Certainly the wisdom of Vice-President Biden couldn't have come from a knowledgeable sane person. Advising women to first shoot two shotgun rounds into the air before shooting at an intruder is not only overtly dangerous but in Hamilton County, patently illegal.
Does the V.P. think everyone lives in a ranch home and no one is ever upstairs? Does the V.P. believe that 00 buckshot doesn't maintain lethal velocity in a parabolic trajectory? Does the V.P. feel it impossible for an intruder to shoot back not knowing the shots were warning shots?
Here is some non-partisan advice for everyone: do not fire a warning shot at all. Yell or scream for them to stop and get out. That is enough warning for anyone. If they are too far away to hear you, you're not in any danger. But if at cusp a shot is fired at an intruder, remember, you were forced into that decision. It was their choice, not yours.
Also, the unmistakable racking of a pump shotgun is universally identifiable as "something bad this way comes" (pardon the paraphrase).
Practice, practice and more practice. Not just "getting the feel" of the weapon, but becoming accustomed to chambering a second round for a follow-up shot (if necessary). Most shotguns hold 3-4 rounds and Biden is advising you to waste over half your ammo on the ceiling? If you practice racking a second round immediately, it becomes second nature and you won't caught flat-footed if you happen to miss (or worse, there is more than one intruder).
And to avoid missing, (all things being equal) do not shoot until the intruder(s) is totally across the room: first demonstrating that you were backed into a wall or corner (for criminal as well as civil liability protection) yet close enough so that with even the shortest shotgun barrel the shot will not disperse so much as to hit everything but the intruder.
Much talked about 00 buckshot from a 3" magnum shell disperses only nine pellets. It's nothing but Hollywood. OO buckshot is needed only if penetration through something else first is required (like a car or door), but you don't need it on a varmint you can plainly see (a hunting definition, not a social attachment). 0000 buckshot (turkey shot) will send many more projectiles downrange at almost 1,400 feet-per-second. At 20 feet, it will stop anything or anyone. It's also cheaper and easier to find.
I am not a shotgun expert. But Carl Poston at Shooter's Supply on Hixson Pike near Highway 153 is, and (if I'm not mistaken) a former Olympic shotgunner. Carl is someone who enjoys offering his point-of-view as long as you listen, don't interrupt and are polite. You'll learn more from Carl in 10 minutes of conversation than you will out of any book. Be patient and wait until he has served paying customer before you start asking for free advice. He can also hook you up with concealed carry permit classes with his great range and instructors downstairs (sorry, no shotguns allowed on the range). He can also provide you with your firearm selection, once you've determined your requirements.
If you're serious about self-defense using a shotgun, please pay no heed to our Vice President when it comes to self-defense. Giving such shamefully ignorant advice to anyone makes me wonder if he's still copying off someone else's exam paper.
David D. Fihn