Home defense is no joke, and plenty of people choose shotguns as their firearms of choice in the event they have to contend with a burglar or another intruder. Shotguns are ideal home protection weapons because they cause a lot of damage in close quarters, are intimidating, and don’t require as much accuracy as a handgun or a rifle.
But finding the right shotgun for you can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Today, let’s break down the five best shotguns for home protection so you can buy a firearm that’s guaranteed to get the job done.
What to Look for in a Good Shotgun for Home Defense
No two shotguns are ever made completely alike. Let’s take a look at the main aspects you should consider when selecting an ideal shotgun for home defense.
First and foremost, consider the gauge that a given shotgun is designed in. The most popular shotgun gauges are 12, 20, and .410. Of these, 12-gauge is by far the most popular type. 12-gauge shotguns have larger bores than most 20-gauge shotguns, and the same formula holds true for 20-gauge shotguns in comparison to .410-gauge shotguns.
Larger bores essentially translate to more pellets contained within every shell fired by a given shotgun. More pellets make a wider spread and cause a higher likelihood that you’ll hit a target in a home defense situation. Thus, 12-gauge shotguns are ideal choices for self-defense.
However, 20-gauge or .410-gauge shotguns usually have less recoil. This may make them a better choice if you’re a beginner or otherwise aren’t too confident in your accuracy.
You should also consider the choke in a given shotgun. Most home defense shotguns have cylinder bores, which help pellets spread relatively evenly and quickly. This results in a wide shot pattern that’s ideal for short distances (most home defense situations will probably be close quarters instead of long-distance). Some shotgun owners may prefer a modified choke if they’re more interested in property defense, however, since it translates to a longer effective range.
Semi-Auto or Pump?
Of course, semiautomatic and pump shotguns can both work well for self-defense situations. Pump shotguns are decidedly noticeable and include the iconic, action-racking sound that may scare off a home intruder without a single shot being fired. However, such shotguns usually produce more recoil.
Semiautomatic shotguns are gas-operated and take less experience to use effectively. Plus, you only have to worry about pulling the trigger with a semiautomatic shotgun instead of also reaching to the forend of the weapon and pumping the action every time.
A shotgun’s stock design also matters a great deal. Home defense shotguns come with a wide variety of stock choices. Adjustable stocks are ideal if you have a small frame or if multiple people in your family may need to use the same firearm.
Some stocks also come with built-in recoil-reducing systems or materials. Again, these are great for small framed people or for beginners who can’t control the recoil of a more powerful shotgun reliably. Look for a stock that will suit your experience and comfort levels.
Always consider the ammunition you’ll purchase with a given shotgun. Buckshot is normally the ammunition of choice for home defense shotgun owners. These fire plenty of pellets and operate well during short-range engagements. They’re usually better for home defense since you don’t have to rely on a single slug hitting your opponent; they’re almost guaranteed to take some damage even with a glancing hit from buckshot.
The last thing you should consider is the cost. A home defense shotgun will ideally never be used, but don’t think that this means you can skimp on price or purchase a shotgun that’s too cheap. You want your shotgun to work reliably when you need to most.
You can only find pump shotguns for slightly cheaper prices than semiautomatic shotguns. Try to balance budget and quality whenever you can.
Top Shotguns for Home Defense
Let’s start with this top-tier Mossberg shotgun – Mossbergs are actually some of the best shotguns bar none, not just for home defense. This particular model is a suitable self-defense weapon with an engraved receiver for added style. But more importantly, it features a “cerakote” finish. This ceramic-style finish makes the gun extremely tough and easy to grip, which could be valuable if you’re ever in a self-defense situation and your palms become sweaty.
This Mossberg can be chosen in either 12 or 28gauge and is a limited-edition weapon. It’s a little flashier than most other home defense shotguns. But it features an excellent length of pull, a smooth trigger, and looks awesome enough that you can use it for home defense and fun at the gun range alike.
This home defense shotgun can be purchased in either .410 or 24-gauge, and it features a pretty compact 13.25-inch length of pull. This makes it great for close-quarters use, as you’ll be able to use the shotgun and aim down the sights properly, even in cramped environments.
This shotgun features a smooth but non-slip grip and is 12-gauge for added ease of use in your home. The forend is relatively close to the grip, making it potentially a good choice if you have short arms and don’t want to overextend yourself in a close environment.
As the name suggests, this shotgun features a reduced length of pull for easier use within your home and can be purchased for as either 20 or 24-gauge. It also features a matte black finish that makes the shotgun easy to hold – the forend pump, as well, is comfortable to grip and will help you keep your weapon steady as you face down an intruder.
All in all, any of the above five shotguns will be excellent choices for home defense and should perform well when the time comes. Consider all your options carefully and go with the one that best fits your budget restrictions and experience level. Good luck and stay safe!