through the numbered buckshot loads to 0 buck, 00 buck and 000 buck. Each step downward represents a load with fewer but larger projectiles. Steel shells are numbered a bit differently but lead should be chosen over steel if possible.

- It may be advisable to choose one of the more popular shotgun models, such as the Remington 870, Remington 1100, Winchester 1200 or 1300 series, Mossberg 500 or 600 series etc. Accessories such as pistol grips, shell saddles, folding stocks and magazine extensions are available for these and other popular models.

- Synthetic stocks should be chosen over wood for combat weapons. I like the feel and weight of wood for hunting weapons but synthetics are stronger, more wear resistant and unaffected by moisture.

- Many jurisdictions outlaw any alteration of the barrel or stock of a weapon in order to make it more compact or concealable. It is probably unwise to alter any legally purchased weapon by cutting its barrel or stock. A weapon procured on the black market and stored somewhere other than in your residence is best suited for such a purpose.


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