Sunday, February 5, 2023

Birdshot and Overpenetration

2/5/23 Shooting Illustrated article about whether birdshot as a technique for avoiding overpenetration of walls when engaged in home defense.  

The short version: it is surprisingly effective at distances of less than 20 yards in sheetrock.  They (suggest better or more training.)  This is why my primary home defense gun (in the unlikely event anyone here was stupid enough to break into an occupied residence in one of the most heavily armed states in the Union) is a Browning Hi-Power.  It now has a 6 pound trigger pull and is mighty accurate.  I would still be concerned about overpenetration but it seems like anything with enough power to be an effective disabler is going to overpenetrate except for brick and concrete walls.

I remember my disappointment some years ago when a friend used material from his new house to construct multiple walls for testing.  Everything from .380 ACP JHP to .45 ACP Silvertips easily went through six sheets of drywall.  I doubt insulation would have helped much.

Make sure you practice with realistic targets and distances with multiple paper attackers.  Best of all move to places that do not believe in catch-and-release law enforcement. 


  1. I had a 9mm round come through an exterior wall. (The joys of living in an inner city.) It came through the exterior steel siding, the old cedar siding that the renovators hadn't bothered to remove, the plywood sheeting, the insulation, and the interior rock lath and plaster.

    It then travelled across my living room, hit the wall on the opposite side, and barely scratched the paint.

    What's often missed is that while most everything will penetrate a wall, but doing so destabilizes it. Meaning it will be tumbling and slowing down rapidly.

  2. I'm a #4 Buckshot guy. The pellets are basically .22's and you get a lot of them in a 12ga shell. 00 Buck is 9mm and goes through walls just fine. The #4 is bad inside your house but shouldn't bother your neighbors.