Birdshot vs Buckshot: Why birdshot is never better for home defense
By David LaPell
Collection of shotgun shells: Federal #4 buckshot, left, Fiocchi #8 birdshot, middle, Remington 00 buckshot, right. Though the debate between buckshot and birdshot as a defense round has raged for decades, truth is there really isn’t much to debate… (Photo: David LaPell)
There is a debate among defense shooters that is as old as the bickering over 9mm versus .45 ACP and as contentious as the sparring over the 1911 or the Glock. It is, which is better for your defensive shotgun, birdshot or buckshot?
If you were to ask the biggest reason why someone would pick birdshot, the most common answer is overpenetration. They don’t want to take the chance of an innocent person or a family member in the next room or apartment getting shot by a stray pellet of buckshot. This is a self defeating problem when you get down to the numbers.
Buckshot is most popular in a few sizes, the most common of course being 00 and #4 (not to be confused with #4 birdshot). Buckshot in the 00 variety in a 2.75 inch shell is either eight or nine pellets and is .330 inches in diameter. In contrast, #4 buckshot is .240 inches with 27 pellets in