The U.S. has the best-armed civilian population in the world, with an estimated 270 million total guns. That’s an average of 89 firearms for every 100 residents.  Many of these firearms fall in the Shotgun category, one of the most used home defense weapons systems in America.

I often get asked, “what’s the best home defense ammo for a shotgun?”. My first response is, “do you have others living in the home with you, and how close is your nearest neighbor?” .

The PDX1 Defense shotgun ammo often comes up in discussion when on this particular topic.  I snagged 10 boxes of this ammo and took it to the range to test out its “defense”  capability in an urban/home environment.

PDX1 Defender

The PDX1 12 gauge 2 3/4 shell contains the best of both worlds.  The shell contains a 1 oz Foster rifled slug with three pellets of plated 00 buckshot with a muzzle velocity of 1150 fps. On top of the slug, are where the three pellets lay.  Packed in-between the pellets and slug, is a product called “Grex” , small plastic granules that are designed to give you a tighter pattern.

At 15 feet, the patterning should hold a 4 inch group, home defense distance.  Whats also cool about this ammo, is the fact that it claims that it should hold a very predictable shot group.  The copper pellets should pattern at the 10, 2, and 7 o’clock with the slug being the center.


At typical home defense distances of 15-20 feet, I placed a target made of ballistic gelatin and draped clothing on it with a target depth of 13.5 inches to simulate the depth of a “typical” human body. For the test I used “summer” type clothing consisting of a light T-shirt.  Behind the target at a distance of 3 feet, I placed 1/2 inch thick drywall, the typical thickness of drywall found in most homes.

Firing one of the shells into the target at 15 feet, I was first taken back by the amount of energy the projectiles placed into the target, causing the clothing to fly off of the gel.  Walking up to the target and looking at the drywall, I noticed something that I figured, but hoped wouldn’t happen.  The slug along with one of the pellets penetrated the drywall completely.  The two remaining pellets varied in direction as it exited the gel.  The pattering and group size of the pattern was pretty much as advertised.  The group size maintained a 3.8 -4.5 inch group, with the pellets positioning anywhere from the 10, 2, and 7 to the 12, 3, and 6 o’clock.

After conducting the test at different angles (target and drywall), the results stayed the same, over-penetration.  The slug would penetrate the target and exit the drywall 100% of the time while the pellets managed to only exit and fully penetrate the drywall  45% of the time.


  • Excellent energy transfer
  • Predictable shot pattern
  • Excellent grouping
  • Best of both worlds combining the slug and buckshot
  • Passes the FBI penetration depth


  • Over-penetration


If you are worried about possibly shooting into an adjacent room within your home, or possibly exiting the home itself, this may not be the round for you.  I would suggest frangible ammunition.  If you’re not too concerned with the con’s of this ammunition, you’re sure to be pleased with the amount of kinetic energy transferred into the target!