5 Best Home Defense Shotguns

A good shotgun is a powerful defense tool in the right hands. Here’s our list for the best home defense shotguns.
Though they don’t come without shortcomings, a home defense shotgun can be incredibly tool for defending your family. However, like any tool, you need to use the right one for the job. Yes, you can drive a nail with a screwdriver, but a hammer is a much better choice. By the same token, a shotgun specifically designed with home defense in mind is a much better choice for that sort of work than your trusty turkey or duck hunting shotgun.

Whatever home defense shotgun you end up choosing, your work is only beginning once you actually obtain your shotgun. It can be extremely effective in the right hands, but it takes a lot of time and effort to truly become a master at running a shotgun. Invest the time and energy necessary to become an expert with your chosen home defense shotgun and you’ll be a formidable obstacle to those who wish to hurt you.

Without further adieu here’s our choices for the best home defense shotguns.

Winchester SXP Defender

First up on this list of the best home defense shotguns is the Winchester SXP Defender. The primary feature of the SXP (Super X Pump) series of shotguns is their inertia-assisted action, which Winchester markets as one of the fastest and smoothest pump-actions currently available. The SXP Defender combines this outstanding and innovative pump-action system with an 18″ fixed cylinder choked barrel (no constriction) that makes it a great choice for both buckshot and slugs.

It is reasonably priced, lightweight, very handy, and can hold 6 (5+1) 12 gauge shotgun shells. The fact that it is manufactured in Turkey is a strike against it in the eyes of some, but make no mistake: the Winchester SXP Defender is an excellent shotgun for defending your home.

Benelli M4

One of the biggest problems with using a semi-automatic shotgun for home defense is that they tend to be more finicky than pump-action shotguns about the type of ammunition you use in them. However, the Benelli M4 has a self-regulating gas system that is specifically designed to reliably function with a wide variety of shotgun shell length and power levels. Add an 18.5″ barrel, a 6 (5+1) shell magazine capacity (which can be increased with an after market magazine extension), a ghost ring sight, and a Picatinny Rail that gives the shooter the option of adding an optic, and you’ve got a very potent home defense shotgun.

It has such an excellent reputation for reliability and durability that it is used by a number of military and police forces all over the world, including the U.S. Marine Corps, where it is known as the M1014. With a retail price of around $2,000, the Benelli M4 doesn’t come cheap, but it is one of the best home defense shotguns money can buy.

Remington 870 Express Tactical

No list of the best home defense shotguns would be complete without a Remington 870. The pump-action 870 is the best selling shotgun of all-time for good reason: it works. That’s why it is such a popular shotgun for hunters, for police, and for people who want a reliable shotgun to defend themselves from both 2 and 4-legged predators.

Sometimes simpler is better and with an 18.5″ barrel sporting a fixed cylinder choke and up to a 7 (6+1) magazine capacity, the 870 Express Tactical has all the basic characteristics you need in a home defense shotgun. Another cool feature is that it will safely and reliably shoot 2 3/4″ or 3″ 12 gauge shotgun shells and you can get a version with ghost ring sights for more precise shooting with slugs.

It is already a very reasonably priced shotgun, but the incredible versatility, reliability, and stellar reputation of the Remington 870 makes it a good all-around choice for a “meat and potatoes” type person who wants a simple, no frills home defense shotgun.

Mossberg 590A1 Tactical

Though the Remington 870 is the best selling shotgun of all-time, the Mossberg 500 series is a close second and is also an excellent shotgun (the Robertson family likes Mossberg shotguns for a good reason). The Mossberg 590A1 Tactical is currently in use by the U.S. Army because of its rugged durability and reliability. The base model has an 18.5″ barrel with a fixed cylinder choke, a 7 shell (6+1) magazine capacity, and a synthetic stock that can store an additional 4 shotgun shells.

However, Mossberg also makes variants of the 590A1 Tactical with a 20″ barrel that increases the magazine capacity to 9 shells (8+1) along with the option to add a Picatinny rail, an adjustable stock, and a ghost ring sight. All in all, the Mossberg 590A1 is one of the best home defense shotguns around.

Remington Versa Max Tactical

Like the Benelli M4, the Remington Versa Max Tactical is a semi-automatic shotgun specifically designed to reliably operate with a wide variety of slug and buckshot loads. The Versa Max Tactical’s special gas operated action combined with a good quality recoil pad also dramatically reduce recoil, which makes the Versa Max much easier to shoot rapidly and accurately.

At the same time, it also has a 9 (8+1) round magazine and good quality sights. Combine all of those features with synthetic stock that’s easy to grip and an attachment point for a tactical flashlight and the Remington Versa Max Tactical is another darn good choice for a home defense shotgun.

What do you think of our choices for the best home defense shotguns? What did we miss?

Sources: Benelli, Mossberg, Remington, John McAdams

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