Pistol caliber carbines, or PCCs are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Shotguns have always been popular, but advances to the platform, especially from Beretta, have once again forced it to the front of people’s minds. We asked: shotgun vs PCC for home defense?
The Shotgun for home defense To answer the question of shotgun vs PCC for home defense, we’re going to break it down into two sections. Looking at the pros and cons of the shotgun, then the pros and cons of the PCC. First, we’ll start with the shotgun, and right off the bat there is a big pro: no individually portable weapon delivers as much destructive power with a single trigger pull as a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot. While researching this article, I look for home defense shootings where a shotgun loaded with buck had didn’t stop the attacker, and I couldn’t find any. In fact, I couldn’t find any HD shootings where a shotgun loaded with buck required a second shot.
Unfortunately, that decisive fight-stopping power comes with a drawback: heavy recoil. The biggest con to shotguns is that they’re hard to shoot, especially for small people. That deficiency is defeated with training, but not everyone is willing to invest the time and effort necessary to master the shotgun. The good news is that if your first shot is a good hit…you probably won’t need a second round.
The gauge loses another point in the shotgun vs PCC for home defense debate because by nature, it has low capacity and is slow to reload. It gets that point back because unless your home is being invaded by ninjas, the odds of you needing to reload your shotgun are so close to zero that they might as well be zero.
The PCC for home defense Now, on to the humble pistol caliber carbine. In this shotgun vs PCC for home defense debate, what does the PCC bring to the table? Well it’s easy to shoot, even for neophytes. Light recoiling carbines are often an excellent choice for home defense, because they enable the shooter to get accurate, fight stopping hits easier than with a handgun. The need for accurate hits is one of the drawbacks of a PCC, because its terminal ballistics are the same as a handgun. Handgun bullets, regardless of caliber, poke little holes in people. To make the PCC an effective tool, the shooter has to be able to put those little holes where they matter. So the PCC definitely loses to the shotgun in terminal ballistics, but it wins user-friendliness.
Where does this leave us? The PCC is easier to shoot and holds more ammo, but the shotgun is more effective at stopping threats. The answer really comes down to “it depends.” An interesting note is that in these times of COVID-19 and civil unrest, the humble pump action shotgun is flying off dealer’s shelves like hotcakes. There’s something that resonates with Americans about shotguns for home protection, and for me it’s also my choice. Of course, I don’t go basic. My home defense gun is a Beretta 1301, which beats the hell out of any PCC.