These shotshells come in practically all of the calibers, from .22 on up to your larger magnum handguns, such as .44 magnums. The principal is the same as a shotgun, but with a handgun: to throw out a cone of this shot (pellets) of steel or lead for a wider dispersion, thereby allowing your pistol to function in the manner of a shotgun.
The purposes you would want something such as this may not be obvious, but we’re going to cover them here, so that you may look at these rounds in a different light. Let’s cover some uses:
- Survival hunting: Yes, you just may have to do some hunting and it may not be hunting season. These shotshells are excellent for smaller birds and animals that would be torn up or decimated by a regular round from a handgun. I have hunted dove in the Southwest with these shotshell rounds with success: the dove is killed without ruining the meat for the table. From a survival perspective, you may need just that small edge if you come upon a small flock of birds or even a squirrel at close range.
- Pest control/protection: This means rats or rodents in your supplies out in the shed or barn, or a venomous snake, such as a copperhead or a rattler if you’re menaced. That spread on the shot pattern gives you an edge and helps with your marksmanship when you’re hard-pressed.
- For Defense when you don’t want to kill: Such as a dog or group of dogs coming toward you in the woods. Send off one shotshell as a warning, and shoot if they keep coming or menacing you and you don’t want to kill them…perhaps a warning shot in the dirt at close range beforehand. You can do more with them for defense, but that is outside of the scope of this article and of my advocacy for actions you may take.
- For Home Defense: you can use the larger calibers (such as .45 ACP, .44 Magnum, etc.) to have a “close encounters home load” that will not present as much of a danger to someone in another room if you miss as with a bullet.
The shotshells do have a drawback. If you’re using them in a semi-automatic pistol, the pressure is not strong enough to rack the slide enough to chamber another round. In this manner, only a revolver is a sure-fire way to ensure you will be able to fire rounds in succession. Once again, it will depend on the make and model of your revolver, as well as the size of the cartridge to determine whether the hammer will be all the way to the rear if it’s a double-action revolver.
Try it out, and pick up a box. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy enough to find at your local outdoor sporting goods or gun store. Throw a box in with your gear and when you’re out and about. You never know when they’ll come in more than just handy..and when they’ll give you the “win” in a situation where life and limb are on the line. JJ out!