View Full Version : Home Defense shotgun for Wife

August 12, 2008, 12:58 AM
I am going to buy a shotgun for the house and it needs to be something that is fairly easy to operate for my wife, she is about 5'5" 125 lbs. so I am thinking probably a 20 gauge, I don't trust a .410 and don't care what anyone says about it. What are some good options for reliability, quality and round capacity.

August 12, 2008, 01:16 AM
Last week, I got my paws onto a friend's Rem 1187 20 gauge with a youth stock. Sweet, sweet gun. She's getting it set up as a home defense gun and to my way of thinking it could not be more perfect: the right size for her short frame; easy to shoot (amazingly easy to shoot); short overall length making it easy to manipulate in tight quarters. Excellent reliability, more so than a pump for those who might be prone to short-stroking (as many of us short statured shooters tend to be -- it's difficult not to short stroke when the gun is a little too big for you).

Of course a semi auto isn't as outright versatile as a pump, but when you think about it, home defense is a pretty limited application anyway.

Comes with a bead sight, which I think needs to be replaced for something more practical for defense.


August 12, 2008, 06:02 AM
Back in the late 80's I purchased for my son a youth stock 20 ga. Winchester 1300 NWTF edition with laminated furniture. It has a short barrel, around 24" I think with choke tubes. That is a sweet shotgun and would be perfect for a woman. Even though my son outgrew it, it will remain a keeper because it is great upland gun and home defense gun.

If you could find one of those you would be set!

August 12, 2008, 07:11 AM
good options for a 20 are the same as for a 12. you should be able to go to your local big-chain sporting good store and pick up a youth model version of most 12 gauges. I had a pistol grip and forend sitting around for my mossy 500 security so I went a picked up the first 20 gauge I found for a good price. found out the hard way that the youth model has a different forend than an adult model. still a handy little gun though.

August 12, 2008, 05:58 PM
I bought a 12 ga. Stoeger Side by Side shotgun for self defense for my wife, it's easy to operate under stress (push safety, pull trigger), and it can be loaded with the low recoil shot so it won't kill her follow up shot. I need to get a new recoil pad for it but other than that it's good to go.

She's not going to clear the home with it so capacity doesn't matter, it's there for her to sit in the bedroom and call the police and wait for them. Indoors after the first shot, she's going to be deaf anyway so a good followup shot is extremely more important than anything else in my opinion.

August 12, 2008, 09:32 PM
Global -

Read Clint Smith's articles :

Duck Guns for Defense,


Shotguns - Still A Great Option


Affordable Home Defense


All were in GUNS Magazine, and all are a very good source of information.

August 12, 2008, 11:46 PM
My wife is 5' even, and weighs a hair over a hundred pounds. Her home defense gun is a 12G Mossberg 500, 20", 8 shot, with a Pachmyr pistol grip. She shoots 00 with it, no problem. She calls it "Betty." :D

I've taught her to hold the grip against her body, with her hand, wrist, and arm in a straight line. Shoots it like a champ, and lets her body absorb the recoil.

August 13, 2008, 09:33 AM
Last winter I was going to sell an old 16ga SxS that I had cut the barrels down to 18.5". My wife asked me where I thought I was going with it. When I told her I planned to sell it to finance the purchase of another pistol she said STOP! If there was ever a problem in the house, she planned of grabbing that old SxS becasue it was "idiot proof". I have it loaded with #1 buck (2 rounds in the chambers and six more in a buttstock ammo carrier).

August 13, 2008, 07:10 PM
A 20 guage 870 youth should fill the bill about right.

August 13, 2008, 07:57 PM
I agree with Pax... a 20ga semi-auto makes the most sense, especially if she's not a die-hard shooter. Fairly simple manual of arms. Plus she doesn't have to think about pumping the action.

I picked up a 20ga 870 that had been a youth gun and someone added a very slightly shortened adult stock. It's light, quick handling and the recoil is quite manageable. It has a 21" smoothbore barrel and I have the slug barrel for it too. Patterns nicely with #3 buckshot at 7 to 15 yards.

At 5'5" and 125, your wife could probably handle a 12ga with reduced recoil loads. Though I'd just get her a 20ga of her own and let her learn how to use and clean it. :D Then, hopefully, she'll be the one asking "Honey, when can we go shooting again?" :cool:

roy reali
August 13, 2008, 08:03 PM
Make sure to attach a long blade to the weapon. No HD shotgun is fully ready without a bayonet.

August 13, 2008, 08:26 PM
I also agree that a 20ga semi auto is a good choice for a HD shotgun for a woman who may be recoil sensitive. Hogue makes youth stocks for many shotguns. I got a used Mossberg 500 in 12ga that had a pistol grip on it. I put the Hogue youth stock on it to get a short and handy shotgun. I am really happy with it. I put the youth model stock on for me 5' 11" and 175 lbs. This is for a handy, agile HD gun, not a trap gun that fits perfectly.

August 20, 2008, 06:26 AM
My 115lb 5'3 athletic wife can handle a 12 ga. the same way I can handle a .454 cassull. That said, if I owned one would I want it handy at 2 AM?
A bigger gun is no good if you take 5-10 seconds to recover for a followup.
Listen to Pax and my sweetie, get the 20 ga and put some buck in it. Besides it makes a great small game gun by day!

August 22, 2008, 05:05 PM
I'd say any 20 guage 18"er mossy in particular b/c the safety is easier to get to imho.

August 22, 2008, 05:18 PM
An 1187 or 1100 would be a great gun for her. Autoloaders take out all the recoil so that makes it a lot better choice than a pump.

August 22, 2008, 09:08 PM
I would not buy an 11-87 or 1100 for home defense. I have one I shoot trap with 1-2 times a week. It is a great gun for that. It does require some maintainance though.
If I was buying a HD shotgun, and I have looked at them, I would without a doubt go with a pump. Simply b/c you pretty much know it will work. Just like if I ever start to use my CCW I will be toting a revolver. If it is a little gummed up you just cycle it a little harder. You can do the "cruiser ready" deal. I would not go with a semi auto unless you are going to pop it open, lube it and inspect the 0-rings at least every 6 months for the duration of the use of the gun. 3 months probably better.
Mossberg has the safety right on top where it is easy to see. This would be key as I want to be able to see the safety is off. My shotgunning is limited. I have fired an 870, 500, Win 1300, 1100, and 11-87 and a few break actions. 500 is the obvious HD standout in my opinion. 870 is a tacticool dream come true. An 1100 and 11-87 are amazingly great trap and duck guns. 11-87 is pretty much the only semi auto I ever see someone go 25 straight with. More a reflection of who chooses to shoot them than the gun itself I imagine. Winchester 1300 was a poorly designed and I would not recommend for anything.