VIDEO: Aguila Minishells: Home-Defense Solution or Marketing Gimmick?

The shotgun is an excellent tool for home defense, but if you could double your gun’s ammo capacity and reduce recoil without making any alterations to your gun, wouldn’t you take advantage of it? Aguila’s Minishells make such a promise. But I had a few questions: Will they generate enough pressure to operate a semi-auto’s action, and will they feed the same as a typical 2 ¾” shot-shell?

*To test the shells, I selected a Browning A5 and a Remington 870 for my automatic and pump, respectively. I assumed that a side-by-side or over-under configuration would work with these shells regardless of their length, and didn’t test them.*

Aguila Minishells: Home-Defense Solution or Marketing Gimmick?
On the left, a standard 2 3/4″ shotshell. On the right, Aguila’s Minishell.

The good:

The Minishells yielded a considerable reduction in felt recoil. This could prove to be a significant advantage for follow-up shots and if the gun may need to be operated by a smaller person or child. Their reduced length allows for a doubling of shell capacity in the shotgun’s magazine, while still maintaining enough shot for home-defense purposes. (Even enough to break a few clay pigeons on the wing, I found.)

The bad:

These little shells may be half the length of an ordinary shell, but they’re twice the price. You can expect to pay around $10 for 20 rounds. But hey, if they work, right? Well, they don’t, really. They lacked the pressure to operate my Browning A5’s action, and even with a stock Remington 870, I experienced regular jams and failures to feed—the short shells tumbling as the elevator brought them into the chamber.

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Conclusion:

Because Aguila seems to be the only company producing these Minishells, I figured there must be a reason they haven’t caught on. Now I know why. Unless you’re defending the home with a side-by-side or over-under shotgun (in which case the smaller case length of the Minishells is of no tangible benefit beyond reduced recoil, as capacity is still two), I’d steer clear of these quirky little rounds.