6 Best Home-Defense Tactical Shotguns [2019]

At this moment I have a safe full of nice and expensive rifles and handguns.  But…it is a shotgun that sits by the bed.

Gun Bed!
Gun Bed!

Why?

Because, per trigger pull, it delivers the most terminally devastating payload possible from a controllable, shoulder-fired firearm.

12ga Shotgun Shells, Opened (L to R: Bird, Buck, Slug)
12ga Shotgun Shells, Opened (L to R: Bird, Buck, Slug)

When it comes to home defense we all want the most effective weapon possible.  Our family, our lives, and our homes deserve that protection.

Mossberg 590A1
Mossberg 590A1

That’s not the only reason though.  

Throughout this article, we are going to dive into what the tactical shotgun is, why it rocks, and how to recognize and address the weaknesses.  

And of course…our favorite ones across all price points.

Update: See the best beginner shotguns in action, and how we at Pew Pew kitted out our personal shotguns, in our video review! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel also!

Table of Contents

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What is a Tactical Shotgun?

What separates a tactical shotgun from a hunting shotgun?  

Double Barreled Hunting Shotgun
Double Barreled Hunting Shotgun

There are certainly a few different features that make a shotgun ‘tactical’:

18 to 20-inch Barrel

This length of barrel keeps the weapon short and maneuverable when used inside buildings or even vehicles.  18 inches is as short as you can legally go with a shotgun barrel without requiring a tax stamp and federal registration.

Pump or Semi-Auto Operation

Shotguns come in every flavor imaginable.  This includes pump action, semi-auto, lever action, bolt action, and single and double barrels. Pump and semi-automatic actions are the only two that are practical for home defense.  They are the fastest forms of operation for a shotgun.

A Good Set of Sights

Most shotguns come with a single bead at the end of the barrel that acts as a sight.  These work for a lot of applications but if you want to squeeze the most out of your shotgun a front and rear sight are important, or even a quality red dot (Aimpoint, Trijicon, etc.)

Sling Mounts

A sling allows you to attach the weapon to your body.  This allows you to retain the weapon while using your hands for other tasks and makes it difficult for an attacker to strip you of your weapon.

Chambered in 12 or 20 Gauge

12 gauge is the most common combat shotgun caliber, especially when it comes to semi-automatics.  The 12 gauge is the more powerful option as well.  It also makes the firearm larger, heavier, and recoils fiercely.  A 20 gauge is still a very potent round and is much friendlier for smaller people.

Revenge of Amazon 12 Gauge Speed Strips
12 Gauge Speed Strips

Capacity of 4+1 Minimum

The shells a shotgun uses are quite large and therefore most shotguns are limited in capacity.  4 +1 will settle most encounters, but preferably you are using something more akin to 7+1 to give yourself that extra edge.

A Stock

Any fighting shotgun needs a stock.  Pistol grip only shotguns are fun, look cool, and handy in some situations.  However, a shoulder stock makes a shotgun much easier to handle, much easier to shoot accurately, and more comfortable.

What Can the Shotgun Do?

Why is a shotgun so effective?

First off…versatility.

I can fire the widest variety of projectiles from a shotgun. I can engage anything from pests like possums to two-legged varmints, and even creatures as big as bears.

Types of 12ga Shotgun Shells (L to R: Bird, Buck, Slug)
Types of 12ga Shotgun Shells (L to R: Bird, Buck, Slug)

The shotgun has three primary loads:

Birdshot

A load filled with small pellets, ranging from dozens to hundreds depending on the particular load used.  Designed for hunting birds, clay pigeons, and other small game.  Not very effective for home defense.

12ga Birdshot, Opened
12ga Birdshot, Opened

Here is my Mossberg 590 with birdshot…

Buckshot

A load of larger pellets commonly ranging in caliber from .24 (No 4 Buckshot) to .36 (000 Buckshot).  The number of pellets varies per load and caliber of the ball used.  Perfect for medium game and tactical applications.  

The most common is 00 (“double aught”) buckshot which is equivalent to 9 lead pellets roughly 9mm in diameter.

12ga 00 Buckshot, Opened
12ga 00 Buckshot, Opened

And here is my Mossberg with buck…there’s a lot more kick:

Slugs

Solid projectiles of around 1 oz in weight. 

Often quite larger, heavy and powerful.  They allow you to extend your effective shotgun range.

12ga Slug, Opened
12ga Slug, Opened

Best Home-Defense Tactical Shotguns

With all this in mind, let’s look at the top 5 tactical shotguns on the market today…

1. Mossberg 500 Series

If you want one of the longest serving combat and police shotguns, the Mossberg 500 is for you.

Mossberg 500 with Surefire
Mossberg 500 with Hogue Stock, Surefire Dedicated Shotgun Forend, Side Shotshell Holder, and shotshell bandolier 

One of the “Big 2” in the pump shotgun world…the Mossberg 500 is one of our favorites.

The big difference from the Remington 870 (the “other” popular pump shotgun) is that its safety is on top of the receiver and accessible with your thumb.

Mossberg 500 Safety Switch
Mossberg 500 Safety Switch

And since it’s so popular…it has one of the largest pools of potential upgrades.  Check out all of them in Best Mossberg 500 Upgrades.

But…

Need something that’s built upon the 500 receiver but more hardened for combat and tactical use?

Enter the Mossberg 590A1.

Mossberg 590A1
Mossberg 590A1 with an awesome paint job and Side Shotshell Holder

Mossberg has built a wide variety of different configurations for the 590A1.

This includes Ghost ring sights, or night sights, fixed or collapsible stocks, and capacities of up to 9 rounds.  Regardless of the features you choose, you are getting one of the best pump action combat shotguns ever designed.

Built for the dangers involved in military life, the Mossberg 590A1 is a solid combat shotgun.  From the finish to the thick walled barrel the 590A1 is a tank.

Best Pump Shotgun
520
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

You can even mount a bayonet to it if that floats your boat.  As a pump action shotgun, it can handle everything from powerful magnum loads to the lightest reduced recoil ammunition, and even less lethal ammo types.

Also be sure to check out our Best Upgrades for the Mossberg 500/590 Series.

What’s your take on the Mossberg 590 variants?

Readers' Ratings

4.74/5 (514)

Your Rating?

2. Remington 870

Something can always be said about a classic hardwood stock and pump.  Combined with the classic Remington 870 platform and you get a design that has lasted the test of time.

Our Remington 870
One of our Remington 870

The Remington 870 gives you 6+1 capacity and an 18.5-inch barrel for maneuverability inside close quarters.  You get a front rifle sight, so I would certainly suggest adding a nice adjustable rear sight.

The main difference from the Mossberg 500 above is that its safety is a button near the trigger.

Remington 700 Safety Button
Remington 700 Safety Button

The 870 design is so well known and so popular that there are tons of different accessories for it available.

This includes numerous different designs of sight saddles, lighting options, and even scope mounts for a red dot.

Remington 870 with Streamlight
Remington 870 with 20″ Barrel, Choate Extention Tube, and Streamlight TL-Racker

You can swap the barrel with any other 870 barrel without modification as well.

Top it off with a solid sling and you end up with a perfect home defense pump action shotgun.

Check out all the options in our Best Upgrades for the Remington 870!

Remington 870, Top Folding
Remington 870, Top Folding

If you were going to pick just one upgrade though, we highly recommend the Streamlight TL-Racker. Not only is it awesome looking, but the integrated flashlight adds a lot of tactical and practical usefulness. The design of the TL-Racker also makes the shotgun easier to rack, a major plus in a high-stress situation.

Otherwise, it’s another workhouse pump shotgun that has a stellar reputation.

Runner-Up Best Pump Shotgun
400
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Got one you need to clean…or want to see how easily one breaks down?  We go over it in our 870 Cleaning & Lubing Guide and video:

Intermission: Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870

We could stop right now if we wanted…since these two big boys of the tactical shotgun market are the two most suggested firearms.

Mossberg 590
Mossberg 590

But if you were to choose between these two dependable pumps…how would you?

Remington Model 870, Pump Shotgun
Remington Model 870

No worries…we’re here to help!

  • In materials, the 870 has the upper hand since its receiver is made out of steel while the Mossberg is alloy.  However, for the normal user, this will never be a problem.
  • In ergonomics, we believe the Mossberg wins because of its placement of the slide release and safety.  You can reach everything with your shooting hand.
Mossberg 500 Parts Diagram
Mossberg 500 Parts Diagram
  • The Mossberg also gets some points in having two extractors on its bolt instead of Remington’s one.  This is a “just in case” sort of thing since the Remington has a huge following and history of reliability.
  • One thing we don’t like is that Remington’s ejector is riveted while the Mossberg’s can be removed and changed with just a screwdriver.  If your 870’s ejector wears out or breaks, you’re going to your gunsmith.
  • Both have similar accessories such as shell carriers to extend capacity (Remington 870, Mossberg 500) and forend grips with flashlights (Remington 870, Mossberg 500).

In the end…I chose the 590 since it holds more rounds (8+1) and I liked the placement of the safety on the top.  But you really can’t go wrong with either.  Hold them both in your hands and see which one chooses you!

3. Benelli M3

Am I biased in this choice? Maybe a little.

Ever since I saw the movie Heat I’ve loved the Benelli M3.

Benelli M3
Benelli M3

That love grew the first times I got some trigger time on one.  First off, Benelli makes the best combat shotguns on the market, and yes, their price reflects it.

They innovate and grow shotgun technology with every design.  What makes the M3 stand apart from other shotguns is its operating methods.

Yes, that plural.

The Benelli M3 can function as both a semi-auto shotgun or a pump action shotgun with the twist of a ring.  It easily changes from semi to pump to for handling lighter loads, or less lethal ammunition.

1200
at Benelli

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The semi-auto mode reduces recoil and is one of the fastest cycling operations of any shotgun.  As a Benelli you know it’s built to fight, and built tough enough to be an heirloom weapon.

Benelli M2, Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Benelli M2, Semi-Automatic Shotgun

My Benelli M2 is my primary semi-auto shotgun that I run in 3-Gun competitions.  If you’re looking for the best pure semi-auto shotgun…that’s my choice!

4. Hatsan Escort Aimguard

If you are looking for something that is incredibly affordable, and extremely durable the Hatsan Escort series of shotguns may be for you.

Hatsan Escort
Hatsan Escort

The Escort Aimguard has a 7+1 capacity and comes with a 20-inch barrel or 5 + 1 with an 18-inch barrel.

One thing that is important to remember is the low price is not because the shotgun is poorly made.  In fact, the Escort even has a chrome lined barrel and all metal components.

The pump is actually quite unique and placed more rearward than most shotguns. 

This makes it much easier to use for people with shorter arms.

The pump actually passes the receiver when used.  The shotgun is available in both Marine grade finish and standard blued for between a $150 to $200 dollars.

Most Affordable
300
at Hatsan

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Maverick 88

How about another budget choice…that’s essentially a clone of the Mossberg 500?

Maverick 88
Maverick 88 with Fab Defense Recoil Reducing Side Folding Buttstock

The Maverick 88 is made by Mossberg and the primary difference is that its safety is not on top…but is in front of the trigger.

Maverick 88 Safety
Maverick 88 Safety

This cuts down the price drastically and the 88 can be had for under $200 if you look around.

But because it’s essentially a 500…it fits (almost) all the upgrades.  For us we put on a nice recoil reducing and folding Fab Defense buttstock and a side saddle.

280
at Cabelas

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

We also have a full-on review of the 88 it right here.

6. Mossberg SPX 930

The Mossberg SPX 930 ($700) is the tactical derivative of the Mossberg 930 series.

Out of the box, this shotgun is ready to rock and roll in the tactical shelf.  Out of the box, it’s ready to go.

Mossberg 930 SPX
Mossberg 930 SPX

It’s also one of the most reliable semi-auto shotguns and is priced affordably.

The 930 SPX is topped with an amazing set of sights, sling swivels, 7 +1 capacity and a Picatinny rail for mounting an optic.

Since it’s made by Mossberg you know it’s a quality firearm and backed by an excellent warranty.  The 930 SPX is built like a tank, and the semi-auto action reduces recoil to a pleasant thump.

Adding a side saddle is incredibly simple, and there are a variety of options to go about it.  

The ambidextrous safety is certainly handy.  You also have a wide ejection port for speed reloads, and clear and consistent ejection.

Best Value Semi-Auto Shotgun
700
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The One Thing to Remember

A tactical shotgun is made to end the threat.

Load it accordingly.

When we start talking about using a shotgun defensively we will focus primarily on buckshot and slugs.  Inside the home buckshot is king.  If you keep a shotgun as a truck or trunk gun you can toss in some slugs for longer range encounters.

Ammunition for shotguns is ridiculously common.  You have a wide variety of choices for buckshot and slugs for home defense as well.  Every major ammunition company has a line of defensive shotgun ammo.

Per round price wise shotgun ammo seems quite expensive.  I can get 9mm for 16 cents a round if I go looking.  (Good) shotgun ammo is a little pricier.

It’s also much more effective.

Ammo Price Rundown

My favorite Federal FliteControl 00 Buckshot costs about a 1+ dollar per round, this is my self-defense round.  I can buy cheap buckshot like Nobel for training for about 60 cents a round.

I train a lot with birdshot, especially for reload drills, and weapons manipulation, I can buy birdshot for 25 cents a round for training.

My chosen self-defense slugs are the Winchester PDX Defender segmenting slugs.  They run me roughly $1.50 per round.  Some more basic hunting slugs cost roughly .86 cents per round.

In a home defense situation, you will be in close quarters combat.  CQC moves extremely fast and is supremely chaotic.  You want to end the fight as fast as humanly possible.  The last thing you want is an extended firefight happening in your home.  

That’s why the shotgun rules in close quarters.

Looking for more choices?  Check out the Best Shotgun Ammo for Self Defense & Range.

Paying to Play

A great quality shotgun can cost almost as much as a great quality rifle.  See our most popular article…AR-15 Buyer’s Guide.

A quick search shows me the running price for a Daniel Defense AR-15 is $1700.

DDM4A1
DDM4A1

Meanwhile, a Benelli M4 goes for $1,700 also.  Both of these weapons represent the best of the best when it comes to design and build quality.

On the opposite spectrum, the cheapest AR I can find right now is the DPMS Oracle for $599.99.

I can find a Mossberg Maverick 88 for $220.

Maverick 88 All Purpose
Maverick 88 All Purpose

Shotgun Downsides + Fixes

With this, all said the shotgun does have some inherent weaknesses.  A shotgunner needs to acknowledge these weaknesses and train or accessorize past them.  

Training is certainly the primary means to overcome weaknesses.  

Accessories also have their place on a shotgun.

Short Range

A shotgun will always have a shorter range than a rifle.

These range estimations are based on effective combat distances, not hunting birds range.  There are also different factors that cause variances, like ammunition used and the presence or lack of a choke.

Buckshot is largely limited to roughly 25 to 35 yards.

Birdshot?

This one is massively dependent on the load you use.  In general, birdshot is not the best defensive choice.  It’s made for birds, which are significantly smaller than people.  I’d say five yards for a critical wounding shot with most birdshot.

Birdshot is like putting a fire out with a bucket of water.  You can do it, but a fire truck works a lot better.

Even when loaded with slugs you are looking at 100 yards effective range for a defensive encounter.  Because of the shotgun’s inherent short range, you need to squeeze every yard possible out of it.

Choking Up

A choke is designed to constrict the barrel at different levels.  

Briley Choke
Briley Choke

Different chokes produce different results with most ammunition. Some chokes are removable, some are fixed.  Chokes can keep your pattern tighter, and give you a more effective range.  

Most tactical shotguns have a cylinder bore, which is the lack of a choke and encourages a wider spread for CQC.

Maximize your Shotgun’s Range

As a shotgunner, this means having a solid set of basic marksmanship fundamentals.  

This includes trigger pull, using sights, breath control, and turning your body into a stable firing platform.  The old myth you can’t miss with a shotgun is just that, a myth.

Pattern Your Shotgun

This means trying a variety of loads and see which loads is the tightest out of your shotgun.  When you pattern a shotgun you learn how the pellets hit over different distances.  The old rule 1 inch for every yard is not always accurate.  Again, chokes and ammo selection cause a lot of variances here.

Patterning a Shotgun
Patterning a Shotgun

With my Federal FliteControl 00 ammunition and a cylinder choke, I get basically one ragged hole at 10 yards.  

At 15 yards we have a palm-sized group.  At 35 yards I cover the A zone of an IPSC target, which is roughly a 6 x 11-inch rectangle.

Buckshot gives me about a fist size group at 10 yards.  At 15 yards I’m hitting mostly in that same 6 x 11-inch rectangle. 20 yards and I’m covering the entire upper torso of an IPSC target.  At 35 yards the entire target is covered and some pellets miss.

As you can see patterning is quite dependent on the weapon, the choke, and the ammunition.

Patterning will allow you to find the best load for your shotgun, and you can also squeeze out a little extra range from it.  You should also test slugs, and see how and where the slugs hit, and zero your sights for slugs.

Why Do Sights Matter?

In terms of accessories, the best thing you can do here is get a good set of sights.  Open rifle sights were the old standard, and they still work fairly well.  However, a solid set of peep sights, mounted on the rear of the receiver are much better.

Ghost Rings and Open Night Sights
Ghost Rings and Open Night Sights

My favorite set is made by LPA and is completely adjustable for zeroing.  Alternatively, you can use a short range optic.  A good red dot like an Aimpoint or the Trijicon MRO is excellent choices for a shotgun.

Lower Ammo Capacity

You basic combat shotgun is a tube fed model, that typically contains 7 to 8 rounds.  

Personally, I prefer tube fed for a shotgun over a magazine any day of the week.  External box magazines are often bulky, and occasionally unreliable.  A tube fed shotgun gives the user a smaller profile and a reliable feeding system.

Saiga Shotgun
Saiga Shotgun

7 to 8 rounds is a relatively low ammo capacity compared to the 30 rounds a standard modern sporting rifle can hold, or even the 17 rounds most 9mm handguns can hold.  To address this weakness you need to learn how to top off a shotgun.

In a perfect world, your shotgun will never go completely dry.  You should always ‘top it off’ when possible.  This means feeding the tube during each and every lull in the action.  

One of the more common tactics is to fire two, load two.  Maintaining this rhythm will keep you from ever running out of ammo.

To top off your shotgun you need to have ammo on hand.  My personal preference is a side saddle ammo carrier.  

Shotgun Side Saddle
Shotgun Side Saddle

This gives you a reload on hand as soon as you grab the weapon.  So if something goes bump in the night, you can respond immediately and still have a reload on hand.  Just remember to train with that side saddle, it isn’t there to just look pretty.

Lastly, always keep the shotgun fully loaded.

There is no reason to pump your shotgun unless you are reloading for a second shot.  Do not fall for the gun store gossip that, “racking the shotgun will scare them away.”  It won’t, and you’ll give away your position.

The only time they should hear the sound is because you’re about to take a second shot.

Recoil

The shotgun delivers a devastating payload into your target and can do the same for your shoulder.  A shotgun’s recoil, especially the classic 12 gauge, can be quite fierce.  It is still controllable, but when compared to a modern sporting rifle it’s quite powerful.

There are a few things you can do if recoil is an issue.

For a pump action shotgun, reduced recoil buckshot is an excellent idea.

Stance is still key.

Shooting Leaning Stance
Shooting Leaning Stance

You can also use the recoil from the shotgun to help you pump the weapon faster.  As the inertia pushes your shoulder backward you use that inertia to rack the shotgun.  By the time the recoil impulse is over, you’ll be ready to shoot again.

How a Semi-Auto Shotgun Can Be Better

You can also look into a semi-auto shotgun.  The actions and operating systems of a semi-auto shotgun reduce recoil significantly since either the gas or inertia is used to rack the next round.

Most will not cycle reduced recoil loads reliably, but it’s not really needed with a semi-auto shotgun.

A semi-auto shotgun can use several different operating systems, the most common being gas and inertia.

Gassed Up

Gas powered shotgun diverts some gas from the barrel to the action.  Just like in the AR-15 and other gas operated guns.

Direct Impingement
Gas Gun

This gas is created by the gunpowder in the shells.  As it burns and becomes gas it pushes the projectiles out of the barrel and cycles the shotgun simultaneously.  Gas guns are typically more reliable with ‘lighter’ loads and reduce the most recoil.

Use That Inertia

Inertia systems essentially use the recoil of the shotgun to cycle the bolt.  

The bolt carrier and what’s known as the inertia spring are not fixed to the receiver.  The recoil caused by the gun firing causes the spring to compress and the spring then stores enough energy to send the bolt to the spring and hit the return spring to send the bolt back forward.

Inertia guns tend to be thinner and lighter than gas guns, and need less maintenance.

Conclusion

A shotgun is a helluva weapon.

A tactical shotgun represents the absolute power a shoulder-fired weapon can have.  If you go the tactical shotgun route remember that like every weapon you need to train with it to be effective.  A shotgun is only as good as the shotgunner holding it.

What shottie did you end up getting?  Let us know in the comments!  Need some gun food for your new scattergun?  Check out Best Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense, Hunting, & Plinking.

157 Leave a Reply

  • Sivispace

    I love my Benelli M-4. I think only a full auto shotgun fires faster. I have never had a jam. The self-cleaning gas system is bullet-proof. I was sad to let it go.

    1 second ago
  • diver

    Shockwave. I would agree with the author, a full stock is still the best way to handle a shotgun in a fight. I have had several tactical shotguns and one Mossberg 500 with the pistol grip. But, the most fun is the Mossberg Shockwave in 20 ga. With a little practice you can master this little jewel. It is a concealable, maneuverable and fun to shoot.

    1 week ago
  • Brian

    I have 2 Benelli’s: a Vinci with an aftermarket magazine tube that holds 10+1 and a Nova Pump. Both are ready to go with 00 buck. The Vinci can cycle as fast as I can pull the trigger. I have actually tried to get a misfeed at the range to see if it will happen under duress. Man, I love my shotguns!

    1 week ago
  • jim

    All the guns are for right hand shooters only. To be useful left or right handed the gun should bottom eject and have a tang or rear reciever safety. The Browning BPS is the only one that meets this requirement. The Itheca 37 has bottom eject but a right hand safety near the trigger guard. The Mossburg has a tang safety but right side eject.

    2 weeks ago
  • Ed Berrios

    I love my Mossberg 930SP Tactical 12 ga shotgun, which I upgraded with OR3GUN and GG&G parts, Berson stainless steel gas piston upgrade. I had the port widened, hand guard modified, attached a side saddle and Burris reflex sight,

    3 weeks ago
  • VULCAN

    I prefer my EAA MKA 1919 Match PRO magazine fed semi-auto 12ga over my Mossberg 500 with pistol grip, for several reasons. The MKA is very reliable after broken in with hi brass and the right gas rings installed (included as are 4 chokes if desired and a few small tools in their own plastic case). Holds 5 in the magazine, one in the chamber and I use the factory mags which are only $25. Plus, I can easily pop in the #4 shot for inside the home use so I don't kill my neighbors which under 20 feet makes hamburger, or 00 or preferably #1 Buck for home defense outside threats or perimeter rejection, or grab a mag pre-loaded with rifled slugs in case a rabid rhino is attacking my gnomes or a car engine I want to stop from running. Right tool for the right job, and I can pop a full mag in waaaaay faster than a guy can re-load a pump or semi-auto tube, grabbing little round objects under heavy stress, etc. We all have to test ALL our mags for function, and with the MKA if one is having a hiccup usually a careful small tweak with a pair of wide pliers can fix the issue. So IF you get a mag that is off a tad, you SHOULD know it well in advance of going into combat with it no different than your pistol mags. There are 10 rd mags available but feeding with those can be a little less reliable, but again, some fire great with one. Run it and find out. If it isn't running right return it to ProMag for a refund. Those are good for break-in and getting used to the gun, and I would not use them for combat unless they proved themselves reliable and many are. Interesting is that the MKA is one of the options in the Turk Army inventory, and it would not be used as a military issue shotgun if it was problematic to keep running. Best thing it's priced reasonably and I got mine for just under $525 at the time. Buds and others carry them. EAA MKA 1919 Match Pro. The PRO version is the same as the other BUT has a fore end you can hang your furniture, lasers which I use, on, and I put a nice reflex red dot sight on the top rail for rapid target acquisition. Save frustration and waste and BE SURE to do as they instruct you to do and use HI POWER ammo for break-in. Those that followed instructions had minimal break-in issues. The Hornady and other 1,600 FPS 00 buck sings through these. Stick with the 2 3/4 only which tests show is adequate for HD and runs in these mags nicely "when broken in".

    1 month ago
  • LemmyWinks

    This is a great article and this site is an excellent resource. I just happened across it when doing a google search for the best 1911, and here I am over an hour later having gone from 1911’s to AR’s and finally shotguns. I’m currently in the market for my first 1911, but I purchased my first 12 ga about 5 years ago maybe. After doing a moderate amount of research I went with the 590 A1 for all the reasons you listed. Most notably the ergonomics in the safety placement, slide release, but the thicker barrel higher capacity and ghost sites sealed the deal. I have short arms and the factory stock made the pump action just a little bit of a stretch so not long after purchasing I upgraded to the Magpul SSA stock, which I absolutely love the ergonomics of. I also added the Magpul forend and Magpul quickconnect sling attachments with a sling that quickly converts from a two point to a three point. I’m not sure if I’m saying that correctly but you disconnect the sling at the barrel and reconnect it back at the stock so that you can quickly transition from shooting the shotgun drop it to your side and draw and continue shooting with a pistol all very smoothly. Not long after doing my upgrade though I saw that Mossberg actually sells the same Magpul version from the factory. While I love the Magpul stock I’m open to trying out different forends though, and I think I saw one made by Surefire in your article I might need to look into. Anyway, thanks for the fantastic new resource in all things shooting. I look forward to exploring your site more and tapping what seems to be a wealth of shooting knowledge. Cheers

    1 month ago
  • RichV

    Your comparison of the 870 and 500 was excellent. Thank You for bringing up the “racking thing”. I thought I was alone with your idea. Flight Control 00 buckshot for home defense? Not my first choice. 00 buck penetrates too many walls. At typical home defense situations Flight control wads and super tight patterns are not what I want. Max distance in my home is about 30 ft. I’ll take a cylinder bore choke, 2 3/4” #4 buckshot (be thinking 27 .24 caliber shot).

    1 month ago
  • Bull o' the Woods

    No love for the Beretta 1301? Tarted up with accessories from Aridus Industries, it fits the sweet spot between the Mossburg 930 and the Benelli M4. Would also have liked to see a look at the Stoeger M3000.

    1 month ago
  • Rep

    Best Tactical Shotgun -- SRM 1216

    1 month ago
  • Rhodesian

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armsel_Striker Behold the Armsel Striker. An interesting take on the tactical shotgun based on the first hand experience of the inventor during the Bush War. Not sure of its availability in the States, but I have heard of a handful of farmers in South Africa still using it as their go to home defence weapon. 12 rounds of 12 gauge buckshot should be enough to end any “farm invasion...”

    2 months ago
  • Bill

    Off the subject, I have a vintage .35 Remington gamemaster pump action rifle. Mint condition. I wonder the value?

    2 months ago
  • Bill

    I love this article. Very informant. My old Remington 870 express mag. Was converted from hunting to tatical by installing a factory 18 in. Barrel. Cheap, easy. Two shotguns in one. Awesome.

    2 months ago
  • Rem

    The comment below was for the commenters suggesting “best” choices, not the writer of the article.

    3 months ago
  • Rem

    The best home defense firearm is the one you can use effectively ...period. There are all sorts of stories around of people protecting themselves with nearly every kind of firearm there is. I hear the keyboard talk constantly about shooting neighbors thru walls and such, but , I have yet to read many instances of it actually occurring in real life. I read MANY stories of people shooting bad guys with everything from .22 pistols to deer rifles, and no collateral damage. If that is a real concern, frangible ammo is readily available for most common calibers. People recommending certain firearms as a “best” choice without knowing a thing about the person they are talking to is, to me, irresponsible. Maybe they can’t use a handgun effectively, possibly because of physical limitations, likewise a 12ga shotgun. Maybe laws in their area are particularly. Restrictive as to what they may own. Point being, only the person knows what will work best for them, and can find that out by trying different firearms themselves. Handguns are very easy to maneuver in close quarters, but take many hrs of practice to become proficient with, so recommending one to someone with no experience is just not sound advice. Perhaps a small bore shotgun would fit the bill, easy to load and more forgiving than a hand gun, but less maneuverable in close quarters. Maybe an AR with frangible SD ammo is perfect for someone, tho very loud in confined areas. Again, the BEST defensive firearm is 1, the one you have...2 , the one you are proficient with. Making suggestions is one thing, stating your opinions as facts that encompass everyone , everywhere is irresponsible. People, laws, and situations are different all over, giving internet legal advice is just as irresponsible when one does not know the circumstances or laws of the area the person asking lives in. MY OPINION ....take a defensive course WHERE YOU LIVE.... let the professionals evaluate you and make recommendations based on your area, abilities and limitations.

    3 months ago
  • Mike

    Very informative well written article. I particularly appreciate that you resisted the modern trend to make ordinary citizens into soldiers. I've always believed in the truth that the shotgun reigns supreme for defending one's home. Period. I opted for the Remington 870. Mine came with a Mesa Tactical sling swivel adaptor and I only added a side saddle shell carrier, Tritium front sight hood, and flashlight holder. I chose the 870 simply for its steel receiver. I do agree with you that the controls on the Mossberg are more user friendly.

    3 months ago
  • Leroy Johnston

    I bought a Maverick 88 for Sub $200 a long time ago, good article, But I am Still Keeping My SPAS 12 Folding Stock. With its 20 in. Straight Bore Barrel It will Shoot The Slugs with Rifling on them, Very Accurately with its Peep Sights, and Buckshot too.

    3 months ago
  • Mitch

    I bought Tactical Savage 320 and so far it’s been very reliable. I have literally put over 1000 rounds Thur it with no problems.

    3 months ago
  • Thomas Eliason

    Aye, I enjoy the information you send, however I must admit I do not own a firearm but am Pro 2nd amendment. I am ex military, a Christian and my wife STRONGLY objects to having a weapon in the home!!! I think the time is nearing where protecting the home will not be an option but a MUST!!! Things are definitely getting worse out there. Is the AR15 the best to use for protection or is something smaller better? If I had to use a weapon for this purpose, I would want to have stopping power! I am also a senior citizen and don't have a lot of extra cash, lol. I look forward to your reply! Blessings, Tom

    3 months ago
    • Zack G Porter

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5KzAA7JME4 The 5.56 round is by far the best for home defense if family is brought into the picture. When shot through the wall, it does not continue but tumbles in whichever direction. Shotguns go through walls killing anyone in any room especially slugs and what not. AR-15 are wonderful home defense weapons regardless of how far they can be shot. It is the best and most diverse weapon out there. I suggest you do your research before buying. AR 15s do not penetrate walls well. Therefore you do not risk hitting a family member through a wall. Watch the video. The man is green Baret and knows his stuff. Does it for a living.

      3 months ago
    • AJ

      AR-15s are NOT for home defense, despite what ammosexuals like to think. These weapons are built for the battlefield and have an effective range of 550 meters. That's nearly 6 football fields long. If that how long your house is, then use that. Otherwise... Your best for home defense (close quarters) is either a shotgun (buckshot and slugs will both do the job) or a handgun that uses .454 or .44 ammunition. A handgun using either of those calibers will stop any human coming at you and they are great in close quarters. I recommend you use an attachable flashlight to whatever firearm you use so you can see what you are shooting at if it is dark. And, as always, a responsible firearm owner keeps their firearms secured. I recommend using a biometric safe that can give you quick access to your weapons while keeping unauthorized people from getting to them. Good luck!

      3 months ago
      • Otis Spunkmeyer

        Anything that will penetrate a bad guy will penetrate sheetrock. Use the best tool for the job. A 5.56 AR pistol with a suppressor will be hearing safe, and the 2200-2400fps is still enough speed to make expanding ammo expand. Spend more time at the range and know your target and beyond. Drill in your home with airsoft. Don't put beds up against a hallway wall.

        1 month ago
  • Nik

    Am leaning towards the mossberg 930 psx. It’s going to be my first shotgun. I’m excited. Thank you for the excellent writing.

    3 months ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      Glad we could help! Have fun with your Mossberg!

      3 months ago
  • Kurt S

    Ithaca M37 short barreled Police Model. Tried and proven for more years than I care to think about. Carried one in SE Asia nearly 50 years ago. Works every time. Mossies may have a bayonet lug, Remington's are OK, but I'll stick with what works for me.

    4 months ago
  • AJCAtrain

    I agree the Remington 870 & Mossberg 500 are the 2 best home defense shotguns on the market. I prefer the Remington over the Mossberg because I have always felt the quality of the Remington is far superior to the Mossberg. I always thought the Mossberg parts felt loose & cheap in my hands imo.

    4 months ago
  • That one gun freak

    I think the spas 12 would make an excellent home defense shotgun because it is pump, or semi auto, it's chambered in 12 gauge. I'm not sure how many rounds it can hold but I would think it can hold about 5 or 6

    4 months ago
  • Mike 45320

    I like the KSG12 bullpup style. I get plenty of rounds and a shorter overall length for manuaverability in close quarters.

    4 months ago
  • Ping pong

    Sooo.. this article says the sound of cocking a shotgun won't scare an intruder away and will give away your position. Is it implying that shooting them in the chest with buck shot at a couple feet away, wont be effective at stopping them?

    5 months ago
    • J

      No. It's implying that should be your goal when things have already reached that point, rather than revealing yourself in some hopes that, at that late in the engagement, they will suddenly disengage. The risk to you means it isn't worth it.

      4 months ago
  • West

    I like these( I own a Mossburgs, Beretta, Binelli and Remington) , but my pick is the Beretta model 1301. AWESOME weapon

    5 months ago
  • jeb405

    I didn't see anyone mention Remington 11-87 Police model. Mine has a replacement night sight front sight , factory peep sight, single point sling and sidesaddle. Gas guns don't misbehave when you hang accessories on them. Yes, you do have to keep it properly lubricated and cleaned with the right stuff that doesn't turn to gum like WD40. It is home defense and competition, not combat. But it is awesome with short pistol grip replacement stock so you can use a more squared tactical stance and support from pistol grip while reloading. When I let others use it I have to encourage them to pull the trigger faster as they don't realize how quickly it can dump a mag full of ammo. I don't shoot pumps often and have tied up 870's before, very difficult to remedy (friend had fully tricked out 870 Police). Recoil much less than pumps. In my eyes the perfect solution. My $0.02.

    5 months ago
  • Jtrosse

    The Beretta 1301 Tactical should be included in this conversation, especially with the Blink operating system that can fire 4 shells in less than a second and is faster by a third than any other production shotgun per Beretta ( which also owns Benelli).

    5 months ago
    • ILikeBigTubs

      Surprised not to see the 1301 here as well. I've got it and I love it! The semi-auto action is one less thing for a non-shooter to have to worry about in a home invasion scenario (which is largely why I bought it, to be easier for my wife to use if necessary). She had never shot anything before I took her to the range with our 1301, and she was easily able to handle it well.

      4 months ago
  • Paul McManus

    One of the things that most people don't realize is that a 3" magnum 00 buck has typically 15 pellets moving out of my mossberg 590A1 20" barrel at around 1300fps. A 9mm velocity out of my Browning Hi power 4 3/4" barrel is around 1200 at best. The buck shots are almost exactly the same diameter as a 9mm projectile. In other words, a single hit with a big ole 3 inch mag is like getting hit by 15 9mm AT THE SAME INSTANT. It would take a full blown machine gun to come close to that. Also, some of the velocity will be taken from the Mossberg semi-auto as opposed to the pump.

    5 months ago
  • Christian

    Mossberg Shotguns (all of them, even the 500): If you skip ahead to about the 4:30 mark, you will see this shotgun fail a simple drop test. When dropped onto its side, the pins that hold the shell lifter arms in place in the sides of the receiver pop out, and jam the gun up. I was a bit sceptical at first, as my Mossy 500 has given me no trouble, unlike my Rem 870 Express which has had numerous extraction failures. When I tried this test myself, from only one foot onto a carpet, I replicated the exact same failure on the very first try. Fortunately, jiggling the slide back and forth a bit popped the pin back into place. https://youtu.be/87XSOnQrCYg

    5 months ago
  • Jim Hovater

    Our current HD shotgun is a Steven's M320 with PG stock and GR FO sights...in 20GA. It's kept 'cruiser ready' with (3) #2 buckshot, followed by (2) W-W Defender 'segmented' slugs.

    6 months ago
  • Vulcan

    Never understood why the magazine fed semi-shotguns that are known to run well, didn't dominate the market. I have a USSA MKA 1919 Pro, which kind of looks like a chubby AR. If you have bad shoulders the semi-auto is by far the best choice. And being able to slap a fresh loaded mag in the well in under 2 seconds seals the deal. Can pre-load mags with different loads too. 10 rd ProMags available too. Thing runs good on the 2 3/4 in hi-brass Can do none of that fast reloading with a tube fed shotgun. Slower in the highly unlikely SHTF scenario. If you want a hunting shotgun, then get that. If you want a home defense shotgun, I'm going with the mag fed every time. Must break the mag fed semi-auto's in right with hi-brass.

    6 months ago
  • 8mmMauser

    I say Benelli who every time I shoot My Remington 1100. Nothing like having a multi use shotgun. With the 18 inch barrel it is my bedside favorite. But being able to throw on a longer barrel and go skeet or trap shooting is what makes it special.

    6 months ago
  • James Patterson

    That woman is shooting a Ruger 1022. Iv'e owned a halve dozen and a fine inexpensive rifle. A .22 caliber rifle with No recoil. She has the worst possible shooting stance; leaning backward. At least show someone shooting a shotgun, when writing an article about shotguns.

    6 months ago
  • AFGus

    I'll take my Keltec KSG over any mentioned in the article for home defense. Compact Bullpup design, easier to wield, and holds more than twice as many shells. I can load both 00 Buck and Slugs, and switch between them with the flick of a switch.

    6 months ago
    • Hilly1

      With quite possibly the shittest recoil mitigation system known to man inside the KSG. Lol

      6 months ago
  • Dan

    I have an old Ithaca Deerslayer that works well for me.

    6 months ago
  • Jimmy Williams

    Great article. I wonder if you do double duty for Mossberg? Just kidding, They make some great shotguns. For years I depended solely on my Winchester Defender which is a great shotgun as well but as of late my home defense shotgun is my Mossberg Shockwave. Many years of experience and I feel comfortable with the pistol grip. Plus it throws a much better pattern than all my pistols. Although you did open my eyes for my next shotgun purchase. My wife hates you. Keep the articles coming please. I always find them informative.

    6 months ago
  • Vulcan

    Excellent article and very well presented. Thank you! I've had 2 of the shotguns on the list including the Mossberg 500 with pistol grip. For home defense and perimeter rejection for my preference is without doubt my USSA MKA1919 Pro, using the factory metal 5 rd mags or the 10 rd poly ProMag. The factory mags are fairly priced and readily available. I can have #4 in one mag for not blowing a hole into the neighbors house, or the Critical Defense by Hornady 12ga 00 buck at 1,600 FPS in another, #1 or 2 Buck in another, high speed slugs in the 4th mag. Right tool for the right job, and the same shotgun delivers it all. In the highly unlikely SHTF scenario, someone else could be loading the mags as you empty them. Try that with the above. MKA 1919 PRO comes with lots of extras and you can pop a reflex sight on it in minutes. Remove factory sights and replace with MBUS. Should one read the directions before shooting, follow those and break in with hi brass powerful ammo with the correct gas ring, clean and lube well prior to the first break-in outing, and get 150 rds through it, from there it should be good. Buy some cheap RIO hi brass buck for break-in. Read this is also an optional issue gun for the Turkish Army, and doubt they would risk their lives with this weapon was it not up to the task. And the price was sweet too at the big Buds shop. At the time I got mine think I paid just under $500. Finally, if you wanted to use this in a pinch for hunting, the bbl is 18.5" but with the light gas ring, it would work fine, with whatever limitations the shorter bbl presented. Live Long & Prosper

    6 months ago
  • Charles Hutson

    No complaint with your selection. However I'm surprised you have no mention of the Berretta 1301 tactical. A fantastic semi auto in the same price as the Benelli and a faster action. The only drawback is that there is not as much aftermarket options as you listed guns.

    6 months ago
  • John Doughty

    I have to agree with your selection of the Hatsan Aimguard shotgun. It's a great shotgun. I picked mine up at a Big 5 going out of business sale for $89 !!

    6 months ago
  • Shogun

    The 'best' SG's for "Home Defense" I would think some of the more modern shotguns with higher round capacities would be on this list like the KSG, or UTAS for pump and perhaps the Fostech Orgin 12 that has 20 and 30 round drums as an option... Hell, the new KSG-25 "Came out after this was posted" holds a full box of SG ammo or more... If you wanted to use short rounds you could proably nearly double that amount and have close to 60 rds in 1 gun.

    7 months ago
    • FahrOut

      I have a KSG 11 and it's an absolute beast. I keep it with a red dot on a 3/4 inch riser for fast acquisition, and a magpul vertical foregrip for recoil control and fast, sure pumps. 7 rounds of hornady critical defense 00 buck in one tube, 7 rounds of Remington slugs in the other. With this gun, I'm confident I have the upper hand in any cqc situation.

      6 months ago
  • JJ555

    I didn't understand what this meant: "Most [semi-auto shotguns] will not cycle reduced recoil loads reliably, but it’s not really needed with a semi-auto shotgun." Isn't reliability needed? Also, "Federal FliteControl 00" says it reduces recoil. Is that going to be a reliability concern?

    7 months ago
    • Colonel Mustard

      He’s saying don’t use reduced recoil ammo in a semi auto shotgun or it might not cycle properly. Reduced recoil ammo is not necessary in a semi auto sg because the recoil is already reduced by the gas system.

      5 months ago
  • Johnny Mac

    Love the Mossberg 590A1 SPX - very robust and true. The ghost ring sights give it deadly aiming accuracy. 8 + 1 capacity gives that extra edge. Most definitely the weapon to own if the SHTF.

    7 months ago
  • Fast Freddy

    Mossberg JMPro 24" barrel

    7 months ago
  • Greg Simmons

    Hey Travis - I'm a gun enthusiast who hopes that you are equally committed to protecting the environment and critters that inhabit the Nature Coast of Florida where you enjoy relaxing. It's easy to take - we all need to give too !

    7 months ago
  • Y2K

    12 gauge Mossberg 88 Security. 20" barrel, 7 + 1. $199 plus tax every day. Basically a Mossberg 500 with a trigger safety instead of a tang safety. Available with a folding tactical stock for extra $35 or so. Is not drilled/tapped for a P rail. $50/$80 at your local gunsmith. I spent an additional $250 for a quality aluminum P rail/ side saddle combo, a TRS 25 red dot, soft case and gunsmith. $470 all in with standard stock. Hard to beat for a dependable, accurate home defense weapon.

    7 months ago
  • Dave Haddix

    So the article says the cheapest rifle you can find is the dpms at $499 so I bought i’d Steer you to an even cheaper deal. Now before I do I will warn you the customer service is horrible, they take the phone off the hook and won’t answer emails for weeks but eventually they will answer. However they do make a decent rifle for the price. Right now you can buy a complete 223 for $399 but they had a Black Friday sale and sold them for $299! I have several of there rifles and the quality is good. They guarantee 1 MOA accuracy. The only problem I’ve had other than customer service was a 450bm that wouldn’t cycle the next round but with a little fiddling with the mag I got it to function correctly. I guess that’s a pretty common problem with the 450 so I don’t hold it against them. The company is called bear creek Arsenal. I’ve often wondered why I never hear pew pew endorse them but figured it was because their customer service was so shitty. I guess if your selling the cheapest rifle on the planet your gonna be a little lacking in at least a few departments. Thankfully quality and value aren’t one of there problems. As far as quality I’d say they are on par with Aero or PSA. So there’s my 2 cents about bear creek Arsenal. If your looking to build or purchase a rifle I strongly suggest you give them a try.

    8 months ago
  • Bruce Richter

    Love my Benelli Super Nova. I also recently got a new Stoeger Tactical M3000. Nice shotgun.

    8 months ago
  • Curtis

    I got a Hunt Group Final Defense FD12, a good red dot sight, laser, and extra high capacity magazines. The gun is heavy, but is built like a tank and short in length, which I like.

    9 months ago
  • Lakota Jones

    I ended up with the Mossberg 590A1 Magpul. By far, this is my favorite pump shotgun! A total of 9 shells, superior ghost ring sights, and the stock is the best of both worlds when it comes to the pistol grip and shoulder support. This thing is my new "baby" and to top it off, it holds a bayonet at the end. Nickname: "Chief".

    9 months ago
  • Larry

    ""In materials, the 870 has the upper hand since its receiver is made out of steel while the Mossberg is alloy." That's a completely bogus argument thrown around by Remington fan bois. The bolt, chamber, and barrel are all steel. The receiver is aluminum but doesn't take part in the lockup around the shell. If you're not OK with that setup you need to get rid of your AR-15, because it's made the same way.

    9 months ago
  • Factual Rebel

    My personal favorite is the Winchester SXP Defender, not as many accessories available as a Remington or Mossberg, but helluva fun to shoot. The pump action is crazy fast, the recoil pulls the forend all the way back most of the time and you just have to slam it forward for another shot. That said, I also have an 870 as a truck/camp gun. I keep both fed with 00 buck and some Winchester razorback slugs for the big meanies.

    10 months ago
  • Randy

    Just picked up Rock Island VR80 this week. First impressions of are good. Going to pattern it this weekend.

    10 months ago
  • G-Dub

    I have a Winchester 1300 Defender. It's a very solid 12 Ga. The slide action is the smoothest I've experienced. Good capacity for a shotgun (8). Funny thing: my bolt action is a Mossberg (Patriot), and my shotgun is a Winchester. Go figure. The best home defense weapon is the one in your hand at the right time.

    10 months ago
  • Rob

    My current home defense is a Remington 870 express with a pistol grip and and collapsible stock. I'm quite fond of it and do well at short range.

    11 months ago
  • fteter

    Nice article! My shotgun for both home defense and sport shooting is a Remington 1100 semi-auto. It's a 20 gauge "heavy", meaning it's build on a 12 gauge frame. 28" barrel for skeet and birds, 21" for home defense. Barrel swap takes less than 5 minutes. Next step is a tube extension to go from 4+1 to 7+1.

    11 months ago
  • Bill Stell

    Another excellent article, thanks! Love my ghost-ring-sighted Benelli M1S90 and my Mossberg 590 Shockwave with pistol brace and Aimpoint H2. And— I’d love to know more about that Gun Bed shown at the beginning of the article

    11 months ago
  • Ian VanVranken

    My local shop had a black friday special on the Mossberg 590 for $325! Unfortunately I wasn't available for the weekend and tried to see if I could pick one up early, which i couldn't :( Instead, I ended up buying a lightly used Benelli Supernova tactical with a pistol grip and Mesa Tactical Urbino stock for $350. I am perfectly happy with it, the ghost ring sights are dead on and it has a limbsaver pad built it so it's pretty comfortable to shoot. It also has a magazine cutoff button that might come in handy if I need to change loads. Now I just need to add a side shell carrier and mag extension and I'll be good to go.

    1 year ago
  • Tim

    Surprised you did not mention the Beretta 1301 Tac. It bests the main fan boy Benelli in every area other than weight and simplicity. Faster cycling, significantly less recoil. Cycling not effected by how the shotgun is held. Can handle wider range of ammo. The ideal tactical would be the 1301 Comp with a barrel swap to 18". Seem the 1301 is also becoming one of the top choices for 3 gun along with the Benelli etc.

    1 year ago
  • Dexter Luck

    I'm retired law enforcement and agree a 12 ga. shotgun is at the top when it comes to home defense. I have owned the 870, and the Mossberg 500/590 and they are both very good options. I have a field graded semi auto 12 ga. and recently purchased what I believe is going to be my best option for home defense, in addition to my two German Shepherds. I purchased a RIA VR60 (Turkish made) box fed semi auto. Have the two mags, that came with it, a 5 round and a 9 round, and just ordered more 9 rounders. Through the first 200 round of various brands and power levels, the VR60 is 100% reliable.

    1 year ago
  • Robert Kuijpers

    My mum, who is 81 years of age (!) sleeps with a 12 gauge Mossberg shotgun at her bedsite. Her bedroom acts as a saferoom as well. I, just two bedrooms away used to have a Remmington shotgun, but sold it. Now I sleep with a M1911 next to me, and a SIG P226, in case the .45 ACP run out, and everything ends in a firefight with intruders. In my bedroom you'll find, locked away, two M4 rifles. We are well prepared to "receive" unanounced visitors, and even chase them away. I consider buying another shotgun, but am shure the M1911 (a SIG by the way) will be able to do the job. I've been with the British and Dutch marines for many years.

    1 year ago
  • George P.

    Benelli m4 super 90. Light weight, eye dead center on the ghost ring when brought to the shoulder. Just an overall great all natural feel to it.

    1 year ago
  • Bradford Joy

    I’m old school, and have a matching shotgun in the form of the Ithaca model 37. I have a Chote pistol grip and a 200 lumen flashlight mounted at the end of the 10” barrel. It is an old slam fire design and will deliver when it’s called on. I have a second in its original configuration. Great old shotguns.

    1 year ago
  • Walter E Beverly III

    I'll take a Remington 870 any day over the Mossberg. I've worked both. Most law enforcement agencies use the 870 over the 500.

    1 year ago
    • David

      I have both 590a1 and the 870. I've heard that same comment before re: the 500. Do they prefer the 870 over the 590a1 or over the 500. Best I can understand, they prefer the 870 over the 500.

      1 year ago
  • Philip Hankins

    I am left-handed and have learned that Mossberg 590a1s are available in a left-handed configuration. Can anyone tell me what this exact configuration might be? I've only learned that this configuration can lead to excessive strain on the jaw and cheek due to the location of the speed tube. So, with this in mind, will a right-handed gun be okay for me (I'm a newbie, so please forgive my lack of knowledge)? What would be the difficulties that I would encounter shooting a right-handed gun?

    1 year ago
    • Mark Crawford

      I am a lefty also, yet I have never owned a left handed gun. I have never have had an issue with expended casings being a problem from any of my shotguns or rifles, and I have quit the mix of brands and caliber/gauges. As for safety position I have just became used to their position and due to practicing and hunting use of each one has just become natural. This might sound stupid but you have lived in a right handed world all your life. You have been getting used to items designed for right handers that same amount of time without even realizing it. I am NOT saying change the way you hold and shoot the gun. What I am saying is that you will be surprised how easy and natural it will come using fingers that the designer may not have had in mind when he designed the safety position. You will find it might save you some cash as well as order and delivery time. Just my four and a half cents on the subject.

      1 year ago
      • Shepherd of Fire

        A good gunsmith can make it ambi for you, as far as controls go, anyway.

        6 months ago
    • bigsean247

      with th mossberg the safety is on the top of the receiver and the slide release is right behind the trigger guard on the right hand side. so even holding with your left your finger would be right by it. so i would think you dont need a left handed on, just my opinion. its a great gun tho i have 2.

      1 year ago
    • David L

      I havent handled a left-handed shotgun before, I would assume it means the ejection port is on the other side and possibly the safety/slide release is moved or reversed. The ejection port being on the other side would be the main gain, removes the risk of a spent shell flying in your face when you pump the action. The controls are less of an issue. I would head down to a LGS or range and seeing if you could handle a shotgun in person, you might not find a left-handed shotgun but you could at least handle a right-handed one and see if there are any issues.

      1 year ago
  • Samuel R Aspley

    I still think an early Ithaca model 37 with slam fire is still one of the nicest riot shotguns out there. It's lightweight with few moving parts, it's well balanced with good point-ability and the downward ejection port makes it easy to use for either left or right-handed shooters.

    1 year ago
  • Kris

    I went with the mossberg shockwave with obsol mini clip and Aguilla mini shells alternating mixed buck and slug. My house is less than 1000 sq ft so any confrontation will be up close and personal. It handles very nicely.

    1 year ago
  • Brandon

    I run the ksg 12. Light short and 14 round capacity. Might be overkill, and the recoil is way to intense. But it'll do the job should the need ever arise

    1 year ago
  • John

    Standard Manufacturing’s DP-12: Double-barreled bullpup pump shotgun. I have it and love it. If you chamber 2 rounds it holds 16 total, it’s essentially 2 Ithaca model 37s in one billet receiver. It has 18.5” barrels but is incredibly compact and is very well built and fully ambidextrous. I admit, if you are super-trained to a standard pump, the cadence of pump once, pull trigger twice, pump once pull trigger twice is a deal breaker for a lot of people. If this isn’t a deal breaker for you, the gun is built like a tank, very effective at putting a lot of shot down range, is easily maneuvered indoors, and shoots a very wide pattern at home defense distances. I can’t imagine much better for personal defense than this.

    1 year ago
  • Tawmus

    I've got the 930 SPX (my first shotgun ever and LOVE it!), a 500 Scorpion, a 590A1 and just picked up the 590M. I got the M and a few extra mags because I like the 10 rounds and quick reload. Glad to see I have 2 of the 5.

    1 year ago
  • Kona Golden

    Birdshot comes in many flavors, too. Should have added that to the article.. I have my 870 loaded with #4 as a first round, followed by 00 Buck.. 7 1/2 Birdshot would not be a good choice, I also keep 3 slugs in my sidesaddle. I use the #4 for less wall penetration and more spread at closer ranges. If the douchebag is close, they're done anyway. If they are further away, the shock, pain, disruption of that first shot sets up the second, & subsequent shots with the double ought. Having the slugs in the side saddle is good. since I can stuff them in pretty quick and have them if I need them. I just don't want them traversing my home and my neighbors. My neighbors are not happy having douchebag biologicals in their home.

    1 year ago
  • Jim M.

    Brownell's lists the Mossberg SPX 930 as an 8+1 capacity, I believe.

    1 year ago
  • Connor H

    Do you have any experience with either of the new magfed pump shotguns (Rem 870 and Mossy 590)? I would love to see a review of one or both, if at all possible. They appear to be well designed and reliable, but I haven't found many reviews yet.

    1 year ago
    • David

      None of us have any plans on picking one up, as far as I know, some of us have handled them at SHOT show though. If that changes we'll be sure to write a review of it! They are built to the standards that you would expect and if you're interested in one, go for it. However, they serve such an odd and small niche that I don't think they will be overly popular with the market.

      1 year ago
      • Philip Hankins

        What is the "odd and small niche"?

        1 year ago
  • Robert G.

    Ithaca 37. True lower mag capacity, but bottom feed/eject is better for swapping hands. And a slight mod, purchase of an older model gives one semi auto like action. *Hold the trigger and pump.

    1 year ago
  • Rebel

    A good infformative article.I have 2 go to shotguns.Remimgton M887 tactical 12 gage with 00 buckshot,and remington 16 gage semi auto with #4 birdshot.

    1 year ago
  • Dave

    Birdshot is VERY effective at close ranges AND will lessen the chance of accidentally shooting a loved one in another room.

    1 year ago
    • David

      Birdshot can be effective, just like .22LR can be. But it is not effective enough to be trusted as a reliable option. There are a lot of gel tests, meat target tests, and real-world happenings that show how ineffective birdshot can be. We strongly do not recommend it.

      1 year ago
  • JohnnyJ

    Why the Benelli M3 and not the M4?

    1 year ago
  • JohnnyJ

    Thoughts on th "sporting stock" like the Benelli M3 shown in the article, versus pistol grip stock?

    1 year ago
    • Mark Crawford

      I have found the pistol grip to be fine as long as it still has a shoulder stock and you are using it. It takes all the fun right out of shooting, trying to manage the recoil of a shotgun. Trust me, your wrist will thank you.

      1 year ago
  • JohnnyJ

    How does the Beretta 1301 Tactical compare to Benelli?

    1 year ago
  • Mark

    Here's my 2 cents. For pump go with a Mossberg 590A1, Benellis Super Nova Tactical, or a Wilscon Combat CQB (modified Remington 870). I would not buy a consumer version of the 870 due to QC issues. For semi auto go with a FN SLP or Benelli M4. I hear the 930 SPX is decent, but I have no personal experience with them.

    1 year ago
  • B.

    Mossie 500A 8 shot. pawn shop special. with this i got houge overmold furniture 12" LOP w/airtech slip on. light mount, mesa sidesaddle, cartridge stop and interceptor, new mainspring, trigger return spring, wolff x-power mag tube spring, sbe follower, xs big dot tritium front sight, and a few other goodies plus a big bag of 9 pellet and slugs, all for under the cost of a new 590a1 or new 870T. Had to shop high and low and use coupon codes but i came out big cheezin on this deal. BIG Cheezin.

    1 year ago
  • Thomas a Arnold

    Hi, I will be first time gun owner.... home defense and shtf purpose... will take classes and try to train but not an enthusiast. I was set on getting a Mossberg 500 20ga but am now leaning to a pistol caliber carbine or bullpub shotgun. I like the new Ruger PC Carbine, the CZScorpion pistol caliber carbine and the ISI Tavor 12....leaning to the Ruger. i would appreciate thoughts........ would you recommend the Mossberg or the PCC? If PCC, which one would you recommend?

    1 year ago
    • David

      Generally, I'm not a fan of PCCs for HD or SHTF. While they extend the range of a pistol cartridge and make it easier/better to shoot - they are still greatly limited since it is still a pistol cartridge. Even in something like 10mm, it doesn't really hold a candle to a rifle. Since PCCs and rifles are effectively the same sizes in modern terms, there just isn't a real advantage to them. Make sure you try out some bullpups at the range before you buy one, they are cool guns and the Tavor-12 is a great option (if you can find one, I'd bet they will be sold out for a while) but bullpups are their own set of issues that not everyone likes. They balance differently, they require a good amount of training to operate smoothly, and their handling is awkward for some people. Mossberg 500 is a great choice, always. Simple, reliable, great shotgun. Since this is your first gun - you might want to keep it simple and go with that. There is also a huge amount of aftermarket options out there so you can upgrade and perfect your Mossberg if you want to.

      1 year ago
      • Thomas a Arnold

        huge thanks for input.... now leaning to the Benelli M2 Tactical or the Mossberg

        1 year ago
  • Wesley

    There are a lot of posts out there discussing the best weapon for home defense... but shotguns are a clear winner. Any shotgun really... you chamber a 12g and the sound alone will clear out most intruders.

    1 year ago
    • Jim Smith

      They say it is the "sound known round the world." Problem being, like said, it tells POS exactly where you are and BANG BANG BANG YOU'VE been had. My thoughts, same with a light. HERE I AM.

      1 year ago
    • Stan Robertson

      NEVER "rack" a shotgun!. That's a BS myth. Keep it loaded and chambered. Racking only tells the BG where you are.

      1 year ago
      • Jacob

        A lot of shotguns - Mossberg 500s and Remington 870s included - were designed before drop safeties were mandatory. For that reason, I keep all my shotguns "cruiser ready" with the chamber empty, safety off, and slide unlocked. If something goes bump in the night there's no need to futz with a safety or slide release, just pump the gun and go. And no, one should never count on the sound of a shotgun pump to scare off the bad guys; the blast should follow too close for an offender to even figure out what the pump was.

        1 year ago
  • Tyler

    I'm a reluctant mossberg guy. Why reluctant? I strongly prefer steel to aluminum in my guns. But the 870 is the most popular alternative, and we all know about remingtons myriad of problems by now. Mossberg, despite my preferences, has had pretty consistent quality and QC over the years. I've got a 500, 590, and 590a1. Despite the aluminum, I do think they'll probably outlast me. I also own an Ithaca model 37 (Deerslayer 1), and that one is far and away my favorite. If money where no object, Ithaca would be me first choice.

    1 year ago
    • B.

      870's ejectors? maybe its called extractor? its spot welded and if it breaks got to send it in and grind off reweld and refinish. . mossberg is screw in and can be changed out in the field. I do like an 870 tho. But because of this i go with mossberg every time.

      1 year ago
  • 2A III%

    I have a Kel-Tec KSG with the Howitzer muzzle brake and DeCellerator butt pad. The slide over aluminum picatinny lower rail extension only adds about 1.5" to the plastic rail it covers, but adds strength for the vertical foregrip to rack the gun with. It is loaded with 24 x 1 3/4" Aguila mini shells and they are 12 gauge with 4+7 pellets. As described, it is an outstanding home defense weapon, with 24 significant arguments to cease and desist any further criminal activity.

    1 year ago
    • epickett

      Mini shells?!? Seems like you'd have a TON of feeding problems with those. I like them, but my FRN 12-gauge is reduced to a single-shot, Not ideal for home defense...

      1 year ago
      • Tim Smith

        Yup mini shells in the ksg rock sorry I agree ..I've had them all from baretta to binelli to mossberg ...train with it as much as u did when u first got your first pump...and you wont want anything else ..18.5 years law enforcement.

        7 months ago
  • James

    I decided on the Maverick 88 31046. 7 + 1. Purchase the flex kit adapter with the UTG PRO 5 position adjustable stock with pistol grip and a 3 rail Tactical forend. Added a good light and a UTG 5 position adjustable forend grip. And a sling mount Magazine cap screw and attached to a 15 shotshell holder bandolier sling. Dropped it off with a cheek pad for the face. It turned out real sweet.

    1 year ago
  • dogmaneod

    Mossberg 580 with birdshot condo walls are ripe for over penetration. my Benelli M3 Super 90 was great when I was working but coughing up 1200 on retirement pay ain't gonna make it. My AR cost me enough and my 3 glocks 45,40,9 are good enough. put still have an issue with over penetration my EDC is a Glock 41 SF in a concealment(whatever) IWB I'm comfrtable even in Florida summers

    1 year ago
  • Greg Leeds

    I just want to know what the UTAS - 2 that you had featured in the beginning of this article why can't I find it when I search for it what is manufacturer I just want more details on that gun please

    1 year ago
    • Fred watkins

      That actually a uts-15 its made by UTAS I own one a gen 4 model awesome fire power holes 7 rounds in each magazine and One in the Chamber for a total of 15 rounds

      1 year ago
  • MARK KRAM

    ITHACA...ITHACA...ITHACA! What's wrong with a Home Defense Model 37? NOTHING! Bottom eject, Rear butt pad. Nasty reputation as being one of the BEST made

    1 year ago
  • AFGus

    I'll take my KSG over any of these. Fourteen rounds of 12 gauge, easy to handle due to the Bullpup design. Can load different types of rounds into the duel ammo tubes, and quickly switch between them.

    1 year ago
  • 7seasdiver

    Just bought a SPX 930 for home defense. I have a physical defect in my left arm (born with it, not whining mind you, but it's a fact I have to live with) that precludes me from reliably (and safely) operating a pump shotgun, so had to go with the semi-auto. It's a sweet shooting dream, love the ghost ring sight. Based the decision mostly on your article, bravo zulu for the objective review. Love you guys and the review articles.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Glad you found a way to overcome and we'll keep the articles coming.

      1 year ago
      • 7seasdiver

        Update on previous comment: still love the SPX 930 but it doesn't cycle well on lighter loads. #4 buck loads are the lightest that seem to consistently eject every time. Just a headsup. . . .

        1 year ago
  • L Garza

    "Personally, I prefer tube fed for a shotgun over a magazine any day of the weak. " This sentence is all sorts of off. First, it's "week," not "weak." Second, the tube IS a magazine. Just an internal magazine instead of a detachable box magazine.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks for that...fixed!

      1 year ago
  • Denver v Johnson

    I HAVE TWO OLDER 1200 DEPEND Winchester pump from the 1980 what is your opinion on these two older less expensive weapons and also I have a Model 37 Ithaca with a pistol grip all 12ga. also from the 1980 12-gauge shotguns THANK YOU

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hi Denver, I don't have the experience with older pumps...sorry!

      1 year ago
  • Grammarguy

    I proof read what I write every day of the weak.

    1 year ago
  • Smalltown Roger

    So where do I get flechettes rounds? Just got a nice escort, all brushed finish, home defense.

    1 year ago
  • Greg

    Love the shotgun, but an AR is a better home defense gun in my opinion.

    1 year ago
    • Shinna

      That's a dumb choice.

      1 year ago
      • Mark

        Not at all. Less penetration than buck shot and more capacity. Also far easier for all family members to shoot.

        1 year ago
        • James

          Bingo, Mark. If you live in a home with other family members, or an apartment/condo/townhouse where you share walls with neighbors, 12-gauge buckshot isn't the safest option for home defense.

          5 months ago
      • epickett

        Would you care to explain WHY you have that opinion, or do you just want to be contrarian?

        1 year ago
  • Jason Lindbeck

    I'd second the pick for Mossberg over an 870. I spent ten years as a USAF cop, and seven of them were CATM (small arms instructor). We worked on both weapons and I can tell you for certain that based on mechanism of action the Mossberg is simpler, and simpler means less things to fail. Its the most reliable workhorse you'll ever find.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks for that insight, Jason!

      1 year ago
  • Darrell

    Need to upgrade to a tactical. Currently my home is defended by a 1951 Fox Model B 12 gauge.

    2 years ago
  • Anthony M

    My other 12g is a Remington 1100 with a plus 6 mag tube from Nordic. 10 + 1 but long for indoors. Should be a good 3 gun shottie

    2 years ago
  • Anthony M

    DP-12 Double Barrel Pump Shotgun - Standard Mfg. Co. This is a 30 inch double barreled 12G bullpup. Under 10 lbs but built from a solid billet of aluminum . Manufacturer claims no need to clean before 20.000 rounds. 14 + 2 capacity. This gun is made for hectic at around $1100 - $1400.

    2 years ago
  • BROKEN NOSE

    YES IMAGINE SOMEONES HEAD GETTING BANGED INTO THE HEADBOARD AND A SHOTGUN BREAKS THEIR NOSE! HA

    2 years ago
  • AuRevoir

    Not going to lie, came here looking for advice on a home defense shotgun. But, anyone who has one of those contraptions in their headboard is definitely getting laid neither often enough, nor well enough. I'd be embarassed.

    2 years ago
    • Anaken

      Lol

      2 years ago
  • Shawn Kelley

    Finally someone shares my love of the Benelli M3 as a practical tactical shotgun.

    2 years ago
  • Steven Randall Minix

    Going from the pictures and just from my own knowledge, I think that the Mossberg SPX 930 looks great and something that has what I would call useful features. I like a pistol grip, but I would install a collapsible rear stock. The ghost rings sights are nice and I would like to have them, but seeing as I would just shoulder the weapon and be shooting for speed & accuracy inside a home for home defense all of my engagements would be 10 yards or less. The picatinny rail would be extremely useful, I already have tons of optics, lights, and laser gear that would be easy to transfer from one weapon to another so no crazy adapters would be needed and I like that. The only thing I dont like about the Mossberg is that it isn't the best brand name in a shotgun, but even though the Mossberg isn't the most expensive name brand it is a real workhorse and every mossberg shotty I have owned never had any problems with the function of the firearm. I hope this helpsanyone wanting a self/home defense shotty. The only advice I can really suggest that you do take into #1 consideration is buy a firearm that works for you and you can shoot well, that you can operate very easily, and isn't confusing so you don't booger up and have a damn negligent discharge. I love my firearms and as a responsible gun owner we do not need someone to have an accident out of sheer stupidity that gives us responsible gun owners and the firearms a terrible name.

    2 years ago
    • LordLeighton

      I love my Mossy 940 SPX with the factory pistol grip. Not a hiccup yet as I don't use any low recoil ammo. The gas system and the rear rubber stock butt negates a need for it.

      2 years ago
      • LordLeighton

        930

        2 years ago
  • B Staff

    Well it sure is obvious that you have no clue of the effectivness of "birdshot". Not to mention the type of round (steel, lead, tungsten) or shot size. No matter the choke on a shotgun, bird shot is extremely lethal at more than 5 yards. Also the benefits of less wall penetration in home defense situations. Please do more research on a topic before uploading something to the inter-web.

    2 years ago
    • LordLeighton

      I agree about #8 'Bird Bullets' for HD. This video by Gunblast proves it. https://youtu.be/gq3RVvL9ZjU

      2 years ago
  • Joel

    I recently got a Remington 700 30-06 hunting rifle as a gift, what scope do you recommend me to buy for my new rifle? By the way, I'm new in all this.

    2 years ago
    • Meme

      Vortex Diamondback

      2 years ago
  • Jacob Waterman

    I've had the Escort Aimguard for 2 years now and love it!

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Awesome to hear, Jacob!

      2 years ago
      • Frank

        HI Eric. Never owned a gun, shot a M16 once. I am torn between home defense shotguns. I love the way Night Hawk 870 works (saw the video). I know it is way more expensive but for 1500 they have a great one. Then I saw this article on Mossberg and Remington I am confused. They are half the price but I have a feeling that after I add accessories it will add up. I know that some bore? the guns for better actions? I am assuming. HELP

        2 years ago
        • Eric Hung

          If you're looking for absolute reliability and price I would go with the pump Mossberg or Remington. Feel both and see which one you like better at the gun store.

          2 years ago
  • Walter McDermott

    The best article on home defense shotguns i have ever read and i have read dozens in the last few weeks trying to decide which one i should buy. thank you for sharing your expertise.I am a Nam vet, 9th division artillery 1969 in the Delta.

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks so much Walter!!!

      2 years ago
  • Steve

    Travis you wrote a nice clear piece with simple explanations and lots of pictures, even video. Maybe you could do a follow up article on the 20 gauge shotgun options for home defense. In my house I can't see ever taking a shot at an intruder more than about 15 to 20 feet away. The 12 gauge is more than I need, and it is an intimidating weapon for a novice new shooter. Cheers

    3 years ago
  • Victor

    Great article. Have you taken a look at the ASI Pasimax at all? Great HD shotgun on the cheap. Action is pretty smooth and seems like a great budget gun.

    3 years ago
    • ehung

      Hi Victor, I have not heard of them before.

      3 years ago
  • Braidon

    Great article. I don't know a lot about shotguns, and this was an excellent introduction.

    3 years ago
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