3 Reasons to Consider the Shotgun for Home Defense

Nowadays, it seems a lot of attention is focused on using the AR-15 as an ideal gun for home defense. While the AR-15 is a fine choice, citizens considering a long gun for home defense should not overlook the shotgun. There are a number of reasons why the shotgun will fit the bill quite nicely as a home defense firearm.

1. Low Prices

Cost is one of those considerations. Compared to other defensive firearms, shotguns are not all that expensive. This is especially true when you consider the variety of used shotguns available in virtually every gun shop. I bought two Remington Model 870 Police shotguns sold by a state prison system, and I can tell you a suitable defensive shotgun can be purchased for just a couple of hundred dollars. Other manufacturers like MossbergStoeger and Savage Arms also have budget-priced options.

In addition, long-barreled sporting shotguns can have the barrels shortened by a gunsmith and will serve quite nicely. Your defensive shotgun does not have to have a synthetic stock, accessory rails and an extended magazine to do service protecting you and your family.

2. Ammunition Versatility

When ammunition is considered, nothing is quite as versatile as a home defense shotgun. It can be loaded with birdshot for use inside the home (to prevent over-penetration), various sizes of buckshot for use out to about 25 yards and slugs for use out to 100 yards. Of the two Remington 870s I use, the house gun is loaded with low-base shells with No. 6 shot, while my car gun is charged with high-velocity 00 buckshot—with slugs close at hand when needed.

3. Fight-Stopping Power

When used at effective ranges, the shotgun delivers an impressive amount of energy to a target. A center hit with a 12 gauge, or even a 20 gauge, will generally take the fight out of the most determined criminal. It is the rare documented gunfight that involves more than three or four shots from a defensive shotgun. 

Unfortunately, too many folks think that all you have to do is point and shoot a shotgun to restore peace to the immediate area. Such is not the case, as we proved in this test. At close ranges—those most commonly encountered in gunfights—the payload from a shotgun is surprisingly tight, about the size of a fist. A shotgun has to be aimed to be effective, action movies notwithstanding. It is critical to practice with the defensive shotgun to know exactly what your chosen load does at a particular range.

So, while the shotgun may not be currently the most popular choice for home defense, it should not be overlooked by serious defensive shooters. It is a relatively inexpensive and quite effective home defense gun that many people can count on.

This article originally appeared in Shooting Illustrated.

This entry was posted in Guns, Personal Defense, Shotguns and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 3 Reasons to Consider the Shotgun for Home Defense

  1. Joseph R Kochensparger says:

    Very useful information, Ijust bought a Mossberg 20 ga pump for varmits, no legged 4 legged and 2 legged. Thanks.

  2. I do not have a large house with a wide open floor plan. Wielding my Mossberg 500 inside my house would not work. My solution? The S & W Governor loaded with .410 shot shells. The cylinder holds three Hornady Critical Defense (one .41 Cal FTX bullet followed by two .35 cal balls) and three Federal 000 Buck (four .35 cal balls) in an alternating load with the Hornady set to go out the pipe first. In case a reload is necessary, I have a full moon-clip of Sig-Sauer .45 ACP with 230gr JHP. I wear the moon-clip on the pinky on my flashlight hand.

  3. Deaf Smith says:

    Mossberg 500 Mariner 18 inch with 4 shot Tac-Star and Magpul rear stock. Nuthin else!!! I don’t need any gizmos on it. It will do the deed.

  4. USR says:

    Used to be a tactard because of the Internets but now I own a shotgun and honestly do not feel like I need anything more than my 590. I will force myself in the near future to get a 4 inch GP 100 and Rem 700.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.