4th May 2021

Source Credit to | ANNETTE DOERR

Shotguns – versatile, easy to operate, and powerful. They just may be the perfect home defense firearm. Some shotguns are specifically designed for home defense purposes, while others can pull double duty as a hunting gun or sporting clay gun. Further, there are plenty of affordable shotguns for home defense, making them an ideal choice for someone on a budget. You just need to pick the one that’s right for you and practical for your needs.

For instance, it’s easy to fall in love with the classic look of double-barrel shotguns, but they have some serious drawbacks. The over/under or side-by-side shotguns generally hold only two shells at a time, whereas a semiautomatic shotgun can hold upwards of six or more at a time, depending on the model and design. Double barrels can still be effective, but you need to train to overcome these limitations.

Mossberg 500 Home Defense
For home defense, you may want to explore shotguns that offer higher capacities like this Mossberg 500. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Since shotguns are also very common, you may already own one that’s just sitting in your safe waiting for hunting season, so let’s explore some reason why these guns are good for home defense.

Here are seven great reasons why shotguns are good for home defense:

  1. Availability: Shotguns are readily available for purchase and offer some very affordable options. Although state laws for long guns vary, shotguns are significantly easier to purchase than a pistol in many states. Check with your state laws to see if you meet the age requirements for the purchase. Then all you need to do is pass the routine NICS background check, and you’re all set.
  2. Stopping Power: They offer plenty of stopping power. Whether you’re using a 12 gauge, 20 gauge, or even a .410 bore, someone breaking into your home isn’t going to analyze what type of shotgun you’re pointing in their direction. At close range, if you need to pull that trigger, any of the above will do the job of stopping the deadly threat.
  3. Ammo Options: Shotguns use a wide variety of ammunition that is readily available and easy to find. Shells also come in various lengths, from 1.75 inch to 3.5 inch. Using shorter shells will enable you to increase your ammunition capacity in a semiautomatic shotgun. There are also custom loads for home defense. Just make sure you check to make sure the size shells you’re using are compatible with your model shotgun.
  4. Reliability: Shotguns are notoriously reliable, which comes in clutch when you really need to defend yourself. From the classic double-barrel shotgun to the trusted Remington 870 or Mossberg 500, there are plenty of shotguns that have proven they can be trusted to work every time you pull the trigger.
  5. Lightweight Options: Synthetic stocks can make for a nice lightweight option, though many shotguns are already relatively light. Just keep in mind that picking a lighter shotgun can mean more felt recoil when you are shooting it.
  6. Multiple Projectiles: The shotgun shell itself is perfect for home defense. Instead of using a single projectile, like a rifle or pistol, a shotgun shell can use multiple smaller projectiles, which spread out as the shot goes downrange. The size and count depend on the type of shell you’re using. Slugs are also a common choice.
  7. Accessories: Affordable accessories are readily available. Whether you’re looking to add a light, a laser, or some type of optic to your shotgun, most modern tactical shotguns are easy to deck out with home defense accessories. They’re also easy to install on your own with various rail options available.

If you’re looking for something designed for the close quarters of home defense, something is lightweight and wieldy, then the Mossberg 590 Shockwave is a popular choice. This pump-action packs a punch but weighs only 5.25 pounds.

Mossberg Shockwave Home Defense
The Mossberg Shockwave offers serious firepower in a small shotgun package. (Photo: Chris Eger/

If you’re looking for an all-around shotgun that you can defend your home with and hunt turkey or whitetail, the Stoeger M3000R fits the bill, especially for states that require slug-only hunting – the R in the model stands for Rifled Slug. This inertia-driven shotgun weighs in at 7.3 pounds.

The Benelli M4 Tactical has a long tradition of reliable and rugged use. (Photo: Benelli)

If you just have to have the best of the best, something that the military and LEO rely on around the world, then look no further than the Benelli M4 Tactical. This semi-auto shotgun holds 5+1 shells of 12 gauge and is known for being rugged and reliable. With the ability to add an optic or red dot on top, this would be an excellent choice for home defense.

There are a lot of great shotgun options, and always has a good selection on hand for you to choose from.


As mentioned earlier, popular shotguns come in 12 gauge, 20 gauge and .410 bore. There are other types (10 gauge, 28 gauge, etc.) but most gunners prefer either a 12 or 20 gauge for their home defense gun. Whichever shotgun you end up choosing, make sure you take the time to learn how to operate it.

Take it to the range and shoot it. Try out different types of ammunition. Learn its ins and outs, and practice with dummy ammunition until you can load and reload in the dark. You don’t want to try and learn how to quickly reload at 2:30 a.m. when someone kicks in your front door. Have a plan, practice it, and stay familiar with your shotgun. Your life just may depend on it.