The 5 Best Home Defense Tactical Shotguns

The author believes every home defense shotgun should be equipped with a light. (Warren Wilson for TTAG)

There are plenty of articles on the “best” of this or that. Those pieces are usually written on specs alone rather than actual experience. This post isn’t intended to make a case that shotgun is necessarily your best choice in a home defense role. Everyone has their own opinions as to what works best in a bump in the night situation.

However, a lot of people do choose a shotgun first and foremost for exactly that purpose. All of the shotguns below are 12 gauge, which fits most people. Most, but not all. There are options out there for smaller framed shooters and those more sensitive to recoil such as defensive shotguns chambered in 20 gauge or even smaller.

So, with that in mind, my picks of the best home defense shotguns are based on and limited to my personal experience and that of trusted colleagues.

The Essentials

Some common attributes of a good choice in a shotgun for home defense are portability, reliability and the ability to add a light. On the topic of lights, if yours doesn’t have a length of Picatinny rail, there are aftermarket light mounts available for every shotgun mentioned here.

By portability, I don’t just mean it should be a lightweight. The shotgun should be easy to negotiate in relatively close quarters. That’s why a 30-inch barreled duck gun might not be the best candidate for this role. And that’s why 18.5-inch barrel length tactical 12 gauge shotguns are ideal and very much fit the bill.

Reliability means the gun functions perfectly in your hands with your chosen defensive load. A home defense situation isn’t the time to discover that the gun you’re using to protect yourself or your family may not go bang.

On a side note, it seems that a lot of people are overly-concerned about the sights on their HD shotgun.  Ghost ring sights are great, but not necessarily mandatory for self-defense in the home. I generally prefer rifle sights, but do just fine with a traditional front bead sight at across-the-room distances. Choose what works best for you.

After much consideration and a lot of lead down range, here are my picks for the 5(+) best shotguns for home defense.

The author’s Remington 870 (Warren Wilson for TTAG)

Remington 870

The Remington 870 in all its variations (frequenlty versions of the Remington 870 Express or 870 Express Tactical) is one of the most popular pump shotguns in American history. I would wager that about 60% of the law enforcement market is owned by the venerable 870.

There’s an economical version of the 870 which is perfect for home defense, coincidentally named, the 870 Hardwood Home Defense. This un-bedazzled, wooden-stocked boomer’s street price is well under four bills.

For a few bucks more, it can be purchased with a six-shot magazine. That’s a lot of protection for the money.

Mossberg 590 Tactical (courtesy mossberg.com)

Mossberg 500 and Mossberg 590

As is the case with Remington, Mossberg holds a large percentage of the law enforcement pump shotgun market. The Mossberg 500, 590 and 590A1 are somewhere between decent and excellent choices for defense; respectively.

The 590 has an upgraded magazine tube which allows for additional magazine capacity. The Mossberg 590A1 is even better with a heavier barrel, metal trigger guard and assembly and a metal safety.  For a little more money, the home defender can have ten rounds of ammo capacity with Mossberg’s 590M. The M uses a detachable box magazine. Of course, mo’ capacity means mo’ shotgun shells which means mo’ weight. You’ll have to decide for yourself between portability and capacity.

On the other end of the fiscal spectrum, Mossberg offers a budget-friendly shotgun in their Maverick 88 line. These guns can be found for just over $200 and have the option of an eight-round ammo capacity.

The Maverick is essentially a Mossberg 500 Tactical without any accoutrements like sling swivels. The synthetic buttstock won’t stir any feelings of nostalgia. The front sight is a basic bead. While I haven’t seen any reliability issues with Mavericks, I also haven’t seen any of them put through a rigorous three hundred-round shooting school session. I wouldn’t expect them to be as durable as their costlier brethren and neither should you. Still, if money is tight, a Maverick might be just what you’re looking for.

One note on the Mossberg’s tang-mounted safety. It’s not wise to purchase a pistol grip-equipped shotgun with a tang safety. Engaging or disengaging the safety on a Mossberg requires the user to abandon their strong hand grip. Stick with traditional stocks when it comes to Mossbergs.

The Mossberg 930 has 8+1 round capacity (Courtesy mossberg.com)

Mossberg 930

Worried about short-stroking your pump gun? Among the most budget-friendly semi-automatic 12 gauge shotguns is the Mossberg 930 series. Street price for 930s are generally just over $500 and well worth their price.

These tactical shotguns have what I believe to be one of the lightest recoil impulses of all semi-auto shotguns. They also, however, don’t feed light birdshot loads well until broken in. Buckshot loads and slugs of any power do just fine.

Benelli M2 Tactical courtesy benelli.com

Benelli M2/M4

Cycling with low brass shells is always a concern with semi-auto shotguns. This is an area where the Benelli M1 and M2 models differed. The now-discontinued M1 was somewhat finicky with lighter loads due to some technical stuff you don’t care about.

My 1999 model M1 will cycle anything all the way down to heavier birdshot. However, it does not like the combination of light loads (including buckshot) and an affixed light. It also does not function 100% with a cartridge holder like the Tacstar Side Saddle mounted to the receiver. Benelli’s M2 isn’t at all finicky. I highly recommend it or the Benelli M4 for defensive use.

courtesy Beretta.com

Beretta 1301 Tactical

Beretta has always made great shotguns. The newish model 1301 is one of their best yet. Many dyed-in-the-wool pump gun types are reconsidering their stance on autos with this new offering.

This uber-quick-cycling shotgun uses Beretta’s patented BLINK gas system which allows for less recoil and fouling than similar platforms. Many including this guy believe the Beretta 1301 is the future of semi-automatic shotguns.

The Most Important Accessory

I mentioned some features that should be common among home defense shotguns. Here’s the final and most important feature: a well-versed and well-rehearsed owner. Too many homeowners default to a shotgun for defense out of a sense of comfort. Many folks erroneously believe they will be able to use it well under extreme stress at close range without any practice.

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me their home defense plan was to point their bird hunting shotgun down the hallway and squeeze off errant blasts, I’d have a bunch of nickels.

Whether you prefer semi-automatic or pump action shotguns as your choice of boarder repellent, take your defensive shotgun to the range and shoot your chosen defensive load in it. Know the pattern your gun/load combination produces from a cylinder choke at short home defense distances. Practice reloads and and learn to properly aim your shotgun quickly and effectively.

Good hardware is a critical, but it’s only part of the equation. Keeping your software current and virus-free is just as important.

 

This post was originally published in 2019. 

comments

  1. avatar Web1350 says:

    As I said, must be been a bad run because I’ve never heard of any problems outside of what would be considered normal. Zero!!!

  2. avatar Jimmy Beam says:

    Stevens 320. Yeah, it’s a cheap Chinese made clone, but in six years of ownership, I’ve never had a problem

    1. avatar Nate in CA says:

      I personally LOVE my Stevens 350, but they only offered it for a year or two it seems – got it as a combo for the price of a Maverick (which I also have and LOVE!) It’s an all steel Chinese clone of the Ithaca 37, but with a slightly longer mag tube.

    2. avatar LazrBeam says:

      Yeppers, got me a Stevens 320. Inexpensive but suitable. Also, got the Remy 870, Mossy 500 (and a slug barrel), Mossy Maverick with 8 rd tube, and a Saiga 12. I must say, though, that the Saiga with either a 10 or 12 round mag is literally an absolute blast. Shoots like a rifle and the recoil is not bad at all.

  3. avatar Alexander B. says:

    Remington V3

    1. avatar Ddub says:

      Boom, give big green a chance on the v3. I love my V3 tactical comp.

  4. avatar Ralph Humphrey says:

    Admit it folks…. Ya ain’t going to top a Rem 870…. That’s just the way it is!!!

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      If I had it to do over again, I’d pick a Mossberg instead of a Remington solely because I’m left-handed, but I’ve had my 870 so long and have it all customized the way I like it, so I’m sticking with it.

      1. avatar Lee the lefty says:

        As a fellow lefty I like the Browning BPS. It works great for a lefty having a tang safety, and bottom eject. Too bad their defense configured model is no longer in production.

        1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

          Thanks for the tip.

        2. avatar BASHer says:

          As a fellow lefty I like bottom ejection. Having put plenty of rounds down range with a Mossberg 500 at work I learned to ignore the spent shells zipping by my face because I had safety glasses on. And while I would “like” the Browning BPS, the sheer number of stocks and accessory options for the Mossberg carry the argument.

          BlackHawk Knoxx Specops Stock, w/Recoil Suppression Technology has been great and the ergonomics of Magpul Industries SGA Stock are phenomenal.

        3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Don’t forget the Ithica 37. Had one with an extended magazine, parkerized finish, rifle sights. Then I remembered, “I have a rifle!”

        4. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          18″ 37 ds police special w/ choate folder in the van these days.
          16″ ’94ae .44mag right next to her.
          shotty and pcc, it’ll do for the alley.

    2. avatar Coolbreeze says:

      Mossy 500

    3. avatar BLAMMO!! says:

      I cycle an 870 and it feels solid, smooth and tight. It sounds solid, smooth and tight. I cycle a Mossberg and it seems like it’s gonna fly apart. I know it’s not and it’s no less reliable than the Remy but while the pros and cons of both make them virtually equal, I come down on the side of the 870 mainly on the asthetics.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        My skeet gun is a Winchester, but my defense has always been my Rem 870. It just feels better to me than a Mossie or Benelli, and I’m accustomed to it. A few months ago, I took a four-day Tactical Shotgun course and brought my 870. Out of the 23 students who started on day 1, only three of us ended up graduating at the end, with me being one of them. I barely passed, but my 870 helped me do it.

        BTW, almost 500 shells to the shoulder pocket will separate the men from the boys, for sure. I’d much rather throw that much down range at Tangos through an AR than a shottie.

    4. avatar Mark says:

      Beretta 1301 and Benelli M4 are way, way, way, way better than your 870.

      1. avatar 9x39 says:

        Yup, and don’t forget the Vepr either. Sold my 870 after a few trips to the range with that one. BiL still says he likes his Benelli M4, but you can catch yearning looks at my (now) worked out 12-03 if you pay attention to your peripherals. He wants to shoot mine a lot whenever we go out, lol.

        To be fair, it’s hard not to want to shoot it. I’d say more about it, but anyone who’s seen it will know exactly who I am from posting a description. It’s not singularly unique, but there are very few in this country like it. Think full comp build, except geared for full house loads.

        Still has some work left to be done, but not much. Simply, polishing & stress relieving the bolt with NiB, and case hardening the receiver & trunnion’s for enhanced lifespan. A lop & pin job, she’s braked with the best there is, & probably going to have a choke installed at the same time. Would <3 <3 <3 to get in contact w/ a highly experienced competition smith like Dyspeptic and discuss all of that for the future, actually.

    5. avatar Salty says:

      Vepr 12—- reload faster, can’t short shuck under stress

      1. avatar Salty says:

        Also, less recoil… less shooter pain, less headache for practicing…. pumps literally give me a headache. Sure mini shells are near, and muh apocalypse gun nevah jams, buuuuuut, Tylenol gonna be in short supply during the apocalypse…so plan accordingly 🤪

        1. avatar 9x39 says:

          …and is an accurate, straight up lead fire hose when set up correctly. Highly recommend a GK-03 ++. Can be had feat. compensation for either RH or LH shooters. Careful though, you’ll find Alice’s proverbial financial rabbit hole where you can acquire such things.

    6. avatar BusyBeef says:

      – laughs in Remington 1100 –

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Got a cheap Maverick88 copy of a 500…which I never shoot. Eventually I’d like a semiautomatic shottie. Right now having an AR & some handguns seems prudent(we’re still having lawless scum roaming around). Good list anyway!

  6. avatar GS650G says:

    Never had a problem with my M1 benelli
    If he want to give his away I’ll give it a home.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Yup. Me either. Mine eats low base 7 1/2, high base slugs, and everything in between.

  7. avatar possum says:

    Badges and Military call us.civilians Mayor’s call us citizens. maybe badges should start calling us citizens too.

    1. avatar Tired of the bs says:

      That’s a very good point.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        I always called citizens, citizens. Because that’s what I was/am. Except when I was active duty. Then everyone else was a civilian.

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          There is a difference between citizens and civilians depending if you’re active military or L.E.O. No disrespect; but maybe just a little more research before a comment?

        2. avatar Tired of the bs says:

          To military we’re all civilians, leo included . Leo are civilians nothing more nothing less. No matter what they feel.

        3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Tired, I think that’s what I just said. I was military and LEO. No judgement, just curious; were you ever either?

        4. avatar Tired of the bs says:

          Sorry misunderstood your response until I reread it. Us army 83-89 didn’t do anything at all spectacular

        5. avatar Tired of the bs says:

          Father and uncle le. Both ex army dad ww2 uncle korea

        6. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Tired, no offense taken. I didn’t do anything spectacular either. Unless you want to count that I kept falling out of airplanes and then walking a long way. All my dad’s brothers in WWII. Except Uncle Johnny. He was at Oak Ridge, TN. And Uncle Howard, he was murdered in New Orleans. Uncle Leland was at Pearl Harbor on the “Day of Infamy.” Uncle Willie followed Patton across N Africa and Europe. Uncle Jeff was an anti-aircraft gunner on the N Atlantic convoys. Dad couldn’t serve. Polio got his right leg. Mom’s younger brothers were Vietnam era. Jeff Navy. Gene army. Neither went feet dry. My cousins? Edgar, Marine Gunny D.I. Bill, 101st to begin, couple of tours in Germany. Finished up in the Honor Guard. The rest were of my cousins were girls or didn’t enlist. Much to my dismay. Shane did go L.E. though and Dad become a communication officer with F.H.P. He was very proud that he was finally able to serve. We all were.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      The colloquial use of the word ‘civilian’ is no different than ‘citizen’. In the case of cops it means “someone who is not a cop.” It’s not pejorative… generally.

      I’ve heard firemen and truckers (yes, truckers) use the same word to refer to someone who is not one of their profession and therefore doesn’t know what they do.

      1. avatar Dave says:

        Doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Example: Too many people’s colloquial use of the phrase “assault rifle”.

    3. avatar New Patriot says:

      LEO are citizens, just like the rest of us.
      Unless you are under the Uniform Military Code of Justice you don’t get to say us and those “civilians”.

  8. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    TL;DR: It’s almost impossible to find a pump shotgun that won’t be an adequate home defense shotgun. You might want to stay away from the really long barrels, but that’s about it.

    For semi-auto shotguns, the model you pick matters more.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      I agree. The only thing I would add is that 20 gauge is a lighter recoiling platform that also works and it would be nice if there was more love for it.

      I don’t think there’s anyone who has been hit by a non-birdshot load of 20 gauge at home defense ranges and has said “gee, good thing he didn’t use a 12ga.”

      1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        I shoot 20’s exclusively. I’m a big guy and not really recoil sensitive but the plate in my neck objects to heavy 12 gauge loads. Just a personal preference of mine and a lot of turkeys would tell me the 20 gauge is pretty capable. I think a load of #4 buck at across the living room range would be pretty hard on 2 legged critters as well. Plus my wife can shoot it well.

      2. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        Oh and, since everyone is saying what they prefer, I have Remington 870’s and 11-87’s for the house and field and pretty nice 1100 for skeet, trap, doves and (when I get the chance which is not often anymore), pheasant.

      3. avatar Cloudbuster says:

        II agree. I’ve got 870s in both 12 and 20 gauge. The 20 is a great gun to defend yourself with.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          i’d have a 20. 16 can be a bit elusive.

  9. avatar Artie says:

    Mossberg 590 Shockwave with a Streamlight TLR-2 HL G mounted to a rail on the left at the front of the fore grip. 800 lumens and a green laser. Easy to run and maneuver in tight spaces

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      I have that setup pretty much on the Shockwave, plus 835 Turkey gun (love those 3 1/2s), a retro Persuader, a Remy 870, an H&R 10 ga. Single shot, and my Dad’s old 16 Browning auto. May get a Persuader in 20, green laser makes it a serious HD option, and great fun.

  10. avatar Coolbreeze says:

    Nevermind all that nonsense!!! What does Shotgun Joe recommend?

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      A SxS coach gun. All you need is two shots through the door according to Creepy Uncle Joe, right?

      1. avatar 9x39 says:

        Not to lend much credence to SloJo, but could be right -ish. Depends on whether you have a breaching team stacked, or not. :p

        Would suggest shot placement around 24 – 30″ H, in consideration of the elevation to your door stoop in that case, given armor is likely in play. Up-armored femoral arteries aren’t a thing in the modern day, afaik.

  11. avatar enuf says:

    My Mossberg 500 (Newhaven 600AT by Mossberg, K-Mart $99) has worked perfectly fine for 42 years with never a hiccup. It is not “Tactical” because the 18.5″ barrel I keep on it came out long before TactiCool was a thing. Also, it is not black, has the old wood that it came with and that’s the whole thing.

    My Mossberg 590 (sort of A1, sort of SPX) is a mutt assembled out of acquired parts. It works great too, has the Speed Stock and the side saddle and the bayonet does add some flavor.

    You cannot go wrong owning a Mossberg 500 or 590 series whatever the gauge or configuration, so long as you practice. That last item is the same as with any gun.

  12. avatar GunnyGene says:

    A shotgun by itself is not sufficient in today’s world. As a minimum you need to have a backup pistol, preferably full size and at least 9mm with something like HST or Critical Duty for it. Minimum of 2 spare mags fully loaded. Have a sling on your shotgun so can drop it on your arm and use your pistol if you have a malfunction or run out of shells in the tube. Get a decent belt to hang your pistol & holster, spare mags & shotshells on, and a good fighting knife with a minimum 6″ blade. A KaBar for example. The belt should have a quick attach buckle so you can strap it on quickly regardless of whether you’re wearing pants or not. Minimum ammo for the shotgun should be 00buck and slugs(I recommend Brenneke slugs), at least one full reload of each.

    And lastly, GET SOME TRAINING AND PRACTICE with the above loadout, including the knife.

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      A shotgun by itself is not sufficient in today’s world.

      You mean the world where you’re much more likely to die in a car accident on your way to work than to die in a home invasion? The world where crime rates have been generally declining for decades? How many people in the US died in home invasions last year? Not many. A small subset of all homicides. A shotgun is fine. There are not a lot of criminal problems that can’t be solved by 6-9 rounds of buckshot.

      Giving thought to home defense is good. Being hyperbolic about it is not.

    2. avatar Tyrannosaurus Sex says:

      When was a shotgun sufficient in your world, and when did it stop being sufficient, out of curiosity? And what caused it to stop being sufficient?

      It sounds as though you either live in Mogadishu, or watched the latest Rambo movie a a couple times too many.

      1. avatar Pogue Mahon says:

        Give the boy a bucket of non lethals and a riot to play with, he;ll come around to lovvvving the lowly shotgun!

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      You must decide risk factors very differently than most people.

      What is sufficient on a car? Airbags? Seatbelt? If we take your level of preparedness we’d all have to have five-point harnesses, helmets, flame-retardant suits and neck braces at all times. You know, just in case.

      There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone has a different level of risk they are willing to accept. But objectively, even if we postulated that every single homicide victim in the US could have been saved if they had something more than, but not equal to, a shotgun… it still wouldn’t be great odds to fall into.

      And I think it’s safe to say that such an assumption is invalid.

    4. avatar MouseGun says:

      “You may not like it, but this is what peak mall ninja performance looks like”

  13. avatar James W Crawford says:

    You can enhance your hit probability and ability to hit multiple opponents with one round by installing a rifled choke tube or barrel. This enables a shotgun to live up to it’s reputation as a *scatter gun.”. Even Joe Biden or his wife might be able to hit an intruder with one of these.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      The Biden Method only works if you remember to install the Tactical Balcony + Two Blasts Option.

  14. avatar Sian says:

    I’ve got a SuperX-1 that will cycle literally anything down to the lightest low-brass, and a Saiga that I’ve just about finished certifying as dependably reliable.

    The most reliable semi-auto shotgun you can find is your best bet. It’s too easy to short-stroke or otherwise mis-handle a pump under stress, especially for a user who doesn’t practice regularly.

  15. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Those are all good choices.

    I personally recommend that people use 20 gauge shotguns for home defense.

    They have plenty of “stopping power” at typical in-home distances and less recoil than 12 gauge for faster follow-up shots if necessary.

    Before anyone poo-poos 20 gauge for home defense, tell me how many home invaders are going to shrug-off a .63 caliber slug in the torso? If a .63 caliber slug will not stop an attacker, I don’t see how a .72 caliber slug will do it, either.

    1. avatar BLAMMO!! says:

      There are plenty of reduced recoil shot and slug loads that are quite tame and verymanageable. At close range, they pack almost the same wallop and there’s really no need to go to 20 ga. And you still have the option to jam in a full power load if you feel you need it. But 20 ga. is perfectly suitable as well. Hell, 410 is fine with the right load.

    2. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      If one can keep a 20ga supplied with ammo, that is the hard part in my area unless you mail order.
      I have an 870 but really want a semi that will run fast.

  16. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    The author has a well reasoned argument for his selection of his chosen shotguns. I just don’t like them for defense. They work. I had a conversation with a friend of mine over lunch at Longhorns. The topic was homicides we worked that involved shotguns. He went on to say that, besides his handgun(s), he keeps a shotgun in his SUV. I just smiled and nodded and reminded him that no matter where I am if I need a long gun it’s going to be a rifle. “It’s not wise to pick a pistol gripped shotgun with a tang safety.” It’s not wise to pick a pistol gripped shotgun at all.

    1. avatar BLAMMO!! says:

      Most ranges around here don’t even allow shotguns without a shoulder stock.

  17. avatar GS650G says:

    Shot guns are good in some situations but not perfect in all. The load selected is a big part of how useful a Shot gun is , buckshot or slugs is a debate that never ends.

    The recoil and maneuverability will always be a disadvantage compared to a pistol and a centerfire rifle is more accurate and at greater range.

    But within 25 yards a shotgun is so effective it’s hard not to have one on hand.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      GS, not hard for me to not to have one on hand. Unless it’s a dove field, a quail plantain, duck blind or the April turkey woods. I can shoot a rifle, but I’m not that good or I would probably shoot a rifle there too.

    2. avatar enuf says:

      #4 Buckshot is all I load in the 500. For where I live and the distances involved, it means I am less likely to shot thru a wall and across the street.

      The 590A1 has alternate 00 Buckshot and slugs. Plus the bayonet.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        enuf, a 55 grain SP has very little chance of over penetration. Less than all decent medium caliber handgun rounds. Same with any buckshot and especially rifled slugs. 20+ rds as opposed to eight, faster to reload, longer range, more precise, at least as effective….stop me anytime. Rifle.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          A shotgun makes a better club if you run out of ammo?

  18. avatar Sleepy says:

    I own both the Mossberg 590A1 and the Maverick 88. Both have been reliable. I keep the 590 in the house and the old Maverick kept in my old truck while on the farm

  19. avatar Jayk74 says:

    Does anyone know if Remington is still having the quality issues that seemed to plague them over the past few years?

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      I just bought a new 11-87 20 gauge (Sportsman) and have about 100 rounds through it so far. Not a hiccup one so far. It has really nice wood and the fit and finish of the metal is also nice for a 600 dollar shotgun.

      1 box also went through it with an older 20″ barrel on it too. Same. No problems.

  20. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

    Maverick 88 20” barrel 7+1. Not because it is the “best” shotgun, but because it’s $200. (When criminals aren’t being released because a virus followed by violent looters during race riots)

    It’s one of the few guns I leave out of my safe ready to go at all times. I’m not super concerned if it gets stolen because it is cheap, replaceable, and cannot be cut shorter without changing the mag tube from the 7 to 5, this it’s unlikely to be used by criminals.

    I also shoot it very well.

  21. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    I keep a China clone Winchester 97 in the bedroom for my wife because it is easy to run and she can handle the recoil of the #4 buck I keep it loaded with. For myself I am running high velocity 50 grain hollow points in my AR. I have active hearing protection for both of us because it helps you hear what is happening around you as well as protects your hearing, it goes on before I go to investigate any noise in the house.

    1. avatar Timmy says:

      My ’97 was built in 1902, works like brand new……

      The AR launches 300gr….

  22. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    “These tactical shotguns have what I believe to be one of the lightest recoil impulses of all semi-auto shotguns. They also, however, don’t feed light birdshot loads well until broken in. ”

    Why on earth are you loading a home defense shotgun with bird shot?

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      At what many consider home defense ranges they can be very effective but with reduced overpenetration. Take a look at Paul Harrell’s youtube channel and some of the tests he does with meat targets and walls.

      That said, I load buck. Where I live I’m not worried about too much penetration.

  23. avatar Carlos Hathcock says:

    Winchester 1897, it’s the best!

  24. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Has Remington fixed their QA problems now?

    1. avatar Ron says:

      There generally hasn’t been an issue with any of their shotguns, pump or semi. Which shouldn’t be too surprising, you really have to try to fuck up a shotgun.

    2. avatar Josh says:

      I do know that the receiver pins in the express 870’s are not the hardened steel that they use to be. My son snapped both of them off in a new 870 youth express 20ga last year at a 100 round sporting clays course. They looked like pot metal to me….the forearm was also ready to fall off by the days end. I tightened the forearm, replaced the pins with a set from an older wingmaster, and the gun seems great now.

  25. avatar Montana Actual says:

    Lol @ the picture. That’s not how you do it.

  26. avatar Grumpy Old Guy says:

    The best shotgun for HD is…… the one you already own. Seriously, add a 18.5 barrel and a light on most and your in business for low dollars. The real advantage is if you hunt or break clay with it that you develop a comfort and familiarity with the tool that is more valuable than the subtle differences between brands.

    Best pistol for HD….. Whatever you shoot in IDPA or other practical pistol sport. For the same reason, you know the gun better than anything else.

    1. avatar fteter says:

      @Grumpy Old Guy: spot on! I inherited a Remington 1100 20 gauge “heavy frame” with a 28 inch barrel. Great for shooting clays and birds, but far too unwieldy for HD. So I purchased a 21 inch barrel (the shortest made for the old semi-auto that I could find) and a tube extension to make it 7 + 1. In an HD situation, that lets me throw down 8 rounds pretty darn quickly. That short barrel won’t cycle lighter loads, but it runs #4 and #3 buckshot flawlessly. And it takes 5 minutes to restore to original condition for shooting clays or birds. It’s like owning two semi-auto shotguns.

      1. avatar Mark H says:

        It’s an 1100, they are notoriously unreliable with lighter loads. Remington undergassed them to cut down on waranty work.

        I wouldn’t even consider an 1100 for upland birds, much less home defense, unless I had opened the gas ports by 10-15%.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      Shotgun barrels are only cheap if you find them used. Price out what thise tubes go for new and you’re almost at the price of a second gun.

  27. avatar Dan says:

    Why no love for the FN SLP? I love mine.

  28. avatar Bob says:

    It’s cheap and easy to put a left hand safety in a 870.

  29. avatar Jimmy James says:

    Never shot a pump gun and never will. Why when the semi auto’s are reliable and much faster. My first shottie was an 1100 and I NEVER HAD A PROBLEM with it and it was at least 2nd hand from the police supply store. I have a Winchester SX2 practical/tacticool loaded with 8 rnds of WW OD green 00 buck and 6 extra on the butt stock. It handles and shoots very well. At the time of the SX2 release, it was the fastest cycling shottie on the planet. Ive owned 1 Mossburg rifle and a buddy had a Mossy shotgun. They were both POS. No Mossburg products for me. I will own a Benelli M4 someday if for no other reason than it’s looks.

  30. avatar MtnDewey says:

    Maverick 88, good shotty, plenty of rounds. Keep it clean.

  31. avatar chumley says:

    Just bought a Remington Tac-14 for around the house. Its an 870 with a 14″ barrel and pistol grip only. So far the only down side is the absolutely brutal recoil with full power loads. Even low brass bird shot at the range will get your attention.
    Probably not the best choice, but it should suffice. The wife hates it. She prefers her Mossberg 500.

  32. avatar buglumm says:

    I own both the mossburg 500 and the Remington 870 express,both guns are really good,can t go wrong with either one.20 million people can t be wrong.thats how many have been sold,and still selling like hot cakes.i have no problem with either one.

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