I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: a home defense shotgun is the armed American’s best chance at a one-stop shot. To which I’ll add please consider keeping a pair of electronic earmuffs by your bedside. A shotgun blast in your house will cause hearing damage. That said, let’s look at your best HD scatterguns . . .
1. Mossberg 590A1™ Tactical – $605 msrp
Fifty-million Elvis fans can’t be all wrong. Neither can 10 million Mossberg owners. While some Mossie fans use their shotguns for hunting, a significant portion keep the Mossberg 500 to hand to defend kith and kin. For HD, the 590A1™ Tactical is the pick of the litter.
The 590A1 is an any-color-as-long-as-its-black pump-action seven-shot shotgun with a bead sight. That said, you can opt for an XS Big Dot or a so-good-it-seems-like-cheating ghost ring site. My favorite feature: the Mossberg’s tang-mounted safety. It’s intuitive and nowhere near the trigger — by far the safest shotgun safety system.
Mossberg’s shotguns are built like the proverbial brick sh*t house. They’re reliable firearms that stand up to decades of hard use. Or — and don’t try this at home — years of sitting under the bed, unfired. You can buy models with rails and an adjustable stock, but the plain Jane version is a great value piece.
Wait. What? A home defense shotgun that costs $1579 more than a perfectly adequate lower-priced alternative? Well, if you appreciate quality and want a semi-automatic shotgun that’s as rugged and reliable as a Remington or Mossberg pump, one that doesn’t kick like a mule, the Benelli M4 Tactical is it.
And hey, the gas-operated M4 Tactical comes standard with a Picatinny rail and pistol-grip stock! Not to mention a fully adjustable ghost-ring aperture rear sight and windage-adjustable front sight. And don’t forget the M4 Tactical eats 2.75″ and 3-inch” shells of any power-level without operator adjustments — in any combination.
Now how much would you pay? Anyway, until you’ve handled and shot this beast don’t knock it. And if you get one, I highly recommend the titanium mag extension tube and an oversized charging handle. In for a penny . . .
3. Lone Star Arms SAIGA-12 – Around $1k for the gun plus $1100 to make it work and more for other upgrades
Like the shotguns above, the LSA SAIGA-12 is a fast-shooting, reliable shotgun. Did I say reliable? Yes I did. “The guns really need a lot of work to perform with low-powered ammo,” Michael Rodgers, CEO of Lone Star Arms says. He replaces the Russian fire control group with a U.S. highly modified Tapco G2 fire control group, smoothes-out the action, bolt carrier and carrier group, to eliminate friction, vibration and “unnecessary resistance.” And completely overhauls the gas system.
When we ran a LSA SAIGA-12 against the Benelli M4 (see: picture at the top of the post), the SAIGA-12 didn’t so much as hiccup — and kept on running when the Benelli was out of ammo.
Yes, there is that. That’s a eight-round mag y’all. But — it’ll take up to a 20-round drum. Now why in the world would you need 20 shells for home defense in the continental United States? Who knows? But it makes shooting the shotgun a lot of fun. And the more fun it is, the more likely you are to shoot it. And the more likely you are to shoot it, the more comfortable you’ll feel using it when bad guy push comes to ballistic shove. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.