I love my guns, but at the end of the day, there are very few that really matter to me. The AR-15s, AK-47s, and other “fun guns” are great, but don’t serve much of a purpose to me. However, if you want to talk about a weapon that does serve an essential purpose to me, it would be my home defense shotgun.
I have owned and tried more tactical-style shotguns than I can remember. This is one firearm that I don’t mind spending extra money on, or doing a ton of testing until I find the perfect one.
In my opinion, a shotgun is absolutely necessary for home defense. However, in order to be a viable option for home defense, I think a few criteria must be met.
First and foremost, the shotgun must be reliable. In a home defense situation, being able to count on the weapon is absolutely paramount. There is no way around that.
Second, a fast cycle rate is important to me. It gives me some peace of mind that I am able to re-engage the target if necessary. A commonly held opinion is that semiautomatic shotguns are not as reliable as pump action shotguns. In my opinion, this is both true and not true. There are more internal parts that can go wrong, but there are plenty of quality, reliable semiautomatic shotguns available.
Third, the sights must be good, or must have an easy way to mount my own sights if I choose to do so. Generally speaking, I prefer to put my own sight on it, as it’s probably going to be a sight I can easily see at night.
Last, I generally prefer a shotgun with a pistol grip. My opinion is that these are more mobile and controlled, although it’s not a necessity. I know that not everyone will agree with me on that, but in my personal experience, I have found them to be more mobile.
So, here is a list of some of my favorite home defense shotguns. All of these are 12-gauge shotguns that I would load with Winchester PDX Defender shells.
1. Benelli M4 Tactical
It feels wrong putting a semiautomatic shotgun first on my list, but once you’ve used this one, you will understand why. Although it does have a pretty steep price tag, this is an absolutely awesome weapon that meets all of my criteria. It has a 5+1 magazine capacity, and weighs in at 7.8 pounds.
The weapon is extremely reliable, as I haven’t had any issues with cycling any different shells. It also cycles extremely fast. The sights that come on it are decent, and they are fully adjustable. You can also get tritium inserts for the standard sights, which will make them easier to see at night. However, it also has a Picatinny rail system, so you can mount your own sights to it if easily.
If you like the sound of this one, but are a little afraid of the pricetag, the Benelli M2 is another good option that is less expensive.
2. Mossberg Model 500 Tactical – SPX
This pump action shotgun from Mossberg is a beast. Similar to the Benelli M4, it has a pistol grip and a 5+1 capacity. However, this one is a pump-action, which many will find enjoyable. Some folks will tell you that simply pumping the action on a shotgun is enough to scare off a would-be intruder.
This shotgun also has some good standard sights. It has a fiber optic front sight, which allows for excellent visibility. Just like the M4 though, it also has a Picatinny rail if you want to mount your own sight.
The pistol grip and pump are ergonomic, and allow for plenty of grip and control. The stock of this one is fully adjustable, which is an advantage over the M4. It is also a little bit lighter than the M4.
As far as pump-action shotguns go, this one is my favorite. It is comfortable to hold and shoot, it is reliable, and the price is reasonable.
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