Buckshot is a powerful choice for home defense, but only if you choose it with care. The main benefit to buckshot is its stopping power, but using a round with too much power can lead to problems with recoil and excessive penetration. The best buckshot for home defense usually uses an intermediate load that balances power and control. The shells must also be reliable to make sure that they don’t fail or cause a misfire during an attack. There are a lot of options to sort through, so we’ve simplified the search by making this list of ten balanced and reliable buckshots.
10. Rio Buckshot
9P buckshot from Rio Ammunition offers much more stopping power and a higher muzzle velocity than many other shells at a similar price point. The manufacturing quality is also high for its price, so the pattern is consistent and the ammunition is reliable. However, it tends to be slightly longer than other comparable choices, so it can reduce the ammo capacity of some guns. It also suffers from heavy recoil. It isn’t suitable for small shooters, but it may be the best buckshot for home defense for people who can handle the recoil and need the power.
9. Aguila Minishell
Aguila Ammo produces miniature shells that are both very useful and highly specialized. The shells are a fraction of the size of most other options, which can boost a gun’s ammo capacity. They also minimize recoil. Unfortunately, they are not compatible with most semiautomatic weapons, and even some pump guns can have trouble with them. They are the best buckshot for home defense in guns that can take them, but you do need to check their compatibility with your weapon and experiment with them to make sure that you can put them to good use before you rely on them.
8. Winchester Double X
|Bullet Material||Copper Plated Lead|
Double X shells from Winchester stand out for their high velocity. The shot is plated with copper, which reduces the risk of deformation and encourages a tighter pattern. Taken together, those traits make this one of the most powerful ammunition options. Winchester’s ammo also tends to have very consistent performance, so shooters who use it will always know what to expect in terms of performance. It’s more expensive than many options, but it will be worth the money to people who need potent and reliable ammo.
7. Remington Express Buckshot
The Express buckshot from Remington is one of the best options for 20 gauge guns. It uses Remington’s one-piece wad system and polymer buffering to make sure that the shot pattern is tight and consistent. Remington’s quality control is excellent, so defects are rare and this ammunition is highly reliable. Everyone who uses a 20 gauge shotgun should consider it, but a 12 gauge variant is also available for those who want to use similar rounds in all of their shotguns.
6. Wolf Buckshot
|Manufacturer||Wolf Performance Ammunition|
Wolf produces buckshot that offers a compromise between cost and quality. Unlike most other shells, it uses a slice of cardboard to keep the shot in place. That can cause some defects if the shell gets exposed to poor conditions, and it causes the shot pattern to widen more than normal outside of short ranges. That usually is not a problem when defending a home, but it does limit the ammo’s use and make it less reliable than some alternatives. On the other hand, it is cheap and functional in most defensive contexts. Try it if you need to minimize your costs, but try something else if you have a bigger budget.
5. Hornady Critical Defense
Hornady’s line of Critical Defense buckshot is optimized for home defense. Hornady’s focus on ensuring reliable firing in semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns, which makes this one of the most dependable shells. It also includes a Versatite wad that ensures tight patterns. This shell has a lot of power, so users should be careful with the recoil and the risk of penetrating a wall by accident. This is an excellent shell when those issues aren’t going to be a problem, but cautious shooters may want to pick something that has a little less power.
4. Federal Premium Personal Defense
|Manufacturer||Federal Premium Ammunition|
|Bullet Material||Copper Plated Lead|
Personal Defense ammo from Federal Premium is the best option for most individuals who have trouble with recoil. The ammunition offers just as much power as the average 12 gauge shot, but it has significantly reduced recoil. It uses No. 4 buckshot, which is better than most at losing energy as it passes through walls, so it’s also a relatively safe option, although you still need to use it with care indoors. It’s great for small or safety-minded shooters, but it does perform well enough to warrant consideration from others.
3. Lightfield Rubber Buckshot
The best buckshot for home defense for people who prefer to minimize risk is the rubber buckshot from Lightfield Ammunition. It can cause serious injuries or even death, but the combination low mass and high velocity make pain and moderate injuries more likely. Those traits also make it less likely to penetrate a wall and hurt an innocent bystander. While it will dissuade many criminals and other intruders who aren’t looking for a fight, it may not be enough to deal with more dedicated attackers. Therefore, you should pair it with another type of ammunition. You can read this for more home defense shotgun shells.
2. Sellier & Bellot 00 9P
|Manufacturer||Sellier & Bellot|
The 00 buckshot from Sellier & Bellot is the best buckshot for home defense on a tight budget. The shell’s main advantage is the combination of a low price with high reliability, but it also comes with an unusual clear hull. That makes it easy to identify the round if it gets mixed in with other ammunition in storage, and it can help people who want to check for defects. Choose this shell if you intend to buy in bulk and practice regularly, but consider a premium option if you don’t intend to use a lot of ammunition.
1. Hornady Heavy Magnum Coyote
|Bullet Material||Nickel Plated Lead|
Heavy Magnum ammunition from Hornady is the best buckshot for home defense for accurate shooters. It has less power than many other cartridges, but it has enough of a punch to stop most assailants. It produces tight patterns, both because the nickel plating reduces shot deformation and because it uses a special wad that holds the shot together. Almost every shooter can use this ammo well, but the tight pattern means that it is best for shooters with experience who can aim it precisely.
Making The Right Choice
Most buckshot will perform well when defending a home, but the best results will always come from taking the time to find the best buckshot for home defense. The choice comes down to picking the right power level for the situation at hand, so everyone needs a different cartridge. If you know of any good options that we didn’t review, be sure to point them out in the comment section.