Aguila Minishells for Home Defense?
Russ Chastain 08.16.19
Aguila’s stumpy little Minishell shotgun shells are a mere 1.75 inches long, but they work pretty well. Back at the 2017 SHOT Show, I fired several and hit more clay targets than I missed with them. Also nice was the reduced recoil and report. This leads some folks to wonder how well they would work in a home defense situation. And Paul Harrell takes a look at that in the video below.
For the record, Aguila company reps don’t pronounce the name the way Paul does. If you care, they place the stress on the first syllable, more or less “AG-will-uh.” Moving on…
Minishells are available in birdshot (No. 7.5, 8, or 9), buckshot, or slug (7/8-ounce). Paul uses the buckshot load that contains a combination of pellet sizes; 7 pellets of No. 4 and 4 pellets of No. 1, which add up to 5/8 of an ounce in total. He compares them with Federal Power-Shok 2.75-inch shells containing 27 pellets of No. 4 buckshot.
We’ll shoot these side-by-side and see just how much power we’re giving away with the Minishells and see if there’s any advantages to these short shells.
Pattern size was pretty much the same with both types of shells.
When it comes to velocity, the Minishells averaged 1130 FPS while the full-grown Federals move faster at 1258. For further comparison, he adds in a diminutive 410 No. 4 buckshot load that moves along at 1193 FPS. Point: Even the little 410 throws buckshot out there faster than the Minishells, and with almost as many pellets (9 vs. 11).
I have to agree with Paul when he says Minishells are totally inadequate for deer hunting — and that they were not designed for that. More likely, they were created with the intention of using them against humans in self-defense. Naturally, he next unveils the patented Paul Harrell Meat Target.
At five yards, he blasts away at his meat and produce, first with the 2.75-inch shell. My late father taught me number 4 buck is a great anti-personnel load and Paul’s results bear that out. On top of that, he concludes that it has “very little potential for overpenetration through the intended target.”
The Minishells perform just about the same, although (naturally) with fewer pellets.
The [Minishell] results, I’d have to say, are not bad at all.
Next, he examines one of the main “advantages” touted by proponents of Minishells: increased magazine capacity. He uses a semi-auto scattergun that normally holds 4 rounds, and is able to load 7 Minishells into it… which is moot because that gun won’t cycle with the short Minishells. This is a fair point… one must ensure proper functioning in whatever gun you choose to use the Minishells in.
With a Mossberg 500 & extended magazine, he shoves a full dozen Minishells into the mag that normally accepts seven 2.75-inch shells. But again, he gets a feed malfunction (and not the first one he had).
His ultimate conclusion, while more detailed than what I’m about to type, is that most folks will be better off with conventional shotgun ammo for home defense.
Check it out and see if you agree.