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Thread: Home Defense Shotgun - What to Buy

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    Home Defense Shotgun - What to Buy

    Hey all,

    I only have handguns, but I am thinking about purchasing a shotgun almost strictly for home defense. It is possible I may want to take it hunting at some point, so please take that into account when providing your recommendation. That being said, it is almost 100% for home defense use.

    Therefore, what do you all suggest I buy? I am just looking for a standard shotgun. Nothing fancy. I also do not want it to be too expensive, so nothing more than $800 (preferably a few hundred, which I think is pretty standard).

    I think I should go with 12 gauge, and I would probably want a somewhat short barrel (for maneuverability in the home).

    So please let me know your suggestions. Thanks!

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I'd be looking at the Remington 870, the Ithica Model 37 series, or the Winchester Super X Pump Defender series. All of these are well within your budget and worth considering.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    I'd be looking at the Remington 870, the Ithica Model 37 series, or the Winchester Super X Pump Defender series. All of these are well within your budget and worth considering.
    Awesome, thanks for the response.

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    Mossy 590 20" barrel with an M4 style adjustable stock is what I have.

    I like the 20" barrel over the 18.5" because it holds 2-3 more rounds.

    I also have it loaded with Fiocci low recoil 00buckshot. Total of 8 in the tube and 1 in the chamber.

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    Just bought a Mossberg 930 5 shot autoloader so my petite wife doesn't have to worry about pumping, just aim and shoot.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thorpe View Post
    Awesome, thanks for the response.
    BTW, just thought you might be interested in something related to your handle. Many years ago, my wife was interviewed for a position with ASA (Army Security Agency) by Jim Thorpe Jr. Yes the son of the famous Jim Thorpe. She was offered the position and accepted it.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    Remington 870 All the way. Interchangeable barrels are very easy to find in case you ever decide to hunt with it.

    It's extremely reliable, and you'll walk away with a good chunk of that $800.

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    I would not overlook the easy to find, inexpensive Mossberg pump action shotguns. 500, 590 and Maverick are all basically the same action. Barrel swap can be done by the average owner. Nothing difficult with maintaining the shotgun. Various barrel lengths and magazine tube lengths available.

    The Mossberg shotguns have a very strong after market supply of doo-dads. They are reliable and as uncomplicated to operate as a hammer. The safety location on the rear top of the receiver tang is easy to locate.....an issue when adrenaline is high and lighting is low, and split seconds count. Remember, there aren't any mulligans with firearms. I upgraded the safety to a Vang larger aluminum safety with serrated steps. Ice cold numb thumbs can locate and activate the safety easier.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Mossy, Remington, Winchester, ANY of the common quality pump shotguns, they'll all work fine.

    I suggest a magazine extension where appropriate, DEFINITELY A LIGHT!!! An 18-20" barrel with a large bead sight (because if it'll work for a clay pigeon 40 yards away doing 70 mph it will also work at 4 yards for a slow moving bad guy, and you don't need more complicated and up close less useful ghost rights for HD), as well as a side saddle carrier for more ammo.

    The light and mount you can do just fine with an ATI clamp and a lower end light like a Surefire G2. For 20 bucks or so, you can even get an add on wire switch to mount to the pump handle, but you can also just spin it from the slide forward position as is if you mount it right. I'll emphasize it some more, you want a light. You also want it set up so that it's easy to turn on and off. This is perhaps the most critical thing.

    If you have the good sense to buy used, you can be out the door with a very well equipped shotgun for under 400 dollars, and even under 300 if you shop around. The rest of the money you have budgeted should go towards regular practice.
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    Regular Member tcmech's Avatar
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    Mossberg 500 12 gauge is what I use. 18.5 in barrel, 5 rounds of #4 buck in the magazine, tube empty with the trigger pulled and the safety off.

    Barrels are cheap for a mossberg also, I have a 28" with the interchangeable choke tubes, fully rifled 24" slug barrel, and a blackpowder muzzleloading barrel for it also.

    You really can't go wrong with any decent pump gun from remington, ithaca, winchester, or benelli either.

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    Maverick 12 Gauge, 20 inch barrel, 8 shot....A little over 200 bucks.
    I have one that I had a choke tube put in so I can hunt with it.
    You can also get a rifled slug barrel with rifle sights, too.
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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Remington 870
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    Since you state "it is almost 100% for home defense use" you should also check out the Saiga-12. It's a magazine fed 12ga AK variant built in the Izhmash factory in Russia. Cost $450 - $550. It is importable because of its sporting configuration. Comes with one 5 shell magazine. Magazines are available from 2 shell box to 20 shell drums. (Note: if you want to convert the S12 from its sporting configuration, you must ensure Sec 922(r) compliance.)

    Between an Remy 870 or Mossy 500/590, you'll want to get a feel for the ergonomics of the firearm. The safeties and slide releases are different. Personally, I prefer the tang (thumb on top of receiver) safety of the 500/590. YMMV

    But for home defense or just a plain fun gun the S12 is my go-to gun. Great for when the zombies come too!

    Last edited by bullseye; 09-10-2010 at 11:27 PM. Reason: define "tang"

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    I am totally on-board with the Mossberg cheering section. I have a Mossy 500 "combo" 12ga (it has wood furniture, and came with 2 bbls--18.5" and 28") I use it for HD and for busting clays.

    But if you're gonna use a pump 12ga for sport shooting (sporting clays, trap, etc) you MUST get a squishy buttpad or a recoil reduction stock, or they will beat the living crap out of you. A half-dozen rounds in a high-adrenaline HD situation aren't going to be much of an issue. But when you're cranking through a box or two, firing in fast doubles on a "5-stand" course, any pump 12ga will beat you up unless you do something about the recoil.

    I put a LimbSaver on y Mossy and it's like a completely different gun now. Best $25 I ever spend on an accessory...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 09-24-2010 at 10:55 PM.
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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    I have a Remmington 870 Tactical 6+1 18" barrel which I like. I don't see the need for semi-auto expensive versions of a shotgun. The only reason I would consider the Mossberg 590 is that you can attach a bayonet to it. :-)

    If you can pick up a cheap regular 870 you can buy mag extensions (which I did for my 20" and have 7+1). I had my local gunsmith file off the dimples inside the mag tube to add the extension so it is a permanent modification. If you don't get a mag extension on a regular 870 you can replace the mag cap with a light that screws on. I also added a carrier to have 6 extra rounds available if needed.

    Here is NUTNFANCY's opinon on tactical shotguns:
    pt 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqkeK...eature=channel
    pt 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnzoH...eature=channel
    pt 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA_Kk...eature=channel
    pt 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou54JJOdUF0

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    Regular Member KansasMustang's Avatar
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    I have two I consider home defense altho' one I could hunt with , it's a double barrel coach gun with a 20" barrel. The other is a Browning BPS with a 20" barrel and 8+1 tube. Most any of the tactical shotguns are good for the purpose, but I just prefer a pump, as they are much more reliable in my opinion. Both were about 400$
    ‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’ Thomas Jefferson

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    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    Kind of hard to beat those Mossberg's for price, and performance. You have more options than a Barbie Doll for dressing them up. Noted in a previous post, the location of the safety is major important. I have moved the safety on a long gun the wrong way for the outcome I needed to happen before. In a situation where you don't get a do over, I like the idea of a safety shoved forward will let the gun go boom. No mistakes, no guess work.

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuller Malarkey View Post
    Noted in a previous post, the location of the safety is major important. I have moved the safety on a long gun the wrong way for the outcome I needed to happen before. In a situation where you don't get a do over, I like the idea of a safety shoved forward will let the gun go boom. No mistakes, no guess work.

    The location and configuration is the PRIMARY reason I went with the Mossberg over the Remington 870. I wanted a home defense long gun that would be easy to teach my family to use, and the tang-mount, forward-disengaging safety of the Mossberg is MUCH more intuitive and easy to manipulate for the wife and daughters, who don't shoot it much. And the safety on the Mossy can be VISUALLY checked from the "low ready" position without moving or turning the gun, which is an added bonus. The 870 can't.

    The 870 is a GREAT shotgun--don't get me wrong. I just thing the safety is a little more awkward, and not nearly as intuitive under stress. It's a GREAT hunting gun, but I wouldn't want my family to rely on it in a self-defense situation, because of the trigger guard mounted safety.

    The Mossy is just a MUCH more intuitive gun to use under stress, I think...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 09-24-2010 at 10:56 PM.
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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    Safety position

    Yes I will agree that the Mossbergs saftey is in a more ergonomical position BUT I have never had a problem with the Remmington's position. It is right by the trigger guard and as I pick up the gun the safety goes off as I am positioning my trigger finger.

    It is mainly a personal preference thingy but I will admit the mossbergs is better for most.

    Remmington 870 is the standard everything is judged against though and I love mine.

    I don't think anyone can go wrong buying either (as well as some other models) and the price is darn low compared to pistols. I got my tactical 870 for $250 + shipping! Lately I have seen them going for $350 but haven't really "looked" hard since I already have mine.

    Edited to add: If you do go mossberg go with the 590a1 which had double rails and can add a bayonet. It doesn't cost much more than the 500 and I have heard word of mouth problems with the 500 at least when it first came out.
    Last edited by 45acpForMe; 09-12-2010 at 12:30 PM.

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    I have a 870 and love it, highly suggest the 870. If you want to look at something besides a pump, look at a remington 1100 tactical, I have one, 8+1 capacity, and love it. I also shoot a lot of clay targets and skeet shoots with it. I prefer remington over mossberg, remingtons to me are a lot easier to take apart and to maintain. I also prefer the safety on remington, maybe because thats what I have grown up on, I know as soon as I grip the gun whether the safety is on or not,

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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    I am a big believer in the "whatever works for you" argument-and it's especially true regarding the safety. In my experience with the Mossberg 500 (which admittedly, is restricted to in-store), I don't much care for the safety. Granted, deactivating the safety on my 870 is second nature. But that's just for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    The location and configuration is the PRIMARY reason I went with the Mossberg over the Remington 870. I wanted a home defense long gun that would be easy to teach my family to use, and the tang-mount, forward-disengaging safety of the Mossberg is MUCH more intuitive and easy to manipulate for the wife and daughters, who don't shoot it much. And the safety on the mossy can be VISUALLY checked from the "low ready" position without moving or turning the gun, which is an added bonus. The 870 can't.

    The 870 is a GREAT shotgun--don't get me wrong. I just thing the safety is a little more awkward, and not nearly as intuitive under stress. It's a GREAT hunting gun, but I wouldn't want my family to rely on it in a self-defense situation, because of the trigger guard mounted safety.

    The Mossy is just a MUCH more intuitive gun to use under stress, I think...
    That's why I got me a 12 ga Mossy 500 with an 18.5 inch barrel.

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    i would take a look at at the new stevens ( savage) model 350 home defense shotgun...they are about 220.00
    or a nef pardner pump shotgun for around 200.00 both are for people on a budget but will get the job done.
    Last edited by Hiredgun30; 09-16-2010 at 07:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Thorpe View Post
    Hey all,

    I only have handguns, but I am thinking about purchasing a shotgun almost strictly for home defense. It is possible I may want to take it hunting at some point, so please take that into account when providing your recommendation. That being said, it is almost 100% for home defense use.

    Therefore, what do you all suggest I buy? I am just looking for a standard shotgun. Nothing fancy. I also do not want it to be too expensive, so nothing more than $800 (preferably a few hundred, which I think is pretty standard).

    I think I should go with 12 gauge, and I would probably want a somewhat short barrel (for maneuverability in the home).

    So please let me know your suggestions. Thanks!

    Jim, you'll likely hear varying info on the subject, but I'd like to give my input from my own experience with defensive shotguns.

    The 870 has been suggested. The 870 is economical and you can find an 8 round tube version for ballpark of $500 or less. These will come in varying versions from a standard stock to a full tactical that may push the $800 envelope depending on how hard-core you want a tactical shotgun to be (remember, at some point it just becomes tacti-cool instead of tactical). There are many other brands out there that will be preferable due to brand name or features, but in a home defense shotgun it's meant to serve a purpose, not look pretty. If you can be economical on your choice and come away with a nice HD shotgun, you'll have the rest of your budget to purchase ammunition and take the time to practice with it. I suggest you do not keep it as a HD shotgun unless you've taken the time to practice and become very familiar with it, an example of why comes to mind from a pawn shop visit recently where they had a Franchi SPAS come in and couldn't figure out how to get the semiauto function to work properly.

    Barrel length should be of little concern as long as you're not considering a trench-gun. A standard tactical 870 (barrel will be as long as the 8 round tube) is just right in my opinion. Rule of thumb is that every shotgun is cumbersome to sweep in the home, there's just no way around it due to their inherent size. (unless you go with a Taurus Judge) Round capacity is vital as it gives you the ability to defend yourself and potentially enough time to allow others in the home to escape.

    I currently own a HK/Fabarm S.D.A.S.S. Heavy Combat breacher shotgun. It has the pistol grip, an extended tube, and a foregrip rail...the only thing I wish it had was ghost ring sights. Yet, in the home you won't need much for sights due to the close quarters. I do suggest a tactical light of some sort for positive target identification...something that strobes as a secondary function is even better as it helps disorient your target.

    You might be tempted to get the pistol grip without a stock. I'd suggest you get one that has a stock if you go pistol grip so you have the shouldering option.

    There's nothing that will influence a full bowel evacuation like the sound of a shotgun racking in close quarters.
    Last edited by heresyourdipstickjimmy; 09-19-2010 at 10:58 PM.

  25. #25
    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Most folks say that for home defense, an 18.5 barrel is best. It allows quick sweeps and can be brought to firing position more quickly than longer barrels. It is also noticeably lighter and has better balance. Longer barrels are useless for HD.That being said, the longest extension you can put on an 18.5 barrel 870 is a +2 extension, giving you 6 in the tube. I keep my HD shotgun in what is known as "cruiser ready" condition which consists of an empty chamber and a full tube.safety off All that is required is to bring the weapon up and rack the slide to chamber the first round.

    A bead sight is perfect for a HD shotgun, as they are pointed not aimed.

    I don't believe there is any evidence that the sound of a shotgun being racked affects a BG's behavior. If someone has proof, provide a cite please.

    The only other must have is some kind of light to illuminate your target.Target ID is critical. There are plenty of mounting bracket/switch combo for these lights from many manufacturers. including Surefire and Streamlight. I have a very expensive Surefire fore end light that replaces the stock one. It is more money than the shotgun but it's first rate if budget can handle it

    A magazine extension tube is nice but not required. You can buy them factory installed or add an after market one..I bought a Remington extension tube and installed it myself, but it did require a little grinding on the Express model to make it fit. As noted, the largest you can get for an 8.5 inch barrel is +2, which is more than adequate. You are not getting in a battle with terrorists in your home. The other issue with extensions is adds weight and affects the balance. I felt this on my 870 but I'm big so no issue for me.

    Stay away from breacher chokes and all the mall ninja stuff. not required in a HD shotgun

    Other nice extras but not required are:

    Sidesaddle to hold extra shells or butt cuff or speed feed stock
    Recoil reducing stock
    Sling but some disagree on this one.

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