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Securing Your Sanctuary with Home Defense Shotguns

When it comes to home defense, the trusty old shotgun has long been a popular choice. In a life or death situation, a home defense shotgun can potentially save your family, as proven by recent incidents. Just last year, a 17-year-old boy armed with a shotgun protected his loved ones in a harrowing suburban Houston home invasion:

“CHANNELVIEW, Texas — A 17-year-old boy armed with a shotgun killed two people during an attempted home invasion in suburban Houston on Friday night, authorities said.”

Many of us remember the pump-action shotgun leaning behind the bedroom door in our grandparents’ homes. Versatile, powerful, and easier to shoot than a pistol, shotguns have a storied history in defending households. However, if you’re considering a shotgun for home defense, it’s crucial to understand that not all shotguns are created equal. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the world of home defense shotguns, debunk common myths, and help you choose the right firearm for your needs.

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Dispelling Shotgun Myths

Misconceptions about shotguns are prevalent, often stemming from how they perform in bird hunting. Let’s address some of these myths:

Myth 1: Shotguns Don’t Require Aim

Reality: Shotguns need precise aiming, especially at close-quarters home defense distances. The spread of pellets from birdshot at 25 yards is far different from the tight pattern of 00 buckshot at home defense ranges. Always aim when using a shotgun.

Myth 2: The Sound of Racking a Shotgun Scares Away Intruders

Reality: This idea, popularized by TV and movies, isn’t a reliable home defense strategy. Using a firearm to intimidate through sound or sight can lead to legal issues. Rely on proper firearm training and responsible gun ownership instead.

Myth 3: Shotguns Are Easy for Anyone to Use

Reality: Shotguns, due to substantial recoil and ergonomic factors, can be challenging for inexperienced users. Choosing the right shotgun and practicing with it is essential. The stock length and overall configuration should suit your defensive needs.

Selecting the Right Home Defense Shotgun

  • Choose the Gauge: Stick to 12 or 20 gauge shotguns for home defense. These gauges offer readily available defensive loads and ammunition.
  • Action Type: The most common choices are pump-action and semi-auto shotguns. Pump-action shotguns are cost-effective and reliable. Semi-autos offer softer recoil but can be finicky with certain ammunition.
  • Barrel Length: Opt for a shotgun with an 18- to 20-inch barrel, ideal for non-NFA (National Firearms Act) use. Purpose-built defensive shotguns are also available, like the Mossberg 590 Shockwave.
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Enhancing Your Home Defense Shotgun

To make your shotgun more effective in high-stress situations, consider these enhancements:

Stock Replacement: Shorter stocks with adjustable features improve maneuverability, especially for shorter users. They also ensure that you can operate the shotgun comfortably from various positions.

Lighting Solutions: Illumination is crucial in low-light home defense scenarios. Choose between shotguns with integrated lights or add aftermarket forends with built-in lights for better visibility.

Sights: Upgrade from traditional bead sights to tritium night sights, ghost ring sights, or even red-dot sights for improved target acquisition in low-light conditions.

Slings and Safeties: Evaluate the need for a sling based on your home defense situation. A single-point sling can be useful if you might need both hands free. Consider enhancing safety features like enlarged safeties and enhanced followers.

Ammunition Management: Shotguns have limited capacity. Invest in onboard ammunition carriers like side-saddle ammo carriers or Velcro cards to ensure you have enough rounds at your disposal.

Safe Storage: Properly storing your home defense shotgun is essential. Consider using gun safes or locks that are accessible in emergencies but secure against unauthorized access.

A home defense shotgun, when chosen, configured, and used correctly, can be an effective tool for safeguarding your household. To maximize its potential, select the right gauge, action type, and barrel length.

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Debunk common shotgun myths and invest in enhancements that enhance usability and safety. Above all, practice responsible gun ownership, maintain your firearm, and ensure that it’s securely stored when not in use. With the right knowledge and setup, your home defense shotgun can provide peace of mind and protection for you and your loved ones.

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Protect Your Second Amendment Rights: Oppose SB 1160 and SB 1253 in California


On Tuesday, April 2nd at 8:30am, the California Senate Public Safety Committee is slated to review two concerning bills that threaten the rights of firearm owners across the Golden State. As staunch advocates for the Second Amendment, it’s imperative for NRA Members and supporters of gun rights to take action. Senate Bill 1160 and Senate Bill 1253 pose significant threats, and it’s crucial to voice opposition to these proposed measures.

Senate Bill 1160: Annual Firearm Registration Requirement


Senate Bill 1160 represents a direct assault on the rights of law-abiding gun owners in California. This bill seeks to mandate an annual re-registration process for all firearms with the Department of Justice. If enacted, firearm owners would be compelled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles each year and pay undisclosed fees to maintain their registration status.

This onerous requirement not only burdens responsible gun owners with unnecessary red tape but also sets a dangerous precedent for government overreach into the fundamental rights protected by the Second Amendment. Under SB 1160, failure to comply with the annual registration mandate could result in severe penalties, including fines of up to $1000 and the potential confiscation of unregistered firearms.

Upholding Second Amendment Freedoms: Take Action Against SB 1160

It’s imperative for Second Amendment supporters to stand united against Senate Bill 1160. This legislation threatens the core principles of individual liberty and firearm ownership rights. We urge all concerned citizens to contact members of the Senate Public Safety Committee and vehemently oppose SB 1160.

Senate Bill 1253: Restricting Firearm Possession without Firearm Safety Card

Another concerning proposal slated for review is Senate Bill 1253, which seeks to further restrict firearm ownership rights in California. Under existing law, individuals are required to obtain a Firearm Safety Card to purchase or receive a firearm. However, SB 1253 aims to extend this requirement to possession, effectively prohibiting law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms without a valid Firearm Safety Card.

This additional hurdle not only imposes unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners but also fails to address the root causes of crime and violence. Criminals, by definition, do not adhere to firearm laws, rendering such measures ineffective at curbing illicit gun activities. Instead, SB 1253 unfairly penalizes law-abiding citizens and undermines their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Defending Second Amendment Liberties: Oppose SB 1253

Senate Bill 1253 represents yet another attempt to erode the Second Amendment freedoms of Californians. By imposing stringent requirements for firearm possession, this bill unfairly targets responsible gun owners while doing little to enhance public safety. It’s essential for proponents of gun rights to take a stand against SB 1253 and advocate for the preservation of constitutional liberties.

Take Action: Protect Second Amendment Rights in California


As the Senate Public Safety Committee prepares to review SB 1160 and SB 1253, it’s paramount for NRA Members and supporters of the Second Amendment to make their voices heard. Use the Take Action button below to contact committee members and urge them to oppose these egregious bills. Together, we can defend our cherished freedoms and safeguard the right to keep and bear arms in California.

Do you live in California? What do you do to oppose greater encroachment on your right to keep and bear arms? Leave your thoughts in the comments

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The AR-15: A Versatile Platform for Every Shooter


The AR pattern rifle, affectionately known as the “AR-15,” has become a staple in the firearms community, offering unparalleled versatility and customization options. From budget-friendly builds to high-end boutique rifles, there seems to be a configuration for every shooter’s preferences and needs. But with so many parts available, is there truly a rifle for everyone? And is there even a wrong answer to the AR question?

Diverse Builders, Diverse Builds

The AR-15 has evolved beyond just a firearm; it’s now a sport in itself, with enthusiasts eagerly assembling rifles tailored to their specific desires. Whether someone is aiming for the cheapest build, the most boutique setup, or a specialized rifle for a particular purpose like suppressor use, the AR platform offers endless possibilities. This diversity among builders reflects the platform’s adaptability and appeal to a wide range of shooters.

Navigating Budget Builds: A Personal Journey

Recently, there’s been a surge in interest in building affordable AR-style rifles, prompting many to explore budget-friendly options. One such endeavor involved sourcing parts directly from Bear Creek Arsenal (BCA), a company with a reputation for offering budget-friendly components. Despite initial reservations due to past controversies and quality concerns, the experience of assembling a rifle from BCA parts proved surprisingly positive.

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Upon receiving the parts from BCA, there was a mix of anticipation and skepticism. However, upon inspection, there was a notable nod of approval for the quality of finish work, packaging, and overall presentation. While some parts lacked robust packaging, none arrived damaged, showcasing BCA’s attention to detail. Despite some vagueness regarding product specs, BCA’s use of 4150 CM-V and 416 Stainless barrels instilled confidence in the build.

Assembly Practices: Attention to Detail

Building the lower receiver proved relatively straightforward, but attention to detail was paramount. Proper torqueing of the castle nut, staking the end plate, and meticulous lubrication ensured adherence to factory specifications and optimal performance. The importance of using proper tools, lubricants, and assembly techniques cannot be overstated, particularly for critical components like the trigger and gas system.

Navigating Upper Receiver Assembly

While assembling the lower receiver was relatively straightforward, the upper receiver presented more complexity and significance. Attention to detail during barrel installation, gas system alignment, and muzzle device timing were crucial for ensuring accuracy, reliability, and safety. Thermal fitting techniques and proper torqueing procedures were employed to optimize barrel-to-receiver fit and gas system performance.

Range Testing and Final Thoughts

After meticulous assembly and function testing, the rifle was taken to the range for reliability and accuracy testing. Using a variety of ammunition types and optics configurations, the rifle performed admirably, showcasing respectable accuracy and reliability. While there were minor issues such as an over-gassed barrel, these were addressed with aftermarket solutions. Overall, Bear Creek Arsenal’s components proved to offer excellent value for budget-conscious builders, demonstrating that affordability doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality.

The AR-15 is a highly adaptable platform allowing builds for a wide array of preferences for all kinds of shooters. Whether building a budget-friendly rifle or investing in high-end components, the AR platform offers endless customization possibilities. While each builder may have their own priorities and preferences, the beauty of the AR-15 lies in its ability to accommodate them all, ensuring that there truly is a rifle for every shooter.

Do you own an AR-15? Have you ever built one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Mack W. Gwinn Jr.: A Tribute to a Firearms Pioneer


Mack W. Gwinn Jr., a visionary in the firearms industry, passed away on March 11, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and dedication to his craft. Born in Florida, Gwinn’s journey into the world of firearms began with his service in the U.S. Army Special Forces, where he earned several Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star during seven deployments to Vietnam.

From Military Service to Firearms Innovation

Following his military service, Gwinn transitioned into the firearms industry, where he made significant contributions. One of his notable achievements was acquiring the rights to the Colt IMP-221, a stockless, gas-operated bullpup pistol initially developed for aircrew survival in the U.S. Air Force. Redesigning the concept to accept the 5.56 NATO caliber and standard AR magazines, Gwinn founded Gwinn Arms and introduced the Bushmaster Arm Pistol in the early 1970s.

Pioneering Personal Defense Weapons

The Bushmaster Arm Pistol, an innovative pistol-sized firearm utilizing an intermediate round, predated the concept of personal defense weapons (PDWs) by a generation. Although not a commercial blockbuster, the Arm Pistol laid the foundation for Bushmaster Firearms and left an indelible mark on the industry.

Legacy of Innovation

Beyond the Bushmaster Arm Pistol, Gwinn’s influence extended to various other firearms projects and inventions. He held patents for extended capacity magazines and developed concepts for firearms applications ranging from target pistols to recoil reduction systems. His ingenuity and curiosity led him to explore diverse projects, including vehicle design and accessory development.

Remembering a Trailblazer

Mack W. Gwinn Jr.’s passing marks the end of an era in the firearms community. His contributions to the industry will be remembered for years to come, serving as inspiration for future generations of innovators. In honoring his memory, donations can be made to the Maine Veterans Project, and condolences may be expressed to his family at BrookingsSmith.

Mack W. Gwinn Jr. leaves behind a legacy of excellence, marked by his unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of firearms design and technology. His impact on the industry will continue to resonate, ensuring his place among the pantheon of firearms pioneers.

Do you know Mack W. Gwinn Jr? How about his famous firearms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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