There is likely no other firearm with as diverse a range of suitable applications as the shotgun. Shotguns come in a wide variety of sizes generally referred to by a unit of measurement known as the “gauge.” Some of these include 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 12 gauge, and 10 gauge; the smaller the number, the larger the bore diameter.
“Shot,” which consists of small, generally spherical projectiles of various sizes, is usually fired from a smoothbore barrel, and the rifled slug barrel generally fires the more accurate, solid projectiles. Shotguns can also be accessorized for various applications, including optic mounting systems, custom stocks, grips, lights, and slings. The shotgun can be used for hunting anything from water fowl to large game. It is undoubtedly the most prolific firearm used for hunting, and has been for generations.
This same multi-purpose firearm is a staple of many shooting sports such a trap and skeet. Young shooters often partake in such disciplines as part of extracurricular school activities, and some go on to become well-recognized in the sport shooting arts. Youth models of many shotguns cater to younger users, and with manageable recoil and appropriate sizing, serve to introduce themselves to this particular demographic.
No military or law enforcement endeavor would be complete without the venerable shotgun. From military operations overseas to the urban jungles of today’s cities, operators rely on the proven effectiveness and reliability of the shotgun in their day-to-day responsibilities. With devastating effectiveness, those who put their lives on the line every day consider the shotgun essential to their work.
Completing the circle, the shotgun is also part of many well-planned home defense scenarios. With the pistol requiring much greater proficiency to operate accurately in high-stress encounters, and most rifles not being an optimal choice for close-quarters deployment, the shotgun again proves its worth as a viable and reliable firearm for home defense.