Top 10 Home Defense Shotguns

shotgun defense

One of the questions we get asked most often is which shotgun would be the best for home defense.  With so many available options and the varying style of usage, it’s a loaded question (no pun intended, this time).  I’ve heard the claim that simply racking a pump action is enough of a deterrent to make any home intruder think twice.  I’ve even heard the argument that the extra time and mechanics involved with cycling a pump can prove detrimental in a life or death situation.  As with our top 10 list of concealed carry handguns, we have a unique perspective in that we can show you what people are actually using instead of what opinions everyone and their mother is offering.  And, as with our concealed carry handgun list, it’s important to establish a criteria of what constitutes a shotgun as generally accepted for home defense.  In other words, a $1600 Browning over/under with a turkey choke would probably do the job if need be, but unless you live in a hut made of twigs and grass out on the range and the home intruder you’re defending yourself against is a flightless bird trying to steal your stash of sunflower seeds, you’ll probably be interested in something a little more applicable to the common home.  So here’s what we’re going with:

  • Manageable Barrel Length – This is for simple maneuverability.  Using a shotgun for a home defense weapon is a great idea, but if you can’t swing the gun around to meet your intruder because you can’t fit the gun through the bedroom doorway, then you’ve got a big problem.  Most home defense purposed shotguns come under this length anyway, but they come this way for this reason, so we’re keeping these under 20″.  Unless you want to shoot through your wall, which is always an option, I suppose.
  • Semi-Auto Or Pump Action – Like I said before, if you have an over/under you keep around the house since you hunt a lot anyways, then more power to you, but for the entry level or non-hunter personnel, a semi-auto or pump action is perfect.  They are easy to use and easy to load, and most importantly, they can hold more than two shells.  Which brings us to the third criterion…
  • Multiple Rounds – If someone was breaking into your house, would you want to defend yourself with a single shot long gun?  You better be a deadeye, if so.  For that matter, why would you want to limit it to two rounds?  We’ve already omitted the over/under and side by side shotguns from our list, as mentioned above, and when your life and the life of your family depends on it, you sure as hell don’t want to be running out of ammunition.  The idea of using a shotgun at home already relies on the wide blast radius to counter the accuracy needed when using a handgun or rifle, but you want to be sure that bad guy is down, so let’s throw a few extra shells in, at least 5 altogether.  Or more, if you’re being invaded by an army.
  • Stock – Let’s be honest here, relying solely on the pistol grip of a shotgun does not offer a lot of advantages at home.  Maybe if you’re in a tactical situation in an apartment in NY (are pistol grip shotguns legal in NY?) and don’t have an inch of clearance space to spare, but you’re sacrificing accuracy by shooting at the side, or if you’re still using your sights, you’re sacrificing teeth.  The stock of a shotgun serves a real and important purpose, and that’s to make sure you stay in control of your gun and hit your target.  So, sorry to you pistol grip-only fans, we’re resting these against the shoulder.

If I’ve offended you with any of these rules, I think what you’ll find is that it doesn’t really matter that much.  These are the types of shotguns people use in their homes anyway.  Some of the guns on this list might seem similar or only be off by a feature or two, but in the end, what really matters is that you have a weapon that works for you.  If it can help save your life or the life of your family, then it’s the right gun for your home.  So here’s what people around the country are using to protect their homes.

 

1.  Interstate Arms Defender

The 12 gauge is likely the most commonplace of shotgun gauges.  Couple that with the rawest, most basic need in a home defense weapon and you have the Interstate Arms 12 Gauge Defender.  This gun is simple in that it’s a cheap way to keep your home safe.  Pump action, 5 rounds, and even ghost ring sights for easy target acquisition makes it easy to see why this gun is popular.  And the fact that it’s cheap enough that you can buy two just in case isn’t too bad either.  In fact, a lot of our customers do buy two.  After all, grandma wants to be safe when she visits, too.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 18.5″
Capacity: 5 (+1)
Action: Pump 

 

2.  Remington 870 Express

When the name truly matters, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one than Remington.  Touting many similar characteristics of the Interstate Arms Defender, the Remington 870 Express shaves half an inch off the barrel and adds an extra round while ditching the ghost ring sights.  But what you’re really getting is the Remington brand.  The pump action is a pretty foolproof design, but Remington has been tried and true, as any owner will attest to.  If you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars, this is definitely the way to go.  Or this way, if you’re willing to spend a lot of extra dollars.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 18″
Capacity: 6 (+1)
Action: Pump 

 

3.  Maverick 88 Security

The Maverick 88 8-Shot Security pump-action fits nicely in between the Defender and 870 Express.  You get the inexpensive defensive capability you need with a name that’s more recognizable (Maverick is a part of Mossberg).  It doesn’t use the ghost ring sights found on the Defender, but ups the ante even more then the other models on this list with a 7 (+1) capacity and a 20″ barrel.  A great, basic shotgun with a good name.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 20″
Capacity: 7 (+1)
Action: Pump 

 

4.  Mossberg 930SPX

This is the first of many Mossbergs on the list.  This shotgun has the increased capacity of 8 rounds like its brother, the Maverick, but with a shorter 18.5″ barrel and ghost ring sites like the Defender (more shotguns need ghost ring sights).  You’re getting a price hike on this one because it’s a semi-automatic shotgun, the first on our list.  That means you shove the shells in and pull the trigger until you’re out of rounds, no pumping necessary.  It also has a rail on top in case you want to mount a red dot or holographic sight or a scope, you know, so you can see the bad guys coming from a mile away.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 18.5″
Capacity: 7 (+1)
Action: Semi-Auto 

 

5.  Mossberg 500 Persuader

This is Mossberg’s baseline, pump-action shotgun.  You’ll many similar features from the list here (18″ barrel, 5+1 round capacity) but this version actually includes an optional pistol grip configuration.  Now, we said we were going to keep pistol grip-only guns off this list, but since this comes equipped with the stock also, we’ll let it slide.  Let’s not kid ourselves, you know you want a pistol grip anyway.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 18″
Capacity: 5 (+1)
Action: Pump

 

6.   Mossberg 930SPX PG

This variation of the Mossberg 930 carries over every feature from number 4 on the list, including the ghost ring sights and rail.  The only difference is that this one employs a pistol grip on the stock, which will provide added control for some people.  It’s going to come down to what’s comfortable to you in the long run.  The modified stock does add a quarter pound more weight to the gun, but that might be a small price to pay for the added control.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 18.5″
Capacity: 7 (+1)
Action: Semi-Auto

 

7.  Remington 887 Nitro Mag Tactical

We’re starting to break away from the mold here…finally.  The Remington 887 Nitro Mag Tactical utilizes an 18.5″ barrel and carries 5 rounds, but it’s about as rugged and durable as they come.  It can accept up to 3.5″ shells, has a top rail for optics, forend rails for lighting accessories, and a ported, extended tactical Rem Choke to knock down doors in your own house.  I don’t advise that last part, but if a bad guy sees you with this thing, they’re going to be hiding and you’re going to have to find them.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 18.5″
Capacity: 4 (+1)
Action: Pump

 

8.  Benelli M4

This here’s the cat daddy of home defense shotguns.  The Benelli M4 semi-auto is the same gun used by our Marine forces.  It’s designed to work the first time, every time.  That’s obviously important when considering the safety of you and your family, so it’s no wonder it’s on this list, even with the loftier price tag.  When there is no option for failure, the M4 is the shotgun to have, hands down.  And yes, it has ghost ring sights.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 18.5″
Capacity: 5 (+1)
Action: Semi-Auto

 

9.   Mossberg 590A1

Nearing the end of the top 10 is one more Mossberg, the 590A1.  Ghost ring sights in an affordable pump action make this an attractive option, but what you’re really getting here is capacity.  The gun holds 9 rounds, the highest of any on this list.  Target shooting, sport shooting, bounty hunting, whatever, more rounds can always find a good use.  Please don’t go bounty hunting because I told you.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 20″
Capacity: 8 (+1)
Action: Pump 

 

10.  Linberta Tactical Semi-Auto

The last gun in our top 10 list is a BudsGunShop exclusive item.  The Linberta tactical shotgun is an extremely affordable way to get semi-auto capabilities to defend your home.  We actually ran these things through the gamut before selling them, so we can attest to how reliable they are.  Ghost ring sights, 6 round capacity, and a 20″ barrel make up this fun to shoot machine, but who are we kidding, the fact that you can get a semi-auto shotgun for cheaper than most of the pump-actions on this list is really all you care about.  And as of the time of this writing, each gun comes with a belt that holds 25 shells so you can hold your pants up and hole up in your bedroom at the same time.  Talk about killing two birds with one gun.

Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 20″
Capacity: 5 (+1)
Action: Semi-Auto 

 

Runners-Up:

New England NP1-P18, Mossberg 590SP, Mossberg 500 Tactical Persuader, Winchester Super X Defender, Interstate Arms Trench Gun

 

So now you see what everyone else is buying, what do you use in your own home?

Disclaimer: Articles in this blog may not be written by BGS Staff and the opinions expressed in the articles are not that of BudsGunShop, LLC. They are meant to be for informative entertaining articles.
avatar BudsGunShop Staff (185 Posts)

Budsgunshop staff is a mix of expertise and are willing help in anyway they can. If you have questions email us directly at blog@budsgunshop.com.


10 Responses to Top 10 Home Defense Shotguns

  1. avatar Tom Crocker says:

    What are the price ranges of a 12 gage shotgun?

  2. avatar Gerry Fockler says:

    They start around $250.00 & go up from there. The price depends on make, & model.

  3. avatar Ed Haworth says:

    I want the Stoeger p350. with the recoil reduction , it;s a sweet HD shotgun!

  4. avatar BenandJen Hodges says:

    Love my Remington 870 police magnum. Open choke (no choke). But I would add pistol grip and mag extension! Smooth shooter though!

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