View Full Version : Your top DEFENSE shotgun: Rem 870, Rem 11/87, Win 1300Defender, Benelli M1???

October 10, 2002, 10:33 PM
I know this won't be easy, but I'd really like to hear what ya'll have to say about picking one of the following shotguns for defense purposes. All are with 18" barrel. All are in 12 gauge. Price is not a factor.

Remington 870 Police
Winchester 1300 Defender

Remington 11/87P
Benelli M1 Tactical

What are your top two choices and why?

Dave McC
October 11, 2002, 04:42 AM
I voted for the 870 of course, but EVERY shotgun named is a fine choice for Defense.

The crucial factors have nothing to do with brand.

A trained, cool hand can pick up any of these and be abso-%^&*lutely deadly with it.

October 11, 2002, 07:28 AM
The 870 is my choice too. It will be ready when you need it.

October 11, 2002, 08:33 AM
Unfortunately you left out the new Winchester Super X2 Practical. If it is as solid as its parent gun it will be superb for this application.

October 11, 2002, 08:43 AM
I own over a dozen shotguns.

My "go to" shotgun is a Winchester 1300.

October 11, 2002, 08:58 AM
Have 5 shotguns. Win. 1300 defender is my go to gun. #2 if I had to buy another would be an 870 done by scattergun tech. Like the Benelli also.$$$$


October 11, 2002, 08:59 AM
Seeing all I have is a Beretta 1201 I have to go with that.

October 11, 2002, 11:20 AM
Another vote for the Win 1300 Defender. It has a terrific Action smooth as silk and non binding. It is kept loaded in the corner of my bedroom:D

October 11, 2002, 03:46 PM
I own (and voted for) the 870. I've trained with it. I'm confident in it. I'm good with it.

I have had the chance to shoot the Benilli, an incredible gun. If you are looking to buy and price is not a factor get one by all means.

But I have to agree with the other posts, all are good guns. Personal preference the only real issue here.

Robby from Long Island
October 11, 2002, 06:13 PM
I have a Benelli M1 Super 90 Tactical that I really feel comfortable with.

It has a pistol grip attached as well as the shoulder stock and ghost ring sights.

Feel it is a very controllable weapon when firing several rounds quickly and have never had a problems with it since purchased about 8 years ago. It holds a total of 8 rounds.

Of course as many have pointed out, price is the one downside. I paid about $900. But like everything else.......:)

October 12, 2002, 01:51 PM
If I could have two from the four you mentioned,I`d take:
pump-Remington 870 Police.
semi--Benelli M1 S90 Tactical.

Why ?I like the 870 for its steel receiver and many accesories,
and I like the Benelli for its simple construction and high
The 11-87 seems to have problems with reliability.

If only one of the four,I`d go with the Benelli

October 12, 2002, 10:24 PM
I own 2 Winchester 1300 Defenders. Absolutely the best in my book. I have one with the wood stock (named that one "Full House") and one with the synthetic (named that one "Pair of Treys"). I really, really like the Tru-Glo sight on the synthetic stocked one, so I'm going to put a Tru-Glo on Full House also (it currently has a brass bead.) But the Tru-Glo for Full House will be the red one. Pair of Treys has a green Tru-Glo.

What I love about Defenders is the speed and silky smoothness of the action. FAST!! Boy, oh, boy, is it fast! The shotgun itself fits me perfectly. And it already comes with extended magazine. No dickering around with it to be done. It disassembles for cleaning easy. I just plain love it! That's why I have two. Who knows? I might buy more!

Dave McC
October 13, 2002, 09:06 AM
Caution, Kevan, pump guns are addicting(G)...

Saw a 1300 trap model a coupla weeks ago. Kinda pretty,heh,heh,heh.....

October 13, 2002, 12:52 PM
Yes, they are! Very few firearms are as much fun as good 12 gauge pump.

October 13, 2002, 07:39 PM
As others have said here and elsewhere, between the 870, Win 1300 Defender, Benelli M1, Mossberg... they're all great shotguns... each fully capable of doing the job.. pretty much comes down to user preference.
I went looking to buy an 870 or 1300 Defender today and after checking them all out, I preferred and came home with a Mossberg 18.5" Persuader.... really slick action, felt great, looked great and I've heard nothing but good things about them. I like the tang safety and easy to access pump release lever. I bought the Tru-Glo sight to put on it also. The great price was just a bonus on top of what's a very nice shotgun. I have a friend who has had one for years and has probably put a couple of thousand shells through it without one failure to fire or jam of any kind... nice record!

Perhaps one day I'll add a Winchester 1300 Marine Defender and a Benelli M1 Tactical as well, but this Mossberg is a keeper... kind of like a Toyota... good quality without any pretense or frills.

My second choice would have been the Winchester 1300 Defender. I like it's one piece long magazine... (no extensions which could, ever so possibly, create a problem at some point.) The aluminum receiver on the Winchester Defender didn't bother me, but if the gun crashed into a rock or something, a steel receiver would undoubedtly take more of a beating.

Interesting that the salesman, who has sold a ton of all these brands, said he's seen a number of "broken" Remington 870's come back to the store. They sell a lot of them, but also see quite a few problems with them. I'm sure it's a great shotgun, though. But he feels that the 870 quality, which was once stellar, has been slipping lately.

Dave McC
October 14, 2002, 04:42 AM
Hmmm,it's running about what my expectations were. About a third of the respondents prefer the 870, with the Mossiephiles in second place. No surprises there. I'm a little surprised there's no Ithaca fans speaking up yet.

Don, older 870s are great shotguns, new ones are good shotguns. The buttonmen at Big Green are definitely asleep at the switch. The good news is that with 8 million 870s out there, there's lots of used ones up for sale now and then.

Also, I'm sure that many of the 870 respondents on this thread were voting for the 870 and not the Police model per se.

Any short bbled, reliable US made pump gun is an awesomely effective weapon. The 870 is but one of the best...

October 14, 2002, 03:29 PM
Hey guys... I just noticed something about my new Mossberg 500A, the plastic safety switch is incredibly stiff... requiring a considerable amount of effort to switch it... seems like it should be a lot easier to move. Should I just take the gun to any local 'smith and have the metal safety installed and will that process help the stiffness of the switch? I'd just return it to the store, and get one with an easier switch, but if I'm going to replace the plastic one with a metal one, perhaps I should just visit a 'smith. Any thoughts guys?

Dave McC
October 14, 2002, 04:53 PM
Work it to and fro a hundred times, either it'll smooth up or fall off. If the last, replace it with the metal one. If the former, replace it when it does(G)...

Seriously, break it in a bit, then see how things are.

October 14, 2002, 04:56 PM
Thanks Dave... your many contributions to this forum are great! I appreciate it.

Long Path
October 14, 2002, 10:06 PM
Hmmm... no Remington 1100? No 1148? No Auto 5? No Win M12?

Having shot a couple of tactical shotgun matches, I've come to some practical conclusions--

-Order of arms is everything. Practice your reloads. (Which are virtually the same with all the above.)

-Follow up shots are important. Do what you can to speed them up.

-Shortshucking stops the shooting. Misfeeds, though rare, do not.

Finally: (don't get up in arms-- this is just what I've personally witnessed among competitors) Good men with quality autos are noticeably faster than good men with quality pumps. Period.

Until I shot some shotgun matches, I used to hold that a well-trained man with an 870 was as fast as an equal man with an auto gun. I am now have to give the clear edge to the auto guns. That said, I still love good pumps, and regularly carry one.

But my home defense gun is a Remington 1100. I'd love to have the Benelli.

October 14, 2002, 11:20 PM
A long time ago I confronted a young man in my yard...(mid-night/flashlight, checking out the cars). I had an O/U 12 ga. He decided to leave, but a shot through the tree limbs convinced him to wait for the police. The sound was still ringing in my ears...but I couldn't remember which trigger for the follow up...if needed.

I said all that to say thats why I now have a Win. 1300 Defender. One trigger,smooth action,eight shots. I can pay attention to the action at hand...maybe I won't get shot.

Johnny Guest
October 15, 2002, 10:51 AM
I've shot in several matches at a nearby club. The contestants run the gamut from guys bringing out the old trap or bird gun to cops with their issue riot gun to hobbyists with full house super-tactical outfits.

For those who can afford them and will learn the manual of arms, the Benellis are superb! A little fussy maybe, but they work like lightning. But - - - Don't sell short the old upland gunner or waterfowler who's been operating the same ol' pump gun for decades. A man who learned to shuck his slick old Model 12 in the quail fields may be a serious contender on steel plates as well.

Spending the money on a tactical Mossberg with all the hang-on accessories, or even a Benelli doesn't guarantee proficiency. Certainly not unless the spender also burns a few cases of shells in practice. Some good coaching by a competent trainer doesn't hurt, either.

As a Remington shotgun lover, it pains me to say it, but I've seen some 11-87s tried and found wanting. At least a couple have been sluffed in favor of older 1100s. Every so often, someone brings out an old long recoil gun--Browning A-5, Rem 11, or even an 11-48--and shows the youngsters how it's done. I guess they never heard how hard they kick.

One thing surprising to me, though--I've never seen an Ithaca model 37 in competetion. This, in light of how popular they were as police riot guns some years ago back. Back when Los Angeles PD was the "wave of the future," seemed like every young cop wanted a short '37. Then they all went away, in favor of the 870.

Just some observations - - -:p


October 16, 2002, 12:05 AM
I'd add one word of caution... I love autoloading shotguns for their speed, and use them for hunting and target work, but I am very reluctant to trust them for defense. I've seen too many of them malfunction in a rapid-fire, high-stress situation. One example: I did LFI-2 and LFI-3 with Massad Ayoob during August this year. On both courses, EVERY SINGLE SEMI-AUTO SHOTGUN (including Remingtons, Benellis, Mossbergs and a Saiga AK-style magazine-fed semi-auto) malfunctioned at least once during a high-speed qualification run, sufficient to drop the student using it out of the running for high score, and sometimes enough to make him/her abort the course of fire.

This is only the latest in a long line of experiences like this. So, if my life depends on the gun, it's gonna be a pump! Unless you do something silly like short-stroking it, it will probably work every time, and can also handle a wide variety of loads without worrying about reliability of cycling the action. Yep, it's a pump for me!

October 16, 2002, 01:32 AM
Sounds like a safe call, Preacherman. I'm sure there are lots of semi-autos out there that perform very well, but if there is even a slighty greater chance of a feeding problem with a semi-auto over a pump, I'll take the pump for defense as well.

Dave McC
October 16, 2002, 05:16 AM
Thanks, Don, it's nice to know I'm helping folks.

The pump vs auto thing has been going on almost as long as the strife in Ireland.

Both camps have good arguments,but it all boils down to reliability. If it only works great sometimes, it's not a a good choice.

Back in the day, I used to watch the guys with the 1100s do clearance and profanity drills. We called the autos "Aw S--t" guns because the owners always said it in the course of a match.Got to admit the glitches diminished as the owners learned to clean and care for their persnickity pets, but the glitches still happened.

Meanwhile, my 870s worked flawlessly. To this day, I've never short stroked one. I've never had a shell come back behind the carrier unless I deliberately induced same. My lifetime aggregate of shells fired through 870s must come close to 50K now, and the number of $%^&*ups must run less than 5.

When it comes to my butt on the line, or my family's safety, I want a tool reliable as a rock.

October 16, 2002, 08:38 AM

None of the above.


Click on the specifications and look.


October 16, 2002, 11:23 AM
That weapon is not an option in quite a number of states because it qualifies as an illegal "sawed-off" shotgun. I've also seen the little double-barrel "snake eyes" .410 pistol. I'll stick with 12 gauge pump, thanks.

I don't particularly like the emotionalist-sensationalist marketing ploy of the company selling that pistol, either. "Be responsible! Don't kill your neighbor!" Yeah, but get rubbed out by some tweeker or dusthead you only pissed off with a thimblefull of birdshot.

October 16, 2002, 06:05 PM
Mossberg 590A1 is my home defense choice

October 16, 2002, 09:03 PM

I know that if I have an intruder in my home, he will fall on the first shot of 00 Buckshot. If not, then the second shot, a .45LC should do the trick. After that there's a .410 slug, another .45LC, and a #2 shotshell.

I paid $275 used and absolutely love it for home defense.


October 17, 2002, 08:51 PM
Well, I got in on this poll late, so I had to vote for the only firearm I own... my Mossberg 500 12 ga. (I know, a one-gun wimp...)

Although, as I mentioned on another thread, I had the opportunity to use a Vang Comp'd 870 for the first time during the final COF in a two day tac shotgun course and shot very well with it with because it felt so natural.

Many replies above this one, Dave McC said Work it to and fro a hundred times, to get the Mossy tang-mounted safety to loosen up a bit... The issue is that unlike the nice, but not ambidextrous, 870 button safety, the Mossberg safety feels like a small, rough-backed alligator under your thumb. I probably cycled the safety 200 times this weekend and I think it is as smooth (even some extra lube) as it is going to get, but my thumb is a bit raw, nevertheless. My two-cycle experience with the 870 safety makes me think it is way easier unless you are a leftie.

October 18, 2002, 12:37 AM
Bruce... you too have an ultra stiff Mossberg tang safety switch? I think mine is loosening up a LITTLE bit... but man, this switch is very difficult to move most of the time... funny, because every once in a while it moves more easily. Hmmmmmmmmmmm...... will replacing the thumb piece make the switch any easier? The screw holding in the plastic piece is designed to only screw ON, a screwdriver trying to UNscrew it has no grip at all... what's with THAT? :rolleyes:

Dave McC
October 18, 2002, 05:06 AM
Sorry about your thumb, Bruce, but I deny responsibility(G).

If I owned a 500 these days, I'd put on a metal safety button mach schnell, just because there's too much testimonial evidence about the plastic ones falling off, or otherwise glitching.

Note this doesn't happen with ALL 500s.

Also note I'm not Mossiebashing. They're good shotguns.

As for the 870, when I shoot sinistrally I rotate my firing hand as I mount the weapon and knock the safety off with my thumb, re-employing with my index finger. This is the mirror image of how I do it dextrally.

Tom C.
October 18, 2002, 12:29 PM
None of the above. There is a very good article that was in the IPSC magazine about combat competition shotguns. It is available on the Winchester website.
If I had to pick a new shotgun, I would strongly consider the new Winchester Super X2 Practical.
I still like my Remington Model 11. It has MMC aperature sights, and removable choke tubes as well as an extended mag tube. Shoots foster slugs into 2.5" at 50 yds. and seems to be extremely reliable, more than the current 11/87.

Dave McC
October 18, 2002, 01:51 PM
Tom, the Model 11 is one great shotgun. The downside's the advanced age and high mileage of many specimens.

The X2 is possibly the milepost for the next era of fighting shotguns. I expect developments in this area to be very interesting. Here's a few predictions....

First, the new "Serious" shotguns will be gas autos. Instead of adapting existing sporting arms, these will be purpose built fighters. Some may be built on the Kalishnikov gas sustem, like that Saiga. Others may use any number of designs that are already used in rifles and adaptable to the lower pressures and higher momentums of shotgun ballistics.

Second, modular trigger systems will be nigh universal. Why so? Because most of the parts that can and do break are in these. Field repair will consist of popping a new TG in and sending the old one back to the armorer.

Third, stocks will have some range of adjustment, maybe like the CAR-15 collapsable stock with intermediate positions. Some will also have some recoil reducing capability, like the Hogue, Precision Fit, etc. A rotatable pad will make the weapon suitable for use off either shoulder while still fitting the "Cup".

Fourth, sights will be some sort of red dot, holo,and so on.Probably the weapon will have an old fashioned bead for backup.

Fifth, an Uzi style grip safety will be used as a combat safety.Or possibly a squeeze cocker. Idea, to make the weapon safe but only an instant away from employment. A storage safety will be there for backup.

Sixth,forearms will have mounting points/rails for lights,NVDs,grenade launchers, scopes and so forth.

Seventh,a workable speed loader for faster reloads will be produced. It'll probably look something like the old Blakeslee thing for the Spencer carbine, ca 1860.

Eigthth, it'll probably be a 12 gauge. All that ammo choice off the shelf would make logistics so easy compared to R&D'ing a new, dedicated shell. However, research will produce new powders that will burn more completely in the bbl, thus reducing muzzle flash. And the velocity may be uppped a bit also, with new designs the old SAAMI limit of 13K PSI can be exceeded. How about 00 at 1800 FPS, with depleted uranium pellets?

Any ideas?....

October 18, 2002, 04:45 PM
870 all the way

... though I was at a gunshow a few weeks back and saw a BRAND NEW 11-87 in "tactical black" with the mag extension AND rifle sights for less than $300, I ALMOST bought it.

Thing is, I kinda like the look and feel of wood, and my "Sportsman 12 magnum" (pre-express budget model 870) is an awfully good shotgun, so I don't NEED to replace it. In fact, I'm thinking if I buy another shotgun its gonna be a double.

Still I kinda hope I don't see that 11-87 again when I have a pocket full of money.:D

And HEY... you forgot the Winchester 1897 Trench gun. If you missed him with 6 rounds of buckshot you could always bayonet the evildoer!:eek:

Tom C.
October 18, 2002, 10:00 PM
Fortunately, my Model 11 spent most of its life sitting around. Doesn't seem to have much wear. Did have to replace the barrel due to bulges in it.
Sounds like what you are describing is the new Benelli M4 which the Marine Corps recently adopted. It is a gas gun with MECGAR ghost ring sight, skeleton stock with what looks like a Picitany rail mounted on the receiver in front of the rear sight. There is a picture in the Dec. Guns on pg. 35.

Dave McC
October 19, 2002, 05:05 AM
Saw a blurb on American Shooter about the M4, Tom. It's a step in the right direction, but it's still an adapted civilian arm.

With the trend towards Urban warfare seen in recent times, a truly advanced combat shotgun's making sense.

Meanwhile, I'll stick with 870s.

Tom C.
October 19, 2002, 01:31 PM
The M4 is being issued in the Marine Corps. It is supposed to show up commercially this month, which probably means early next year. The services have first claim to them. I would like to see a good comparison article with the M-4, Winchester SX-2 Practical, Remington 11/87, 870 et.al. and see if any of them are as good as my Model 11.

October 19, 2002, 02:03 PM
Benelli M-3 for auto choice.

Benelli Nova for pump choice.

Al Thompson
October 19, 2002, 04:34 PM
Hi Tom C., welcome to TFL !

Here's a link on a write up that appeared in SWAT magazine:


Tom C.
October 19, 2002, 09:00 PM
I certainly missed the article in SWAT. I confess the stock doesn't look like something I would go for, but it is a gas gun to eliminate sensitivity of the recoil mechanism to additional weight of night sights, etc. Since the Marines did the developmental testing, I hope they were rigorous. I would like to see their report and what other guns they compared it to that resulted in its selection.
I know the Brits used the Browning Auto 5 in the Malay fight in the 50's and it seemed to work ok in pretty severe jungle conditions.

October 20, 2002, 12:53 AM
REM 870. :D

October 20, 2002, 04:43 AM
I made my choice, and brought home a Benelli Nova SP 3 days ago (my birthday). 18.5" barrel, same LPA ghost ring sights as an on M1 Super 90 or the M1014, the little carrier-button so you can unload the chamber and swap a slug or buckshot while keeping the mag full.

Smooooooth pump action. Feels like an 870 after 5,000 rounds. Already owned an 870 HD and Mossberg 500 HD. It's got a sling on it, and soon, a SideSaddle and M3 light. :)

Tom C.
October 21, 2002, 08:55 AM
I spent the money and downloaded a pdf file of the July issue of SWAT with the article on the M4 Benelli. I don't see what the problem is. The stock sucks. OK. It is available to civilians with the normal stock and the pistol grip stock, both plastic. He doesn't like the light. OK. It is heavy. OK. Is the receiver steel or alloy? The rail is for night sights, etc., which weigh a ton and would probably rip the rib from an alloy receiver. The gun seems to work fine. He doesn't know what it does that others don't. I think the answer to that is that it works in conditions which lock up all the others. If any of the others worked in their defined adverse conditions, they would have been selected and they wouldn't have had to have Benelli develop this new gun. Am I missing something?
That said, I am not ready to switch from my Model 11, but I would like to see a comparison with the M4 Benelli and Winchester SX2 Practical among others.
All this about individual models is nice, but the dirty little secret is that shotguns have a limited range of capabilities. The FBI found that buckshot bounces off windshields nicely without penetrating. That said, within their nitch, they do fullfil their limited capabilities well. Just don't expect too much.

December 11, 2004, 07:41 AM
I'm with you Tom C. I would like to see a comparison of the M4 and SX2 Practical. I do like my M1 Super 90 thoug.

December 11, 2004, 07:50 AM
We use Benelli M1 Super 90, at home all i can afford is and old 870 pump.

December 11, 2004, 08:46 AM
Strictly my personal preferences as all on the list make fine defensive guns.

Pumps: 1300 Defender. I happen to like the rotary locking bolt and lightning fast action.

Semi-autos: Benelli is king. I prefer what seems to be a more reliable recoil-operated action over the Remington's gas operated action.

December 16, 2004, 09:03 PM
Beretta 1201FP ;)

Remington 870 ;)