Thoughts on the Defensive Shotgun and the Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical
To protect your family, a Weapon that puts out lots of Lead Fast and works well in Tight Spaces could be a Lifesaver, and here’s one that fills the Bill.Story by Larry Case
Photos Courtesy of Mossberg
One thing that has always been remarkable to me is how much gun people like to argue about things. You know it’s true. Right after the beloved 1911 pistol versus Glock debate, or what is the best cartridge
for whitetail deer, maybe no other topic consumes us more than the pros and cons of using the shotgun for home protection. Now, under full disclosure, I need to start off by saying that I am fully in the camp of using the scattergun to defend home and hearth and will not be moving from this view any time soon.
The past few years have shown us some things in the USA that many thought we would never see. Rioting in the streets, civil unrest and a pandemic that some of us think will never be over. All of this has the citizenry more focused on personal and home protection than ever before. Little wonder that gun sales have surged, with millions of new gun owners. More and more people are buying guns with one thought in mind: protecting home and hearth.
No firearm does this better than the modern shotgun. Advocates of the AR rifle platform and some pistol devotees will cry to high heaven when you talk about choosing the scattergun over their weapon of choice. But that doesn’t change the fact that the shotgun delivers more power and projectiles to rain upon your adversary.
In my time of wearing a badge and toting a gun, I saw lots of people who had been shot, including many with shotguns. Some were murders, some were intruders in homes, and a lot were hunting-related shootings, both people being mistaken for game and accidental discharges. One thing always surprised
me: how many fatalities occurred with shotguns, even with a little distance. Even though the pattern of the shot had acquired some spread, part of the shot would find its way to the victim’s vitals, and it was lights-out.
BUT REALLY, WHY is the shotgun best for home defense? It comes down to range and firepower. The range on most home and personal defense confrontations can be measured in feet, not yards. How big is your house? Unless you bought Graceland or a Hollywood mansion, your rooms are probably not overly large. If we move the fight outside, the shotgun is still the weapon of choice, as we will still be at relatively close range.
If we edge closer to the 50-yard line between you and your assailant, the rifle may become more effective, but as a shotgun guy I will tell you I am just going to switch to slugs. The pistol alternative is not effective at 50-plus yards, as most of us will not be able to hit much at this distance. Firepower could be defined as how much hot lead we can bring to bear on the target in the shortest amount of time. No firearm yet invented can protect you better from someone who has entered your home uninvited and intends to bring harm to you and yours.
Twelve-gauge 2¾-inch 00 buckshot loads generally contain eight or nine .33-caliber pellets per shell. If you fire three rounds at your aggressor in a home defense situation, you have delivered 24 .33-caliber projectiles in a very short amount of time. Now, we can argue the choices in buckshot and shot size all you like. Think 00 buckshot is too big? Many say that No. 4 buckshot is a better choice, with more pellets per round (anywhere from 21 to 28 pellets per shell) but still big enough to give good penetration.
The best shotgun, or any other firearm, for when things go bump in the night is the one you have available. The Remington 870 Wing master with the 30-inch barrel your dad kept in the bedroom closet (probably loaded) was his anti-burglar gun. Same for the Model 12 Winchester Grandad had behind the kitchen door (I guarantee you that one was loaded), or the Mossberg 500, or the Ithaca Model 37 – you get the idea. These were hunting guns, used for everything from ducks to deer, but when they were in the home, these shotguns became home defense weapons. Nothing really wrong with all this, but there is a better way to do the home defense shotgun and it deals mainly with barrel length and magazine capacity.
THE FIRST THING a true fighting shotgun needs is a short barrel. Reducing the “wieldiness” of a long barrel is what we are after. Combat situations can get really goofy, really fast. In the tight quarters of a residence, the 26- to 30-inch barrel on a sporting shotgun can be a big hindrance. Forget all that talk about a longer barrel being needed for ammo performance; we are dealing with very close range,
remember? Having said all this, please don’t put your dad’s Wing master in a vise and saw off the barrel. There are plenty of tactical-style shotguns out there for you to choose from. If you have a shotgun that you must cut, get someone like Vang Comp Systems (vangcomp.com) to do it. If you see their Model 865 or 587 done on a Remington 870 platform, you are going to want one anyway. The basic premise here is that tight corners, small spaces and low visibility will all be navigated much easier with a short barrel.
The advantage of the extended magazine tube is obvious; more is always better when it comes to ammo. The shotgun has two disadvantages for home defense work: relatively low magazine capacity and how long it takes to load. You may not need a lot of extra ammunition if you are called upon to defend you and your family, but then again, you might. Magazine tube extensions are available for most
any shotgun out there, and are pretty easily installed. There are many aftermarket magazine tubes, different barrels, replacement stocks and other bells and whistles you can add to the shotgun you already own.
OR YOU CAN get a shotgun designed for fighting and home defense right out of the box. One choice is the Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical. It features a Holosun HS407K open reflex optical sight, giving shooters the choice of purchasing the standard 940 Pro Tactical (with cover plate for when a mounted optic is not used) or a ready-for-the-range combo. Mossberg’s optic-ready 940 Pro Tactical eight-shot autoloaders are based on a cleaner-running and redesigned gas-operating system that can run up to 1,500 rounds between cleaning intervals.
Like all 940 Pro shotguns, the Tactical versions have corrosion-resistant internal parts and finishes,
including nickel-boron-coated gas piston, magazine tube, hammer and sear. Other features include an enlarged and beveled loading port; elongated, pinch-free elevator; and bright orange anodized follower
configured for ease of loading. The knurled, extended charging handle and oversized, ergonomic bolt release lever provide for easy manipulation. The extended magazine tube allows for a seven-plus-one-round capacity with 2.75-inch shells, and the barrel clamp features a sling swivel stud plus dual-sided M-Lok-compatible slots for the addition of accessories.
The 18.5-inch barrel features a matte finish and is topped with a fiber optic front sight. The barrel is threaded for use with interchangeable AccuChoke choke tubes (cylinder choke tube included). Completing the 940 Pro Tactical is a user-adjustable length-of-pull synthetic stock (this is important!) with a range of 12.5 to 14.25 inches and adjustability for drop at comb and cast with the use of incremental stock shims. The synthetic forend has a slim profile, and both stock and forend feature Mossberg’s signature aggressive texturing for a secure grip and black matte finish. A rear sling swivel stud is also installed.
Editor’s note: Larry Case has been a devoted outdoorsman since he was a child. He will admit to an addiction to turkey hunting (spring and fall), but refuses any treatment. He enjoys the company of gobblers and cur dogs that are loud and people who speak the truth softly. Case served 36 years as a game warden in West Virginia and retired with the rank of district captain. You can check out his podcast and other stories at gunsandcornbred.com.