Friday, December 19, 2014

Firearm Forum Question: 12 Gauge versus 20 Gauge Shotguns

Ask A Firearms Question:
I just bought a Mossberg 20-Gauge Persuader Shotgun, which shotgun is best a 12 Gauge or 20 Gauge?
Thank you John Lowney.

Here are some Mossberg Home Defense / Tactical Shotguns:

Blog Administrator -
To determine what is the best shot shell diameter size that is best for you (most common are the 410-Gauge; 20-Gauge; and 12-Gauge) the end use drives the final decision. Shotguns are used for sport (Trap and Skeet, or Hunting), and for Home Defense. Some people elect to use a Shotgun for both purposes. To be used for both purposes they need to be full size, not shorten as you may find in a Self Defense Tactical style Shotgun.
A Shotgun may also be used for Cowboy Shooting these are generally double barrel coach style shotguns. They maybe with or without hammers. They may also be lever action shotguns.
Also note there are two other gauges: a 10-Gauge and a 16-Gauge.
The next consideration is who will use the shotgun. Children under the age of 15 and women with small frames will find the 410-Gauge quite accommodating for hunting. Adult women generally prefer the 20-Gauge for either Hunting or Tactical / Home Defense because the 20-gauge has less recoil. Adult men generally prefer the 12-gauge for all uses.
Next thing to look at is the shot shell length capacity. A shotgun chambered that can handle 3-inch shells can shoot 3-inch, 2 3/4-inch, and 2 1/2-inch shells. In other words you can go down in length but not up, i.e. a shotgun chambered for 2 3/4-inch shotgun shells cannot handle a 3-inch shell.
Capacity is the next thing to consider. Semi-auto and Pump Shotguns will hold the most rounds. Double Barrel and Over/Under Shotguns handle 2-rounds only. Single Barrel (common in 410-gauge and 20-gauge) hold one round.
Cost may be a factor as well both in ammo and firearm. Shotguns do NOT have to be expensive to work well. I have owned Stevens/Savage, Mossberg, Remington, Ithaca, Winchester, and Saiga Shotguns.
Generally 12-Gauge Shotgun Shells are less expensive than any of the others. Again brand doesn't play a really big part in standard shot size. I have used everything on the market at one time or another. 12-Gauge and sometimes 20-Gauge can be bought in bulk keeping the per unit cost down.
Some people for home defense like the Pump Shotgun, they say if an intruder hears the pump action it will frighten the Intruder/Burglar away. Personally I think that is a bunch of bunk simply because in the middle of the night you are sleeping and don't want to think about trying to pump a round into the shotgun that should all ready be loaded and ready to fire.
The most common question I get is 'What Shot Shell Size (load number) should I use for Home Defense?'
All my shotguns are loaded with #6 Shot, this works the best for Home Defense. It has lethal impact and a good spread that covers the entire doorway or window where an intruder would be coming through.

=> To answer your question, again who is going to use this Shotgun only you, or others in the house such as your wife. If others are possible users the 20-Guage probably is the better choice. But in either case both will work.

Parts of a Shotgun Shell:

Please ADD Your Comment to this Blog.

Key Search Words: Mossberg, Shotguns, Home Defense, Hunting, Trap and Skeet, Cowboy Shooting, Tactical Shotgun, 12 Gauge, 20 Gauge, 410 Gauge, 10 Gauge, 16 Gauge, Shot Shells, Shotgun Shells, Coach Guns, Double Barrel, Pump Action Shotgun, Savage, Stevens, Ithaca, Winchester, Remington, Saiga, Stoeger, Tactical Accessories, Over Under Shotgun, Semi Auto Shotgun, Single Barrel, Break Action, Lever Action, Gun Repair, Test Firing, Semi Auto, Center Fire, Firearms Forum, Firearms Discussion Board, Ask A Firearms Question, Q-n-A, Firearm Pictures, Cleaning Your Weapon, Firearm Accessories, Target Shooting, Gunsmith, Physics of Shooting, Gun Rights, Outdoor Shooting Range, Twitter, Pinterest, Indoor Shooting Range, NRA, GOA, SASS, Safety First, Damaging Your Weapon, Gun Parts, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, USA Midway, Sportsman Warehouse, Defensive Weapons, Targets, Military Weapons, Police Weapons, The Firearms Guy, Gun Rust, Corrosion, Firearm Maintenance, Reloading, Dillon Precision Reloading EquipmentProtect Your Firearms, Ammo, Independent Test, Recoil, Men Shooting, Women Shooting, Bird Shot, #6 Shot, Buckshot, Shotgun Slugs, Shredders,            

To submit a Question, email it to:

Help this blog grow by joining Google Friend Connect, follow me.

Please follow me on Twitter - @firearmsqa
And on Pinterest - askafirearmsque

Attention Firearm and Ammunition (ammo) Manufacturers, and Makers of Firearm Accessories. I am now Testing Products and issuing reviews on the Firearms Forum (Ask A Firearms Question) site.
If you want your Product TESTED, Reviewed, and Posted here, please contact me.


  1. damn interesting never looked at it from this perspective - thank you for your hard work and topic input - great job, fantastic site.

    1. You are welcome and your comments are appreciated.

    2. I agree this is one fine site filled with endless information.

  2. Just joined Google Friends I am following you.

    1. Thank you for following me here on Google Friend Connect.

  3. Interesting but I prefer my disintegrator beam.

  4. At the moment, I use two pump 12-gauge shotguns with #4 shot.
    #6 shot is cheaper and easier to get and works better in my opinion for women.
    Bass Pro often sells #6 in bulk.
    I have about 2,500 rounds of #6 and about 300 rounds of #4.
    Both of my shotguns are Mossberg.

    1. I usually buy mu bulk 12-gauge #6 and #71/2 shot from Bass Pro also.

  5. Sorry I haven't been here for comments in awhile or on Twitter.

    I agree the #6 is best for home defense interior. I usually load two #6 then two 00 Buck in my pump.

  6. I think the 20ga is seriously underrated. For a home defense gun it is hard to beat a 20a with number 3 or 4 buck. With number 4 buck you get 27 .24call pellets. I think with my number 3 load it has 20 pellets. Not something you would want to get shot with at home defense ranges.

    For hunting the 12a does have the 20 beat at pass shooting ducks and geese. For ducks in timber or over decoys the 20 works very well for me.

    When I started Turkey hunting 30 years ago the 12a with an extra-full or "turkey choke" was all the rage. Then when the 3 1/2" turkey loads came out everybody ran out to buy a gun or a barrel that would chamber them. I remember my dad laughing as he grabbed his 16a over under and laughing that people were calling in heavy artillery to shoot a stationary bird at 30 yards or less. Just for clarity; my dad was a huge duck and goos hunter and he usually hunted with a 12a and even an Ithaca Mag-10.

    If you want a fantastic slug gun get a Remington 870 and put a fully rifled 3" chambered 20 ga barrel. Top it off with a good 1-4x scope, load it with Hornady 20a SST or super performance slugs and you can easily knock down deer at 150yards...or beyond. These slugs are a solid copper bullet; I think they are .45 cal.

    Basically modern 20a ammunition san make your shotgun do anything a 12a can do with less weight and recoil.

  7. I have a 12 Gauge double barrel, mine is the hammer-less style.

  8. Comes down to whatever get the job done.

  9. If it fits for your needs go for it and use it.

  10. 12 Gauge is the only way to go for me.

  11. I use a Remington modified 12 gauge semi auto shotgun.

  12. i always have preferred the 20 gauge

  13. I have a 20 gauge my hubby bought me.

  14. 12 Gauge sawed off pump or double barrel seems to work for me.

  15. Like I said earlier I use the 20 gauge for Rattlesnakes, less recoils.
    I use the 12 gauge for hunting.

  16. Wife hunts with a 20 Gauge, I hunt with a 12 gauge we both own Ithaca shotguns.

  17. Have both, I like to be prepared, oh yes I was a Boy Scout.


Sorry, this BLOG is closed, please feel free to review all post for information purposes only, comments are no longer permitted because of SPAM
Thank you,
The Firearms Guy

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.