There are some items which I consider a must have for my personal home defense shotgun. For me, there is a difference between a home defense shotgun and a combat, go to war, SHTF, or tactical shotgun. My HD shotgun is set up for the DEFENSE of my home, and built around my training, experience, proficiency and physical make up. It is not a gun equipped to take into combat as an OFFENSIVE weapon.
Because it is designed to just defend my 1100 sq feet of living space, it does not require items or characteristics of a gun designed for warfare. With that in mind, this is what I looked for in my HD shotgun.
• Caliber :12 gauge, it’s the most effective round with the most variety in defensive choices, from mild to stout. And, I can handle the recoil.
•Action: Pump Action- Arguably the most reliable system for a shotgun.
• Barrel Length: 18.5 inch barrel- Compact and maneuverable in tight spaces and light weight.
•Stock: Pistol Grip- I train with it, and I can hit with it up to 15 yards with my preferred load.
•Capacity: 5 +1 capacity, 5 in the magazine, one in chamber. Most HD engagements are resolved in 3 shots or less according to police reports of actual citizen involved shootings with a shotgun. I’m not taking this gun to a war zone, so I don’t need ammo on board or high capacity. That adds weight.
• Sight System: Bead sight, I can pick it up faster than lining up ghost ring or rifle sights. My longest shot is 26 feet in my home. A bead sight works best for me.
•Accessories :A gun light mounted on the shotgun. The only accessory I have on the gun.
It is very similar to this gun. I keep it simple and light. I don’t want a jury to look at it and think it’s a “Rambo” gun. It’s completely factory production except for the light. All my self and home defense guns are completely stock except for sights or a light.
($325 total cost. If I have to use it in a shooting, it will be taken for evidence, and be gone for awhile. Evidence lockers are not kind to guns. It’s not a big financial risk or loss.)
*** I don’t recommend pistol grip shotguns for everyone. It’s a style of gun that requires practice frequently to master, and most people find them uncomfortable to shoot accurately. I train with mine and it’s only on my dedicated HD shotgun.***
There will be a lot of folks who don’t agree with my choice. I didn’t post my opinion of an ideal home shotgun to convince anyone that it’s the way to go. I posted my reasoning for my choices as reference points for anyone to customize their own gun. You don’t have to, and shouldn’t, agree with all my choices because your personal pick will be dictated by your individual circumstances. My daughter can run this gun just fine as well. Don’t forget to think about who else might need to use the gun.
Here are a couple of good videos about choosing a HD shotgun. Don’t be too concerned about brand name or accessories. Just make sure you have a reason and use for what you put on your gun, and check YouTube reviews for the brand and model you choose before you buy. Buy used and save yourself some money. Police trade ins are a great source. Your HD shotgun needs to meet your budget, your circumstances, and your proficiency level, not mine or anyone else’s. The only wrong choice is not having any gun at all.
In the last part of the series, I will discuss patterning a shotgun. It’s the process by which one learns how the projectiles will behave, where they will hit, and the differences on these factors at varying ranges.