Best Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense: Reviews & Comparisons (2019)

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

Shotgun-AmmoGrowing up, my house never really had shotguns for personal or home defense. My grandpa used them for hunting, but my dad was a pistol guy the same as me. Any time shotgun ammo was mentioned was mentioned was in the context of hunting different game.

This all changed once my home was broken into. Nobody was hurt, but it came to me that my wife and kids are not as experienced with handguns as I am. So, I ventured to buy a shotgun that wasn’t for hunting. This was a totally different experience, and the first time I focused on how other people will use a gun. Break-ins in my neighborhood were practically every week, and I didn’t want to leave things to chance. I needed to decide on a shotgun and to buy appropriate shotgun ammo for home defense as soon as possible.

As you’d imagine, finally deciding on a gun and suitable ammo was a monumental task. There are so many shotguns and ammo on the market, it’s difficult to know where to begin. That being said, today I’ll be covering the best shotgun ammo for home defense. I’ll walk you through the things you need to consider before making a purchase and cover five of the best home defense shotgun ammo you will find out there.

At a Glance: Our 5 Best Shotgun Ammo

5 Best Home Defense Shotgun Ammo Types

Ammo NameAmmo TypeGaugePriceRating
Federal Power Shok00 Buckshot12 Gauge$160.005.0
Hornady Critical Defense00 Buckshot12 Gauge$12.505.0
Federal Game Shok Lead Shotshells16 GaugeFrom $15.994.8
Remington Slugger Rifled Slug LoadsSlug Shot12 GaugeFrom $7.994.7
Winchester Rifled SlugSlug Shot

 

12 GaugeFrom 22.994.5

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Home Defense Shotgun Ammo

One of my favorite things to do is buy shotgun ammo. Why? For starters, there are very few things you need to put into consideration during purchase since ammo are pretty straightforward—or at least more straightforward than shotguns. And, two, they are very cheap. Don’t get me wrong but whenever I can save a nickel, I take the chance.

However, the first time I went ammo shopping wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. For starters, there is so much ammo out there it makes it all the more confusing. Second, the whole purchase process can be a little intimidating, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong, buying shotgun ammo is mostly a fun affair. However, narrowing down your ammo options and picking the best home defense shotgun ammo can be quite the pickle. To help you cut through the confusion and choose shotgun ammo suitable for your needs, I’ve covered some of the things you should consider pre-purchase.

Shotgun Gauge

One of the most important things you will want to consider when buying shotgun ammo is the shotgun gauge. Or, in simple terms, the diameter. While shotguns are to the most part alike in most aspects, they differ in one simple aspect. Their diameter. So, some will be a lot smaller than the others. And, depending on your shotgun, you might have a hard time fitting the round. Therefore, when choosing the right ammo, you should ensure that you’ve chosen ammo that will comfortably fit into your shotgun.

Brass

Another factor that you will want to consider when making a purchase is the brass. Shotgun shells are available in either low or high brass iterations. However, it is important to remember that while high bass offers better function, it is a tad more expensive than ammo with lower bass.

Shot

Another critical factor is the shot. This is essentially the type of pellet contained within the shell. When choosing the shot, it would be smart to have an idea of the different types of shots there are before you make a purchase. Here’s a look at some of the shots you would expect to find in the market.

Birdshot

Birdshot is small-sized shotgun ammo used to scare off an intruder. It has a much larger spread but is a lot less lethal at the same time. So, while you will probably wound the intruder, they will not be seriously harmed.

Buckshot

Buckshot is larger-sized shotgun ammo that delivers much larger pellets. It offers more firepower and is more lethal to help you protect yourself from intruders. It works well for hunting and self-defense. In as far as damage goes, the buckshot causes significant injury to the intruder or attacker.

Slug Shot

The other type of ammo is the slug. It is a big piece of metal that is used when firing at a further range. So, while it’s an incredible type of ammo, it might not be the best to go to ammo if you are dealing with an intruder at close range.

Price

There are two sides to this argument. Some believe that cheap is expensive. Second, others believe that spending too much doesn’t guarantee quality. The jury is still out on this one. That being said, some ammo cost as much as $150 while others cost as low as $7.00. But one thing I am sure of is that price is one of the most important factors you have to put into consideration when making a purchase decision. And there’s a saying in business that you get what you pay for. So, it ultimately depends on how much you are able and willing to churn out.


Best Products Overall

Federal Power Shok

Federal Power ShokMy go-to self-defense ammo manufacturer is Federal for their great reputation and excellent ammo. In fact, if you were to look at any best shotgun ammo for home defense list, Federal would be among the top five. And one of their best creations has to be the Federal Power Shok. If you read around more, you’d see that the Federal Power Shok is badass ammo that delivers consistent and reliable results every time. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an overview of the features and pros and cons.

Key Features

  • Features a triple plus wad system that gives you a better shot alignment
  • A granulated plastic buffer that keeps the pellets in a uniform shape
  • Muzzle velocity of 1325 feet per second

What Others are Saying

Based on user impressions, the Federal Power Shok outperforms most other home defense ammo on the market. And while it is a bit more expensive, it provides value for the money. Used with a high-quality shotgun, it can yield excellent results.

Pros

  • It has reduced recoil
  • It burns very cleanly. So, you have very little fouling and carbon buildup to think about when you are done

Cons

  • It is very expensive

Verdict

If you go by price, then the Federal Power Shok is one of the most expensive ammo on the list. However, it’s a great deal considering all the features included.  Also, as far as reliability and accuracy go, there is almost none better.

Overall Rating: 5.0

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Hornady Critical Defense

Hornady Critical DefenseDesigned in 1949, the Hornady Critical Defense is a high-performance ultra-reliable choice for your needs. If there is a list of the best ammo, you can bet that it will come among the top five. The reason? It functions well in both pump shotguns and semi-auto shotguns. What this means is that you can use it with either a pump shotgun or a semi-auto shotgun.

Key Features

  • It has a 12 gauge 00 buckshot
  • It has a velocity of 1600 fps

What Others are Saying

We have covered pretty much everything about the Hornady Critical Defense ammo set. So now it’s time to look at what users of this innovative ammo set think about it.

Based on user impressions, Hornady is a powerful ammo set that packs devastating power. It is ultra reliable, accurate, and offers exceptional performance. However, one of the things that stand out is that the patterns are tightly grouped around the point of aim at 15 to 30 yards—not to mention the amount of recoil is fairly moderate.

Pros

  • Versatile in the sense that it functions well in both semi-auto shotguns and pump shotguns
  • An ultra-reliable choice for self-defense
  • It is s high-quality ammo that offers reliability and accuracy
  • It features a versatile wad technology that provides tight patterns that deliver devastating results
  • A bargain ammo set that costs only $12.50

Cons

  • The shells are shorter than normal leading to ejection issues

Verdict

If you are looking for reliable and accurate ammo for your self-defense shotgun, this might be a good choice.

Overall Rating: 5.0

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Federal Game Shok Lead Shotshells

Federal Game Shok Lead ShotshellsThe Federal Game Shok Lead Shotshells is a 12 gauge set of ammo manufactured by Federal. This set of ammo might be a good choice for those who want ammo for game hunting and personal self-defense. Combined with a shorter shotgun it can be safely kept in the house and used with less collateral damage than other rounds due to pattern efficiency.

Key Features

  • It features a brass plated steel head
  • A high-quality round shot that is formulated for optimum hardness to improve pattern efficiency
  • It features a uniform lead shot that provides even and consistent patterns with each shot

What Others are Saying

Based on user reviews, the Federal Game Shok Lead Shotshells is a reliable and accurate set of shotshells that offers devastating knockdown power—not to mention it is more economical to shoot and has a much milder recoil than most other higher velocity loads you will find out there.

Pros

  • Minimal recoil
  • Consistent hard-hitting patterns
  • It is a bargain ammo set
  • It is available in a wide range of shot sizes and loads

Cons

  • The lettering wears off easily. (Although this is not exactly a deal breaker, it is a con nonetheless)
  • The shotshells are hard to find

Verdict

If you are looking for a suitable set of ammo for game hunting and personal self-defense, Federal’s Game Shok Lead Shotshells pack quite a punch. They offer decent performance and devastating power in a wide range of shot sizes and loads.

Overall Rating: 4.8

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The Best Value Product

Remington Slugger Rifled Slug Loads

Remington Slugger Rifled Slug Loads

Fourth on our list is the Remington Slugger Rifled Slug Loads. This set of ammo is supposedly the buck of a lifetime and definitely something you want to try out. They are superior quality slugs that travel at speeds of 1760 feet per second and were designed for anyone who has a smooth bore shotgun and likes to hunt.

Key Features

  • Packed in convenient, easy carrying boxes
  • Muzzle velocity of 1760 fps
  • Available in 12, 16, 20 and .410 loadings

What Others are Saying

Based on user impressions, the Remington Slugger Rifled Slug Loads stack up pretty well, all things considered. They are accurate, give consistent results, and are reliable, which is all anyone could ever ask for. Combined with a powerful shotgun, it can be a good tool for both hunting and home defense.

Pros

  • Spot-on accuracy and a lot of knockdown power
  • Enough recoil to provide reliable functioning in most shotguns
  • A bargain set of ammo
  • Consistent results every time

Cons

  • They are a bit too light

Verdict

If you’ve done any real research, then you know that the Remington Slugger Rifled Slug Loads are an amazing set of ammo suitable for hunting and home defense. They have a remarkably devastating knockdown power and insane accuracy for a clean shot. One thing I will say, though, is that I was a bit hesitant to buy this at first, particularly because it is ridiculously low priced.  But they are quite nice once you give them a try.

Overall Rating:  4.7

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Winchester Rifled Slug

Winchester Rifled Slug

This list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t talk about the Winchester Rifled Slug. It is a reliable, money-saving set of devastating Super-X loads that give you freezer filling results. Due to its incredible versatility, this might be a good choice for those looking for suitable ammo for self-defense, hunting, combat, and target shooting.

Key Features

  • They have a muzzle velocity of 1600 feet per second
  • They feature high power and notable accuracy

What Others are Saying

Based on user impressions, Winchester ammo is a good buy. It is reliable, accurate and to the most part dependable. However, it also leaves behind a lot of wad residue which takes a while to clean up.

Pros

  • They come at a great price
  • They are accurate and dependable

Cons

  • They leave a lot of residue in the barrel
  • They have been reported to have a few misfires. However, when they do all you have to do is hit the shells again

Verdict

The Winchester Rifle Slug is awesome ammo that offers unmatched accuracy and dependability. It is perfect for folks who want inexpensive ammo for hunting, self-defense,and target shooting.

Overall Rating: 4.5

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Conclusion

There you have it…our recommendations for the best home defense shotgun ammo. Of course, I couldn’t mention all the ammo out there as there are countless honorable mentions. It is just that the ones mentioned have impeccable reputations. If you are looking for suitable ammo for home defense, any of these five might be a great place to start. As always, I hope that this information has been helpful.

 

Want to read more ammo reviews? Check out our posts on ammunition for handguns and rifles.

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