Best Home Defense Shotgun: Top 5 In The Market

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Last updated: 
December 25, 2023

home defense shotgun

Top 5 Home Defense Shotgun

If you are a homeowner, there is a great possibility of you being worried about your home being broken into and are considering buying a gun for self-defense. Home defense is very different compared to hunting and the gun you use for hunting may not be suitable for home defense situations and may not really be useful in life-threatening situations. This is where a shotgun comes in handy, because you will want to find the best home defense shotgun. 

A shotgun is one of the most lethal and powerful self-defense tools. While other types of guns are not really effective for close-range shooting and also lack handling and performance, shotguns excel in all these aspects. They are much cheaper and shotguns are also more reliable compared to other firearms in certain areas.

Comparison Table

Product Image


Mossberg 500 Tactical; best home defense shotgun
Benelli M4
Remington Versa Max Tactical; best home defense shotgun
FN SLP; best home defense shotgun
Remington 870 Express Tactical

Features And Options Of Home Defense Shotguns

Here are some of the factors that you must consider when buying a shotgun for home defense:



Gauge is essentially the diameter of the barrel bore of the shotgun. A shotgun with lower gauge has a wider bore hole and uses ammunition that is bigger and heavier. A 10-gauge gun will have a harder kick and will also be much heavier compared to its 20-gauge counterpart.

12 Vis-à-Vis 20 Gauge

12 Vis-à-Vis 20 Gauge

The shotgun you select for the purpose of home defense should stop an intruder without harming other people in the nearby area and both 10-gauge, as well as, 20-gauge shotguns are suitable for home defense. The difference essentially lies in the type and size of your home and the gun-handling capabilities of your family members.

A 12-gauge shotgun is well suited for home defense situations and will stop an intruder immediately. Also, it is the most common size of shotgun available today and will work best for the purpose of home defense if you’re living in a single-family home. However, if you’re living in a densely populated space or an apartment, then the firepower of the 12-gauge shotgun may be too high.  

If you are worried about the weapon being too powerful or about common walls, then you could opt for a 20-gauge shotgun with a birdshot. As the gauge of the shotgun has an impact on the weapon and the recoil of the gun, if you are of shorter stature, then a 20-gauge gun may be a better option as it is considerably lighter than the 12 gauge. However, it may not have the stopping power of the 12 gauge.

Barrel Length

Barrel Length

Shotguns are available in varied lengths; however, some sizes may be more suitable for home defense than others. Ideally, a shotgun for home defense should have a short barrel that is easily maneuverable inside your home and it should also be lightweight so that it can be carried around easily. A barrel length of 18” to 20” is ideal for use in most homes and lets you move the gun in narrow spaces easily.


The shotgun should be small and compact sized so that it can be handled by all the members in your home who are trained to handle weapons. The length of the barrel should be such that it must be easy for the other members of your family to control, lift and fire the weapon if required.

Pump Action Or Semi-Automatic Operation

Pump Action or Semi-Automatic Operation

Shotguns are available in various types of operations i.e. semi-automatic, pump action, bolt action, single and double barrel and lever action. For home defense, semi-automatic and pump action shotguns are most practical as the operation of these two is fastest.

The pump action shotgun can accommodate a wider range of ammunition and is less likely to misfire or seize and can be fixed easily in case anything goes wrong. You need to slide the forearm manually in order to chamber a new round in the case of a pump-action shotgun. The working of the semi-automatic gun is easier and it is much lighter compared to the pump action gun. The pump action model offers a greater stopping power, while the semi-automatic model is usually more expensive compared to the pump-action shotgun. So, if you’re on a tight budget, then it is better to choose the pump-action gun.

Stock Or Pistol Grip

Stock or Pistol Grip

A few years back, the shotgun with a pistol grip was very popular; however, its strong recoil when fired and poor aim made it unsuitable for home defense. While a pistol grip makes it much easier to handle the shotgun with one hand, it may not really be very important in the home defense scenario, which requires good stopping power and aim. A shotgun with a shoulder stock is much easier to handle, it is more comfortable and easier to shoot with accuracy.

Good Sights

aiming using a shotgun

Most of the shotguns in the market are equipped with a single bead located at the end of the barrel, which acts as a sight. This is suitable for many applications; however, if you want the most out of your shotgun, then it is better to have sights both at the front and at the rear or get a shotgun with a high-quality red dot.

Sling Mounts

Sling Mounts

It is a good idea to get a shotgun with a sling mount, which lets you attach your firearm to your body. The mount allows you to keep the weapon close while you use your hands for other jobs. The sling mount prevents the attacker from taking away your weapon from you.


Capacity of home defense shotgun; best home defense shotgun

The shotgun usually uses large shells and so the capacity of most shotguns is quite limited. Usually, 4+1 rounds will settle most of your encounters; however, using a 7+1 will give you an added advantage.


home defense shotgun ccessories

Typically, using accessories can help you customize your shotgun for your specific requirements. The accessories you add to your shotgun will make your weapon more user friendly and improve your ability to hit your target. However, you must choose the accessories with care, as too many additions can make your weapon heavy and bulky and reduce its usefulness. You could add a mounted light, an enhanced sight and a sling mount if you are accessorizing your shotgun for the purpose of home defense. Any other additions will only add to the complexity and weight of your weapon making it difficult to use the gun for its main purpose, i.e. home defense.

So, if you’re looking for a good shotgun for home defense, our comprehensive review will give you all the details of the top shotguns for home use which will enable you to pick out the best one for you.

Reviews Of The Best Shotguns For Home Defense

Mossberg 500 Tactical

Mossberg 500 Tactical

Mossberg has over a century of experience in manufacturing of high-quality firearms and has become extremely popular over the years. The Mossberg 500 is among the best tactical shotguns available.

The 6-round capacity of the Mossberg 500 Tactical shotgun’s 12-gauge rounds ensure that there is sufficient ammunition available should any situation go out of control. However, the 18-inch barrel of the Mossberg 500 is imposing enough to deter an intruder. The shotgun features a pistol grip that enables easy handling and the bead sight offers optimal aiming.

If you know enough about tactical shotguns, then the Mossberg 500 can be upgraded with many aftermarket accessories. However, even with the standard build, the shotgun, with its heavy wall barrel which is corrosion resistant, is sufficient to safeguard you. The Mossberg 500 is an excellent shotgun, offering everything you want to protect your family as a homeowner.

Benelli M4

Benelli M4

A semi-automatic shotgun, the Bellini M4 offers improvements in the flaws that semi-automatic shotguns pose for the purpose of home defense. Typically, this type of shotgun needs a specific type of ammunition and so, this limits what can be purchased for the gun. However, the Bellini M4 has a gas system which is self-regulating and can function with various kinds of shell options. So, if you are looking for a longer or a more powerful shell, it is most likely that the Bellini M4 can handle it.

The Bellini M4 is equipped with an 18.5-inch barrel and has a capacity of 6 shells. The shotgun has a ghost ring sight and it features the Picatinny rail, which enables you to add an optic if required. The Bellini M4 offers much more than the average semi-automatic shotgun and includes a gas piston just like the AK-47, which lets you rapid fire with the shotgun.

The 2-stage trigger of the M4 and the corrosion-resistant coating enhances the usability of the Bellini M4. The M4 is so reliable and offers excellent defense, which makes it the weapon of choice of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Remington Versa Max Tactical

Remington Versa Max Tactical

If you’re looking for an intimidating shotgun for your home defense, then you can’t go wrong with the Remington Versa Max Tactical. The semi-automatic Versa Max moves away from the norm and lets you use a wide range of buckshot rounds and slugs.

The Remington Versa Max Tactical reduces the recoil you experience with every shot you fire and the gas operated action of the shotgun and the high quality of the gun’s recoil pad ensures that every time the shotgun fires, you don’t get much of a kickback. This enables the Versa Max to be more accurate and also ensures better rapid fire.

The shotgun has a 9-round capacity and the synthetic stock ensures a comfortable fit in your hands. The gun also offers an attachment point that gives you an option for a flashlight. The barrel of the Versa Max is quite menacing and is bound to scare away intruders before you even fire a shot. Overall, the Remington Versa Max Tactical has all the features that make it a perfect package for use for home defense.



The FN SLP is produced by the most trusted and renowned brands in firearm manufacture. The semi-automatic can use a wide range of buckshot rounds and slugs. While most semi-automatics are not able to accommodate a variety of ammunition, the FN SLP generally is able to fire whatever fits into the shotgun. And, the synthetic stock of the SLP, enables to reduce the amount of recoil.

The accuracy and the firing speed of the SLP are top notch, making this shotgun one of the most reliable semi-automatic weapons that you can depend on to keep you and your property safe. The only drawback of the FN SLP is that it is quite heavy and it may take a while to get used to the weight. However, once you do get accustomed to the firearm, it is bound to be undeniably the best weapon in your firearm collection. And, although the FN SLP is not loaded with extra features, it is an excellent, high-quality weapon that can safeguard your home and family.

Remington 870 Express Tactical

Remington 870 Express Tactical

The Remington 870 is an extremely popular shotgun with hunters and the police. However, it is also a great shotgun for home defense. The Remington 870 is a simple and straightforward shotgun with its 7-round magazine and an 18.5-inch barrel.

It can accommodate both 3-inch and 2¾-inch 12-gauge ammunition. The shotgun also provides an option to fit a ghost sight if you need one. Although it does not have a whole load of features, the Remington 870’s best-selling feature is its simplicity. Popular for its high quality and reliability, the Remington 870 is one of the best shotguns for homeowners.

Irrespective of whichever home defense shotgun you select, your work begins only once you have actually bought it. A home defense shotgun can be an effective firearm, but only in the right hands. It also takes plenty of time and effort to truly master the operation of a shotgun. Once you go out and buy a shotgun, it is a good idea to invest your time and put in the effort required for you to become an expert at handling and shooting with your shotgun.

Why People Should Choose the Best Home Defense Shotgun for Home Security

Home security is important to think about. You should have a plan in place to protect your family, your home, and yourself. Most situations where home security will come up will be a high-speed, high-stress, and totally surprising. All situations from home-invasions to multiple-attacker scenarios, to burglary, you will need a weapon that is mighty, reloadable, and ready to be used at the drop of a hat.

Shotguns have been go-to weapons since their conception. As time has passed, there have been modernized improvements, and as they grow with the times, they remain the first desired line of defense when it comes to choosing a fitting home-defense tool. Shotguns are inexpensive, simple to use, and don’t require the care and frequent upkeep that a rifle or pistol needs. One of the reasons this is such a great defense tool is that pretty much any person in a family, of pretty much every age, can be taught to shoot a shotgun.

Pistols and rifles can unquestionably be adjusted for home defense scenarios, and many use these weapons for protection, but a shotgun has several distinct advantages:

1. Lighter Shooting

A sharper, lighter shot is excellent for inside a home. The reason people prefer a shotgun is usually because, in scenarios in the house, a rifle or pistol bullet might be too much for the small space and could be a danger to those you are protecting in the room you are in or in other rooms. Remember that there are plenty of shotguns that can have the same effect as pistols or rifles, which over penetrate, so when you purchase a shotgun, do your research and stay on the lighter end of a shotgun if you are looking for a lighter shot.

2. Fear-Inducing

It is not news that no one wants to get hit by a shotgun. Even the dimmest of criminals know that a bullet wound might be treatable, but a 12-gauge double-ought buck hit is going to undoubtedly leave a permanent injury that will be extremely challenging to treat, and that is with the assumption that they do survive the defensive attack.

3. Effective Shots

Pistols and rifles are very precise. Shotguns, on the other hand, simply do not have the same story.  Surprisingly, this is a good thing for home defense in many cases. A shotgun can release a point shot which means you can shoot it without using sights. If there is an intruder, the blast from a shotgun is adequate enough to take out an attacker without much intentional aim. This is an excellent thing for high-stress situations where you don't have the chance to do much more than shoot and hope for the very best outcome.

4. Power and Performance

A shotgun is a notable step up from a handgun when it comes to power.  Since the creation of guns, they've been labeled the solid performer. They are the preferred backup piece for law enforcement, and they have been so for at least a hundred years. This is comforting when we are talking about guns that will protect your home and family. Shotguns had been used so much in the closed-in trenches of World War I that Germany opposed their application and threatened shooting any troops who had them.

5. Variety of Shots

Shotguns can make shots that other small arms usually can't. An example is a birdshot, which is a shot that can get small prey to use for food, or you can shoot less deadly rounds that are used to stop violent attacks without causing lasting harm. Only the shotgun can fire both rounds (and more.)

6. Price and Availability

Shot Guns are easy to purchase, and are more affordable than the majority of rifles. With not very much money in your pocket, you can walk into a superstore down your street and purchase a shotgun all over America. What this really means is that it is affordable and straightforward to get on top of your preparedness plan right now.

7. Legal Protection

The shotgun is mainly seen as a weapon used for sport by lawmakers. This means it is almost always the last type of weapon to be banned or acted against. Lawmakers are typically going for the rifles and other large firearms. There are exceptions to every rule, so this is not always how it is.

8. Simple Upkeep

Most shotguns are very easy to keep in good condition.  You can clean and repair a pump shotgun easily and at low-cost with both supplies sold in stores as well as things you can use at home.  If you are looking to purchase a cleaning kit along with your shotgun, the good news is that it will take up about as much space as a mug. Makeshift supplies are all multiuse items which are useful for making preservation of the shotguns even easier.

9. Multi-Use and Versatile

You can take an ordinary, everyday home defense shotgun and switch the short barrel out with a long game barrel for an upgrade and hunt small animals. You can change the build from wood, or whatever real and substantial materials are on the shotgun, to synthetic material, in order to decrease the heaviness of your weapon and make you more productive. The swapping out options are truly endless, but remember to make smart decisions and not go too crazy, because one lousy part could cause issues for your shotgun. Do your research thoroughly before switching out elements!

​​Final Thoughts on the Best Home Defense Shotgun

It is not true that the shotgun should be the only weapon you use for preparedness, but it is essential to talk about this weapon like a powerful tool that can be used as well as adapted for multiuse in many situations.  Some significant limitations come with shotguns, as they are smaller and cheaper than other tools, but on the flip side, the strength, expense, versatility, and adjustability are tremendous strengths that are good for any weapon you own to protect yourself.


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