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9 Best Home-Defense Tactical Shotguns [Hands-On]

Quickly learn what makes a tactical shotgun, why it's so effective, ammo selection, pros/cons, and our best home defense shotgun picks.

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


Beretta 1301 Tactical Shooting
Beretta 1301 Tactical Shooting

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

When it comes to home defense, we all want the most effective weapon possible. Our family, lives, and 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 is a tactical shotgun and its pros/cons.

Mossberg Retro Shotguns fire ball
Mossberg Retro

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

Update: See the best beginner pump shotguns in action and how we at Pew Pew kitted out our personal shotguns in our video review!

And if you can’t wait for our best picks across pump and semi-auto shotguns…

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best Pump-Action

    Mossberg 590A1

    Time proven and battle-tested, the Mossberg 500/590 series is hard to beat.

  2. Best Tactical Competition Shotgun

    Stoeger M3K Freedom

    Although a bit long for pure tactical use, the other features of the M3K help offset the length.

  3. Best Bullpup Pump Action

    KelTec KS7 Compact Shotgun

    Very maneuverable bullpup shotgun that holds 7 rounds and looks space-age.

  4. Editor's Pick Semi-Auto

    Beretta 1301 Tactical

    Our current favorite semi-auto shotgun that's light, reliable, and optic ready.

  5. Best 1301 Alternative

    Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol

    Cheaper than the 1301 but with enough features to keep things interesting.

  6. Best AR-Style Shotgun

    Rock Island VR80 Tactical 12ga Shotgun

    AR-15 based controls and magazine fed semi-auto shotgun.

Table of Contents


What is a Tactical Shotgun?

What separates a tactical shotgun from a hunting shotgun?  

Hunting Doves
Hunting doves

There are certainly a few different features that make a shotgun tactical, though.

18 to 20-inch Barrel

These barrel lengths keep the weapon short and maneuverable when used inside buildings or even vehicles.

Axeon Shotlight

It is worth noting that 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.

Mossberg Retrograde 590A1 Shooting
Mossberg Retrograde 590A1

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. (We go over the difference between these two actions later in this article.)

A Good Set of Sights

Most shotguns come with a single bead at the end of the barrel that acts as a sight.  

Omega AR12 Sights and Shooting
Omega AR12 Sights

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.

Sling Mounts

A sling allows you to attach the weapon to your body.  

Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling
Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling

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. It is the more powerful option as well, but also makes the firearm larger, heavier, and harder recoiling.  

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 are handy in some situations.

Rock Island Armory VR60 Shotgun Buttstock
Rock Island Armory VR60 Shotgun Buttstock

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:


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…


A load of larger pellets commonly ranging in caliber from .24 inches (No 4 Buckshot) to .36 inches (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 nine lead pellets roughly 9mm in diameter.

12ga 00 Buckshot, Opened
12 gauge 00 buckshot, opened.

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


Solid projectiles of around 1 ounce in weight. 

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

12ga Slug, Opened
12 gauge slug, opened.

Best Home-Defense Tactical Shotguns

With all this in mind, let’s look at the top 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.


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 nine rounds.

Regardless of the features you choose, you are getting one of the best pump-action combat shotguns ever designed.

Mossberg Retrograde 590A1
Mossberg Retrograde 590A1

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-Action
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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 500 variants?

Readers' Ratings

4.92/5 (1869)

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.

Available Coupons

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!

rem Vs mossberg
  • 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 for 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 a 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!

Remington vs. Mossberg Receivers

Want to get even gun-dorkier? We now have a full hands-on article covering the Remington 870 vs Mossberg 500 in even greater detail.

3. Benelli M4

You could put any Benelli on this list, to be honest, but the M4 might be the king of combat shotguns.

When the U.S. Marine Corps needed a semi-auto shotgun, they went to Benelli. And Benelli designed their first gas gun, the M4.

Benelli M4
Benelli M4

The internal auto-regulating gas-operated system, or ARGO, provides an extremely reliable short-stroke piston system using dual pistons to ensure reliability.

This shotgun beats out Benelli’s inertia guns if you want to strap on optics, lights, and such.

Inertia guns are picky when it comes to weight, and when you add weight, you can affect the gun’s reliability.

Benelli M4 12
Benelli M4 12

Gas guns don’t care! Load ’em down and have at it.

The Benelli M4, in particular, seems to love just about every load I’ve ever put through it.

From reduced recoil tactical loads to even light buckshot loads. The only ammo I’ve had it cough on were ultra-light skeet loads loaded for 950 feet per second.

Benelli M4 7

Not to mention, the M4 also allows for a good degree of customization.

It’s a shotgun with a cult following and decent little aftermarket. It’s soft to shoot and boringly reliable.

If you want the best, be prepared to pay for it, though. This gun and its accessories are far from cheap.

Best High-End Semi-Auto
at Gunprime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Check out the upgrades we recommend or read our review on the Benelli M4.

4. Mossberg 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 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.

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

5. Stoeger M3K Freedom

The Stoeger M3K Freedom is the tactical-sport derivative of the Stoeger 3000 series.

This shotgun is ready to rock and roll out of the box.

The Stoeger M3K is a great option for those who want to get into tactical shotgun shooting sports.

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

We are breaking the rules on length a bit here, as the Stoeger M3K has a 24-inch barrel. It also features an extended magazine tube with a 10+1 capacity, oversized controls, extended choke tubes, and a fiber optic front sight.

While it is the longest shotgun on this list, the capacity is impressive. (Photo: Guns America)

Stoeger is a subsidiary of Benelli, and like Benelli M2, the M3K has a buttery smooth action and excellent reliability, making it an outstanding choice for those looking to get into the competitive 3-gun competitions on a budget.

Additionally, the M3K is drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts.

You also have a wide ejection port for speed reloads and clear and consistent ejection. But if the length feels too long, Stoeger also makes the affordable M3000 Defense, which uses a more reasonable 18.5-inch barrel.

Best Tactical Competition Shotgun
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

6. KelTec KS7

Wanna talk about odd ducks? Then take a peep at the KelTec KS7.

This bullpup shotgun has descended from the KSG and, to me, is a better option for shotgunners.

While the KSG is cool, it’s heavy and complicated.

KS7 inna woods
The KelTec KS7

The KS7 provides a simpler option with a single 7-round tube.

It’s more than enough for shotgun problems and allows for a simpler, lightweight, and cheaper shotgun.

I ran the heck out of a KS7 and could never get it to fail. It surprised the crap out of me!

KS7 boom

This short and handy little fella provides space-age looks to a pump shotgun.

The KS7 provides you with a shotgun that’s 26.25 inches long with an 18.5-inch barrel – just legal in both OAL and by barrel length.

Weighing less than 6 pounds makes it a very light and maneuverable shotgun.

KS7 cool guy pic
You can’t not pose like a cool guy with this gun.

Reloads are slow like most bullpups, but it’s completely ambidextrous and lefty-friendly. It feeds and ejects from the bottom so no brass slams into your face.

As I said, it’s tough to mess up a pump shotgun. The weird design doesn’t make it too tough to mount lights, slings, and extra ammo, either.

Best Bullpup Pump Action
at GunPrime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Check out our full review of the KS7!

7. Beretta 1301

Beretta has cornered the market on fine combat shotguns. Owning both Benelli and Stoeger, they produce some fantastic firearms.

Beretta 1301 Tactical
Beretta 1301 Tactical

While the M4 might be the king of combat shotguns, the Beretta 1301 is vying for the crown.

The Beretta 1301 powers through with a gas-operated system that utilizes what Beretta calls the BLINK, which integrates a cross-tube gas system.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Shooting
Beretta 1301 Tactical Shooting

Beretta claims it cycles 36% faster than any other semi-auto shotgun. I can’t measure that claim, but I can attest that this gun cycles like a maniac.

The 1301 Tactical provides you with a fast cycling, low-recoiling gun with minimal muzzle rise. It spits out lead and plastic hulls rapidly, allowing for excellent control over the gun and making it very easy to get rapid follow-up shots on target.

Beretta 1301 Tactical
Beretta 1301 Tactical Internals

Beretta wisely includes a stock that allows shooters to shorten or lengthen the length of pull of their stock.

It makes it easy for shooters of all sizes to adapt the gun to their preferred LOP.

Like the M4, the 1301 has a cult following, and there are lots of high-quality upgrades available.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Reload
Beretta 1301 Tactical Reload

You likely won’t need much, but you can improve the gun’s ergonomics and make it a little easier to accessorize.

Aridus Industries, in particular, loves the 1301 and makes some extremely high-quality gear for it.

Check out our full review and video.

at Bereli

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

8. Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol

If the 1301 is just a little too pricey, then we invite you to consider the newer A300 Ultima Patrol from Beretta.

Introduced in early 2023, the A300 Ultima Patrol offers a similar vibe to the 1301 Tactical but at a more affordable pricepoint — sub-$1,000.

This 7.1-pound, 12-gauge beauty offers a 7+1 capacity, oversized controls, accessory mounts, and an enhanced loading port.

Worth mentioning that the Ultima Patrol’s barrel is not cold hammer forged, but it does utilize a shorter forcing cone in conjunction with a falling lock bolt. On the other hand, the 1301 uses a longer forcing cone and rotating bolt head.

Best 1301 Alternative
at Bereli

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

We really like that this tactical shotgun option is feature-packed and comes with Beretta’s legacy but is made here in America for a price that’s mid-range.

It’s not the 1301, but pretty darn close…

You can see it in action in the video review below, or head on over to the full review to learn more!

9. Armscor VR80

On the budget side of magazine-fed shotguns, we have the VR80 series from Armscor.

If you dislike your traditional shotgun layout and want to go mag-fed, then there’s never been a better time to get into mag-fed shotguns.

Rock Island Armory VR80

The gas-operated VR80 offers a 5, 9, or ridiculous 19-round magazine.

It’s styled after a modern AR-15 and comes complete with an AR-15 grip and stock compatibility. Armscor includes an M-LOK rail system, sights, optics rail, and more.

The VR80 feeds extremely reliably and digests a wide variety of loads without complaint.

It’s my favorite of the VR series and delivers a fast cycling, easily controllable platform. Reloads are a bit more intuitive than a traditional shotgun and friendly for those who are a little more familiar with rifles than shotguns.

Rock Island Armory VR80 Right Side

I’m a fan of the 9-round magazine — the perfect mix of capacity and size. With an adjustable AR stock, you can alternate the length of pull.

While the M-LOK rail allows for the easy attachment of lights, and obviously, the optics rail makes installing a red dot simple.

The VR80 mimics most things about the AR-style rifles, including most of the controls. It’s a little hefty but packs a punch and delivers a shotgun’s power with the handling of a rifle.

Best AR-Style Shotgun
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Semi-Auto or Pump-Action?

In the home defense shotgun, only two actions matter, the pump-action and the semi-auto. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Benelli M4 (bottom) and Mossberg 500 (top)
Mossberg 500 (top) is a pump-action, while the Benelli M4 (bottom) is a semi-auto.

I’ve become a big fan of the semi-auto design, but most of my shotguns are pump-actions.

Why? Pump-actions offer unbeatable reliability.

They can function with any ammunition. Not to mention, the manual cycling action allows it to eat super light recoiling loads.

Shotgun Tactics Pump Action

This style also tends to be quite affordable.

It’s hard to mess up a pump-action shotgun. Even the cheapest ones typically work with little issue.

Higher-end pump shotguns like the Mossberg 500 series and Remington 870 series can often be had for less than $350.

The downside is that they open up room for human error. Short stroking can cause jams, and racking the pump fast and hard requires a little extra training.

There’s also the fact they typically fire slower than most semi-autos.

Semi-autos offer a faster firing rate and allow for rapid follow-up shots.

Benelli M4 4
Semi-auto Benelli M4

These gas or inertia-operated guns fire quite rapidly and have much lighter recoil than pump actions — the simpler manual of arms makes them more intuitive in the heat of the moment.

Semi-auto shotguns tend to be pricier, especially good semi-autos.

A half-decent semi-auto costs twice what a good pump gun does.

Benelli M4 (9)

And a premium grade, like the Benelli series, gets into Gucci AR territory.

Semi-autos tend to be pickier about ammo, so you have to ensure the gun works with your preferred brand.

But if your semi-auto can handle reduced recoil loads, then you’ll have a super soft shooting shotgun.

Ammo Rundown

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.

Carrying Extra Shotgun Ammo

Federal FliteControl 00 Buckshot is my favorite self-defense round. But cheap buckshot like Sellier & Bellot works for training.

My chosen self-defense slugs are the Winchester PDX Defender segmenting slugs.

In a home defense situation, you will be in close-quarters combat. CQC moves extremely fast and is supremely chaotic.

Shotgun Tactics Pump and Ammo

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.

Shotgun Downsides + Fixes

However, a 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 bird ranges. 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.

Shotgun Battle Belt 3
Shotguns have a shorter range.


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 5 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.

Sig Sauer Romeo .410 Birdshot
We like to occasionally blast optics with birdshot.

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

On a home defense or tactical shotgun, chokes are not needed.

Most common in a cylinder bore design for a good reason, chokes work best with loads designed for hunting and less for modern tactical loads.

shotgun choke choke tube
Choke tube

Modern loads like FliteControl do not function well with chokes beyond the standard cylinder bore choke.

In fact, you’ll often see tactical loads open up with a choke that constricts. Modern tight patterning buckshot loads do not work well with your chosen load.

As always, pattern your load.

If your pattern seems odd or way too open, check your choke.

shotgun choke

Imagine my surprise when my chosen FliteControl load was patterning widely in my Benelli M4. I checked the choke, and for some reason, Benelli shipped it with an Improved Cylinder choke.

I tossed in a cylinder bore choke, and boom, it actually tightened up.

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 seeing which loads are the tightest out of your shotgun.  

When you pattern a shotgun, you learn how the pellets hit over different distances. The old rule of 1 inch for every yard is not always accurate. Again, chokes and ammo selection cause a lot of variances here.

Patterning FliteControl at 10 yards
Patterning FliteControl at 10-yards

With my Federal FliteControl 00 Buckshot 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 6×11-inch rectangle.

Patterning FliteControl at 15 yards
Patterning FliteControl at 15-yards

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, and at 20 yards, 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.

Reliable ejection pattern is always a plus

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, see how and where the slugs hit, and zero your sights for slugs.

Federal Mini Slug Pattern
Federal Mini Slug Pattern

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.

Omega AR12 Sights
Omega AR12 shotgun sights

My favorite set is made by LPA and is completely adjustable for zeroing.

To Optic or Not?

I used to think irons were enough, and in many ways, they are.

However, like every other firearm on the market, a shotgun benefits greatly from red dots. Red dots on shotguns provide you with a very intuitive aiming option for shooting in any environment.

Multiple Shotguns with Optics

You can most certainly succeed without an optic on a shotgun, but I’ve found that red dots on shotguns make me a faster and more efficient shooter.

You can focus on your target and put the red dot where you need it to be. A red dot-equipped shotgun allows for rapid and instinctive shooting.

Holosun 507c Mini Red Dot
Holosun 507c Mini Red Dot

My personal favorite is the Holosun 507C.

It’s teeny-tiny, and I use the 32 MOA reticle to pattern my buckshot. With my chosen shotgun and load, I know that every pellet is landing inside that circle at 15 yards.

at EuroOptic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

For more on shotgun optics, check out our article.

Lower Ammo Capacity

Your basic combat shotgun is a tube-fed model that typically contains seven to eight 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

Seven to eight 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.

shotgun speed reload keanu
Shotgun Quad Load with Keanu Reeves

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 Battle Belt 5

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.

TacStar Sidesaddle
TacStar Sidesaddle

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.

For more bad shotgun myths, check out the Worst Shotgun Tactics You Should Avoid.

Managing Recoil

Recoil on a shotgun sucks, right? Well, it doesn’t have to. You can control recoil and mitigate recoil with a technique known as push/pull.

Rob Haught came up with the push/pull method of recoil control, and I’ve found it to be the most effective means of mitigating both recoil and muzzle rise with a shotgun.

The technique is remarkably simple.

You push forward with your non-dominant hand and pull rearward with your dominant hand.

This creates tension that helps eliminate recoil and institute control over the gun.

Before you pull the trigger, you apply tension and relax it after you pull the trigger. When you first start, you’ll find yourself moving a little slowly.

Mossberg Retrograde 590A1 Right
Mossberg Retrograde 590A1

You’ll have to build a rhythm with the gun and your push/pull to employ it rapidly, especially with a pump-action.

I’d advise starting with dry fire and finding that rhythm. Once you do, you’ll be able to rapidly engage with a pump or semi-auto with less recoil and muzzle rise.

Final Thoughts

A tactical shotgun represents the absolute power a shoulder-fired weapon can have.

Mossberg Retro Shotguns ads
Mossberg Retro Shotguns

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.

And, if you need help setting up your self-defense shotgun, make sure to check out the Brownells Daily Defense video below.

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

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406 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    counterfeit money for sale

    I think you have mentioned some very interesting points, thankyou for the post.

    May 8, 2023 5:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Let’s not overlook the Stevens Model 320. It’s a Winchester 1200 clone. Works very well and inexpensive.

    April 17, 2023 11:08 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      counterfeit money for sale

      nice respond

      May 8, 2023 5:44 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    "In materials, the 870 has the upper hand since its receiver is made out of steel while the Mossberg is alloy. "

    Small correction;

    Mossberg's receiver is made out of an aluminum alloy. Remington's receiver is made out of steel (an alloy of iron and carbon).

    April 1, 2023 2:05 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Don Lang

    I got the Maverick 88, threw some new furniture and a few accessories on it and now I have a lean mean fighting machi...er, weapon!

    March 26, 2023 7:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Carlos D. Ortiz

    Be careful about advertising for Kygunco aka Kentucky gun shop who have long histories of suspected online gun scams.

    March 9, 2023 8:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chuck Cochran

    After two surgeries to repair damaged shoulders (from years of working overhead), I discovered I could no longer tolerate heavy recoil. Two or three shots and the joint is screaming Ave Maria in high C and both were Semi-Autos. Whole reason I went to the AR platform was due to the light recoil.
    Thought about trying a 20 ga, but no one in my area owns one that I'm aware of. I won't buy one until I can try one.
    So for now, I'll stick with my .300 AAC AR an my PPQ backup.

    February 28, 2023 7:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Barry L

    That’s a pretty weak response. First of all, the Mossberg 940 Pro Tac is a shotgun. Second, while the Shockwave & Tac 14 aren’t classified as shotguns by our all-knowing overlords at aft, the majority of folks reading this article probably don’t know that. You, as the author, and supposedly informed industry “expert” using that as an excuse is kinda lame. All of the firearms I mentioned use shotgun shells as ammo and launch either birdshot, buckshot or slugs from their muzzle.

    February 27, 2023 3:44 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis L Pike

      Words matter and if you call me an industry expert but expect me to use the wrong term then that seems like an odd oxymoron.

      February 28, 2023 7:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Any thoughts on a true takedown model that will store and transport like an AR-7 or Chiappa LA322?


    February 27, 2023 6:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Any thoughts on the Mossberg 940 Tactical?

    February 27, 2023 1:15 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jim Hovater

    My current HD shotguns are both in 20 gauge: a Stoeger M3020 Tactical (a Benelli M2 clone), loaded with (3) #3 buckshot and (2) W-W Defender segmented slugs, and an RIA VR82 with 10-rd mags loaded with #3 buckshot.

    February 26, 2023 8:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Barry L

    The 1301 is in a class by itself. That being said, not sure how the Remington 870 Tac 14 and/or the Mossberg Shockwave were omitted from this list. The Mossberg 940 Pro Tac should have been mentioned too.

    February 26, 2023 8:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis L Pike

      They arent shotguns but firearms

      February 27, 2023 7:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kurt S

    Well, let's see. I've been using an Ithaca M-37 M&P 12ga. with 18.5" barrel for the last 40 years and only paid $100 for it. Got into a big argument with older brother who maintained that a Mossy 500 was the way to go 'cause it had a bayonet lug. He was a Marine, so go figure. And when I was Young and Dumb, I had a sawed off double barrel 12 ga. Greener. Blew up several pumpkins with it and scared the crap out the family dog. Be realistic, why don't ya. Virtually any relatively short barreled shotgun will do for repelling boarders in a "goes thump in the night". There are very few critters or varmits that are going to do much of anything other than bleed when they catch a ounce or more of lead or steel shot moving at 1100-1300 fps. Cape Buffalo and Elephants for example. Zombies, gremlins, possums not so much.

    February 26, 2023 8:02 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gus McCall

    I have an Ithaca 20” 7+1 great shotgun

    February 26, 2023 6:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    As a Boomer boomer, I once again yield to the wisdom of Col. Cooper, who noted that in his shotgun classes, autos actually went "bang" much more reliably than pumps. This was mainly due to operator error, and that was amongst gun folk who were presumably at least semi-skilled before they got to the class. And that was decades ago, when the makes, models and off the shelf reliability with autos was much more limited than today.

    February 14, 2023 7:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tom Jamison

    I picked up the Beretta 1301 about a year ago, and absolutely love it. Best bedside gun. Thinking of going to mini-shells. Any opinions on them?

    February 13, 2023 5:20 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Barry L

      Good luck getting them to cycle. Mini shells are pump gun ammo.

      February 26, 2023 8:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Standard Manufacturing DP-12 Double Barrel Shotgun

    February 10, 2023 10:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I always thought that 410 was enough to stop somebody but after reading your article it seems like 410 gauge is not acceptable and you don't think that it could stop someone? I skimmed the article so I might have missed that. And also the shorter shells for more capacity? I missed the recommendations on that if it was there?

    December 9, 2022 10:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    For shits and giggles and for under 150$ at sportsmans guide try the GFORCE ARMS GF2P its a 12ga pump w/20" brl holds 5 three inch (also fires 2 3/4 " shells) synth stock,handguard and gotta pistol grip to boot I knicknamed it kinda likka hi point -lil phuggly, kinda heavyish, but sunnyofabeach it works and well

    October 23, 2022 7:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Matt Roseberry

    How about the Benelli Nova or Super Nova tactical pumps. $399-$599 for Italian made quality!

    July 25, 2022 8:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Raymond Merriman

    Just one point, all these fancy 12's seem to (there are exceptions) have one flaw. I am talking tactical now, no magazine that is detachable, to me that is very important if for instance you were in a firefight and your gun runs out of ammo and you are reloading BANG your dead. get my point? With a mag your time to reload is tiny by comparison . just my take.

    July 22, 2022 6:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Tube magazine? You’re never going to lose a tube magazine. If you still have the gun in your hands, you still have the magazine. It isn’t likely to ever get damaged from rough handling. It does not provide a right angle surface to snag on door frames or on brush if outdoors. It does not provide a convenient handle for yanking the gun out of your hands. It is 100 percent reliable. Should something go bump in the night, I can toss a 25 round bandaleer over my shoulder as I’m grabbing my shotgun. Are you going to stuff a spare box magazine under the elastic waist band of your BVD’s??? I’m afraid most of us have seen too many living dead movies. I prefer a 4 or 5 round tube magazine to keep my shotgun as light and lively in my hands as possible. That is more important to me than having 10 rounds on board.

      January 24, 2023 11:53 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      While topping off the tube magazine as opportunity presents itself, there is a shell in the chamber standing guard to instantly deal with an unexpected threat

      January 25, 2023 12:12 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      The article is about HD guns, not run-n-gun matches or fighting a war. I'm thinking if you anticipate multiple armed invaders who are hardened and determined to the point they don't scatter at the first sound of gunfire (like maybe you live w/in ten miles of the border), you probably need a rifle, or at least a 5.56 carbine.

      February 14, 2023 7:15 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Al Keller

    Think this article on shotguns is very informative with right on info. Would like to see something about the pro's and con's of mini-shells and regular 2 3/4, 3 in shells. Also am concerned about the issue of over pennetration feel that is an important issue that is underrated. Thanks for your educational articles.

    July 18, 2022 2:40 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings

      Thanks for reading!

      July 18, 2022 4:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Hi Guy,
    You are absolutely spot-on about the Shotgun's 'most devastating load delivery'.
    In close quarters there's little else that can compete.
    While all these are fine defensive shotguns, I'm glad to see you at at least mentioned one bullpup. I know its hard when you are not used to them,,,,,but,,,
    I've had most all of these shown here at one time or another, also the KS7, DP12, the Turkish Semis, and the KSG.
    I've settled into old age and retirement with the S&W M&P 12 for inside the house.
    All I can add to your excellent writing is that the semi-autos might not feed 'just any' shotshell, and the 'pumps' and 'bullpumps' might not cycle undersize shells like the minis. exception being KSG, KS7 and M&P 12. Those three will cycle broken glass.
    What it really boils down too, especially in a shotgun, is fit, comfort and ability (simply put, can you handle it).
    There's enough of each model floating around that between borrowing and/or renting one should be able to try out at least a few different models at the range.

    June 12, 2022 4:35 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Art Baker

    Hmmm. I have been a big fan of the Combat Shotgun for many years. I went through many different shotguns and configurations and have come to some basic conclusions. First, buy quality. I love my old 870 with the top folding police stock - but mag extensions are iffy for reliability and, like you, I don't like the safety location. Mossberg does build a good shotgun, even though it uses an aluminum receiver, the lockup is steel to steel - the bolt locks into the barrel, not the receiver. They also offer such excellent options such as Ghost Ring sights - amazingly fast, perhaps on a par with red dots - and full length mag tubes. And no batteries - ever. When training with the late Great Louis Awerbuck, I became enamored with the Benelli. Particularly the M1 Super 90. With Ghost Ring sights, of course. Much less punishing when you are firing hundreds of rounds daily! That shotgun followed me into combat. Even with the disadvantages of safety location and speed of reloading it was great! As far as accessorizing, I find less to be best. The more crap you hang of a combat shotgun, the more mass you have to deal with! Slows down your reaction response. All those addons make the gun less responsive and upsets the balance of a otherwise really good fighting platform. Secondarily, all that "stuff" is more likely to get hung up on lord knows what, clothing, gear, vegetation or anything in your surroundings that can possibly reach out and grab your firearm! (a Murphy enabler) I do believe in lots of extra ammo, but prefer to have it on my belt or on my gear (in a fashion that won't get caught on "stuff") There are some really cool spring loaded shotgun shell carriers/dispensers out there, but they do have a short learning curve. Very effective.
    As far as home defense goes, there are a few things I feel must be taken into consideration. ) buck is great - but unless you live in a more remote/rural area, you really have to think about which neighbor you like or don't like. Buckshot, similar to but not as drastic as, slugs, will exit most houses. I did a video on home defense ammo a number of years ago using constructed walls at average home room sizes. The grand finale was 12 ga. The slugs and buck, even #4 went through several walls and exited the "house". Heavy bird shot - #4 - was not so bad, only going through 1 1/2 walls. You may pooh pooh birdshot, but I have seen it (#6 birdshot) take a foot off above the ankle at about ten feet. I certainly would not want to get shot with it. Unless you live in a house with huge rooms - say 25 feet or so - and the intruder stays far away (which they generally don't) #4 birdshot or even #2 would most likely be a fairly safe choice! Concerning shotgun reloads in a home defense situation. I sincerely hope that a home defense situation can be handled in five to nine shots with a shotgun! If not, I hope you have another gun handy, like on your hip! "The quickest reload is another gun " I don't know who said that, but it really applies to a tube mag shotgun! If you don't have another gun, the shotgun can be used as a great club if empty (see military use of a long gun as a striking weapon for examples) you are not going to be able to do a "tactical" or "speed" reload in a CQB situation! Be fast. Be vicious. Never quit. Win. Walk away.
    Just some observations over a lifetime of weapons use and training. (I am 75 and been in waaay too many gunfights/battles)

    May 31, 2022 8:53 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Jarrells

      Excellent. Thanks for the valuable info!!

      August 18, 2022 5:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brad F.

    IMHO, you are giving inertia-driven semi-autos short shrift. After owning several 870s, I finally coughed up the cash to purchase a semi-auto Benelli M-2 SBS with a 14” barrel. Benelli calls their M2 SBS the “Entry” because the short barrel is intended to assist with forced-entry situations. I bought it because it is lightweight and maneuverable while still retaining the characteristics of a “traditional” shotgun. It holds 5+1 and comes with ghost ring sights. True, you can’t hang as much stuff on it, but that just forces me to choose what I REALLY need: a side-saddle (so I always have at least 12 rounds on hand, even if I don’t have time to grab anything else) and a simple Streamlight TLR-3 (so I can identify my target before touching-off a load of #4 buckshot inside my house). The Benelli has never failed to cycle with this set-up and any type of regular or reduced-recoil buckshot. The advantages of inertia-driven shotguns are their light weight, simplicity, and speed when compared to a pump in most people’s hands. I LOVE the lightening-fast speed with which the M2 can push buckshot down range. Final thought: I am not refuting ANYTHING you said, “just sayin” that folks should give the M2 a second look for home defense. Keep up the great work!

    May 29, 2022 10:13 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      Thanks for reading!

      May 30, 2022 4:39 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    If you are young, no shoulder issues like rotator cuff issues, and ONLY need the rounds inside the tube and chamber, a pump is fine.

    Full on Zombie attack, when you empty your shotgun you are done using it as you could never reload it in time to save your bacon.

    I'll take a mag fed semi-auto all day, you fire your 5 or 10 rds, stuff a new full mag in and go. Can have slugs in one and 00 the other, too. #4 for close in that won't also go into the neighbors house.

    The Turks DO made functional, working mag fed shotguns and do a good job on them. BE SURE>>>!!!!>>> you use HIGH BRASS the first 50 rounds to help break in a lot of moving parts in the Turk semi-auto shotguns!! This is key.

    Vast majority of so-so reviews from those not happy with their Turkish semi-auto did not use high brass that's "necessary" during break-in.

    Some like the Akdal MKA 1919 v2 Pro Match come with two gas rings, one for birds and one for Zombies and high-brass heavier rounds. Many come with different chokes, included. And, the price is impressive. BMP12 is a nice bullpup to check out too and are under $350.

    May 18, 2022 7:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Would rather use a rifle for home defense. I can configure it shorter than a shotgun with no tax stamp necessary, I have more capacity, and with the right ammo I don't have to worry about over penetration. Due to a lighter round I can also have faster follow up shots. Even a good pistol will have higher capacity, more maneuverability, faster follow ups and the same lack of over penetration. And any "tactical" rifle will have a place to put any number of attachments, like a light so you don't accidentally shoot your teenager that's trying to sneak back in, optics, laser sighting, that will make it a better choice for home defense, same for a pistol. Typically once you start getting the kinds of shotguns with those same capabilities they can cost as much or more than a rifle or pistol that has that option from the start.

    May 18, 2022 11:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    This and several of your other articles have been very effective at making me want a 590A1 Retrograde. Fortunately for my wallet, Mossberg doesn't seem to be producing enough of them to make that possible.

    May 16, 2022 3:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The fastest and most difficult (and adrenaline pumping) shotgun shooting I've done is on the back of an old farm truck going 30-40 kph down dirt tracks after feral animals - rabbits, cats, dogs, pigs etc. I used a Mossberg 500 ATP8 and 12 gauge 00 buck with roughly 100 rounds in a side pouch so I could reach in and grab rounds on the go. There was little time to think about anything except shooting, loading and holding on at rough sections of track. My 100 rounds was soon never enough and I would have to take extra rounds in a box at my feet. The other guys I was with also switched from semi auto rifles to shotguns as well since they couldn't hit moving targets from a moving vehicle with a rifle.
    I estimate I've put over 10,000 rounds through that Mossberg and never had it jam - not ever. I had to start reloading we went through so much ammo. The only time the truck would stop was when we were out of ammo, needed a break or if the farmer wanted to collect meat for his dogs.
    Those fancy two and four round top ups are great if you are standing still like Keanu Reeves is doing. Try that on a speeding bumping vehicle. My technique was to lay the gun on the cab roof and top it up since sometimes I had to hold on with one hand and could not afford to drop any rounds. Sights were never used except when we were doing target practice with slugs.
    But since this article is geared at home self defense and not multiple targets from a moving vehicle some of that is not relevant. However, it did teach us fast reflex shooting and fast loading as we never knew when or where the targets would appear.

    May 16, 2022 2:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    What is your opinion regarding box mag-fed, semi-auto bullpups, like ATI's "Bulldog? "

    I own that, a KSG, and a Stevens 320. And I'm finding the semi-auto bullpup (Bulldog) to be likely the most versatile for self defense over the other types. Due to its small size and ease of reload with multiple prepped magazines. And no malfunctions so far, after ~200 shells. Despite running cheap shells, and not cleaning it (on-purpose testing) and just keeping it "wet."

    May 16, 2022 8:56 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    In the early '90's I picked up a Mossberg 590 'Mariner' and have found that this Swedish beauty is 'armored' with a marine environment protective coating and is quite a quality shotgun. It eats anything 12 gage - can carry 8+1 2 3/4 shells (more or less with 3" mags or "shorties"). Over the years I've replace the plastic safety with a better steel one (Brownell's). put on a red dot, small laser, light, and keep it next to my bed -
    I prefer semi's for birds (Brownings) but for a positive, reliable pump gun... my money and experience with Mossberg is solid. Built and 'coated' to last and preform on demand.

    May 16, 2022 6:16 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I’ve had the Mossberg 500 pump and have upgraded to the Benelli M4 Titanium and I can attest that BOTH make fantastic home defense, sporting and general plinking shotguns. I always look forward to seeing new articles fro PewPew come through! Just as a suggestion - you should really have someone proof read your content before distributing.

    May 15, 2022 5:13 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    S Haider

    Hi! What’s your opinion about Winchester Defender, pump action?

    May 15, 2022 4:19 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I purchased recently a JTS AK-47 style 12 gauge 5 round magizne.

    May 15, 2022 3:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I've got one too... took a little gunsmithing to get the trigger to reset correctly (the trigger guard rivet was offset and interfered). JTS (AK 12 - chinese) is an AK - slam bang gonna shoot but not a great quality shotgun... I went and found a 10 round mag - It's a beast of a shotgun and like most chinese guns - heavy - and somewhat reliable... Loved the T-shirt ("Diplomatic Shotgun" -). It's intimidating - an AK on steriods. Welcome to the club.

      May 16, 2022 6:22 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I woud not forget about the Remington 11-87 Police. Not as modern but whenever I let others shoot it I have to encourage them to shoot faster as they do not realize how amazing fast it is. Yes, you have to watch what lube you use and monitor the O rings but a pretty amazing piece. And since it is a gas gun you can put all the toys on it you desire.


    May 15, 2022 3:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jim Hovater

    I cut my shotgun 'teeth' on my Dad 's Winchester Model 12, then on my own Mossberg 500 when I'd mowed enough yards. Both were in 12ga. As an LEO I used Remington 870s and Benelli M1 Super90s. I also carried a Beretta 1201FP for a bit. Now in my early 60s I favor a 20ga. We have (3) for home defensive purposes: a Stevens 320HD with PG stock and Ghost Ring sights, a Stoeger M3200 Tactical with Ghost Ring sights, and an RIA VR82 with 10-rd mags.

    May 15, 2022 3:03 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Fal Phil

      An original Model 12 has no disconnector. Therefor, it can be operated very quickly by holding the trigger back and working the slide action. I can shoot a Model 12 faster than most people can shoot an autoloader and just as accurately.

      May 16, 2022 3:35 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        That feature was a blast (literally) when bird hunting. Since we had to slam the pump forward to reload, it also was perfectly balanced to be right back on target. It rivalled most semis - but better recovery shots.

        May 16, 2022 6:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I beg to differ with this statement..."If you want one of the longest-serving combat and police shotguns, the Mossberg 500 is for you." The 870 served longer as a combat shotgun and was the mainstay of police guns for many years.

    May 15, 2022 2:09 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Jeff, I firmly believe you are correct.

      May 15, 2022 9:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Charles Zeltner

    I have a Wilson Combat on a rack on the bed frame loaded with #4 shot. It would only be used inside at relatively close ranges. It patterns great out to 50 feet and is a pleasure to shoot at the range. When it comes to my and my family's defense I want the very finest as our lives depend on it.

    April 29, 2022 6:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    David K. Hilton, MD

    I have a Mossberg 500 12 Gauge with an 18 inch barrel and a pistol grip but if and when it really hits the fan, I’ll break out my Standard Manufacturing DP-12.

    March 24, 2022 8:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Eric Wiltgen

    You left out 2 very affordable semi-autos available at grab a gun The TOKAREV USA TBP 12P Bullpup and the SDS IMPORTS TAR 12P both $269.99 + reasonable shipping to your FFL

    March 24, 2022 6:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    D Kiser

    Hard to believe the Winchester pump was not even mentioned. Fastest pump I've ever used and proven reliability. You are missing out not trying one

    March 24, 2022 4:15 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    With a small house, I decided to go the bull pup route for maneuverability. After researching the alternatives, decided on the S&W M&P 12 because of the dual 7 shot tube magazines and the easy mounting of red dot, light and sling.

    I agree with many of the other comments that I will never leave a shell in the chamber. Cruiser ready seems much safer. One cycling of the pump seems a small price to pay for safety. Plus, with a tactical flashlight shining in the intruder’s eyes, I don’t think it makes much difference what he or she hears.

    March 23, 2022 7:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Surprised you don't mention the Tavor TS-12; 15 + 1 capacity, it is a formidable weapon.

    March 17, 2022 6:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Been intrigued with the Kel-Tec shotgun since the day it came out but what sort of grouping could I expect with deer slugs out to 75-100 yds.

    March 13, 2022 4:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jordan Bickford

      Hell I’d never use that for deer hunting. Buy yourself a savage 20 gauge bolt action 2 3/4” shells. try out 20 gauge 2 3/4” accuTip Remington sabot slugs. Rifled slug barrel of course, and set up a leupold 3-9x40mm ultimate slam scope. That is a good deer slug gun. Good up too 200 hundred yards.

      March 30, 2022 10:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    great article!
    given home defense, slug/buck, 12g & 20g, bead, sights, and/or optic, what range do you zero? ultimate zero, but pattern at intermittent ranges as you mentioned, of course.
    mentioned 100 yds for 12slug but doubtful for home defense (back yard maybe, but rare…?)
    if you mentioned in the article, I missed it-

    March 13, 2022 3:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I zeroed mine initially at 15 yds (indoor range) using a red dot and slugs. Then, I checked at 25 and 8 yds and found it was still pretty well centered. Then I tested 00 buck at 8 yds to be sure everything was still OK. I figure that’s about the farthest I might ever need to shoot inside my home.

      Next, I will test as many different buckshot loads as I can to see what patterns most tightly at 8 yds.

      March 23, 2022 7:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Stuart Scott

    I have and carriered in my patrol vehicle my Remington 1100 in 12ga. 18 3/4 inch RemChoke barrel with 8 round extended magazine and side saddle shell holder. Great weapon with good factory sights on the barrel. Had a composite stock on it most of the time.
    Now retired from law enforcement it's back in it's wood and has a 28 inch RemChoke barrel. Mag extension and shell holder also off. Hunt birds with it now but can be returned to tactile readiness quickly and easily.

    March 1, 2022 5:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Vincent J Randazzo

    Pump shotguns should be kept in what’s called “cruise ready condition “

    February 20, 2022 8:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    You say to keep your shotgun fully load.
    You are right that racking sounds doesn’t work, but shotgun Do Not have a drop safety so for that reason alone I do not keep one in the chamber.

    February 20, 2022 8:07 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Ryno

    Hi Travis. I just want to thank you for this interesting read. Nice info and good writing.

    February 20, 2022 4:56 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I recently picked up a new Stevens 320. 20” barrel with heat shield, pump action with a nicely contoured foregrip, 5 round capacity, full pistol grip, optics rail, synthetic stock, and more. Got it on sale for $220 shipped.
    Haven’t tried it yet, but it looks and feels good. Only things I might change is the magazine tube to add another round, and mount a red dot sight. One of the nice things about the optic rail is a center channel that allows the iron sights to be used as well.

    I had an old 870 Wingmaster 12 ga that was my all-time favorite shotgun, but was stolen. Also had a Wingmaster 20 ga that my ex-wife confiscated…

    February 6, 2022 6:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Larry Waldo

    What about shooting slugs in it too because I live in grizzly country

    January 6, 2022 5:24 pm
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    Had the Rock Island Vr80 for a few months, in the manual it says to break in the spring with some high brass. Shot about 200 shells of some heavy stuff, still wouldn’t cycle low brass shells but it does cycle heavy loads pretty good. I then left the bolt locked to the rear for a month (read about that fixing the issue) took it out again and it still will not cycle lighter load shells. When I buy a shotgun I want it to shoot whatever I put in it, especially now with the ammo shortages. Long story short it looks cool but I ended up trading it in for a mossberg 590a1. Can’t beat the reliability of a good ole pump shotgun.

    November 16, 2021 9:11 am
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    Phil Hardcastle

    Bought my wife a Maverick 88 for the home with a pistol grip mod and side saddle. The adjustable stock works great for her smaller frame and she feels very confident with it. Working with her on the push/pull method to mitigate recoil for her but overall she feels safer and more confident at home by herself now.

    October 18, 2021 10:22 am
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    Mike Moser

    Mine is a REmington 870 Police model.Started out with fold over stock which has been changed to a fixed shorter stock for wearing a bullet proof vest.Mine was purchased in 1980.Has a light in the pump grip.

    September 30, 2021 6:14 pm
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    Don Don

    I know this isn't the "end all to be all" list of shotguns and only a list of those the author has experience with...but I think we need a review of the Smith & Wesson M&P 12. With two magazine tubes that can hold six or seven shells apiece (depending on size), I am wondering how many other makers are going to start designing shotguns like this.

    September 22, 2021 3:43 am
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    The biggest new model to impact shotgun sales in the last few years has been the Mossberg Shockwave and it's competitors - yet completely ignored. For CQB, hiking, home defense it has significant advantages that much longer less capacity shotguns can't match.

    Oh well. Tradition marches on.

    September 20, 2021 4:19 pm
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      Randall Glenn

      The unfortunate reality is that market pressures will be driving innovation for the foreseeable future.
      Think of the Harley Davidson here. More gun-posers will be picking up "crackhead killing" tactical shotguns & Industry will respond in kind. We will also see a rise in box-magazine fed shotguns due to the perceived reduction in cartridge reload complexity. The 'posers' will be able to keep:
      ▪ 1 buckshot "mag",
      ▪ one slug mag,
      ▪ a couple of birdshot mags, and
      ▪ a 'vanity' mag like magnesium/phosphorus (or even salt or fleshette) on their vest.
      Reasoning that this way, they don't have to be as skilled to "change up their game" when it comes to load-type.

      November 8, 2021 10:43 am
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    It's very easy to make the M4 fail. Just pull the trigger a bit too quickly and the action can't keep up. I have been unable to outrun the action on either a Tavor TS-12 or a Vepr-12.

    September 20, 2021 3:25 pm
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    Greg Wallace

    I recently purchased an Armscorp International/Rock Island Armory Lion Tactical SA (X4) shotgun for home protection. It includes upper and lowrr rails for mounting lights and optics. It has open iron peep sights and is a semi-automatic. So far, I am very happy with my purchase. I keep it loaded with 00 Buck. I was looking for an inexpensive shotgun and the price was right at less than $350 with tax.

    September 15, 2021 6:12 am
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    D. Hanson

    It may have already been said, but NEVER EVER EVER attach a sling to your home defense shotgun. The article is informative but has numerous pics of shotguns with slings attached.

    A sling hanging from your weapon is just begging to get hung up on a door knob or furniture or whatever. They may look tacit-cool but they are not worth the risk when your or your loved one's life is at stake.

    Keep it simple, ditch the sling for home defense and stash it in your bug-out bag.

    August 21, 2021 5:20 pm
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    Curtis R Lambert Jr

    As a fellow Marine,,, gimme my 870 ! Sorry friend,I don't agree with you ! That's coming from third awards rifle and pistol expert ! Mossbergs are only popular due to price point, hands down. Cheap alloy receiver ! The safety on top,,, wrong spot ! If I can shoot triples on doves at 30-40yds with a 20ga 870,,, I don't need an auto ! I can pick off small OJ cans at 50yrds with 12ga slugs and open sights,,, I don't need optics ! In a typical home situation, three shots is enough ! Recoil is non existent under stress ! Are you going to use sights in the dark ? I wouldn't even be concerned with sights at close range, 25yds to 5 feet. I have fed old tired reloads through my 870 till the high brass split ! You can't, and you won't find another gun that will do that ? I know, I've had many ! Remington 1100, SP10, Benellis, Franchis, O/U ,,, Winchester model 12, the 1300 and 1400. People put so much crap on the guns these days. I don't see how they can function everything under duress !!! Gimme my plain Jane 870 express with an 18.5" smooth bore cylinder barrel,,, send me in coach !!! Send me in !!! SEMPER FI old school, no gadgets ! Simple, effective !

    August 17, 2021 8:10 pm
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      I’ll look into that, but I’d at least like a flashlight attachment to blind those nasty intruders

      September 27, 2021 8:13 pm
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    I have two Vang Comp Remingtons, one 870 and one 1187. These are actually my second and third Vang Comps, as Hans built me an 1100 first. Being a retired police officer/detective, I'm partial to the 870, but will shoot anything I can either pick up or jerk the lanyard on.

    August 12, 2021 5:49 pm
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    Likewise, the Lynx-12 is a very good choice too. I would very much like for PP-T to review/compare some of the Saiga-12 variants, certainly including the Lynx-12. I have the 590A-1/Magpul, 1301 Comp, and TAC-13 for various applications. For classes, I use the 590 or 870, since that's what most students bring. The Lynx-12 is mostly for fun, but it has proven reliable with Saiga-12 magazines and drums. But, if I was absolutely forced to give up all but one, I'd keep the 590A-1. No doubt.

    July 29, 2021 3:10 pm
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    You forgot the Vepr12 SBS

    July 21, 2021 4:59 am
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    I picked up the Typhoon F-12. I love it. Have had it for 2 months now, put around 600 shells through it and have had no jams or issues. The recoil is not as bad as I thought it would be. With a red dot, it is amazing.

    July 20, 2021 8:17 pm
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    Possums aren't vermin, they are beneficial, so don't shoot them. Also, 12 gauge is just that - bore measured in gauge for projectile, not caliber. (.410 notwithstanding)...not trying to be a smart alec, just observing.

    July 20, 2021 7:53 pm
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    I have a VR80 but pound for pound, dollar for dollar, my 1301 is my absolute go to shotgun I would count on in any situation. Eats everything I feed it.

    July 20, 2021 6:27 pm
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      I agree! I put the kickoff system in the stock to mitigate recoil and it is effective. I shoot #8 with it on the 5 stand sporting clay for training without any issues, which separates it from most semi autos. The blink system can shoot 4 shots in less than second.

      July 24, 2021 7:35 am
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    Early Ithaca 12 ga. pumps are an outstanding choice if you can find one. They do not require you to pull the trigger after pumping in the next round. Instead, you can simply hold the trigger and pump it away. It will fire with each pump, making it super fast and in some cases faster than an autoloader. It Kicks like a mule but is hardly noticeable when the adrenalin is flowing. Of course, you max out at only 5 +1. Impossible to find accessories for too.

    July 20, 2021 6:07 pm
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      Gallo Pazzesco

      Good response and you forgot that the pre '72 M37s can not only slam fire and are lightning fast but they bottom feed and eject which makes them ambidextrous .... God bless the old Ithacas. I still have a safe full of them even after selling off my main collection. I still lean 500 series Mossies for tactical pump purposes. I've got an M4 or two for serious work.

      July 22, 2021 7:05 pm
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    Josh r

    I feel like you should have mentioned the benefits of #4 buckshot for home defense and not over penetrating but being very lethal

    July 20, 2021 5:17 pm
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      this is what Marine MP's use.

      July 20, 2021 6:00 pm
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      For older guys with bad shoulders, the semi-auto is the way to go. No way you can rack each shot well if you are waiting on a rotator cuff surgery, or any sizeable shoulder problems. Tube fed semi-auto's are fine BUT you are DONE using it when you empty the tube in a zombie attack. No way you can reload it given the time it takes. You'd have your brains eaten by then. Mag fed, slap another mag in there....... plus you can have your choice of mags, color coded, some filled with slugs, some with 00 or #1 buck, whatever. Yes, bit more bulky but stays in the fight and tube fed cannot. MUST break in the Turkish mag fed semi-auto's with high brass. Do that and odds are it's going to run well if you do your part. The MKA 1919 Pro is actually a Turkish Army issue option so it must be decent re reliability. Seeing some good reviews on the affordable BP-12's with 10rd mags. A 1,600 FPS slug or 1,600 FPS Hornady 00 would make zombies want to go home. Get a green, pad controlled laser on there.

      July 20, 2021 6:11 pm
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      Travis L Pike

      No. 4 doesn't offer consistent penetration to FBI standards

      July 21, 2021 3:06 am
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        The FBI doesn't have to be concerned about their 000 buckshot going through walls, killing someone next-door , and ending up destitute or going to prison for it. We do.

        November 22, 2021 12:02 pm
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      Gallo Pazzesco

      Definitely #4 Buck is the perfect home defense Buckshot as all the labs have proven.

      July 22, 2021 7:06 pm
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        Including here, which is where I was clued into their advantages. Won't let me include the direct URL so just search home-defense-overpenetration for the jan 20, 2020 article.

        November 22, 2021 12:17 pm
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    Monte Walsh

    A old 870P. Was my duty thumper for 25 years. Also used it for many academies, meaning it’s been shot by hundreds of recruits as well. Function wise it’s the equivalent of a 30 year old single malt.

    July 20, 2021 5:04 pm
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    Jim in Texas

    Do you have any feedback re: Panzer AR-12 shotgun?

    July 20, 2021 4:50 pm
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    The Tavor TS12 largely eliminates the “low capacity” issue while avoiding reliability issues inherent to magazine fed shotguns. The bullpup design also makes it easier to manage in confined spaces.

    July 20, 2021 4:34 pm
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      Travis L Pike

      Sadly the IWI TS12 I reviewed was highly unreliable and couldn't make the list

      July 21, 2021 4:23 am
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    Pete koch

    Fabarms tacticial 12 ga pump was my choice

    July 20, 2021 3:28 pm
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    Rich W

    Wow nice write up. I have a lot of shotguns. I like some of the older ones. Winchester m97 and 12. Ithaca m37. Are a few. I have a 1187 police ready for home defense right now.

    July 20, 2021 2:55 pm
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    You failed to mention the Winchester home Defender. I find the rotating Bolt and the 6 round capacity to be worth an honorable mention.

    July 20, 2021 9:31 am
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    Michel Morin

    Do you guys have any problem with Keltec product like KSG?

    June 8, 2021 5:40 pm
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      Travis L Pike

      I found it clunky and the controls annoying. I prefer the simpler KS7

      July 21, 2021 4:24 am
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    Remington 870 was my bedside primary for almost 20 years. I just recently upgraded to a Benelli M4 and many modifications (quad rail foreend, weapon light, extended tube, red dot, side saddle, adjustable stock, extended no pinch fed ramp...) It went from awesome to beast mode. You can't see it, but I am doing a little happy dance right now. :)

    May 11, 2021 3:04 pm
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    I have the Mossberg 590A1 which I put a Magpul SGA stock on and a Surefire scout 300 on the fore end. I love it but I’d like to get my hands on the Beretta 1301 Gen 2 tactical.

    April 17, 2021 6:26 pm
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    Gallo Pazzesco

    I am a bit of a shotgun affectionado having been introduced to them at an early age on the farm, having become ultra proficient with them both as a young man hunting and as a shotgunner at Bragg and later in a contractor capacity. I own quite a few, some in twos and threes and fours ... various iterations, gauges and configurations. This was one of the better offerings written about home defense or CQB centric (sic: combat type room clearing trench guns as we used to call them) shotguns. The author did fail to include/cover the venerable Ithaca Model 37 and its bottom feed and eject reliability which serves both righties and lefties equally ... and has for decades actually, since before WWII, hence the "Model 37" as in 1937. The author also took a passive aggressive swipe (in a "tacticool" sorta way) at pistol grips on shotguns ... and I disagree with that view. Pistol grips, especially these days, are a way of transitioning from an AR platform to a shotgun both ergonomically and through muscle memory and hand positioning familiarity ... meaning switching back and forth between the two is smoother when both are equally outfitted with pistol grips - not to mention that increased controllability one achieves through the use of modern pistol grips on shotguns. That's not to say the standalone stockless pistol grip variants are worth a plug nickel. They're not. The cruisers and Shockwave variants are a waste of time and effort. But a good collapsible pistol grip stock on a Benelli M4 or Mossey 500 series or an old school 870 that's been tricked-out and Vang Comp modified ... they can all be a thing of beauty - compact, quick into action, light weight and even stowable/concealable to some extent. BTW the FN SLP is one heckuva semiauto shotgun for those not wanting to spend Benelli M4 type money. I own them all just about ... 500s, 870s, M4s (I've got black and desert camo), Model 37s (including a bonefied WWII Ithaca trench gun), a BPS and even an SLP (all of which are CQB guns, not counting my bird guns ... you know, for ducks, dove and partridge, et al) ... good shotguns are beautiful things. What to feed them? I agree about the Federal Flight Control in double-ought buck (8 pellets) but it is hard to come by these days. That wad makes it a real 50 yard man stopper not to mention how tight it stays inside 25 feet. As for slugs, if you can get them, the ARM Gatekeeper is the holy grail of slug loads. I managed to get my hands on two boxes earlier this year (10 shells) shot one and am treating the remaining nine like gold. Best shotgun slug ever designed and rammed into a hull. Anyways, I could go on and on about shotguns and their loads ... I love'em. Enjoyed reading the piece above. Thanks. I'm about to crank-up my MEC this morning and roll some cast 00 buck and slugs of my own making ... which is another benefit of the shotgun altogether and worth talking about on another day.

    April 15, 2021 3:23 am
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    John Kramme

    I liked everything about this article but I disagree with one point. This is just my opinion and I'm putting it out there as food for thought. I do agree that racking a shotgun to scare someone off is not something you should count on. However I disagree with the idea of keeping a fully loaded shotgun with One in the chamber. Some shotguns are known for going off if they're knocked over or dropped even with the safety on. This is the main reason why most shotguns are stored without One in the chamber. As for giving away your position, this doesn't matter in the vast majority of cases. You are going to be yelling out that you have a weapon and that you have called the police. You are not going to be laying in ambush to shoot down the intruder. Avoiding the engagement if possible is always the best course. And I know and in some extreme cases this does not apply, but we are talking about the vast majority of Home defense situations and in some states if you lay an ambush for the intruder you could be the one going to jail. Again this is my opinion only and I put it out there as something to consider.

    April 11, 2021 10:58 am
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      David, PPT Editor

      If your shotgun has the risk of going off with one in the chamber and the safety on you either have a dangerously unsafe very old shotgun or a dangerously unsafe incorrectly manufactured shotgun. No modern shotgun should have that risk even in the slightest. From super cheap Turkish shotguns to Mossbergs and Remingtons and Benelli -- no firearm in working condition should have the risk of failing a drop test.

      April 11, 2021 11:13 am
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        After much research I made all my home defense shotgun in the Cruiser ready mode. It is always best to err on the side of safety!
        Most shotguns are not drop safe. If there’s a round in the chamber and the gun falls down in the closet or it’s dropped, it can go off by itself. Even with the safety on — the safety just prevents the trigger from being pulled, it doesn’t block the hammer, it doesn’t block the firing pin, and it doesn’t prevent the gun from being discharging if there’s some kind of sudden jolt. And really, you’d be surprised at how little it takes for one of these things to go off if there’s a round in the chamber. If we keep it stored in cruiser ready condition, the chamber is empty, so we eliminate that possibility. And with the slide unlocked, it really just takes half a second to get the gun into action.

        July 24, 2021 7:57 am
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      Jeffrey BARRIS

      I grew up with an 870 wingmaster. Years later my 870 is built to defend my family. My time in the military and in law enforcement has given me a few skills..Refusing to be a victim is my daily mantra...Dirtbag enters my home...Im not gonna yell out I have a gun like some panty waist....bad guy will likely haul ass..Ambush em and end their life of crime...If you are serious about defending you and your family..Get serious about training and quickly ending any or all threats...

      June 10, 2021 8:55 am
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      Yep, thus the term “ cruiser ready”. I have my 1301 hanging on my wall locked in my Hornady RFID shotgun safe with the bolt back ( required) and the safety off.

      July 24, 2021 7:50 am
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    Richard J. Purdes

    Benelli M2 Tactical for me. I upgraded the magazine to the end of the barrel (7+1) but could not do a thing with the smaller sights on the barrel which are soldered on. Living on a WY ranch, a shotgun becomes a liability since the range is limited to a maximum of 100 yards with slugs, reduced further to 35 yards with some buckshot, and a limited magazine capacity. I have always been a strong supporter of the AR 15 system. But too many comments by those that have ACTUALLY seen fighting result in the need for multiple hits with the 5.56. Problem is, which to pick up when trouble comes a-callin'.

    March 31, 2021 10:04 am
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    Been a pistol grip 500 guy for years but just pulled the trigger(technically not yet, but it's on the way!) on an Israeli IWI TAVOR bullpup semi-auto. 15+1 2-3/4". Can't wait.

    March 30, 2021 6:13 pm
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    Excellent article. Very informative and fun to read as well as being well written.

    For myself, I am a Mossberg guy. I have both a 500 and a 590M Shockwave. Both excellent guns. Just as an addition, my wife has a really nice Hawk 12 G pump that is relaible and fun to shoot at under $300.

    February 28, 2021 6:38 pm
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    Steven Hansen

    I have a Remington 870DM. I like the ease of mag changing. I bought the plain jane version and added a red dot mount and the red dot to put on it. I have fiber optic front sights and a 3 slot mag tube rail for my Streamlight tac light. I have the side saddle and stock saddle for extra rounds.
    I love my Remington, so reliable using any style of ammo and used in every weather condition possible.

    February 16, 2021 5:00 pm
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    I had a Maverick 88, but upgraded to a Benelli M2 Tactical about 10 years ago. The M2 Tactical is a fantastic combat shotgun. It isn't a Benelli M4, but it's a close 2nd! I also ended up with an H&R Pardner Pump (Basically a Chinese made 870) which I really appreciate much more than the Maverick 88.

    January 23, 2021 3:57 am
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      Dave Watts

      Scott, being a Benelli fan myself I almost bit the bullet and picked up an M4. As luck would have it, I was told of a Benelli clone that changed everything. I ended up getting a Panzer Arms M4, which in my opinion, is basically the same weapon for a quarter of the price. It is a beast!

      March 16, 2021 5:54 am
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    " I can get 9mm for 16 cents a round if I go looking. "

    Good luck with that these days.

    January 17, 2021 4:59 pm
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    When my life is on the line - Mossberg JM 940 Pro. Amazing functionality and reliable as hell - I’ve shot Sporting Clays with it, Buckshot at Targets & Slugs at Watermelons - over 500 rounds and not a malfunction of any kind. Now if I could just learn the Quad Loading Technic - John Wick beware

    January 10, 2021 3:14 pm
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    Steven Perkins

    No one mentioned the USAS auto and semi automatic shotgun! That’s my preference. 10 round mags or 21 round drum. I prefer the 10 round mags. Less weight and bulk. There is still the advantage of quickly changing magazines and not as heavy or bulky as the 21 round drum.
    Thanks for your time!
    Gunny Perkins
    S/F, Marines!!

    January 6, 2021 7:05 pm
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    When you say “keep the shotgun loaded, the only time they should hear the sound of racking is on loading for a second shot”, are you saying to keep it loaded with a round in the chamber with safety on? My guns are locked up due to children in the house, but a chambered round poses an increased accident risk in that situation (ie: gun falls and fires, no need to fire weapon, etc..). Irious of thoughts. Btw, I have a Mossberg Maverick 88 5+1 and LOVE it!

    January 1, 2021 10:16 am
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      David, PPT Editor

      The choice is yours really. One in the chamber is always what we recommend for concealed carry, but for home defense, it can go either way. Personally, my HD rifle is kept without a round in the chamber.

      January 1, 2021 11:54 am
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    I was disappointed that the Beretta 1301 Tactical was not on your list. Oh well. Opinions very.

    December 31, 2020 11:25 am
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      It was

      July 20, 2021 6:32 pm
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    Mossberg 500 Retrograde, $575, 5+1 with bead sight. I have a Mossberg shell carrier. I plan to add a weapon light with a GG&G Pic Rail adapter and a VTAC sling. I store daylight in an under bed gun safe. I chose walnut furniture, bead sight and 5+1 because we have an activist DA. 18” barrel , etc. are defensible - a SideSaddle would be an issue negating the non-tactical benefits.

    December 28, 2020 10:55 am
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    I submit for your consideration; the IWI Tavor TS-12. Semi-auto 12 Gauge with 3 rotary tube magazines - 15 + 1 capacity with 2 3/4" shells or 12 + 1 with 3" shells.

    December 27, 2020 6:06 pm
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      Travis Pike

      We reviewed one and it wasn't reliable

      January 20, 2021 5:18 am
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    Mitchell Spann

    Winchester SXP defender ultimate, Turkish made but for under 500.00 it comes loaded and is smooth and fast!

    December 25, 2020 6:56 pm
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    Randy Bennett

    Benelli M3 is awesome!

    December 24, 2020 7:38 am
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    Imen Hunglo

    Lots of semi-auto bullpup shotguns coming out of Turkey. Reasonably priced, I picketed up a FD12 from Black Aces Tactical and added a 20 round drum - loaded with #4 buck. The FD12 is chambered for 2.75 to 3.00 inch shells (the drum will only take 2.75 inch shells). Emptying that drum is quite an experience, and so far no stovepipes, jams, or ftf issues.

    The Bullpup design gives you a full-sized weapon in 2/3 the length. Making it very maneuverable for home defense and tactical operations. Reduced recoil loads aren’t recommended - the weapon needs full strength loads (at least while breaking it in - 200 to 300 rounds). Once broken in the weapon should accept reduced recoil shells.

    December 19, 2020 7:17 am
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      Thx for the review. I have seen B.A.T. guns more & more lately. Their buckshot is nasty stuff - way bigger kick than my go-to's; Estate, Winchester, Remington & Wolf.

      December 27, 2020 5:45 pm
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    I have a Rem 870P , but just bought a Saiga 12 which I converted and put all the required components on to make in legal. An awesome weapon, but I have to fine tune the gas port a little more. I will rely on the 870p in the mean time.

    December 7, 2020 9:10 am
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    P. Curry

    Bought a mossburg 590 shockwave for the house.. Thanks for the information.. The shockwave is large pistol in 12 ga. form.. Should last a lifetime.

    December 6, 2020 8:45 pm
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    James Gvazdinskas

    I ended up with a Benelli M4 after researching the pros and cons before I read this article now I am convinced that I did the right thing. What accessories would you suggest

    November 29, 2020 4:47 pm
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    Pete Hubbell

    I have an Ithaca model 37 featherlight stainless riot gun in 12 GAGE W/a light.Sweet!

    November 25, 2020 9:40 pm
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    How about the TriStar 12 ga with 18 inch barrel?

    November 19, 2020 5:17 pm
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    David Webb

    I've got a pump-action, Dickinson Commando, 12 ga. 18.5" barrel. Like the Hatsan, it's Turkish made and the two shotguns appear virtually identical. After comparing the owner's manuals for them, I wouldn't be surprised if they were made in the same factory. Their specifications are almost identical and it looks like many of the components are identical.
    The main difference appears to be the Commando's barrel is 0.5" longer than the 18" version of the Escort Aimguard and the Hatsan has a fiberoptic front sight. I added a cheap snap-on fiberoptic to mine. It basically adds a bright green dot to the base of the blade in my sight-picture. That makes it noticeably easier for my aging eyes to quickly focus on the blade, especially in low light conditions.

    November 18, 2020 12:27 pm
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    Any thoughts on the TriStar Cobra SP Force?

    November 16, 2020 9:40 am
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    Just picked up the RIA VRPA40 mag fed pump! Haven’t shot it yet but am looking forward to!

    November 8, 2020 6:13 pm
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    Fred Garza

    I have a maverick 88 but would like to pick up a benelli in the near future. I love the 88 for its ability to use the very easy to find mossberg 500 components. I need to buy some accessories to make it more CQC friendly but it is a great fun for the price.

    October 28, 2020 5:53 am
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    Stuart Baldwin

    I have a Shockwave with a green lasersaddle. Great for CQC, very manueverable. Fun, too.

    October 27, 2020 11:08 am
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    Mark Keith

    I have the Maverick 88 for home defense, and the Remington Versa Max for hunting and sport. Both 12 ga.

    The 88 holds 5+1...
    I go 1-#8 target load,
    3-00 buck
    With 2-slug w/3 pellets at the back end.

    October 25, 2020 5:56 pm
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      Josh r

      Not a good idea unless you have very close quarter in the home for birdshot and as for slugs overpenetration is a huge concern, if anything I'd roll #4buckshot or 00 buckshot

      July 20, 2021 5:20 pm
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    Greg Niiranen

    I purchased a Remington 870 tac 14 with a laser sight so far I think this shotgun is perfect for the in home protection it has a grip that reduces the recoil tremendously... What are your views on this tac 14 shotgun

    October 23, 2020 1:32 pm
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    Kamryn Kant

    Yeah, buckshot is king inside the home if you do not care about penetration power strong enough to go through multiple walls... Some people may find high powered birdshot to be a more balanced option. I know Paul Harrell.

    October 23, 2020 7:33 am
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    Ron Loof

    I picked up a Winchester SXP Defender 12 gauge pump for $299 after comparing it side by side with a Mossberg that was priced $60 higher. The pump action on the Winchester actually seems a touch smoother. The only real difference is the placement of the safety. Very happy with it.

    October 19, 2020 3:42 am
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      Not surprised to hear it - I have no experience with their guns but I continue to be impressed by their ammo. My semi-auto 12 gauge is very ammo-sensitive but it gobbles up Winchester Buck/Bird/Slugs without issue.

      December 27, 2020 5:49 pm
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    jeb brewster

    Mossberg 88 with a raptor grip is my top choice.

    October 11, 2020 4:31 pm
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    Just real good information

    October 7, 2020 12:34 pm
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    Michael Levin

    What about KSG?

    October 4, 2020 4:48 pm
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    Chris Bryer

    Franchi 612 VS 18.5" Semi is my HD choice.

    October 1, 2020 8:08 pm
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    L. Jordan

    I have to say, that I love the old 870, I have owned one from the 1970’s on but I picked up a Winchester 1300 Defender at a great price, and it has moved to the place of honor (next to my bed). I will still hunt with my 870 though.

    September 26, 2020 7:52 am
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    Jonathan Herbert

    Great info. I ultimately purchased a Black Aces Pro Max S semi auto that I love.

    September 24, 2020 5:48 pm
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    I have both an 870 and a Mossberg 500. The 870 is hands down my favorite. Mine is a former LE shotgun, complete with the Davis stock with two mini magazine tubes adding and additional 4 shells in addition to the 5 + 1. I noticed that the article did not mention the Davis stock at all.

    September 19, 2020 11:47 am
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    Understand that most times there is civilian use of force the encounter is over in less than 6 rounds - so getting hung up on shot capacity may not be needed

    Distance - engaging a threat at 100 yards with a slug...really? If you are engaging someone at 100 yards with a shotgun ( or any other gun) you'll have a lot of explaining to do when the law shows up.

    As sleek and as high tech as the black guns may look, when you are faced with a real world situation and need to use force in a legitimate self defensive manner, that old beat up wood stocked Winchester 4 shot pump gun will not only do the job, it likely wont intimidate a jury or allow a prosecutor to paint a picture of you as an armed militant.

    September 19, 2020 5:04 am
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      September 24, 2020 7:27 pm
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    Bruce Caron

    FYI oppossum aren't pests. They eat deer ticks which cause lime desease in humans. They also kill mice and rats.
    Because their body temperature is so low they do not get rabies.

    They are America's only Marsupial they are not rodents. Kangaroos are also marsupials.

    They are a highly beneficial animal.

    September 3, 2020 6:20 pm
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      K Smith

      Thank you for pointing out these facts.

      November 29, 2021 2:42 am
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    Tom Adger

    I have a 12ga Mossberg Maverick 88 Security by my bed. 7+1 capacity, with 5 more in a side saddle. For those of us where cost is a major consideration, you can't beat it.

    September 2, 2020 6:08 am
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    James Layne

    Beretta 1301 Tactical is unequivocally the best on the market! Benelli M4 is a worthy 2nd place.... how can you leave the 1301 off? I own both and Beretta dominates all.

    September 1, 2020 10:53 pm
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      I agree. I was going to buy a 930SPX, but too many people are having problems with them. Some run great, some not so much.. The 1301T eats everything all day long

      October 22, 2020 4:02 pm
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    Best man at a Combat Shotgun reload? HANDS DOWN - John Wick...

    August 29, 2020 11:44 am
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    Dexter Jessen

    What's the general consensus of the Typhoon Defense shot guns?

    August 9, 2020 11:30 am
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      I have a Black AcesTactical FD12 - essentially the same weapon (both made by the Hunt Group in Turkey). I shoot #4 Buck (2.75" /high brass/full load) and use a ProMag 20 round drum. Range officers call it "The Beast". At home defense ranges (under 45') this thing will chew up anything, and I have only had one stove-pipe in over 300 rounds. #4 buck has been shown to dump the most energy into a target - better than #00 (which supprised me) - but you have to hit it. I've mounted a Vortex red dot to the weapopn. Very satisfied.

      August 20, 2020 10:47 am
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    Robert Goodrich

    Benelli M4 is the undisputed King of the tactical shotgun world. Light recoil is a big piece of the action. If you ghost load, it’s 8+1 rounds of 00-buck and slugs for any miscreant who wanders into our home uninvited!

    July 11, 2020 6:33 pm
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      I would put the Beretta 1301 Tactical right up there with the Benelli.

      August 22, 2020 11:33 am
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    Lawrence Twohig

    Benelli M2 M3 or M4 which is better?

    July 6, 2020 4:36 am
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    Kristopher M Graham

    For home defense, I use the Charles Daly Honcho in .410 bore with Winchester's 2 1/2" PDX rounds and Dupo 7 fragmenting slugs. Three coated .41 caliber antipersonnel discs and 12 coated BB's. Followed by fragmenting slugs that create approximately 50" of linear wound. Kicks a bit more with that much flying out the business end... But I have trained in how fire form the hip and effective at 20 yards. For longer distance, I can raise it up and fire by pushing the weapon forward as I fire. Trespassers will be shot. No survivers.

    July 5, 2020 4:15 pm
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      Mo Better

      Some have found the Winchester PDX round to be inadequate for self-defense. Except for ultra-close use the 12 coated BB's are essentially ornamentation - they penetrate poorly, produce short, narrow and ineffective wound channels. The three .41 caliber discs have not been proven to be any more effective than round ball or regular .41 caliber rounds. I would not rely on this round for home defense.

      August 18, 2020 6:42 pm
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        Mo Better

        Additionally, penetration of the .41 discs is 10 inches in ballistic gelatin, the 12 BB's spread far too widely at 7 yards out of a Judge to be a meaningful deterrent..... maybe it performs better out of an actual shotgun, but it is a poor choice for a revolver.

        August 18, 2020 6:50 pm
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    Great article. Very pleased with my Maverick 88 and case of Remington Magnum buckshot. Just something about fifteen .33 caliber lead pellets travelling at 1225 feet per second to help discourage a rioting coward from continuing through the front door.

    June 19, 2020 1:11 pm
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    I WANT and would still prefer a Mossberg, but due to Covid-19, my only option right now may be a Remington 870. Trying to decide if I should keep waiting things out or just bite the bullet.

    June 17, 2020 4:09 pm
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      Not sure if you went with the Remington but the Mossberg 590 Tactical I ordered in early July is STILL on back order. Hopefully I have it in time for Dad's B day in late January.

      December 27, 2020 5:54 pm
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        My LGS tells me Mossberg AND Distributors stopped accepting 590 series Backorders in May. Everything produced seems to be going to the largest chains, who then flip them at online auction sites at 2x MSRP.

        February 11, 2021 10:57 am
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    Bennet Erbaugh

    Escort Aimguard owner here. Glad to see it's on this list. Very well made. It's no 500 or 870, but it's been a solid investment so far.

    June 15, 2020 8:47 pm
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    Scott E Phillips

    I got a Stevens 320 Security, ghost ring sights, pic rails on top and up front, and a stylish heat shield. Paid $220, out the door.
    I added a flashlight up front, some rail covers on the opposite side where it was digging into my back when slung over my shoulder and a sling that holds 16 shells.

    June 14, 2020 10:39 am
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    R Bedford

    I just found a youtube video that reads this review out word for word almost.

    June 8, 2020 7:09 pm
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      David, PPT Editor

      Thanks for letting us know! It looks like that channel has stolen a LOT of content from us.

      June 9, 2020 9:33 am
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      Travis Pike

      Author here. What channel?

      July 20, 2020 2:08 pm
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    Dave Ward

    Leaning towards the semi-auto option. If I go that route I would use the 11-87 I already own. Any thoughts, comments or suggestions? Thanks

    June 5, 2020 12:51 pm
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    james scocca

    No love or review for the kel tec?

    June 5, 2020 8:49 am
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    Gary Dowd

    I've finally settled on a Stoeger m3020 after a couple fails with a couple 12 gauges. I'm missing my left hand due to combat in Iraq and I just couldn't get comfortable with the 12 gauges I tried. Not to mention neither ended up reliable enough for me. I tried a Turkish made semi auto from sarsilmas with a piston type gas system and then after that I tried a Mossberg 930 that I couldn't make reliable either and I wasn't about to pay orgun to fix what Mossberg should've done from the factory. So after trying my first inertia gun, I'll never go back to gas. I love my Stoeger, it eats everything I feed it and just continues to cycle.

    May 31, 2020 7:45 pm
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    how complicated is it to add the tube, mag extender to a Maverick? Why are sights critical when its dark, in your home, and shooting at something a few yards away? Plus if you light something up the attacker will see right where he needs to shoot! Are we REAL sure that racking a round as an intrusion is taking place is not such a good idea?

    May 29, 2020 8:53 am
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      Can't extend the mag on a Maverick, get the 20" 7+1 (good luck finding one) holds 12 Federal shorty shells in #4 buck. My defense plan uses night lights in the home, no flashlight needed and I keep the advantage. My G22 will make them dead enough. Can't find a Mossberg, have a Dickinson tactical on backorder as a last resort. With kids in the house, I have to rack. Won't store any gun with one in the chamber.

      September 7, 2020 10:16 am
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    Brian Ryan

    Mossberg 500 chainsaw

    May 28, 2020 6:24 pm
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    Jack Woods

    I'm going to pay 500.00 for a Mossberg when I can get a Turk-made (that's GOOD) RIA VR80 for 599.00? As for Remington: the last good thing they sold was their name.

    May 27, 2020 9:38 am
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    Biscuit Cat Tactical

    Really? The 870? How anyone could possible recommend any Remington product at this point in time is beyond me. If you can find an older express or a wingmaster then by all means. Current production stuff, however, is garbage.

    May 24, 2020 1:16 am
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      Jack Woods

      Amen, brother.

      May 27, 2020 9:37 am
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      Greg Niiranen

      The 870 tac 14 is amazing

      October 23, 2020 1:35 pm
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    Greg Boggs

    Two observations
    1. 00 buckshot pellet is approximately .32 cal or about 7.65 not 9mm.
    2. For home defense engagement distances are usually short 7-10 yards. At those distances 7 1/2 shot is devastatingly lethal. Further, in cases where penetration is an issue such as other family members are in adjacent rooms, 7 1/2 shot will not usually result in major injuries after impacting two sheets of Sheetrock. This has also proven useful when making raid entries when the team is spread out clearing rooms when necessary. I absolutely prefer 00 buckshot in a lethal encounter but there is certainly an issue regarding penetration. Otherwise good article.

    May 17, 2020 12:16 pm
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    John Beder

    FN SLP mk2. Ready for anything and a fast shooter.

    May 14, 2020 8:43 am
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    Jared Brewer

    I have to know about the hardware on the pictured 870 at the top with the Mossberg. I love the wood and glossy look with the tactical barrel and tube. And what is on the end of the barrel. Love the way that thing looks. Please fill me in

    May 12, 2020 9:16 pm
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    BillyBob Texas

    I go with the 870, because I have shot an 870 for hunting for the last 45 years. SO...the safety and the mechanisms are the same. It's all natural to me.
    Ya oughta' pick the one that has the same safety as the one you've used...if you have.

    May 6, 2020 2:11 pm
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    Holly Spens

    I gotta go with the Remington. There's something about a Remington that's so nostalgic

    May 2, 2020 2:07 am
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      Holly Spens

      Yes nostalgia is essential when it comes to home protection.

      May 2, 2020 2:13 am
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    John Heneghan

    I own a couple on the list but have to say for a house clearing tactical shotgun I am grabbing the Komrad in 12 gauge. 12.5" barrel with no stock for easy corner maneuvering. Came with front mounts and I threw an O-light laser light with 1200 lumens on it. Have 25 round drum magazines and some ten round sticks. It has always fed flawlessly. None on this list top it. Glock 20 as a backup.

    April 29, 2020 4:14 pm
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      Dean Goolsby

      LOVE the Komrad 12. My main concern with a box magazine fed shotgun is shell deformation when left loaded over time. I think as advancements are made, that issue will be addressed by savvy manufacturers. Until then, my go to is the OLD 870 police magnum.

      May 5, 2020 12:30 pm
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    Colin Bruce

    Hi guys, I really like your review of at tactical shotguns. What is your opinion of the kel-tec ks7 and ksg ? Also I’m still waiting for a review of the Kimber line of firearms, the 1911s and the ks6 357 revolvers.

    April 29, 2020 2:46 pm
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    I own a Remington 870 express I bought as my first shotgun in 1988. It came with a 20” smoothbore slug barrel and a 26” screw in choke barrel. I’ve killed hundreds of birds with this shotgun. I retired it Several years ago when I switched to Benelli semi autos for upland and clays. I have it now as my HD shotgun 20” barrel , converted it to a tactical SG ...haven’t looked back still runs like charm.

    April 23, 2020 4:55 pm
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    I already own multiple Remington shotguns but I must say my preference for home defense is a Stevens 320 security 12 gauge. Very inexpensive and shoots just as well as my more expensive ones!

    April 20, 2020 5:01 pm
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    John Wilson

    I have been a firearms instructor for several years but in no way do I claim to be an expert. Never allow yourself to believe that you are all knowing regarding firearms, it will get you killed. Always strive to improve yourself via research and training. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed your article and gained some very good information about shotguns. I own several shotguns but my "go to" gun is the Remington 870 simply for its reliability and it's a tank and will never let you down. I am not saying that other shotguns are subordinate, it's a matter of hands on experience and what you are comfortable with. Period.

    April 12, 2020 6:01 am
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    Mossberg 500 with a 20 in barrel, inside a
    polymer bullpup unlimited, Magpul vertical forgrip and rear that hold LCP, Magpul flip up sites, with 10 round shell holder on top, sling, side pic rails for attachments like lights lasers, spikes or what ever, and can hold 12 & 1 rounds using a mini shell adapter.

    April 10, 2020 10:14 am
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    John Guida

    Beretta 1301 tactical. Shipped yesterday. Thanks for all the great information. My first gun.

    April 9, 2020 8:59 pm
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    Thanks for creating this . As a new owner (Benelli Nova) I need all the help I can get. I have signed up for a new shooter class and I'm trying to do my homework before then.

    April 9, 2020 12:36 pm
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      David, PPT Editor

      :D Glad we could help!

      April 9, 2020 2:13 pm
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      Its never too late, until its too late!
      Anytime ya want a different perspective my opinions are usually free lol.

      April 13, 2020 3:04 pm
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        So, I guess it never hurts to really ask. I've never really been someone whose been into guns, and I never really grew up around guns.

        That being said, I'm not very knowledgeable regarding them. I'd put myself somewhere around knowing more than a few people, but a lot less than a standard gun owner. So, I've been doing research and stuff.

        I live in sort of a semi urban area. There's neighborhoods and businesses around, but I'm more on the out skirts of the city. You can drive 3 minutes in the opposite direction and be in a wooded area surrounded by trees, creeks, marshes, and, if you were on foot, some difficult terrain, Behind my house, is this large field, on the other side of it is a small road. A few nights this past month I've seen like three guys in this field with search lights. They weren't shinning them right at my home. In fact, it looked like they were looking for something in the field. I have a large sliding glass window facing out to this.

        So, while this is a little un-nerving, I don't want to think right away they were home intruders. Each time I saw them I watched and they were more occupied with the field than any of the residences. They also talked extremely loud, so I could almost make out their conversations. Another thing that I find strange, is that very seldom, a local utility company shows up. I'm not sure if it's power, or cable, or internet, but they come very early in the morning. It's not just a couple guys in a truck. It's usually like... oh, maybe at lest 5 or 8 guys. Though, I've never seen more than 10. They come in these big trucks with flashing lights, and loud engines. There's always at least a couple equipped with a cherry picker, though I've never seen it used. There's always about three maybe four parked up and down the street. When they come, they usually talk pretty loud, and they go into peoples' yards. It seems like they're checking for something, but again, I've never seen them actually go up to doors or windows. They're always looking at the ground. I find this odd because anywhere else I lived, the utility companies came when ever they were needed. This whole thing happens early early in the morning when most people would be asleep. So, again, while I'm not wanting to jump to the conclusion that these people are up to no good, it is un-nerving.

        It wasn't until something else started happening, until I started considering a fire arm for home defense. Without, getting into a ton of detail about this, I'll just say I've seen some large wild life come almost right up to my back yard. Bordering my property, and this field is a short chain link fence. It's maybe four and a half feet tall, like something you'd use to keep a small dog in, and rodents or other small animal out. Haven't seen what it is, cause it's always dark, but it's some kind of wild animal, and it's about as tall as the fence. It's not a deer. This doesn't have the scrawny legs. It's almost like a solid bulk. I thought maybe a wolf, coyote, or large neighborhood dog at first. Perhaps maybe a big wolf could be almost as tall, but again, I'd be able to make out the general outline of a canine. Before anyone gets the idea, I'm not saying that this anything quite so exotic as bigfoot or something, if even such a thing exists. I'm just saying that there's something there that I don't know what it is. Maybe a big cat, but, I'd imagine even a large cat might be closer to the ground, and not as tall as a short fence. So, seeing this a couple times has me a bit spooked. Whatever it is, I'm worried that if it wanted to, it could bust through the sliding glass doors.

        So, I started looking at maybe getting a shotgun, because if there ever is an incident I want something that could pack a big punch. I guess, after all that rambling, This is more so my question. I've seen people talk about their Benelli Novas, and a couple Beretta Tacticals. I knew of the Mossberg and Remington, cause I've had friends who had those in their homes. But, they all look the same to me. I like Mossberg or Remmington for their reliability, but I've seen people praise their Benelli Super Nova. When I look them up, they all just look like almost every other shotgun to me. So, I guess what I'm wanting to ask is, what makes the Benelli Supernova or the Berreta Tactical shotguns better, over something like a Mossberg or Remington? Thanks all in advance.

        April 22, 2020 1:05 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          It sometimes is just a preference like Ford vs Chevy trucks. Most pump actions are by design more reliable than most semi autos. I have both, two beretta gas semi autos , 1301 and A400, and two Remington 870s pumps.
          The best bang for the buck (no pun intended) in my opinion is a pump. I bought my daughter a basic Mossberg Maverick model in 20 gauge for home defense. ALWAYS train with whatever you get!

          July 24, 2021 8:29 am
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    Benelli Nova seemed the best way to go. Short and maneuverable. Takes any length of shell. Easy to maintain. Recoil absorption built-in. Slide bypass feature is a big plus.

    March 28, 2020 5:51 pm
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    Daniel Rodriguez

    do you know of a good site to get M3 aftermarket parts? most of the sites that I've come across cater to the M2 and M4 but not the M3. looking to get a tube extender and side saddle. any help would be appreciated.

    March 28, 2020 11:45 am
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    John Melville

    I purchased a new Mossberg 590 military shotgun from a gun show vendor and have been very pleased. It came with military surplus M7 bayonet. Matched with 00 buckshot, this makes for a sweet home defense weapon.

    March 25, 2020 3:50 pm
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    Andrew Lidman

    The kel-tec ksg 12+1 double magazine tubes only 26.1" oal deserves at least an honorable mention....

    March 22, 2020 2:28 pm
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    Gary Dowd

    Just ordered my first Stoeger m2030. I'm very excited to use and train with this tool. Never had an inertia shotgun.

    March 15, 2020 4:13 pm
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    Joe Spann

    I have an 8 shot Winchester 1200 with an 18.5 inch barrel I've owned for years. It has a nylon sling and swivels. It's never been hunting...It's always been beside the bed...loaded with 8 rounds of 00 buck. It gives me peace of mind knowing it's a few inches away if needed. My wife keeps a loaded custom 357 combat magnum in a drawer in her bedside nightstand.
    A tactical shotgun is scary enough. A 357 with a touchy combat trigger in the hands of a scared woman might be just as frightening.

    March 12, 2020 11:43 am
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      Not much love for Winchester shotguns. I own several 12ga shotguns. My Winchester 1300 defender is the best pump shotgun I have owned. I've sold mossbergs Remington 870s.still have my Winchester defender.great pump shotgun.

      January 22, 2021 9:33 pm
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    Robert Olsen

    Thank you for your information.

    March 10, 2020 8:27 pm
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    Bull o' the Woods

    Take a look at the Langdon Tactical Beretta 1301. Very cool.

    March 10, 2020 6:12 pm
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    Since we are talking tactical/home defense shotguns, I’m a little sad the Kel Tec KS7 didn’t even get mentioned. 12 gauge, 6+1 mag capacity, 6lbs unloaded, 26” overall length. No love for the bullpup huh?

    March 8, 2020 8:20 am
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    I will take my winchester model 12 over any pump out there. Smooth like butter.

    March 7, 2020 5:04 pm
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    Woody D

    I still have my first shotgun, a Mossy 500. It was my primary hunting gun for years. With a rifled barrel, scope and good sabot slugs, it will reliably take Bambi out to 100-120 yards. It has also been %100 reliable over the years, never had one problem with it. I've had other shotguns come and go but I've only got two right now, that 500 and a benelli M4. If the Mossy 500 has a flaw, it's the way the barrel is mounted as it limits the magazine length to 5 rounds with the plug removed.

    March 5, 2020 8:10 am
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    Preston Babcock

    A friend of mine that hunts a lot has a lot of shotguns.He has several piled up in a corner.I asked him why they were there.
    He said they were pieces of shi? in need of repair.They were ALL Mossbergs...
    Are you on Mossberg's payroll ?
    You didn't mention a Beretta 1301 Tactical...

    February 29, 2020 12:59 pm
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      I garuntee “your buddies” Mossberghs are either worn out Mavericks or have been bubbafied. People buy the Maverick because it’s the same design as the 500, but it’s built with alloys instead of steel, the will not put up with the heavy use a 500 will.

      March 7, 2020 6:39 pm
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        Preston Babcock

        No,none of these are Mavericks.
        They are Mossberg 500's and 590's.

        April 11, 2020 7:57 am
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        If you have a Mossberg with a steel receiver you need to keep it. Very rare. I’ve never seen one military nor civilian.

        February 27, 2023 5:52 am
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    Wayne Keef

    Mossberg an Remington shotguns have feeding and ejection issues. Benelli M4 is 100 percent reliable and is capable of hitting man size targets up to 150 yards with Remington buckshot all day long. Facts!

    February 24, 2020 7:48 pm
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    Beretta 1301 Tactical Semi-Auto 12-Gauge is my favorite for now, learning to hunt at around 8 to 9 in '68-'69, Grandpa took me skeet shooting and would allow me some time on the 20 gauge Browning semi-auto and it was a little too much for me, but I remember working hard and was lucky on a few of those targets. But, the automatic nature of his Belgian made Browning's (God, I wish I had those today) have caused me always to keep at least one automatic pepper gun in the cabinet due to the positive impression grandpa's guns made on me as a little fellow. But, last year I took a chance on an inexpensive new Beretta 1301 Tactical Semi-Auto 12-Gauge and every time I take it w/ me to fire, that gun brings a big smile to my face, there is not an automatic out that a hunter, or a shooter is better than, insofar as an automatic's cycle rate is concerned, so the fact that Beretta claims that this 1301 is the fastest cycling gun on the market, is a little like saying I have a new "16 barrel" carburetor because yes, you are really pumping a lot of gas to the intake manifold but a v8 engine cannot handle that much fuel and will end up sitting since the engine is flooded. As w/ a human being, I will never physically be able to fire fast enough to take advantage of the Beretta's cycle rate, but I write all of this to say that this little shotgun is a pure joy to shoot, and man, I heartily recommend this outfitted in tactical trim, as I have, or the other way w/ the longer barrel for hunting. I do not have the hunting version, fyi. I do think this gun's speed does play some role in the smooth efficiency of it's operation.

    February 11, 2020 12:04 am
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    I have a Benelli M4, it's runs like a machine. If it is good enough for the Corp. as their entry gun, it is defiantly good enough for this retired Coastie.

    January 29, 2020 10:20 am
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    I've got a gen 4 UTS 15 and it doesn't have the issues I was led to believe it would have. I've had zero issues with it. Out of 4 people who have shot it, the only person that had an issue is the person who had never fired a bullpup before. It also doesn't have the recoil issues the KSG has.

    January 29, 2020 10:03 am
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    Jason Weatherwalks

    Man, whats an FN SLP gotta do to get some spotlight? Love the sight, keep it up and for gods sake, be careful out there ;)

    January 16, 2020 12:00 am
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    Benelli M3 Super 90 Folder. Bust shotgun ever made.

    January 13, 2020 1:29 pm
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    D. Williams

    The Keltec KSG is an excellent choice for home defense. It is super short and can be loaded with two types of shot because of the separate, and selectable, tubes. As far a the reliability goes, mine racks very consistently. Granted, you've got to "pump it". But after pumping a couple of hundred rounds through it, I find it to be as reliable as any pump out there. I'd bet my life on it.

    January 8, 2020 6:54 am
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    Salvador Ruiz

    And what happens to your eardrums when you fire that shotgun in the house???

    January 4, 2020 5:44 pm
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      Doug Michael

      Same as any other gun? I think if I'm shooting someone in my residence I'm not too concerned about my ears, or you can keep a pair of ear-pro right next to your gun.

      January 12, 2020 7:17 pm
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        BillyBob Texas

        Yeah....worrying about the gun noise when some dirtbag is busting down your door or climbing in your window in the middle of the nite??????

        May 6, 2020 2:18 pm
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      Well that's another argument for a bullpup, ya gots room for a suppressor.

      February 14, 2023 7:32 pm
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    Lucius Foster

    What about Bullpups like Kel Tec KSG 12 gauge? Holds 14 rounds or more up to 22 with mini's that are low recoil and perfect for home protection. I just don't agree with some of your home defense loads because we need to always think about collateral damage in a CQB like your home. I personally think the Kel Tec is a top pick for home defense with light loads. Remember a gunpower flash from a shotgun at close range can knock you out and off your feet besides possible blindness. Now add a light low recoil load, that's enough to even go through sheetrock.

    December 31, 2019 6:39 pm
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      Justin Hobbs

      They’re not reliable enough for me. I’m using something I can depend on to feed and shoot for home defense

      January 1, 2020 5:54 pm
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      Salvador Ruiz

      I love your reply and you are absolutely correct!! I have tinnitus just from 9mm loads. Imagine a 12 gauge blast in your house?

      January 4, 2020 5:47 pm
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    Thomas Campbell

    For home defences I strongly disagree with his choice of load. In the home most encounters will be at close range. Buck shot with its penatrating power could put innocents In a separate room in danger. Sheet rock won't stop much. A slug would be even a worse choice.

    December 30, 2019 7:41 pm
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      What would you recommend?

      July 20, 2020 3:19 am
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        #4 buck in 1.75" shorty shells I think is enough

        September 7, 2020 10:35 am
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    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.

    December 8, 2019 1:32 am
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    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.

    November 28, 2019 3:52 pm
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    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!

    November 27, 2019 7:14 pm
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    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.

    November 20, 2019 12:52 pm
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      jonathan mcgowen

      I've been looking for a 500 or 590 because I'm a lefty. I handled my buddy's 870 but didn't care for the controls. A couple weeks ago, I just happened to score a new 590 when I walked into a small shop in a small town looking for rifle ammo (and the owner wasn't pandemic-pricing!). I took it to the range to test fire. I never even noticed the shells ejecting, so the right side eject is a non-factor for me. YMMV.

      April 13, 2021 7:02 pm
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      Being a lefty myself, I have adjusted to all firearms (golf clubs also) only 10% of the world population is left handed. All shooter's left or wrong sided (joking) Must train to utilize both hands, for any situation. I do prefer shooting left side, but am pretty proficient right handed, because of practice. Adaptation for any situation is a must! Train, practice and practice again!!!!!
      I.E. Hypothetical how to rack any firearms with one hand?
      Train, and practice.
      Getting my drift? (Bullets not always needed)
      Keep your powder dry!

      July 20, 2021 10:17 pm
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    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,

    November 14, 2019 5:59 am
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    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".

    October 31, 2019 5:26 pm
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    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

    October 30, 2019 10:38 pm
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    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).

    October 26, 2019 7:17 am
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    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.

    October 18, 2019 1:13 pm
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    Best Tactical Shotgun -- SRM 1216

    October 16, 2019 2:22 pm
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    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...”

    October 6, 2019 1:15 am
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    Off the subject, I have a vintage .35 Remington gamemaster pump action rifle. Mint condition. I wonder the value?

    September 14, 2019 8:12 am
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    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.

    September 14, 2019 8:02 am
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    The comment below was for the commenters suggesting “best” choices, not the writer of the article.

    September 1, 2019 2:45 am
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    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.

    September 1, 2019 2:40 am
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    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.

    August 23, 2019 2:08 am
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    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.

    August 21, 2019 4:44 pm
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    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.

    August 17, 2019 6:30 pm
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    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

    August 14, 2019 4:18 pm
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      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!

      August 21, 2019 2:51 am
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        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.

        October 8, 2019 9:58 am
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      Zack G Porter

      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.

      September 6, 2019 5:23 pm
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    Am leaning towards the mossberg 930 psx. It’s going to be my first shotgun. I’m excited. Thank you for the excellent writing.

    August 13, 2019 6:02 am
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      David, PPT Editor

      Glad we could help! Have fun with your Mossberg!

      August 13, 2019 10:14 am
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    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.

    August 3, 2019 2:55 pm
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    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.

    July 24, 2019 3:46 pm
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    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

    July 19, 2019 10:10 am
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      I love my Spas 12 it will go simi auto and pump. It sure gets complements at the range. Thanks Arnold for the inspiration. "I'll be back"

      May 22, 2020 9:50 am
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    Mike 45320

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

    July 13, 2019 8:29 pm
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    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?

    July 5, 2019 6:53 am
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      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.

      July 10, 2019 2:34 pm
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      An intruder, unless it is an assassination attempt, will be both alerted to and frightened by the sound of racking a round regardless of the caliber or model. I live alone in a large house with distant neighbors, so i dont care about a too powerful load. I am looking to get a shotgun for home defense purposes. I have carried a S&W 38SP for 20+ years, but believe a shotgun is a good adjunct weapon. Just learning about them. My head is spinning from reading the comments. I signed up for a defensive handgun use course and look forward to asking the instructor about shotguns for home defense. My experience dealing with felons tells me they will be (most of the time) more frightened at finding out there is an armed homeowner awake and alerted than the homeowner.

      January 15, 2020 4:00 pm
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    I like these( I own a Mossburgs, Beretta, Binelli and Remington) , but my pick is the Beretta model 1301. AWESOME weapon

    June 27, 2019 11:11 am
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    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.

    June 26, 2019 3:18 pm
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    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).

    June 26, 2019 12:47 pm
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      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.

      July 9, 2019 8:16 am
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        I’m installing the “Kickoff” system on mine to buffer the recoil of such a light gun. I shot “clay rabbits” from a sporting clay 5 stand with the 1301 and my A400 with the kickoff system and it made a world of difference on my shoulder.

        March 9, 2020 5:44 am
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          I installed the “Kickoff” system along with the ammo side saddle and an 7+1 extension magazine. I took the Tac to the 5 stand and shot over 50 clays. Only issue was shouldering the tac with the kickoff added about 3 additional inches to the stock and I had to adjust to that in mounting the gun. But nice to be busting clays with an 18.5 inch open bore barrel! It made a “big” difference in recoil!

          December 17, 2020 6:19 pm
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    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.

    June 16, 2019 8:54 pm
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    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.

    June 10, 2019 4:47 am
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    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.

    May 19, 2019 6:06 am
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    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.

    May 16, 2019 6:39 pm
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    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.

    May 15, 2019 10:34 pm
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    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.

    May 15, 2019 8:38 pm
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    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.

    May 14, 2019 11:07 pm
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      With quite possibly the shittest recoil mitigation system known to man inside the KSG. Lol

      May 15, 2019 5:24 pm
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    I have an old Ithaca Deerslayer that works well for me.

    May 14, 2019 6:49 pm
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    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.

    May 14, 2019 5:40 pm
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    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

    May 14, 2019 4:50 pm
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    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.

    May 14, 2019 4:40 pm
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    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 !!

    May 11, 2019 12:38 pm
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    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.

    April 29, 2019 3:24 pm
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      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.

      May 11, 2019 2:38 pm
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    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?

    April 24, 2019 8:53 am
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      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.

      June 11, 2019 4:01 pm
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    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.

    April 23, 2019 6:08 pm
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    Fast Freddy

    Mossberg JMPro 24" barrel

    April 23, 2019 6:02 pm
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    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 !

    April 18, 2019 2:16 pm
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    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.

    April 12, 2019 8:17 pm
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    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.

    March 31, 2019 9:23 am
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    Bruce Richter

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

    March 23, 2019 8:09 am
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    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.

    March 7, 2019 4:23 pm
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    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".

    February 22, 2019 8:44 pm
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    ""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.

    February 12, 2019 5:52 pm
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    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.

    February 5, 2019 7:12 pm
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    Just picked up Rock Island VR80 this week. First impressions of are good. Going to pattern it this weekend.

    February 4, 2019 6:25 am
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    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.

    January 19, 2019 7:30 pm
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    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.

    December 31, 2018 5:45 am
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    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.

    December 27, 2018 2:32 pm
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    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

    December 20, 2018 4:53 am
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    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.

    December 7, 2018 8:04 am
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    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.

    November 28, 2018 10:38 pm
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    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.

    October 26, 2018 1:24 pm
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    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.

    October 13, 2018 7:54 am
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    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.

    October 13, 2018 7:38 am
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    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.

    October 10, 2018 7:49 am
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    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.

    September 22, 2018 5:29 pm
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      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.

      September 23, 2018 7:55 pm
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    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?

    September 13, 2018 9:21 am
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      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.

      September 13, 2018 10:14 am
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      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.

      November 17, 2018 8:58 pm
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      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.

      December 7, 2018 7:53 am
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        Shepherd of Fire

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

        May 21, 2019 12:18 pm
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    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.

    August 29, 2018 2:32 am
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    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.

    August 8, 2018 5:42 pm
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      robert mcnamara

      Me also with the mini clip, but a full size round starting in the chamber.
      GG&G Moss Show Flashlight Mount on the front of the tube and a Pinty Green Laser Dot Sight on the receiver. Both light & laser reachable by thumbs easily.

      August 2, 2020 1:18 pm
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    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

    July 31, 2018 1:10 pm
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    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.

    July 22, 2018 6:31 pm
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    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.

    June 23, 2018 9:39 pm
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    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.

    June 20, 2018 5:13 pm
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    Jim M.

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

    June 16, 2018 5:01 am
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    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.

    June 9, 2018 9:13 am
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      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.

      June 9, 2018 10:26 am
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        Philip Hankins

        What is the "odd and small niche"?

        September 13, 2018 9:27 am
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    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.

    June 6, 2018 3:35 pm
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    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.

    June 2, 2018 3:44 pm
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    Birdshot is VERY effective at close ranges AND will lessen the chance of accidentally shooting a loved one in another room.

    May 29, 2018 10:15 am
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      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.

      May 29, 2018 10:35 am
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    Why the Benelli M3 and not the M4?

    May 28, 2018 4:30 pm
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    Thoughts on th "sporting stock" like the Benelli M3 shown in the article, versus pistol grip stock?

    May 28, 2018 4:30 pm
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      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.

      December 7, 2018 8:21 am
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    How does the Beretta 1301 Tactical compare to Benelli?

    May 28, 2018 4:28 pm
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    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.

    May 25, 2018 10:34 am
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    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.

    May 19, 2018 10:58 pm
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    Thomas a Arnold


    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?

    April 30, 2018 10:35 am
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      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.

      April 30, 2018 11:37 am
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        Thomas a Arnold

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

        May 6, 2018 4:31 am
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    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.

    April 27, 2018 10:37 am
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      Stan Robertson

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

      June 29, 2018 7:41 pm
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        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.

        August 18, 2018 4:42 pm
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      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.

      August 20, 2018 5:37 am
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    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.

    April 23, 2018 9:37 pm
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      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.

      May 19, 2018 11:06 pm
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    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.

    April 20, 2018 8:05 pm
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      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...

      April 22, 2018 7:02 pm
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        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.

        April 23, 2019 12:08 am
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    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.

    April 19, 2018 2:34 pm
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    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

    April 14, 2018 6:35 pm
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    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

    March 28, 2018 6:28 pm
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      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

      April 23, 2018 9:37 am
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    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

    March 27, 2018 10:35 pm
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      Pete in NC

      And the Ithaca barrel is screwed into the steel receiver; look on U-tube for mossies falling apart when fired. Mag tube and lock screw must be tight on those. I can't afford a new Ithaca, not when I inherited a 500. But I'm not at all thrilled with the mossberg plastic trigger group. Already replaced the broken plastic safety switch with an aluminum one.

      January 11, 2020 10:05 pm
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    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.

    March 10, 2018 9:19 pm
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    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.

    March 1, 2018 2:56 pm
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      Eric Hung

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

      March 5, 2018 12:08 pm
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        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. . . .

        April 19, 2018 11:43 am
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    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.

    February 28, 2018 9:23 am
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      Eric Hung

      Thanks for that...fixed!

      February 28, 2018 3:44 pm
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    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

    February 8, 2018 8:26 pm
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      Eric Hung

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

      February 13, 2018 9:19 pm
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    I proof read what I write every day of the weak.

    February 1, 2018 8:37 am
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    Smalltown Roger

    So where do I get flechettes rounds?

    Just got a nice escort, all brushed finish, home defense.

    January 29, 2018 10:09 am
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    Love the shotgun, but an AR is a better home defense gun in my opinion.

    January 27, 2018 9:46 am
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      That's a dumb choice.

      February 19, 2018 12:45 pm
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        Would you care to explain WHY you have that opinion, or do you just want to be contrarian?

        April 22, 2018 7:05 pm
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        Not at all. Less penetration than buck shot and more capacity. Also far easier for all family members to shoot.

        May 25, 2018 10:31 am
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          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.

          June 8, 2019 2:40 am
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    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.

    January 24, 2018 4:29 pm
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      Eric Hung

      Thanks for that insight, Jason!

      February 13, 2018 8:22 pm
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    Need to upgrade to a tactical. Currently my home is defended by a 1951 Fox Model B 12 gauge.

    November 26, 2017 5:41 pm
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    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

    October 27, 2017 5:55 pm
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    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.

    October 27, 2017 5:51 pm
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    October 23, 2017 4:46 am
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    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.

    September 19, 2017 8:57 am
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      December 1, 2017 9:29 pm
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    Shawn Kelley

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

    July 30, 2017 2:05 pm
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    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.

    June 29, 2017 1:23 pm
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      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.

      September 17, 2017 8:56 pm
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        September 17, 2017 9:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    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.

    June 14, 2017 9:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

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

      September 17, 2017 8:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    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.

    March 31, 2017 7:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Vortex Diamondback

      October 11, 2017 8:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jacob Waterman

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

    March 10, 2017 3:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Awesome to hear, Jacob!

      March 14, 2017 11:16 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        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

        September 14, 2017 9:55 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          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.

          September 14, 2017 10:22 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    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

    February 9, 2017 7:04 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Thanks so much Walter!!!

      February 10, 2017 3:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    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

    December 1, 2016 12:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    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.

    November 21, 2016 11:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Hi Victor, I have not heard of them before.

      November 21, 2016 4:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

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

    November 15, 2016 6:03 am
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