Defensive Shotguns Part II

Defensive Shotguns Part II Sheriff Jim Wilson
In the market for your first defensive shotgun? Here are some shortcuts that will save you time, money, and grief.

BUY USED… It is really hard to wear out a good shotgun, therefore used guns make a lot of sense and will save you money. It also doesn’t matter that your gun does not have a cool-looking, black synthetic stock. I know this is difficult to believe, but the wooden stocks work just fine ( I guess you could paint them black if it’s really that important). I recently bought a used Remington 870 pump for $250…compare that to the price tag on other defensive firearms.

AVOID COLLAPSABLE STOCKS & PISTOL GRIP STOCKS… Collapsible stocks are uncomfortable, hard to hit with, and totally unnecessary. Pistol grip stocks look totally cool…..only trouble with them is that you can’t hit anything with them. Don’t agree with either comment? Bring your tacticool shotgun to the Gunsite shotgun class and show us how it’s done. Be ready to buy the beer when you can’t produce.

INSTALL GHOST-RING SIGHTS… With the money you saved by buying a used shotgun and avoiding the expense of goofy stocks, you can easily afford to have some ghost-ring sights installed. There are probably several brands on the market….you’ll go a long way before you find any that are better than those made by XS Sights. With good ghost-ring sights and a bit of training, you will be able to put shotgun slugs on target out to 100 yards and a bit beyond.

AVOID EXTENDED MAGAZINES TUBES… Extended magazine tubes are just something else that can malfunction at the least opportune moment. If 4-5 rounds of buckshot won’t get the job done, you need more training. If you are one of those who is positive that you will be attacked by a crazed biker gang and your honor insists that you stand and fight… I think you’d be happier with a BAR instead of a shotgun. Finally, shotguns are heavy enough without adding extra weight in the form of extended magazines and extra ammo. When it gets heavy, you won’t have it with you. And, when the fight starts and your shotgun is way over there, you are screwed… regardless of how cool you look and try to act.

INSTALL A CARRYING SLING…You’d be surprised how handy a sling on a defensive shotgun actually is. And you don’t need one of those Advanced Tactical Wrap Around Your Body rigs, either. You know, the kind that takes a search warrant to get into. A simple nylon strap sling works great. Even better, I use a sling made from bunji chord.

You will notice that I have tried to save you money by avoiding suggesting that you have to purchase fancy tactical stocks, a lighting system, bayonet lug, or rocket launcher. You might consider taking the money that you have saved, buy some ammo, and book a defensive shotgun class at Gunsite. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could actually use the thing effectively?

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127 Responses to Defensive Shotguns Part II

  1. John Odum says:

    Good advice Sheriff Jim. The KISS rules definitely apply to a defensive shotguns. Mine is a $150 used 870. All I added was a slug barrel with sights and elastic buy stock ammo carrier. Nothing fancy but lethal as can be.

  2. Tim Shull says:

    All I have is Citori, I gotta make those two shells count!

  3. Jack Kellum says:

    I was recently looking for a used Remington or Mossberg and ran across a new Stevens 350 PD. It was $349 and has Ghost rings and sling swivels. The receiver is machined from a solid block of steel. It’s a bit heavier than some but shoots great, has gone bang with each pull of the trigger and was ready to go out of the box.

  4. LarryC213 says:

    Sheriff Wilson, I have just now discovered your website. It has been a while since I have had the pleasure of reading your articles. Great article, as always. I have a Winchester 1300 that I bought new. My 1300 was called the defender, it came with an 8-round tube and came with an awful pistol-grip stock. No regular stock at all, just that pistol grip piece of junk. I shot that one time with 00 Buck, that was enough for me. I promptly ordered a regular stock from Winchester. I need to look into seeing if XS makes a set of sights for my shotgun. Thank you.

  5. Cybrludite says:

    The bird head pistol grip only setups aren’t so bad in terms of recoil. It’s a straight push back. (Accuracy still sucks compared to a proper stock, though. No argument there.) AR style pistol grip only set ups work like a fulcrum to maximize felt recoil. For the same reason, if you must have a folding stock due to storage space constraints, you’re going to want to unfold the stock before shooting.

    As to the collapsing stocks, I’m 6’3″, my lady friend is 5’1″. A length of pull that works for one will be laughably bad for the other.

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