Alright, yes, we got a little juvenile here. But mankind does not live on webcomics about guns that are srs bsnss and instructional alone, right? So a dick joke.

I never promised you a rose garden.

I was tempted to get into the debate about 20 ga vs. 12 ga in these comics, but ultimately decided against it because it would bog down the story, and really, really was unnecessary. Instead, I’ll explain Mick’s reasoning here, in text:

“Why is he offering Heidi a 20 gauge instead of a 12 gauge?”
Because she is a woman who lives in an apartment.

“YOU SEXIST SHITHEAD”
Stop.
Mick is Mick. I do not think a 20 gauge really has enough difference from a 12 to matter – and we own and fire both often. I like both gauges for different reasons that mostly have to do with the firearms in question, not the caliber.
If a shooter can handle a 20, they can handle a 12. That’s my belief. Both have a fair amount of recoil, and both will do amazing damage to a target – sure, it’s not 00 buck, but a 20 ga loaded with #3 buck is more than enough to put a bad guy in the dirt, at home-defense distances.
Mel and I have matching Mossbergs with 18 inch barrels in 12 ga, and we like ‘em. I also have an H&R Topper single shot 20 ga, and most recently sold off my Winchester 1300 pump in 20 gauge. I like that I can pull off a 100 yard shot with the 20 slug with less adjustment for elevation/wind/bullet drop than the 12 ga slug. I like the 12 because it goes KAFUCKINBOOM and destroys what it hits.

“Why does it matter if she lives in an apartment?”
A 20 ga has provably less penetration than a 12 ga. It’s still going to eat through drywall no problem – but a 12 will retain deadly force through at least 2 layers of sheetrock, where a 20 ga loses velocity much more rapidly. (Thanks to the Box O’Truth.)

All of that said, if you’re only going to buy one, I recommend a 12 gauge. If you can get both, go ahead and throw a 20 in your arsenal as well. The 20 has slightly cheaper ammo at Wally World, and the slugs out of it can really reach out. I’ve had 6 inch groupings at 100 yards with slugs out of the 20, whereas an 18 inch smoothbore 12 gauge ended up all over the goddamn place, including one hit that destroyed the wooden arm of the range target, at least 16 inches from center mass. Embarrassing, to say the least.

One thing I would warn: I’ve tried it, and dammit, I’m not a bad shot: Do not buy a 20 gauge with expectations of taking it to the skeet range. I can, and have many times, shot doubles with a 12 pump. It takes practice, but it is totally doable. Some gun forums say that shooting doubles with a pump is “crazy.” I don’t get that.

However, shooting ANY clay pigeons at a trap/skeet range with a 20 gauge is, and I say this with the caveat that my experience is absolutely true, the rule, no exceptions*: FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE. We burned 100 shells trying to hit clays with that Winchester, and maybe hit 8. Some of those shots I KNOW would have hit perfectly with a 12. It was a day of frustration and anger.

*He said with a lot of hubris, waiting to be told otherwise

Here’s Hickok45 doing some 12 gauge slug.