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Old March 4, 2013, 10:34 PM   #1
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Help picking a shotgun

Hello all,

I have been around guns most of my life although i dont have much experience shooting iv done a ton of research online and i feel i need to hear from the hobby.

I am looking for my first weapon, specifically a shotgun for home defense. Looking for something that will hold multiple shells, and of course trust it to be reliable enough to protect my family..

What would you guys suggest considering im new and it would be strictly for home defense. I am also in the process of filing for the pistol permit for new york and with all that's going on I have no clue how that will go.

I called my local gun shop asked them what was the procedure for purchasing a shot gun they told me to come on in pick a gun show i.d and put my info into the computer for the back round and if it checks out take it home. I read horror stories of people going to gun shops blind and trusting them to pair you with the right weapon and it going bad.

so i would love to hear from you guys.


Last edited by Evan Thomas; March 4, 2013 at 10:46 PM. Reason: fixed typo in title
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Old March 5, 2013, 11:32 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Bump for restoring accidentally deleted thread....
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
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Old March 5, 2013, 11:38 AM   #3
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Before you buy - you really need to get to a range / and shoot some of these guns ( probably pump guns ) that you're considering....

While the popular tactical guns are pump or semi-autos from Benelli, Mossberg and Remington - to buy something before you've shot these styles of guns / with relatively heavy payloads of "OO Buck" or probably going to result in you wasting your money....or ending up with a gun that you really don't like ...and won't shoot.

In shotguns you get what you pay for ...but you're going to see Tactical shotguns from $ 150 - $ 1,500 ..../ on the lower end - they really aren't much different ( most of them have some issues / they can all be cleaned up ) ...on the higher end you'll find guns like the Benelli M-4 ( a gas operated semi-auto ).

If I was going to buy a Tactical shotgun would be the Benelli M-4. The real question here do you really want a tactical shotgun...or will some other weapon suit you better ( like a handgun )...there is a lot to consider...

Get out and shoot some shotguns, in tactical configurations, before you make up your mind and spend your money ...take a class, get some experience.../ most gun shops will only know what they have in stock and what it costs...they aren't really in business to help you make an informed decison on what "Fits" you, what you should buy..../ maybe they should be - but they're not in my opinion.

Another option is to get what is a more typical "clay target gun" a 12ga, maybe a pump gun, with a 26" or 28" barrel ...and while its not an optimum "fighting" shotgun / its just fine for "Defense" ....and you can use it for a lot of other things. Look at guns like a Browning BPS Hunter model ...its a good solid pump gun for around $600 and a gun you'll have for a long time...changeable screw in chokes, versatile, easy to learn how to use, etc....
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Old March 5, 2013, 11:42 AM   #4
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I advocate the Mossberg 500 pump in 12 or 20 gauge for most new HD gun owners...

Easy to buy (lower price but still an American made gun), easy to tear down and learn the workings...

But no matter what you buy, until you are shin deep in spent hulls and confident you learned a little bit with every new wear mark on the gun, you need to be very reserved about your ability...

Know your gun like your tongue knows your teeth and you are a force to be reckoned with...

Several hundred rounds of cheap bird shot, a few boxes of buckshot (gotta know where that payload will land) and several boxes of cheap slugs to train how to tighten your "point of aim to point of impact" regulation and you are at the beginner level of home defender...

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Old March 5, 2013, 09:37 PM   #5
Lee Lapin
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Several considerations come into play in choosing a defensive shotgun. For example, are you the only one who will be using it, or is it destined for use by others in the family as well? IMHO a defensive shotgun should be set up to fit the smallest (shortest) member of the family who will be using it. That has bearing on choosing the gauge (12 or 20) and physical size (stock length, forearm length) of the shotgun as well.

For example, I'm 6'2" or thereabouts, and my wife is 5'4". The house guns here (given the layout of the house there are more than one, kept hidden when we are home, and in the safe when we are away) are Remington 870s in 12 gauge. I can get away with that because my wife is an experienced shooter and 3-gun competitor and shooting the bigger bore doesn't bother her.

Stocks are cut to a 12.5" length of pull overall, including a premium recoil pad. Forearms are the longer 'field' type, rather than the short LE forearm. Barrels are 18-20" and there is nothing save a lightweight weaponlight and mount attached forward of the support hand position - no magazine extensions etc. They all have 4-shot Sidesaddles carrying Brenneke KO slugs, and three rounds of Federal LE 127-00 buck in the 4-round magazines.

These guns are older model Express guns, bought used for not a lot of $$$ (less than $200 each, mostly a good bit less as prices were less in years gone by). Getting them outfitted as described above cost about that much more per gun.

All that said, the shotgun itself is the least important part of the equation. Any reliable shotgun will do, if the shooter will do. Mindset is the most important, skillset is second, and the toolset comes in a distant third. Good training is critical in getting skills up to snuff, and proper mental preparation is essential before all the rest come into play. If you don't have it yet I'd suggest spending a few $$$ on a copy of Jeff Cooper's little book Principles of Personal Defense - see . I suggest Paladin as a source because they have kept this essential little tome in print for several decades now. And shotgun guru Louis Awerbuck, who used to work for Cooper at Gunsite, penned the foreword of the current version.

As an early prep for using a shotgun defensively - which is different in many important regards from using it as a sporting arm - I'd suggest Clint Smith's offering at this point. See a preview at .
Mindset - Skillset - Toolset. In that order!

Attitude and skill will get you through times of no gear, better than gear will get you through times of no attitude and no skill.

Last edited by Lee Lapin; March 5, 2013 at 09:46 PM.
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Old March 5, 2013, 10:01 PM   #6
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Buying a gun is like buying a pair of shoes. What fits well for somebody else, may not be a good fit for you. The only way you will know if a gun is for you is by shooting it.

When it comes to shotguns, I have always heard good things about the Mossberg 500, and the Remington 870. Many law enforcement officers trust their lives to these weapons. They are both time tested and battle proven.
I have the 870 marine magnum, and I have been nothing but pleased with it. Listen to what the gun store has to say, do some research on your own, ask some more questions, and see if you can shoot it before you buy it.
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Old March 6, 2013, 10:41 AM   #7
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This is hard to respond to. It sounds great to try before you buy, but I have NEVER done that. I do have a pretty refined ability to buy guns which work well for me. I generally develop over time what I want at home. I look at popular guns, calibers, shapes, etc. I try to stick with most common except where I want to specialize.

In an HD shotgun, that would be:
12 ga
Rem 870, Mossberg 500 or 590, Mossberg 930, Rem 11-87
18.5" HD Barrel Open or Cyl Choke
Bead sight

This is what is popular. If it were me, it would be a Mossy 930 SPX or HD Combo, add a good red dot for speed, add a Specter 2 pt sling and add some on gun reload holding capacity.

Since I was not looking for an HD shotgun when i bought mine, I bought the deer combo. It has been a fine gun and fed everything. I'm thinking about getting the 18.5" barrel for buckshot fun!
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Old March 6, 2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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Wow a lot of good responses and a lot more for me to think about. I do believe a handgun would be a much better match for me with home defense and I have been doing the research online on how to go about obtaining the permit. I would still like something heavy duty at home because after what i seen during and after sandy showed me how dangerous your everyday person could really be.

As for others in my house hold using the shotgun is out of the question my wife is 4'11 and has some medical issues and is on the verge of being handicap. My step son is 15 i guess he could actually use it but his mentality is a tad bit immature and would not be comfortable with him having access to such power.
the next is our 3 year old and then our 7 month old. I work days as a private investigator which is another thing we have had people follow us homes on occasion or obtain our addresses from our vehicle plates.

I know since I have never shot a shotgun I would be looking for something with less kick but not sacrifice to much stopping power. I am 5'9 170lbs so a little kick isn't bad I just want to make sure i have full control of the weapon and the situation that i hope never comes.

If i go to my local range do they have different guns for me to try and use?
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Old March 6, 2013, 08:17 PM   #9
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Winchester 1300 Defender is a good choice for home defence. It holds 8 with the tube removed. Plus slick with a stock not a pistol grip for better control and less kick.

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Old March 6, 2013, 08:44 PM   #10
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In my opinion, it doesn't matter whether you buy a Mossberg, Winchester, Remington, Benelli, or whatever. Just pick out a shotgun that feels good in your hands as you work the action, hold it to your shoulder, etc. Then just take it home and shoot it. Get used to it so that your fingers automatically know where the safety is located, how to load it, etc. For example, I grew up with traditional Remington shotguns. As a result, a tactical 870 "just feels right" in my hands. When the crap is hitting the fan, you want your learned instincts to take over and operate the gun if your mind determines that you need to protect yourself and your property. They're all good guns. It's just a matter of what feels right and knowing your equipment. And I don't think you have to spend a gazillion dollars on it either.
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