Choosing a “best home defense shotgun” starts with ammo. I set out to get the real facts on the penetration of various shells when fired at close-quarter distances out of a traditional home defense pump-action shotgun. For the test, my team and I constructed a replica wall with standard 2×4 studs centered on 16 inches. Both sides were covered with 5/8-inch thick drywall. We didn’t place any insulation inside. This is code construction for most interior walls.

Our Home Defense Shotgun Ammo Test

I fired a variety of loads from a distance of 21 feet; those included:

  • #7.5 Remington Gun Club Target Shells
  • #4 Remington Ultimate Defense Buckshot Shells
  • #00 Remington Ultimate Defense Buckshot Shells
  • 1 ounce Remington Managed Recoil Slugs

I aimed each round specifically at the stud to gather data on drywall penetration, stud penetration, and approximate pattern size. A rear-facing camera caught the action from the backside of the wall and let us witness if and how much penetration actually occurred.

Starting with the light #7.5 loads, we saw penetration through the first layer of drywall. However, surprisingly, it did not make it through the second layer. Following up with #4 directly below it, we saw a very adequate pattern for its intended use. We saw penetration through both layers of drywall, but no penetration through the stud. On the right side of the wall, we sent some 00 buck. As expected, it went through both layers of drywall, but surprisingly not through the stud. We ended with the slugs and landed three on the stud itself. Even when the slug hit dead-center it found its way clean through the 2×4 stud and, of course, both layers of drywall.

Watch the entire test above. Shoutout to Remington for providing the test ammo. For more more information, please visit

Up Next

Galco Adds QuickTuk Cloud IWB Holster Fits for SIG P320, M18

With a rigid, open-top Kydex design and ballistic nylon backing, the Galco QuickTuk Cloud...