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What Is The Best Shotgun For Home Defense?
created: 3/19/2024 2:24 PM in OPINION

What Is The Best Shotgun For Home Defense?

The clock strikes midnight; the world outside is silent, enveloped in darkness. Suddenly, the silence is shattered by the sound of a window being broken followed by the footsteps of an intruder. 

In moments like these, having a reliable form of defense such as a shotgun could be the difference between life and death for your entire family.

Offering a blend of power, reliability, and ease of use, the right home defense shotgun can be a pivotal factor in defending your home and loved ones.

Let’s get into the best shotguns for home defense, whether you should use a pump action or semi-auto, and finally what ammunition you should be using.

Key Takeaways

Best Shotguns For Home Defense

Pump Shotguns

When considering the best shotgun for home defense, pump-action models are often the top choice due to their reliability, ease of use, and versatility. Here's a closer look at some of the best pump action shotguns for this purpose.

Mossberg 590

The Mossberg 590 stands out as a premier choice for home defense for several reasons. Firstly, its reputation for durability and reliability is unmatched, having been tested and proven in the most demanding conditions, including military and law enforcement environments. This shotgun offers a sense of security that it will perform when needed most.

The 590's higher shell capacity is a critical advantage in a home defense scenario, allowing homeowners to engage multiple threats without the need to reload immediately. Its ability to be easily customized with a wide range of accessories enables owners to tailor the shotgun to their specific needs, whether it's adding a light for low-light situations or adjusting the stock for a better fit. These features, combined with the Mossberg 590's robust construction, make it a top choice for those seeking a reliable and effective home defense weapon.

Mossberg Maverick 88 Security

The Mossberg Maverick 88 Security presents an attractive option for homeowners seeking a reliable, yet budget-friendly, home defense shotgun. Its affordability does not compromise on performance, as it shares many features with the higher-priced Mossberg 500 series, including compatibility with a vast array of accessories and parts.

This makes the Maverick 88 an excellent platform for customization, allowing users to enhance their shotguns as their needs or budgets allow. The simplicity and straightforward operation of the Maverick 88 Security also make it an ideal choice for those new to firearms or those who prefer a no-frills approach to home defense. Its reputation for reliability, combined with its exceptional value, makes the Mossberg Maverick 88 Security a smart choice for homeowners who want effective protection without breaking the bank.

Mossberg 500 Retrograde

The Mossberg 500 Retrograde combines timeless design with modern reliability, making it an excellent choice for home defense. Its robust construction and the proven track record of the Mossberg 500 series offer the durability and dependability needed in high-stress situations. With a pump-action mechanism that is both smooth and reliable, users can expect consistent performance with each pull of the trigger.

The Retrograde model ensures that homeowners have a reliable tool for defense that also carries a touch of nostalgia and craftsmanship.

Furthermore, the Mossberg 500 Retrograde's versatility is unmatched. Its ability to accept a wide range of shotgun ammo makes it adaptable to various home defense scenarios. Whether using standard birdshot or buckshot and slugs, the Retrograde stands ready.

The Mossberg 500 Retrograde offers both peace of mind and practical defense capability to those who choose it for their home defense needs.

Remington 870

The Remington 870's iconic status among shotguns is well-earned, with its exceptional reliability and solid build quality making it a favored choice for home defense. Its widespread popularity has led to a vast ecosystem of aftermarket parts and accessories, allowing for extensive customization to fit individual preferences and home defense requirements.

The 870's robust construction ensures it can withstand the rigors of heavy use, whether in training or real-life defense situations.

This shotgun's ability to perform reliably under pressure is a critical factor in its recommendation for home defense. While some users note its heavier recoil, the shotgun's effectiveness in a variety of situations, from close quarters to more significant distances within a home, offsets this consideration.

The Remington 870's long-standing reputation for quality and versatility makes it a solid choice for anyone serious about home defense, offering the reliability and adaptability needed in high-stakes situations.

Semi-Auto Shotguns

Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical

The Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical emerges as a standout option among semi-automatic shotguns for home defense due to its advanced engineering and user-focused design.

This shotgun is built to ensure reliability under the most demanding conditions, featuring a gas-operated system that significantly reduces recoil, making it more comfortable for users of all sizes and strengths to handle in high-stress situations. Its ability to fire rapidly without manual cycling allows for quick follow-up shots, an invaluable feature when every second counts.

Additionally, the 940 Pro Tactical is designed with customization in mind, offering an adjustable stock and easy-to-mount options for optics and accessories, ensuring that users can tailor the shotgun to their specific defense needs. With its blend of rapid fire capability, reduced recoil, and customizable features, the Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical is a top-tier choice for homeowners seeking an effective and user-friendly home defense solution.

Beretta 1301 Tactical

The Beretta 1301 Tactical is renowned for its fast cycling speed and ease of use, making it an exceptional choice for home defense.

Its Blink gas operating system is engineered to deliver 36% faster cycling than other shotguns, ensuring that users can make quick, successive shots against an intruder. This feature, combined with its compact size, makes the 1301 Tactical not only powerful but also highly maneuverable in the tight confines of a home.

The shotgun also boasts intuitive controls and an oversized charging handle, making operation simpler under stress. Durability is another key aspect, with the 1301 Tactical designed to withstand the rigors of heavy use, ensuring reliability when it matters most. For homeowners looking for a semi-automatic shotgun that combines speed, reliability, and ease of handling, the Beretta 1301 Tactical stands out as an excellent choice.

Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol

The Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol is a more recent addition to the home defense shotgun market, offering a perfect blend of Beretta's renowned craftsmanship with features tailored for home defense.

This semi-automatic shotgun is built around a reliable gas-operated system that ensures smooth cycling and reduced recoil, making it accessible for shooters of all skill levels. Its 18.5-inch barrel and overall compact design make it highly maneuverable in close quarters, an essential attribute for a home defense firearm.

The A300 Ultima Patrol also features enhanced ergonomics, including an adjustable stock and a spacious grip, allowing for a comfortable and secure hold. With its combination of reliability, user-friendly design, and adaptability, the Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol is an excellent choice for those seeking a modern and effective semi-automatic shotgun for protecting their home.

Benelli M4

The Benelli M4 has earned its reputation as one of the best semi-automatic shotguns for home defense, thanks in part to its use by military and law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Its auto-regulating gas-operated (ARGO) system not only ensures consistent reliability across a wide range of ammunition types but also significantly reduces recoil, enhancing shooter comfort and control. The M4's robust construction and proven durability in adverse conditions make it a reliable choice for home defense, where failure is not an option.


Its ease of use, with features like a pistol grip and an easily accessible safety, ensures that it can be operated effectively even under high stress. The ability to quickly attach accessories such as lights and optics without needing tools further enhances its versatility in a home defense scenario. For those seeking a high-performance, battle-proven shotgun, the Benelli M4 stands out as an exceptional choice, offering unmatched reliability and effectiveness.

Pump Action vs Semi Auto for Home Defense

Picking between a pump action and semi-auto for home defense comes down to personal preference, comfort,  and familiarity with the firearms, more specifically, shotguns.

If you grew up hunting with a pump action shotgun, then more than likely you know that platform in and out and are very comfortable with everything from shooting it to maintaining it.

However, if you’re looking to get into your first shotgun for home defense, a semi-auto shotgun might be the better option, due to less felt recoil and the shells being auto-loaded versus having to rack the slide.

Home Defense Shotgun Ammo

We could devote an entire article to shotgun ammo for home defense (maybe we will), but for this article, we wanted to briefly touch on what we would pair with the above shotguns.

Using a home defense shotgun loaded with Federal Premium Buckshot is absolutely devastating to anyone entering your door with the intention of harming you and your family. Pairing that ammo with any of the mentioned shotguns ensures that all 9 pellets will hit the point of aim at 15 to 20 yards, thanks to the flight control wad.

If the Federal 00 buck with flight control wad is not available or you cannot find it, ensure you’re looking for a copper-plated 00 buck. The copper plating maintains each pellet's surface area during flight, leading to a tighter spread. Unlike copper-plated pellets, lead pellets—a soft metal—tend to deform in flight, causing a much wider spread.

Lead Military 00 Buck (Left) Federal 00 Buck w/ Flight Control Wad (Right)

While these rounds won't penetrate body armor, firing 3 to 5 rounds in rapid succession at an assailant will, through kinetic energy alone, put them down.

Find the Best Shotguns for Home Defense on the ARMSLIST

When looking for the best gun for home defense, it's crucial to choose a firearm that meets your needs. Armslist is committed to helping you find the right firearms and accessories for your home defense needs.

Why Choose Armslist?

  • Community and Expertise: By becoming a member of ArmsList, you gain access to our comprehensive platform that connects you with a diverse community of firearm enthusiasts, dealers, and experts.
  • Tailored Selection: Explore a wide variety of firearms, including the ones we've discussed, ensuring you find the perfect match for your home defense.
  • Exclusive Member Benefits: Enjoy special deals, exclusive offers, and a wealth of information available only to our members.

Join Our Community

At Armslist, we share your passion for firearms and shooting. Don't miss out on this opportunity to join a community that understands and supports your interests. Become a Member Today and step into an exclusive group where your home defense needs are met with expertise, a variety of firearms to choose from, and the best deals.



created: 3/19/2024 2:24 PM in OPINION

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