Ted’s essays

.45 vs 20-gauge

There are three standards in the shooting community that are simply not worth challenging within a group chatting behind the firing lines. Chief among them are the irrefutable power of the .45 ACP (“forty five”), the superiority of the 1911 (“nineteen eleven”) among handgun platforms, and the requirement that shotguns must be 12 gauge. Even if not a majority, the acolytes will be adamant, staunch and vociferous in defense of the aforementioned religions. You may not lose, but you will never win those arguments.

Fortunately we are here not there. I brook no counter-arguments, in fact I don’t want to police a comments section so there is no possibility of any back talk. Thus ‘my truth’ is THE TRUTH. That’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but you can go to the handgun energy link below and find modern 9mm to be as powerful as the vaunted 45.

More to the point here, the too often ignored 20-gauge shotgun has three to five times the energy of the famous “man stopper” from a hundred years ago. Suffice it to say, the power and capabilities are more than adequate for defensive purposes.

Better still, a shoulder-fired 20-gauge is easily handled by youth and adult alike. Of particular high value is that women and older kids can be significantly capable of contributing to home defense. Practice is reasonably mild, pleasant, and therefore maintaining competence is almost all fun without discomfort even to the slighter-framed shooters.

As you can see in the table below, 20 gauge birdshot produces more muzzle energy than the vaunted “man-stopper” .45, and even more than the .223 that NATO has been using since the Vietnam War. If you use 20-gauge buckshot, the muzzle energy will match the widely recognized powerhouse 30-06 rifle round.

Mossberg 20-gauge pump-action “Muddy Girl” with 8-round magazine capacity, pistol grip, ghost-ring sights

.45ACP Federal (185grain JHP) muzzle energy 411 ft/lbs
.223 Remington (55 grain SP) muzzle energy 648 ft/lbs
.30-06 Springfield (180 grain SP) muzzle energy 1635 ft/lbs
20-gauge muzzle energy 1200-2200 ft/lbs

(from birdshot at the low end to slugs at the high end)
The Mossberg shotgun on the left has as many rounds in its magazine as the ‘famed’ 1911.

The links below will take you to TheFixer.biz, one of my websites that, as all of them has no tracking, no popups or other tricky junk that I wouldn’t know how to use even if I wanted to. Each of these pages has a comparative list of muzzle energy data from which the above was excerpted.
https://www.thefixer.biz/2013/03/03/ shotgun-muzzle-energy/
https://www.thefixer.biz/ energy-handgun
https://www.thefixer.biz/ energy-rifle

The article linked below goes much more in depth on why I am so fond of the youth-stocked 20-gauge, complete with a video that says similar things from a different angle.
https://www.thefixer.biz/2019/05/24/ 20-gauge, tactical, youth-stock, pump-action, shotgun
Below is a link to the 20 gauge I like that is available there at this time. The combination of features is not yet common, though popularity of the concept is growing and more offerings are likely to follow demand. Defensive shotguns are not like their skeet, trap or bird hunting relatives as the barrels are significantly shorter, handier at 18-20 inches long. The other KEY difference is the amount of rounds the magazine holds. Hunters are limited to 3 or 4, but for defense, you want a magazine tube as long as the barrel for maximum capacity, around 8 rounds.

Gol-dang that Muddy Girl is attractive. Among the devout, there is no such thing as too many guns. Perhaps I need another Mossberg 20 gauge pump. The $400 price tag is a couple hundred less than a round of golf at California’s Pebble Beach Golf Links. Since I don’t golf …