I love my guns, but at the end of the day, there are very few that really matter to me. The AR-15s, AK-47s, and other “fun guns” are great, but don’t serve much of a purpose to me. However, if you want to talk about a weapon that does serve an essential purpose to me, it would be my home defense shotgun.
I have owned and tried more tactical-style shotguns than I can remember. This is one firearm that I don’t mind spending extra money on, or doing a ton of testing until I find the perfect one.
In my opinion, a shotgun is absolutely necessary for home defense. However, in order to be a viable option for home defense, I think a few criteria must be met.
First and foremost, the shotgun must be reliable. In a home defense situation, being able to count on the weapon is absolutely paramount. There is no way around that.
Second, a fast cycle rate is important to me. It gives me some peace of mind that I am able to re-engage the target if necessary. A commonly held opinion is that semiautomatic shotguns are not as reliable as pump action shotguns. In my opinion, this is both true and not true. There are more internal parts that can go wrong, but there are plenty of quality, reliable semiautomatic shotguns available.
Third, the sights must be good, or must have an easy way to mount my own sights if I choose to do so. Generally speaking, I prefer to put my own sight on it, as it’s probably going to be a sight I can easily see at night.
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Last, I generally prefer a shotgun with a pistol grip. My opinion is that these are more mobile and controlled, although it’s not a necessity. I know that not everyone will agree with me on that, but in my personal experience, I have found them to be more mobile.
So, here is a list of some of my favorite home defense shotguns. All of these are 12-gauge shotguns that I would load with Winchester PDX Defender shells.
1. Benelli M4 Tactical
It feels wrong putting a semiautomatic shotgun first on my list, but once you’ve used this one, you will understand why. Although it does have a pretty steep price tag, this is an absolutely awesome weapon that meets all of my criteria. It has a 5+1 magazine capacity, and weighs in at 7.8 pounds.
The weapon is extremely reliable, as I haven’t had any issues with cycling any different shells. It also cycles extremely fast. The sights that come on it are decent, and they are fully adjustable. You can also get tritium inserts for the standard sights, which will make them easier to see at night. However, it also has a Picatinny rail system, so you can mount your own sights to it if easily.
If you like the sound of this one, but are a little afraid of the pricetag, the Benelli M2 is another good option that is less expensive.
2. Mossberg Model 500 Tactical – SPX
This pump action shotgun from Mossberg is a beast. Similar to the Benelli M4, it has a pistol grip and a 5+1 capacity. However, this one is a pump-action, which many will find enjoyable. Some folks will tell you that simply pumping the action on a shotgun is enough to scare off a would-be intruder.
This shotgun also has some good standard sights. It has a fiber optic front sight, which allows for excellent visibility. Just like the M4 though, it also has a Picatinny rail if you want to mount your own sight.
The pistol grip and pump are ergonomic, and allow for plenty of grip and control. The stock of this one is fully adjustable, which is an advantage over the M4. It is also a little bit lighter than the M4.
As far as pump-action shotguns go, this one is my favorite. It is comfortable to hold and shoot, it is reliable, and the price is reasonable.
3. Remington 870 Express Synthetic Tactical 7 Round
I have written before about how much I love the Remington 870. In my opinion, it is the best shotgun on the market. They are extremely reliable and will last forever. The only reason that this one isn’t higher on my list is because it doesn’t have a pistol grip.
This pump action from Remington has a 6+1 capacity and weighs 7.5 pounds. It is extremely sturdy, and the action will work every single time for years and years.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about the single bead sight on this one, and it doesn’t have the Picatinny rail. The sights aren’t awful; it just took some time getting used to them.
4. Mossberg 930 Tactical – 8 Shot SPX
I’m generally not a huge Mossberg fan, but their home defense offerings are awesome. The 930 Tactical is a semiautomatic shotgun, and the 8-Shot SPX version has a pistol grip as well as an 8-shell capacity. This extra shell could make a huge difference. It weighs in at 7.75 pounds.
When I shot this shotgun, I thought it was pretty smooth and enjoyable to shoot. However, I definitely don’t think that this action is as smooth as the Benelli. While it never gave me a reason to be concerned, I still think it’s worth mentioning.
Just like the other Mossberg shotgun, this one has excellent sights, and also has a Picatinny rail. While the stock isn’t adjustable like we saw on the 500 Tactical, this weapon is still pretty comfortable to carry and maneuver with. I would feel more than comfortable with this weapon for defending my home, especially when considering that it’s available at a reasonable price.
5. Benelli SuperNova Tactical Pump
Last on our list is a pump-action shotgun from Benelli. This one has a 6-shell capacity and weighs 7.6 pounds. It has a stock and pistol grip that is very similar to the M4.
The action of this shotgun is silky smooth and it has very little recoil compared to its competition. If you have ever fired a Benelli pump action, you know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.
The sights on this one are good, but unfortunately there isn’t a Picatinny rail. You can have either open rifle sights or a ring style sight. Just like the M4, there are optional tritium inserts for the sights.
Overall, this is an excellent quality pump action that is extremely affordably priced. It would do great for a home defense shotgun, especially considering the pistol grip.
What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below: