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The gem of the shotgun, hence the name. This is where the great versatility comes in for shotgun shells—there are literally thousands of choices available and it’s important to have a general idea of what they are capable of.

The following table will help you understand the sizing of shot that classifies the most common shot sizes used:

Here are the best loads for your home defense shells:

• #1 buck shot—.30 caliber pellets ~11 pellets per shell
• #0 buck shot—.32 caliber pellets ~9 pellets per shell
• #00 buck shot—.33 caliber pellets ~8 pellets per shell

Noticing that the number of pellets decrease as the size of each shell increases, be sure to keep in mind that less pellets that are shot at a target, the less chance there is for contact. A 0 or 1 buck is a great combination of stopping power and spread considering that 9 .32 caliber balls fired at the same time is a good amount or lead and power.