View Full Version : Shotgun for home protection - need information

Gopher .45
December 18, 2000, 07:58 PM
When I got into handguns, I was able to find a lot of source material (books and web sites) on combat guns, features, techniques, etc. These sources helped a lot in regard to my subsequent purchase decision. I am now interested in a shotgun for home defense, but I am having troubles finding good sources that aren’t directly tied to some company selling the guns or add-ons being described. Along the same lines, I tend not to trust salespeople who are promoting the guns they sell.

While personal opinions are welcome from those of you who have shotguns for home defense, I would also like suggestions on any particular books or web sites that might help me to decide on the right gun and right features for my own situation. At this point, I don’t know what I want/need in regard to brand, action type, stock configuration, or other features, or to buy a stock gun and have the feature added versus buying a full produced gun from some place like Scattergun Technologies. All that is certain is that a 12 ga. with a legal length barrel is in my future for home defense...followed by one or more classes on its use.

December 18, 2000, 08:32 PM
In terms of books, I found Gabe Suarez's "The Tactical Shotgun" to be a good resource. It's available at Amazon.com .

Al Thompson
December 18, 2000, 09:04 PM
Gopher, there is a bunch of info on handguns for many different reasons. The lack of shotgun info is due to a couple of reasons, the main one is that a load of 1 oz. # 9 birdshot (lightest load) out of a $ 80 H&R single shot is way more effective than almost any handgun load for HD. :D

Ayoob has a decent book, have not read the Suarez book (yet) but he contributes here every now and again.

Truthfully, a good pump 20 ga. will do almost anything you could want. The nice part is that $ 400 will get you the gun, a bunch of ammo and a great start.

Give us an idea of your anticipated use, budget and willingness to practice and the folks in this forum will give the benefit of many, many years of experiance.


4V50 Gary
December 18, 2000, 09:15 PM
What do you want? Reliable. Each and every time you need it, it must fire. It must be capable of being operated by with one hand only (this does not preclude pump actions). It must be easy for you to use. It must also be within your price range (and leave you cash for practice).

Be careful of adding accessories like side saddles (extra shell carrier which fits on the receiver). It can throw the balance of the gun off. Also be careful of pistol grips as opposed to normal stocks. The pistol grip shotgun requires more practice to become proficient.

December 18, 2000, 10:55 PM
by Louis Awerbuck, would be a great start. My copy is over 10yrs. old, and the 'Sidesaddle' goes unmentioned for the carry of spare ammo.:) It is still relevant, though, and very well thought out, as is all of Louis' training. The publisher is Desert Publications, though I do not know if they have a website.

Gopher .45
December 18, 2000, 10:56 PM
The reason for my query is that I want to make the best informed purchase I can as a person who is new to the subject. I don't care what the gun looks like as long as it will perform for me as needed.

By home defense, my planned use would be for the interior of the home and the greatest distance within the home is a 15 yard long hall. As far as home orientation, the main living areas are large, open, and contiguous. The confined areas are the halls and bedrooms. It would be used by me or my wife. Let's say my total gun budget is $1200, but that does not mean I want to spend that much. From what I have seen on the internet, I can get a lot for $1200, but I probably won't need a lot of the bells and whistles that come with tactical type shotguns at that price.

I am off to check Saurez and Ayoob on Amazon.

Dave McC
December 19, 2000, 06:38 AM
ANY reliable shotgun of any style action and at least two shot capacity is an incredibly effective HD tool in TRAINED hands.

That should be on a tablet of stone someplace.

Good literature, like the books mentioned, is a great start. Even better, lessons from a qualified instructor, AND burning up lots of ammo.

The best purchase you can get after buying your shotgun in not from ST or Vang, it's from Remington, Winchester, Federal,etc. A case of ammo will do more good than all the bells, whistles, fender skirts and fuzzy dice you can hang on your shotgun of choice. Then, after enough practice that you're dangerous ONLY to the right people, then you'll have a better idea of what you need, vs what the commercial types claim you need.

A new or used, non altered 870, 37 etc, will work fine right out of the box. That should be on the next stone tablet over...

My HD 870 is accessorized like Joan Rivers, but I got good first,and then added or modified as needed,not as fashionable.

December 19, 2000, 02:18 PM
There were a few very similar posts on shotguns for home defense in the last week or 2. Man for 1200 bucks you could get the Dom Perignion (sp?) of shotguns. For home defense you only need to spend about $200 and maybe another 15 or so for shells and cleaning/oiling supplies. Visit the homepage of any of the big gun manufacturers for some good information.

Under the shotgun link they have a "home defender model"



December 19, 2000, 06:44 PM
Let's see, for $1,200 I suggest:

Remington 870 pump, 18.5" barrel, ghost rings, tactical light, tritium front sight and sling (sidesaddle optional, but useful IMO);
Good supply of buck, bird and slugs;
Shotgun 1 course from Louis Awerbuck or Randy Cain;
Regular practice.

John Francis

Gopher .45
December 19, 2000, 07:28 PM
Y'all have been great! Yes, for $1200, I am sure I can get a lot of things, but the way things are looking, it may be a plain jane Rem 870 and a lot of ammo + class, but nothing is set in stone.

Justin sent me this neat web address that also discusses some of the issues I was concerned about addressing. Check out...


My purchase will likely be in late Jan or early Feb. Hopefully I will be able to handle a few of the guns mentioned and possibly rent a couple to see how they feel.

December 20, 2000, 06:21 PM
a nice Mossberg 500 is also a good choice. but get what you like as long as it work 110% of the time

December 21, 2000, 03:46 AM
The military has tested, approved and bought Mossberg, Remington, and Winchester pump shotguns, and now Benelli autos IIRC.

12 or 20 should work fine. I like Federal's Tactical loads or the PDA for home defense.

Like 1911s, ya can get carried away with tinkering; I prefer to KISS.

Gopher .45
December 21, 2000, 09:10 AM
Gun Tests January issue has the Rem 870, Mossberg 500 Persuader, and Winchester 1300 Defender, all under $330. Of the three, the Mossberg got the highest ratings for stock, home defense-oriented pump shotguns. It did not have the smoothest pump, the 870 did, but it had the best accuracy and best controls. One thing they noted was that the Mossberg only held 3 rounds until they removed a wooden dowel from the ammo tube. However, they did not state the new capacity. Anybody know what it would be.

December 21, 2000, 12:33 PM
The Tactical Shotgun by Suarez is extremly good. I would suggest buying that book first then decide what gun to get.

Fact is I would suggest buying all 4 of Mr Suarez's books first along with Jeff Cooper's Principals of Personal Defense For learning about self defense/combat shooting you couldn't spend your money any better.

Ayoob's focus is ho hum stuff on legal issues, his class room teaching is somewhat different [in his class he will tell you some things that contradict what his texts say, liability issues]. The other thing is aside from legal issues and shooting techniques [like stance and grip] Ayoob's info is 2nd hand and he doesn't always acknowledge his source(s). Though that might be to protect identity of some of his sources.

Suarez's books are clear and straight foreward on the other hand. With a focus on success.

Dave McC
December 21, 2000, 02:28 PM
Probably 4+1, Gopher.My guess is that dowel ws as long as two shells. But check with someone more Mossy-cognizant.

A point,and coming from me and my unabashed 870 boosterism, it may sound funny.

Make of shotgun is not nearly as important as familiarity and expertise. A good shot,well trained, is more effective with a hardware store offbrand pump than an average shooter with little training/experience and a Loudenboomer SP Mag, even the Dave McC Signature Model(G)....

Call it 90% shooter, 10% equipment.

December 21, 2000, 09:25 PM
One of the best buys for the money is the Remington Mdl 870 Express. Comes with a matt finish, vent rib 21" (I think) barrel, threaded for choke tubes, and shoots the 3" mag shells. When I bought mine the gun sold for around $229, probably more now. But, this gun would be hard to beat for your described needs. Good luck...

December 21, 2000, 10:52 PM
Another gun to consider would be the Mossburg HS410, designed for home security (HS) and .410 bore. It has a pump pistol grip, is short and easy to manipulate in close quarters, and holds, I think 5 rounds. If the lady does not intend to practice, this gun is a very forgiving "shoot-where-you-point" weapon. With little practice, they have no difficulty in rolling an empty Coke can across the ground. The gun has no recoil, so the ladies tend to shoot it more than, say, a 20ga. pump, which can be a bruiser. The con-side is the price & availability of ammo.
As for myself, I have a brace of 20ga 870 Express', as that is what my sons & I shoot skeet with.

Gary H
December 22, 2000, 12:10 AM
Is Joan Rivers still around?

Dave McC
December 22, 2000, 11:46 AM
She does a fashion show for the Style Network, and I see her there when I flip through looking for scantily clad models showing the new Victoria's Secret line(G).

Ol' Joan always has enough jewelry, scarves and other accessories on to qualify as a high priced landfill.

December 22, 2000, 03:47 PM
How about the mossberg 590 Parkerized comes with heat sheild and bayonet lug. Don't really need them but it is the same ones that the military is using for perimeter defense. Has a total capacity of 9 rounds! That can be alot of pellets in the air!! Pump action, dual action bars(prevents binding) military spec. My uncle each have one! Bought them at the same time. In the $300 range. Definitely cheaper than most "tatical" high end models mentioned. Money left over for training and ammo. As for a book I would suggest Street Sweeper all about shotguns by Hoggs I believe but could be wrong. Thanks for listening----DArogue1

December 22, 2000, 04:29 PM
the standerd 500 should hold five rounds of 2 3/4 in shells.
that's how many mine holds with out the dowel

Gopher .45
December 22, 2000, 07:44 PM
After taking advice, reading quite a bit, and looking at the reviews in Gun Tests, I happened to find a shop in a nearby town that had a Wilson Combat Scattergun Technologies Border Patrol model with Armor-tuff. Cool! I bought it. The coating actually raised the price by $100, but I figured it would be worth it. It had the ghost ring sight, tritium front, high capacity, a sling I didn't need, and it fit my wife as well. Things were good until I got it out in the sunlight after I got home. Under the front sight, but visible all along the junction of the sight and barrel was rust. There was some actually on the front end of the sight. There was rust on the mag tube where the sling mount contacted it. I was very disappointed. In the lights of the gun store, the rust was not readily apparent and I made the mistake of not going over every surface with a flashlight before buying the gun. I called the shop and will be returning the gun in the morning.

Okay, so the gun is MOSTLY armor-tuff coated, but not all of it and the sites aren't coated, but blued. As far as the mag tube, apparently the coating had come off in the assembly process, I don't know.

To buy a supposed "top quality" type of gun, to pay full market price, to have a gun treated with a rust preventor, and then to find out that a new gun comes with rust is really a bummer.

I think the Remington 870 is a great way to go from all that I have learned so far, only I am going to have to go about getting one in a different manner.

Oh, and while I really like the idea of a bayonet mount (mentioned above), the whole idea of a shotgun was to avoid getting that close if at all possible...although I still have not ruled one out yet!

December 22, 2000, 11:24 PM
Update on Remington Mdl 870 Express. I saw one in a gun shop today for $279. It came with an extended turkey choke, which I'm sure you could trade with the dealer for an IC or Mod. Good luck...

December 23, 2000, 02:18 AM
Something to keep in mind about pump shotguns is that they are like revolvers. They work fine until you have a problem [say a double feed in the pump or bullet slips out enough to stop the cylinder on a revolver] then all you can use them for is an impact weapon. With auto shotguns or auto pistols malfs are easy and quick to clear and you don't need tools. But when a pump or revolver has a problem it will take you minutes at least to clear the problem and you will need at least a simple tool or two.

Most people who shoot pumps don't try shooting them from behind cover or from supported positions [or they do so on the range behind simulated "cover" that doesn't interfer with the operation of the gun] so they don't run into this.

With a semi auto, shotgun or pistol, you need to be sure ejection port has enough room to kick out the empty or it can bounce back and jam the gun [autos are not perfect either].

Dave McC
December 23, 2000, 10:52 AM
Glamdring, so what am I supposed to get a malf with a pump?
Haven't yet, and I've shot them heavily since the 50s. And a lot of my heaviest shooting was pre Flextab,too.

OTOH, I recall trying to clear a jam in a clean, well maintained M-16 one a rainy dark night with people around me being killed....

Al Thompson
December 23, 2000, 04:51 PM
Dave, I *think* his point is that when wheelguns or pumps tie up, they tie up pretty throughly. I tend to agree. I can recall several revolver malfs that needed different ammo or a gunsmith. Only pump (or shotgun for that matter) that I've witnessed not fire needed a trip to the factory to fix.



December 23, 2000, 05:43 PM
when my pump jams it's alway extractor problems. i only have to repump it to clear it

December 24, 2000, 03:33 AM
Yes the point I was trying to make, sorry if I wasn't clear, is that when a pump or revolver "jams" it is serious. While with an auto [with good mags] most common problems are quickly cleared.

The problems I have had with pump shotguns have come from supported shooting with slugs where the support or cover prevents one from working the pump in recoil but lets the action move enough to cause problem and also from reloading with cold numbed fingers and getting a double feed or getting a shell on the carrier with action closed [putting the shell into the mag tube almostfar enough to stay and then having it spring back].

I have not yet had a problem with a revolver but I suspect I will eventually when I start making heavy loads like the Federal castcores that I use now [the castcores are not CCW loads ;)]