If someone breaks into your home in the middle of the night while you are there with your family, what firearm do you want at your side to protect you and yours? If you said the best home defense shotgun, you are correct.
It’s a sobering thought, but in today's world, you have to be prepared. Nothing is more precious than what is within your home. If a criminal makes it past all of your home security measures, you have to act.
Because of this, home defense should be high on your list of priorities. And of course a shotgun is a much better choice over a club or a knife for self defense.
You have to remember:
Shotguns provide one of the most effective means for home defense. Handguns are extremely popular, but there are some drawbacks.
You are firing a single projectile and most likely the conditions will be chaotic and dark.
Even the most trained marksman has a high risk of missing the target under such stressful conditions.
To put it another way:
With a tactical shotgun, to fire you will have a spread of 1-3 feet bringing the chance of hitting the target up dramatically.
And who can deny the confidence instilled when racking a shell and the terror of the person who hears it?
Shotguns also allow a lot of tinkering with loads and chokes to customize the pellet spread and fit your personal preference.
Here's what we have for you:
We have compiled our top five choices of best shotgun for home defense and listed them in no particular order.
Don't forget that not only is it important to have the right shotgun, but you must also keep it clean and oiled for good operation.
Before we move into our list, let’s examine what traits to look for in a great shotgun in case you want to do some of your own research.
What To Look For
When searching for shotguns for home defense there are several weapon characteristics you should look for.
These are the criteria we used to make our own picks. If you want a shotgun that also works well for hunting or sport, check out our best picks for semi auto shotguns.
The shotgun's length and weight are important. If the need arises you do not want a heavy, unwieldy weapon.
A weight under 8 pounds and length under 40 inches is ideal for home defense.
Semi-automatic and pump are the only two you should ever consider for home defense.
Semi-automatic shotguns offer slightly shorter intervals between rounds and the pump offers the extra reliability that a jam will not happen at the most critical of moments.
We suggest looking at shotguns that hold at least 5 shells in the magazine.
Hopefully, you are never in the position to have to use a full magazine, but it is better to favor on the side of caution.
Lot’s of owners like their shotguns to have a pistol grip.
This is really personal preference, but be sure you test them out yourself and handle both traditional and pistol grip stocks to get an idea of what suits you better.
Shotguns should have an easy to grip synthetic material for the points of contact.
The majority of tactical shotguns on the market are chambered for 12 gauge shells, and for good reason, as their stopping power is never in question.
In terms of home defense, a 20 gauge shotgun has several benefits and we would be remiss not to mention a few.
Using a 20 gauge shotgun can be beneficial because of the lightness and reduced recoil.
This is great for trained children or Mom to use in case of emergency when you are not around.
Be aware, if you are a taller person, a 20 gauge’s length of pull might be too small for you to use effectively.
Let’s take a more detailed look at our top five shotguns.
Best Home Defense Shotgun - Top 5
Benelli has a wide array of excellent and high quality tactical shotguns available. We keyed in on the SuperNova Tactical pump for several different reasons.
The first is the price. The last place you should be worried about trading security for a cheaper shotgun is when thinking of home defense, but for the quality of Benelli you are getting a steal for this one at around $500.
There are several models of this shotgun available to fit your personal preferences in a shotgun such as the recoil reduction or pistol grip stock.
You also have the option of open or ghost sights. The grooved grip surfaces of the contact sites provide an added layer of handling stability.
The SuperNova Tactical is a 12-gauge and weighs in at 7.6 pounds with an overall length of 40 inches. It is chambered to handle 2-3/4, 3, and 3-1/2 inch shells.
The big drawback for this weapon is the amount of rounds available with 4 in the magazine and one in the chamber as is the case with most imported weapons.
The price and features make this one a nice option for best self defense shotgun.
The Remington Versa Max Tactical is a 12-gauge and is chambered for 2-3/4 and 3 inch shells. The overall length of the gun comes at about 44 inches with a weight of 7.75 pounds.
The magazine is able to hold 8 of 2-3/4 inch shells and 7 of 3 inch shells.
While this gun is the longest and heaviest on our list, the smoothness and reliability outweigh the cons.
The gun sports a large trigger guard and a well-designed control layout making it easy to handle under duress.
Right out of the box this gun can be personalized to your preferences including rail mounts, different sights, and adjustments for the length of pull.
The synthetic stock and forearm are textured to allow a better grip for the user, and the matte black will stop unwanted glares coming from the weapon, giving away your position.
It is often selected as the best home defense gun.
The 20-gauge model is chambered to use 3 inch shells. You also have the option of purchasing a 6 or 8 shot model.
There are a lot of other options such as adjustable stocks, pistol grip, and color schemes.
The 20-gauge, 8 shot model has an overall length of 39 inches and weighs in at 6 pounds with a fixed cylinder bore choke making it extremely nimble.
The model uses ghost ring sights, and a synthetic textured stock and forearm for extra grip. The length of pull is 13 inches, which is actually long enough that even taller people could be comfortable with it.
It's a great option for a home protection shotgun. It's size also makes it the best shotgun for women.
The Winchester Defender is also available in a 20-gauge model, but we will stick with the specs for the 12-gauge.
This shotgun is chambered to use 3 inch shells and can hold 5 shells in the magazine giving you a 5+1 orientation.
The overall length is 38-1/2 inches with an empty weight of 6 pounds 8 ounces, making this shotgun extremely light and nimble for a 12-gauge.
Like most well built shotguns for home defense use, this weapon has a synthetic stock and forearm.
The ribbed forearm gives a more confident grip and pump action.
There is not a whole lot of room for personal customization outside of taking it to a gunsmith, but out of the box this shotgun is hard to beat. The features make it the best gun for home defense.
The Mossberg 930 Tactical comes in several different models, as some of our previous examples, with pistol grip, sights, and color options.
The 930 tactical is a 12-gauge and is chambered for 3 inch shells and has a magazine capacity of 8. The overall length is 39 inches with an empty weight of 7.75 pounds.
The safety is top-mounted which is a pro or con based on your own preference.
The gun does have a large trigger guard that is able to navigate. The synthetic stock and forearm are both textured for added grip.
A lot more can be done to optimize and personalize your shotgun to fit your needs and preferences.
Different chokes and type of shot or slugs all need to be thought about before the need arises to use it.
We have provided our top five shotguns for home defense and all of which are reliable and proven weapons.
You now have an idea of some great makes and models for a shotgun for home defense and a better understanding of what to look for when doing your own research.
Hopefully, you will never find yourself in the position of having to use a self defense shotgun outside of the range, but if you do, these shotguns can be relied upon time and time again.
For those times where you might be away from your firearms, consider a pen as a backup defensive weapon.
And if you need a way to conceal your firearms in your home, consider some of the many different storage options available.