Shotguns for Home Defense

The shotgun is probably the most versatile gun you can own. If you had to choose and had to select just one weapon to use in a survival situation, for home defense, and for hunting, the shotgun would be the best choice.

For hunting, it can handle game from small to large. Use bird shot to hunt fowl and small game, use slugs for large game. For home defense, no other weapon can match its versatility. It can shoot non-lethal bean bags at the one end of the scale and can provide the most knock down power of any gun period using buckshot and slugs at the other end of the scale.

The price and availability of the shotgun is again puts it ahead of any other type of gun. Buy the famous time-tested and proven Remington 870 pump shotgun for  $330.00 new, or find a used one for even less money.

The reliability of the Remington 870 is well-known and the reason why it is the choice of so many government and especially law enforcement agencies.

My choices for shotguns include the Remington 870 in 12 Gauge or 20 gauge, the Remington 1100 in 12 Gauge or 20 gauge, and the Benelli M4 Super 90 Tactical shotgun. There are, of course, other excellent shotgun choices for home defense use but my experience has been solely with the Remington models and the Benelli M4 so that is what my recommendations are based on, my personal experience.

Shotguns come in two main types, pump and semiautomatic. There are also single shots, and the double barrel, but why limit yourself to just one or two rounds for defense. When and if trouble comes then the more rounds the better. My Remington 870 pump-action shotgun holds six + 1 rounds, my Remington 1100 semi auto holds 7 + 1 rounds, and my Benelli M4 shotgun can hold 7 + 1 + 1 for a total of 9 rounds of shotgun ammo.

The pump shotguns are the most reliable because they have fewer parts, and this is proven with the Remington model 870 however, a well maintained Remington 1100 can also be considered reliable. The Benelli M4 has a superb record and has proven its reliability as a combat shotgun in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Semiautomatic shotguns can be either gas operated or recoil operated. Benelli made a series of inertia operated shotguns called the Benelli M1, Benelli M2, and Benelli M3. The Benelli M3 can operate as a pump shotgun or as a semiautomatic shotgun by turning a selector knob on the fore end. The recoil/inertia operated shotguns depend on the action/reaction of the recoil to operate the gun. The Remington 1100 and 11-87 are gas operated. The Benelli M4 is also a gas operated and has two gas pistons.

A shotgun for home defense can be made from any brand of shotgun but it is best to stay with the popular and proven brands such as Mossberg, Remington, and Benelli. There are more shotgun accessories available for these popular makes than any other.

A homemade shotgun, homemade in the sense that it is modified for use as a home defense shotgun, can be easily modified for use in tactical and combat situations and can serve as an economical home defense weapon.

The minimum length barrel for any shotgun is 18 inches. A sawed off shotgun, short-barreled shotgun, or any long gun with barrel length less than 18 inches requires a federal tax stamp and permit. It just isn’t worth the hassle and the added expense for what you might gain. And don’t forget that State laws may have additional requirements. Stick with the 18.5 inch standard length barrel with overall gun length exceeding 26 inches to avoid any problems with the Feds. State gun laws may vary so be aware of and understand your State laws.

Shotgun stocks include:

  • factory stocks
  • tactical stocks
  • collapsible stocks
  • pistol grip stocks

Tactical shotguns can have an adjustable, collapsible, or fixed stock. There are also pistol grip shotgun stocks available but I don’t feel that a shotgun is very controllable or accurate with the pistol grip stock.

A home defense shotgun can be as simple as a sporting or field shotgun, or a shotgun designed specifically for tactical or combat use. The tactical and combat shotguns have increased magazine capacity and are usually shorter in length for easy navigation in confined spaces.

Shotgun ammunition – One of the features that makes shotguns so versatile is the variety of ammunition available. From bean bags, to birdshot, to buckshot, to slugs. No other firearm has such a wide range of ammunition choices.

When in the market for a home defense shotgun don’t limit yourself to just the new shotguns for sale. A new shotgun can be purchased in the $300 range, but Don’t overlook the used shotguns that may be available locally and on the Internet. There are many great buys available on, and at local pawn and gun shops.

Here is a list of shotgun manufacturers

Mossberg shotguns – Mossberg makes the Mossberg 500 pump shotgun and the Mossberg 590 pump shotgun. The Mossberg 590 is used by the military and law enforcement. Mossberg also makes a line of pistol grip shotguns called the Just in Case series.

Remington shotguns – The Remington 870 pump-action shotgun and the Remington 1100 semiautomatic shotgun are the most popular shotguns in the world having sold tens of millions of each. The Remington 870 is acclaimed for its reliability and has seen use by the military, and is used by more law enforcement agencies than any other shotgun. Remington also makes the Remington 870 Tactical shotgun, the Remington 1100 Tactical shotgun, and the Remington 11-87 tactical shotgun

Benelli shotguns – The Benelli M1, Benelli M2, and Benelli M3 are well-known for being quality shotguns. The Benelli M4 Super 90 tactical shotgun is now the contracted combat shotgun by the U.S. Military and has seen use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

FN shotguns – It is not well-known that FN USA manufactures and supplies machine guns for the US Military. FN also makes shotguns that are claimed to be the fastest action semiautomatic shotguns available.

Browning shotguns – Primarily manufacture durable, high quality sporting shotguns that are well-known for easy handling.

Winchester shotguns – Primarily makes sporting shotguns but the Winchester Super X Defender pump shotgun is designed as a reasonably priced home defense shotgun or tactical shotgun.

Beretta shotguns – Beretta makes a line of home defense shotguns called the Beretta TX4 Storm 12 Gauge gas operated semiautomatic shotgun.

Saiga shotgun – The Saiga shotguns use the same design as the gas operated AK47 action. The AK47 is famous for reliability but I have no experience with the AK47 or Saiga shotguns.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the many shotgun reviews available about virtually every model of shotgun made. Gather your own information and then make an informed decision. That’s what I did to get started on my gun collection.

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