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4 Shotgun Accessories For A Better Home Defense

4 Shotgun Accessories For A More Effective Home Defense

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A shotgun is the ideal choice for a home defense firearm for many gun owners. There are great reasons for this: avoidance of over-penetration, slightly less demanding accuracy standards in less-than-perfect shooting conditions, and mighty stopping power. Practically every conversation about home defense shotguns also includes mention of that ominous racking sound—but I hope no one is depending on sound effects to scare off intruders, when real force may be necessary.

Like anything else associated with the word “tactical” these days, a plethora of add-ons are available for defense shotguns, not all of which are really useful. Here, I’ll point out a few that are worth the investment for mounting an effective—and ethical—counterattack with a shotgun.

1. A sling

The larger your property, the more complicated your responsibilities at home, the more a sling makes sense. Being able to navigate space hands-free is a major asset; however, it’s also a good idea to keep your gun with you. A sling lets you do both.

Options for slings and sling mounts are many. From a simple latigo strap threaded through the swivel loops on a hunting rifle (making a two-point configuration that’s easy to shoulder), to a one- or three-point tactical setup that allows more options for the method of carry, this is a highly customizable choice.

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Expect to spend $20 to $35 for an entry-level tactical sling. Mounts are generally higher in price, starting at $25 and priced up to $75. Before purchasing a sling/mount set, make sure your shotgun has studs, rails or whatever is needed to attach the mounts. It would seem to go without saying, but make sure the sling’s hardware is a match for what’s on the gun. Paracord is a frequently used accessory for making stiff connections easier to work with, and for making a too-wide sling work with narrow loops or rings.

2. On-board ammunition

Let’s assume your gun’s capacity is more typical, between two and six rounds. Even six rounds may not be enough in dire situations where multiple attackers or poor marksmanship have created the need for more ammo.

Where will more ammo go? As with slings, there are choices. I’ll eliminate things like belt-mounted ammo storage for this discussion, since this is about ammo that’s needed in fast order—so it needs to be in or on the gun.

Extended magazine tubes are one choice, and the shortest distance between need and a hot chamber. Alternative mag tube choices exist for common platforms like the Remington 870, Mossberg 500, and their variants. A couple brands also have manufactured their parts to be compatible with Remington or Mossberg mag tubes, but be sure to check the specs before purchase. Expect to spend $50 to $80 on an extension for a magazine tube.

Not crazy about the idea of modifying your scattergun? One alternative is a cloth cartridge holder, which can stretch over or Velcro onto the buttstock, keeping ammo at the ready. I did find it necessary to secure this sock-like accessory with tape when I used one to prevent it from sliding around. That might be undesirable if you aim to preserve a finished wood stock.

Similar to a cloth cartridge holder, but possibly requiring some modification, is a sidesaddle-type shell carrier. These can be mounted anywhere from the buttstock to the receiver, depending on design, and price can vary from $25 to more than $100, depending on material and capacity.

Left-handed shooters should note that many cartridge storage products are made with a right-hand bias, and may not be usable without modifications.

One advantage of an external ammo storage system is being able to organize, and see, ammunition types in relation to their position on the gun. Methods vary, but some defenders like to have one type of ammo, like buckshot, in the magazine, and birdshot ready in the most available loading position. Perhaps slugs will be in the rearmost position. Storing the shells with primer up or down, or a combination thereof, also can help indicate ammo type in a high-pressure situation.

3. Auxiliary light

4 Shotgun Accessories For A More Effective Home Defense

Image source: LA Police Gear

It’s your legal and ethical obligation to correctly identify a threat before firing. The handful of tragedies and more near-tragedies that happen annually due to failure to identify the target are inexcusable.

We’re talking about a gun that you’re likely to use in the dark hours. Light is a must for identifying your target. It also might serve as a navigational or signaling aid, but this kind of use should be minimized since, with a weapon-mounted light, the muzzle will cover everything you light up—a shaky proposition from both safety and legal viewpoints; the latter especially applies when outside of your residence.

Wouldn’t a nice flashlight do just as well? Perhaps, but most people aren’t prepared to wield both a flashlight and a long gun while making accurate shots. So a gun-mounted light makes sense, though it cannot avoid the muzzling issue, so that safety rule about keeping your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you’ve decided to shoot applies — in spades.

Entry level long gun-mounted lights begin at around $65. Prices climb rather dramatically after that, with some excellent choices available for less than $200. You’ll want to select a light with a pressure switch — that is, one that you can operate with the hand that’s on the forend, and one that turns off as soon as you release pressure. When someone’s trying to kill you, it’s a good idea not to reveal your position with light more than necessary.

4. Tritium front sight

Least beneficial but still useful of the four items here is a front sight with a tritium insert, which glows in the dark and is visible only behind the gun. Without it, only a silhouette of the front sight will be visible with a weapon-mounted light. This accessory will cost $60-$100, but consider hardware and gunsmith costs. as well. Be sure to practice with any sight system so you know where your shots will impact at typical close-range distances, and adjust your sights accordingly, or adjust your hold if the sights are non-adjustable.

Hopefully. this has given you some ideas of choices to accessorize your home shotgun to make it safer and more effective for defensive use. While these gadgets are useful, having them is only half the equation. Practice, and with that, knowing how to use them in dim light, is equally valuable.

If readers have experience with other shotgun accessories they’re fond of, I’m interested in hearing about them.

Do you have other favorite shotgun accessories? Share your tips in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

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  1. Be aware that some of the sidesaddle ammunition holders do require a modified forearm on pump actions, depending on the model. The rear of forearm collides with the front of the unit. I learned this one the hard way and took some time to order a forearm that worked.

  2. Granville E. Wiggins, Sr.

    Sign me up to email pkease

  3. Absolutely no sling! It will be the first thing to get caught up on something. after all, this is an article about “home defense”, not wandering around the property looking to get thrown in jail for other than protecting life and limb in the home.

  4. The high visibility filament sight beads aren’t as luminescent as the tritium, but are usable in low light indoor where some ambient light exists. An older book I read years back hand mentioned a thin white line painted on top of barrel / rib helped with his instinctive shooting better than a sight bead. Also – the single shot makes for a good weapon as well, its short overall length is quite handy in hallways. Because of recoil issues, the 20 gauge here is probably a better choice

    • As a former special ops operator I can tell you the article above and a few comments will get about anyone reading it killed.

      A well put together 12 gauge home defender should be no problem for anyone to use to maximum effect. Plain truth time: The act of home invasion means the “baddies” know you are home, they know you know the layout of your home, they know you may be armed. They know speed, speed and more speed is their only hope of success.
      You must be faster:
      It’s 3:00 am you just woke up hearing glass breaking and footsteps coming down your hall hesitation now will get you killed your family will soon follow. What do you do?
      Grab your tactical shot gun- No sling, no stock, pistol grip no stock. remember you have about 2 seconds to get out of bed, rack a round into the chamber safety off, tac light on…because “Baddie #1 is just about to burst into your bedroom- the wife is screaming, who knows what’s happening with the kids…

      A quality barrel break choke will vent the gasses and allow you to recover fast. A 10 shot magazine filled with combat mix. 000 buck, slug, 000 buck, slug… and so on. There is a reason for this ammo load… wounded “baddies” can testify in court. Buckshot with a slug finish means only your side will be heard. The stark reality is you will be in court defending your actions.
      Sights on a home defender scatter gun are useless… A sight means you will tend to close one eye to gain a “bead”. Deadly mistake, your situational awareness is cut in half as your peripheral vision goes down. Remember the “baddies” are smart they know you may be coming with a shotgun, who’s to say they don’t have one? Hiding on your blind side is only smart.
      Keep both eyes open look down the barrel to the front, a good tactical shotgun has vent ribs, put front of the barrel on target- generally little low and to the right if right handed shooter and fire. A quality light is all the sight you need, if the “baddie” is in the focal point of the light squeeze trigger. Little discussion on lights, Installing motion sensing lights in and around your home will give you the advantage. Most likely stop an attempted invasion in the first place. So will a well trained dog.

      On to extra onboard ammo for any weapon… Bad bad bad idea unless you want to spend the rest of your life in prison. Most all states have a castle law which means you have the right to kill anyone you deemed a threat to your or your families life. The laws state the act of reloading a weapon in a state of duress becomes pre-meditated murder. Some states have laws as to where you have the right to kill intruders check your state laws. Hence, if indeed you have not neturalized the invaders with 10 shots the shotgun becomes a club. The best option is to have a second weapon or a second person as back up.

      Now to sum this all up:
      Prevention is the best method for anything, but in the event all that fails:
      Have a plan- what does everyone do when that rude glass breaking wake up at o dark thirty happens? Kids hit the floor and hide in a specific place- the shotgunner will know not to shoot there. Wife grab back-up weapon and dial 911. The list goes on and on.

      Training: Know your weapon- have you practiced with the home defender? If you intend to take lives defending yourself you better be darn good at using the weapon. Get yourself trained in all aspects of that weapon, and practice with it. Make your shotgun part of you. Can you hit 5 targets with killshot at 10 yards in 5 seconds? Train everyone in the home to fire the weapon- what happens if the “baddies” know you have a broken leg? Heck they know when your on the thrown… Taking anything too lightly will get you and your family killed.

      • Dear Duckf00t,

        Sir, with all due respect your response is ill placed. If in fact you were a special ops operator (?) your comments are more related to that venue than the everyday home invasion carried out by common thugs. The common home invader goes no faster than an average turtle when entering a home… are kidding yourself!

        Your comments about reloading are absolutely incorrect….if you are in fact being threatened by one or more intruders you can shoot and reload as much as needed until the threats are clearly no longer a threat or danger to you or your family! Period.

        • I have no desire to get into arguments over information I presented. Believing a home intrusion will be slow is the best way to get you in a box. As to using a castle law. Many states law say a person has the right to defend their home “defense of habitation” only if an invasion is taking place inside your home not your vehicles or property.

          Some states laws require a “duty to retreat” if you can get out you must.
          Only 18 states have a “stand your ground” law which gives you the right defend your property from any person doing illegal activity on your property. Only life threatening actions by warned person can you use deadly force.

          As to reloading. Believing you have the right to do anything you want to protect yourself is going to land you in heaps of legal trouble.
          All readers need to educate themselves as to their states laws regarding, reloading a weapon, legal home defense ammunition types (usually limited to handguns and rifles). For example some states hollow points or reloads in a concealed carry weapon will land you a murder charge if you use it even in a justified shooting. The laws around justifiable homicide are skewed to land law abiding citizens only trying to defend themselves in prison. That is a topic on politics that doesn’t belong here. Educate yourselves folks. Ignorance of the law will not excuse you from it.

  5. I would add oversized safety button, magazine extension and steel follower to the list.

  6. I’ve worked with “spec ops ” personnel while on 21 yrs of active duty. Never known a single one to use the term “baddies” or advocate retreat. Nor subscribe to using a mix of assorted ammo in a shotgun. Use one type of ammo and be familiar with its capabilities. Definitely put a light on it to ID your target.

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