In today's The Tactical Wire, Rich Grassi has an article about using birdshot in home defense shotguns as a viable option because of the close range nature of most home defense situations. I am not one to disagree with someone who I am very confident knows more than I do, but one component of the argument that seems to be missing is the speed at which birdshot can stop a fight.
A while back I was talking with a local police detective about some of the gang shootings in the area and this same topic came up. He related a story of a shooting victim that was shot at close range with birdshot (don't know what size) and it left a nice gaping wound in the victims shoulder, but didn't put him down. A .380 to the foot that broke some critical bones put the guy on the ground. A contact shot to the head from the shotgun scrambled his brain, but still didn't kill him.
The same detective told me of a call he responded to where a guy had been shot in the abdomen at close range with a 12ga shotgun loaded with birdshot. When the detective arrived on scene several minutes later, the guy was still conscious, still coherent, and had he wanted to or needed to, still able to fight.
A lot of my firearms training has come from law enforcement type guys, and one in particular who had nearly 30 years on the local PD SWAT team when talking about the shotgun said the fastest he ever saw anyone die was when they took a round of buckshot to the torso.
I have no doubt that birdshot can be a fight stopper, but when "time is life" like the Magpul guys like to say, I would rather err on the side of stopping the fight sooner rather than later. I have always been told "bullets don't work well", so I am going to do everything in my power to stack the odds in my favor. If I could call in indirect fire support while I bunker down, I would do it.