6 Best Home Defense Shotguns [2019 Buyers Guide]

Have you ever though about if you should get a shotgun for home defense? Are they a good choice for home protection? How much do they cost? Which one should you buy?

I have many rifles, shotguns and handguns and my number 1 choice for protecting my family is my Mossberg 500! So the question is what are the best home defense shotguns and should you buy one?

The answer is YES you should absolutely have a tactical shotgun for home defense. Protecting you and your family is not to be taken lightly and I take the issue very seriously. They are a great choice for home protection most shotguns are affordable, they provide unmatched and quick devastation to an attacker. You can accessorize them easily to your liking and you have multiple ammunition options.

In this article we are going to give you our 6 Best Home Defense Shotguns.

We will also take a look into…

  • What is a tactical shotgun
  • Why you should have one for Home Defense
  • Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Ammo options

What is a Tactical Shotgun

What is it that makes a shotgun Tactical compared to other variety’s such as a hunting shotgun.

A tactical shotgun is a supreme weapon for personal home defense. They have devastating power and multiple ammunition choices. They have shorter barrel lengths compared to a hunting shotgun, most tactical shotguns you will use a 12 or 20 gauge, you can accessorize them easily to make your shotgun more tactical and efficient and they will have sling mounting points. They come in pump action or semi-automatic, they will hold anywhere from 4 to 8 rounds which will vary depending on each individual shotgun.

  • Pump Action or Semi-Auto – When you look into shotguns you will see they come in multiple styles, pump action, lever action, double barrel, single barrel, semi-auto. There is only 2 options worth considering when it comes to choosing a home defense shotgun and that is a Semi-Auto or Pump Action. They are the quickest and most versatile and they also tend to hold more ammunition.
  • 12 Gauge or 20 Gauge – There is really no other option here when it comes to self-defense 12 or 20 gauge is a must, the more common tactical option is 12 gauge. It is the more powerful option which will recoil more than a 20 gauge however it is the more proficient choice seeing as the point of self-defense is to end the danger as soon as possible. However, if the recoil bothers you or you prefer a lighter gun or you are a smaller person than a 20 gauge is not far behind and still a very good choice.
  • Barrel Length – maybe the number one reason for what makes a shotgun tactical is the barrel length. 18 – 20″ inches is the most common length for a tactical shotgun, this makes it easy to maneuver and keeps the gun a bit lighter and helps the shooter aim slightly faster.
  • Ammo Capacity – If you find a tactical shotgun that holds less than 4+1 than do not buy it. I don’t think you will find a tactical shotgun that holds less but that should be the minimum amount you are willing to accept, 4+1 to 7+1 is common. Remember the point of a tactical shotgun is to protect your family in the threat of danger and the last thing you want is to need to reload during an attack, so I recommend getting one that holds a large amount of ammo like 7+1.
  • Stock – Simply put for efficient tactical operation your shotgun should have a shoulder stock. They make the shotgun much easier to shoot and aim, much easier to move about through your home or building smoothly and handle your shotgun much better. If you prefer a pistol grip that’s fine they are great but make sure it has a shoulder stock with a pistol grip and not a pistol grip only. Shotguns without a shoulder stock like the Mossberg Shockwave are fun guns I actually do own one I do not recommend them as a primary choice for a tactical shotgun for home defense.
  • Accessory / Add on’s – Sling mounts are commonly found they make it easy to buy and attach a sling. Slings make it so you can easily let go of your shotgun freeing up your hands for other tasks and it also makes it very hard for an attacker to get your gun from you. A common element to tactical shotguns is the ability to customize to your liking and add attachments like custom sights, flashlights, laser sights, extra ammunition holders and even custom stocks and forends.

6 Best Home Defense Shotguns

So lets check out the 6 best shotguns you should consider…

1. Mossberg 500

This is my personal choice for a home defense shotgun. If you are interested in this shotgun they have it at 1-800 Guns & Ammo.com at a good price between ($350-400). The Mossberg 500 is Mossberg’s flagship model they are strong, rugged and built for military, police and law-abiding citizens. What really makes the 500 great is their ambidextrous safety placement on the backside of the receiver and the placement of the slide release. The placement of these 2 items makes the Mossberg 500 very easy one handed operation.

It is a mission ready shotgun built for any scenario. I like the 500 for its versatility, ease of use, and durability as well as the affordable price point. Mossberg also has the 590A1 for those who desire the same gun as the military uses and they also have a great budget friendly shotgun the Mossberg Maverick 88 which is a great budget shotgun.

2. Benelli M4

If you want the best semi-auto shotgun on the market than it is without a doubt the Benelli M4 it is the cream of the crop. There innovative shotgun technology makes it stand above all others and the price reflects it. This gun switches from a semi-auto to a pump with a twist of a ring.

If you got the cash and want an unmatched masterpiece than pick up an M4 and if you want to save a few bucks the Benelli M3 is no slouch.

3. Remington 870

The Remington 870 has been around for a long time and that’s because of its renowned reliability. They have new updated models that serve a variety of uses from hunting, sport shooting and different variations of tactical models.

The 870 is well-known and popular and has stood the test of time. It has many accessory options like sights, side saddles, stocks, forends, and more there are many options. Barrels are easily interchangeable with other 870 barrels. The Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500 are probably the most common and popular shotguns on the market and you can’t go wrong with either one.

4. Mossberg 930 Tactical

Mossberg just makes really well-made shotguns that perform well time after time. The 930 Tactical is no different and is a great choice if you want a semi-auto shotgun. It is very affordable for a reliable semi-auto shotgun choice, dual gas-vent system, quick-empty magazine release button for easy unloading, drilled and tapped receiver. Select models feature LPA Ghost Ring Sights and picatinny rails.

It’s made by Mossberg so it is great quality and has an excellent warranty. You can buy this shotgun and out of the box you are ready to go with a great tactical semi-auto shotgun.

5. Stoeger Model 2000

Durable, inexpensive and versatile the Stoeger Model 2000 semi-auto exemplifies these qualitys. You can pick one up in a variety of configurations and styles a couple of which are tactical ready. You can get the tactical versions with a straight stock and another with a pistol grip.

The Stoeger is a solid shotgun that comes at a very affordable price which is why it made our list it will serve you very well.


As far as putting shots downrange the FN SLP does so in a hurry and few guns can match the speed and reliability of this gun. FN makes some of the most reliable firearms around period including some for the US military.

The FN SLP is one of their flagship models for home tactical defense. These shotguns were made for people wanting a reliable semi-auto shotgun. It was designed with a synthetic stock that absorbs recoil well you can add upgrades like flashlights, side saddles and more if desired. Fairly expensive at just under $1200 but if you get one of these I sincerely doubt you will be disappointed.

Quick Side Note

Semi-Auto compared to Pump Action

When it comes to the these 2 options they are the only way to go regarding tactical home defense style shotguns. Pump action is a simple and reliable operating system where the shooter manually pumps the gun which ejects and cycles your next round after every shot.

Semi-auto is just what the name implies after you pull the action and rack the first round you just continue to pull the trigger for every shot and it ejects and loads the next round automatically. Semi-auto’s reduce recoil significantly and is one of the fastest cycle operations of any shotgun.

You should also check out our 5 Best Fixed Blade Knives.

Why You Should Have a Shotgun for Home Defense

  1. Versatile
  2. Reliable
  3. Easy to Aim
  4. Devestating capabiliites
  5. Multiple ammo choices
  6. Easy to use
  7. Durable
  8. Easy to outfit with tactical accessories
  9. Efficient
  10. Effective

Some Weaknesses

Now of course just like anything there are a few weaknesses to a shotgun.

Ammo – They hold less ammo than many standard handguns at about 15 to 17 rounds and high-powered sporting rifles at 30 rounds.

Recoil – they produce strong recoil especially 12 gauge models. This should not really be a problem once you have practiced and gotten comfortable with your gun.

Range – Shotguns are a relatively short range gun when compared to a rifle. However, with that being said remember we are talking about the best home defense shotguns which means close quarters action so range is not really an issue.


In a home defense situation you want to end the threat as fast as humanly possible. It will be an intense and stressful situation that will take all your energy and focus. The last thing you want to be thinking about is ammunition.

There are many ammo choices that serve many purposes.

Birdshot – great for birds, and small varmint hunting. The Cheapest shotgun ammo available and great for training purposes.

Buckshot – great for hunting medium to even large animals. Also, great for home defense ammo. There are different types of buckshot.

Slugs – Like it sounds it is one large lead slug that will provide a devastating result to large animals or an intruder.

There is some other factors regarding ammo but it really only comes into play when you find yourself using your shotguns for hunting and sport shooting. For the sake of this article a general understanding of the basics is all you need.

As for the best ammo choice for home defense… Well this becomes a personal, but there are some things to think about. Depending on your living situation whether you are in a house, apartment and who lives with you as well as your comfort and training level.

I personally prefer buckshot because you will have less of a spread pattern than birdshot which means a little less risk of hitting something you don’t want to hit. Also, buckshot will have the desired effect of ending the situation quickly. There is some risk of the ammo going through walls so you will want to make sure you no where you are firing.

Birdshot is less damaging especially the farther away your target is, it will most likely not penetrate through walls. It is still a viable choice for home defense though. Slugs are a little different they are a great choice for home defense, extremely devastating to an attacker. However, they are better suited for a confident and experienced shooter because a slug has no spread, it will produce the strongest recoil and will definitely go through walls if you miss your target. So you will want to make sure you no who is on the other side of every wall before you pull the trigger.


A tactical shotgun is a versatile and powerful piece of weaponry made to end any situation swiftly. It provides the most power you will get in a shoulder fired gun. A shotgun like every gun is only as good as the person holding it and to become effective and safe you should train often and become comfortable with your tactical shotgun.

Leave a comment below and let us no which shotgun you like!

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