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18" vs 14" for HD

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by RedneckRampage, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. I've been considering filing my ATF paperwork for a SBS, and SBSing my 870P. I use the gun for HD, and for fun shooting. In case of a SHTF situation, it would also be my main means of protection. My question is, for indoor use (HD), is loosing 4" in barrel and over all length much of an advantage? How much accuracy do you loose with slugs and buck? How much of an advantage do you have when clearing your home? I see lots of "entry" shotguns with 14" barrels. Another consern is, I'd loose 2 shells. Thanks.
  2. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000

    A 14" shotgun is much faster to use inside a building. Not that 2 rounds lost doesn't matter, but the extra speed for the first 5 or 6 shots is more than worth it.

  3. series1811

    series1811 Enforcerator. CLM

    I carried a 14 inch shotgun for years. The missing four inches doesn't affect accuracy at all as far as I could tell, but it certainly is easier to move around in a confined space than with an 18 or 20 inch barrel. Especially getting out of cars, and clearing buildings.
  4. blk69stang


    Jan 10, 2011
    I would STRONGLY reccommend you NOT go with an SBS (or any NFA firearm for that matter) if you plan to use it for self-defense. I know it's stupid, and I know it shouldn't be this way, but the fact is that if you use an NFA item in a self-defense shooting, the prosecuting attorney will use this to make the jury think you were some kind of blood-thirsty "crazy" who "laid in wait" for some unsuspecting "misunderstood" and "economically disadvantaged" person to break into your home so you could murder him. As stated above, the difference from a 14" to an 18" barrel is negligible ballistically, but it will be worth it's weight in gold to be able to say to a jury that the gun you defended yourself with can be bought at any local Wal Mart and is identical to the shotguns carried by sportsmen and hunters every day, rather than a "highly restricted sawed-off shotgun". Heck, just the term "sawed-off shotgun" sounds criminal.

    It's stupid, but that's the way it is.

    If you want an SBS for the range or for if "SHTF" or "TEOLAWKI", then great, but DON'T use it for HD... get a dedicated HD shotgun that is an off-the-shelf non-SBS model, and rest easy knowing you won't be crucified simply because of the weapon you defended yourself with.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  5. Your source (examples) of this "advice"?

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  6. H&K .45 AUTO

    H&K .45 AUTO 10-42

    Aug 4, 2005
    Kansas City, MO
    I am issued a 14" 870 Police for my job, and I keep an 18" shotgun for home defense. My reason is simple.... The 18" gun requires less money, and effort to acquire. Aside from that, I much prefer the size of the 14" barrel on my issued shotgun. (I guess I could bring it in from my car every day, but that just seems like a PITA to me).

    As for accuracy, I don't notice a difference between the two shotguns. The 14" barrel Remington will hold its own against my 18" barrelled 870 clone. Then again.... I don't try to use my shotguns when a rifle is more appropriate. Beyond about 50 yards or so... My AK-74 (off duty), or AR (on duty) get the nod. At home defense ranges, I can't tell a difference.

    With regard to the way a home defense shooting will be looked upon if an NFA weapon is used... I can only speak with regard to how things are done in my area. We are gun friendly folks around here for the most part. A legal firearm is a legal firearm, and a justified shooting is a justified shooting. YMMV where you live, but I hope the rest of America enforces the law this way (I know that is not the case).
  7. series1811

    series1811 Enforcerator. CLM

    I have to admit, that I'm not sure losing 4 inches is worth the NFA hassle. I have never even considered going through the red tape to have my 18.5 inch home shotgun barrel shortened. Plus, having the extended magazine is nice.
  8. pugman


    May 16, 2003
    I believe I've read the average home invasion shooting involves a distance of 12' or less...basically across a room.

    Even my main floor which is very open I couldn't fire in a straight line more than 40'

    At those distances I don't think it will matter much.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  9. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

    Sep 16, 2008


    Its a lot of hassle and money just to shave off 4"

    I agree. You can buy an 18" shotgun in almost any store that sells firearms, even in sporting goods store or Walmart. That is how your attorney will play it if you got sued or if the shooting was questionable. However when the other attorney holds up that 14" shotgun and explains the steps you took to make it a "Sawed off" shotgun, it just does not look good.
  10. ArmoryDoc


    May 14, 2006
    I have a simple Remington 870 18.5" barrel with mag tube extension. Matches my work guns and not a lot of money in it in case I lose it to an evidence room for a couple of years and it comes back with hand-scribed evidence booking numbers.
  11. Njanear

    Njanear Nagant-ophile

    Jul 20, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    For the extra cost and worked involved turning that 18" into a 14", I say just use that same money to go buy another 18" gun and go after the intruder with a 18" gun in each hand. :supergrin: Sure, it will be tough to work the actions after the first salvo, but if you can't hit them with those first 2 shots...... you have bigger issues.
  12. method


    Mar 27, 2002
    Cleveland, OH
    Barrel length has very little, if anything, to do with inherent accuracy.
  13. blk69stang


    Jan 10, 2011

    Google "Harold Fish". But, since SEARCHING obviously eludes you, here's a link:

    The basics: A retired schoolteacher is hiking in the wilderness with a 10mm on his hip. He is accosted by a homeless drifter with two aggressive dogs. Then... "Fish claimed he was defending himself from a violent attack after two dogs and then Kuenzli charged at him on the Pine Canyon Trail in southeastern Coconino County.

    The former Tolleson High School Spanish teacher said he fired warning shots at the dogs with a 10mm semiautomatic pistol and then shot Kuenzli three times as Kuenzli charged down a steep trail toward him yelling death threats."

    In a nutshell, the BG charges at Mr. Fish yelling "I'm going to kill you!" (I don't remember offhand if the BG had something that looked like a weapon or not). Anyway, Fish defends himself, BG gets dead, then Fish subsequently is arrested for killing the man.

    The prosecution's main argument: because Fish used a 10mm, which is "overly powerful" (so much so that it was "too much gun even for trained FBI agents") that he used "excessive force" in defending himself, and only carried such a powerful gun because he went out looking to kill someone that day.

    It's a completely stupid, baseless, and IGNORANT argument, but you know what? IT WORKED, and someone who was forced against his will to make the choice of "kill or be killed" got convicted becayse if ut,

    Yeah, and this happened in AZ, one of the most gun-friendly states in the US. They hand-picked a jury that didn't have any "gun people" in it, which made it easy for the prosecutor to mislead them on the facts.

    If they can do that argument simply because the guy used a less-common caliber, just IMAGINE what a lawyer could say about someone who used an "evil sawed-off shotgun".

    Many jurors are not "gun people" and don't understand that the difference between a common shotgun and an NFA weapon can sometimes be a difference of less than an inch of barrel length. Remember Ruby Ridge? They killed Mr. Weaver's family over a shotgun barrel that was arguably less than 1/4" under the legal barrel length.

    Couple that with the fact that ALL lawyers are dirty lying snakes. You don't think a slimeball attorney will use smear tactics and hype to chalk up one more court case in their "win" column? They're much like the leftist media... you and I know that "evil black rifles" and "assault weapons" are not inherently evil, but the way they paint the picture you'd think that by picking up one of them you are instantly transformed into a grandma-punching, baby-eating Hitler.

    Misinformation is used to further agendas all the time. Lawyers use it all the time to sway juries. Open your eyes, do a little critical thinking. Try thinking farther than 5 minutes ahead of yourself and "wargame" out how someone could twist completely benign facts into something sinister, and plan accordingly to head off such BS tactics. Not using an NFA weapon for self-defense is one EASY way to do that.

    The same way it's perfectly legal to use an NFA weapon for justifiable self defense, it's also perfectly legal (in AZ) to dress head-to-toe in camo, put on a ton of web gear with mag pouches, strap on a dual-pistol shoulder holster, and walk around with an AR-15. But if you get into a self-defense shoot, it's SURE TO look like you went out "looking for trouble", making such a decision a STUPID IDEA.

    I'm not arguing that it's illegal to use an NFA weapon for SD. I'm just arguing that it's imprudent.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  14. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    The problem is, by your logic it would be imprudent to defend yourself with anything other than a single shot .22 rifle.

    "You used a .308, a caliber often used in sniper rifles?"

    "You used a 12 gauge, a shotgun that can be used to hunt elk and bear?"

    "You used a 9mm, the most common military fighting pistol caliber in the world?"

    Seriously, what weapon can't have a spin put on it? Keep those Punisher logos off your gun, keep the fight legal and ethical, and hope the legal system works the way it should. Using a less effective weapon to defend your family is not the right answer.
  15. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000
  16. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004

    Super shorty or 18 inches.
  17. Tomac


    Aug 12, 2001
    Caldwell, Idaho
  18. 18" Savage 311 about same overall length as a 14" Remington 870 and no paperwork needed.

  19. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    dropping from 6 shots to 2 shots is a high tactical price to pay though.
  20. Thank you. I stopped reading his post as soon a I saw the name Harold Fish.

    I almost feel bad that he wasted all that time to type that crap out. Almost......

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