thoughts on the best shotgun for home defense


Staff member
many locality's forbid or limit access to pistols,
rifles tend to punch thru even most outer walls,
and can endanger neighbors,
but a properly loaded shotgun, loaded with buck shot is usually legal too use in home defense too fight home invaders, and for personal protection, Id strongly suggest use of a shoulder stock and at least a 5 shell magazine capacity


a high quality shotgun is immensely effective,
in skilled hands, against human aggressors,
at ranges under 30 yards,

YOUR first step is in reading and fully understanding YOUR STATES LAWS

the next step is understanding you need to learn how to effectively use ,your weapon of choice,
and that requires practice on a regular basis,a shotgun is NOT a spray and PRAY you hit something weapon system,
you have to aim directly at the target,
buckshot groups tend to expand by about 1" in diameter per yard in distance,too the target,
for an open choke gun, a bit less for a full choke barrel.

ideally your choice in shotguns should be equipped with a full length magazine tube and a 18"-22" barrel,
anything much longer tends to restrict movement in confined areas.

you need a good alarm system and sturdy door locks that will restrict rapid access into your home
the third step is realizing it won,t do any good too own a firearm and keep it locked up, so it must be easily accessed by the owner,
not by un-authorized people, so if you get a pistol get a carry permit and keep it with you!
or at least easily accessed.

if you get a riot gun Id suggest a higher quality 12 ga semi auto or pump action.
keep in mind a shotgun properly loaded is a devastating,
but very range limited weapon, best used at under 40 feet.

no home invasion type threat or opponent,
will give you time to unlock a safe, too gain access to your firearm, if they can avoid it.
Ive shot dozens of the police combat training courses, something too keep in mind when you take the course with a sub-machine gun, youll generally have a 30 round magazine
most guys use a 5-7 round burst , and string the impacts , that 4-5 targets at most per magazine.
a shotgun in trained experienced hands placed 9-12 00 buck centered on the target with each shot and you can think of each shot as a single machine gun a home youll rarely exceed 30 feet to a intruder
you can load individual shells or with practice doubles on the run, with practice and never have the gun unloaded.
with most ammo and guns, buckshot is a 35 yard proposition slugs extend the useful range to over 140 yards if youve got a decent gun and experience, with quality ammo on a man size target

remember even if your totally justified in shooting an intruder,
it is extremely likely that it is going to cost you a great deal of time and money for lawyers in most locations too PROVE THAT!,
but IF your justified, the choice is to spend the time and money after the shooting or possibly DIE or loose family members,
if you don,t shoot!
a nut case burglar,/home invader,who knows your home but still forces his way into your home,may not hesitate to kill you or family members.

be aware any weapon that will be an effective man stopper will penetrate walls and put people beyond the wall at risk, so keep that in mind
long experience has shown that for ranges under about 60 feet the properly loaded shotgun is an amazingly effective anti-personnel weapon. think about it for a second, many guys carry a 9mm pistol, the military currently issues 9mm pistols, that throw a .35 caliber projectile between 115-124 grains at about 1100 fps, this is well proven to be deadly with a well placed hit on an adversary.

most of us ,(thankfully) will never get forced too shoot home invaders threatening our families
but many hunt!
notice that even a slug at close range is not instantly fatal
100% of the time on deer , especially at ranges exceeding 35 yards
a accurately placed slug is far better than buckshot if you know anatomy

many guys opt for the smaller easier to carry 380 autos that throw a 90 grain projectile at about 970fps.
both of those pistols pale in power levels to a common 12 ga shotguns load of (12), 54 grain, 33 caliber balls, "00-buckshot" at 1290fps .
anything smaller than #4 buck is very unlikely to have adequate penetration under ALL conditions,
in fact "1 buck is commonly used.( but at close range, like under 20 feet like in most rooms in homes, its devastating) your better off sticking to the three larger common sizes for anti personnel work, double ought or 00 buck is the standard defensive load most guys use and its a good choice but it will penetrate interior walls easily
many guys worry about excessive recoil on a 12 ga, my advise is to practice more until your familiar with the gun, and remember your rarely, if ever going to actually shoot a low life invading your home, the simple presence of a shotgun pointing at the creep invading your home should make them instantly flee the location, and if you do, shoot, a single well aimed shot to the upper frontal chest area, should suffice, (you don,t want to shoot a fleeing idiot in the back!, as hes no longer a serious threat if hes running away )

00 buck shot is the traditional man stopper load but inside a home where you may want to limit penetration into other rooms thru light walls #4 bucks a better choice,
its still deadly at across the average room distances with upper chest hits,
but a bit
less likely to zip thru several walls and hit other family members

youll find this interesting

Swaged Lead Buckshot: Nominal* size & weight.

No. 000 Buck, .350" 65 Gr.
No. 00 Buck, .330" 54 Gr.
No. 0 Buck, .320" 48 Gr.
No. 1 Buck, .300" 40 Gr.
No. 2 Buck, .270" 29 Gr.
No. 3 Buck, .250" 23 Gr.
No. 4 Buck, .240" 20 Gr.

This profile is of the wound created by a 12ga. 27 pellet #4 buck at 1350 f/s. Penetration depth of the deepest single pellet is only 10.6" with the majority between 6" and 10", which corresponds to the known performance of #4 buck--in other word erratic. #1, 00, or 000 buck are a much better choices giving penetrations of about 13", 14" and 15" respectively for standard lead buckshot. While I don't have any profiles available, reports I have received from testers indicate that the use of hardened and/or plated buckshot can provide about a 10-15 percent increase in penetration due to the lack of pellet deformation with the harder pellets
this is almost the standard load for most shotguns used for defense, , obviously you've got the option to use heavy bird-shot or smaller buckshot sizes, but if your going to shoot a guy whose just invaded your home you don,t want him able to keep fighting after being hit or telling the authority some B.S. reason why he kicked in your door or crawled through your window, or picked your door lock in the middle of the night.
you better be 100% justified in any use of deadly force BEFORE squeezing the trigger but you don,t was a discussion group and lawyers on his side if you do get forced into defending your home
each type of shotgun has advantages and disadvantages in length, ease of aiming, number of shots and speed of follow up shots if required. you can,t SPRAY AND PRAY and expect to hit consistently, a shotgun pattern will normally spread out about 1" per yard traveled so across an average homes 10-30 ft ranges between the home owner and defender, and some home invader whos just kicked in your door, your looking at a maximum pattern size of UNDER 10"-12" in diameter.


shotguns like this pistol grip version are short , and easy to hide but most guys under stress can,t hit anything accurately much past bayonet ranges


a decent riot gun, with a 7-9 shot capacity, is a good choice, but it requires both hands to reload and aim effectively, which in most cases will not be a problem, but if your wounded it may be? something to think about, and one reason the semi autos are gaining popularity over pump action riot guns.
IF you need a home defense shotgun , Id suggest you get a benelli m1 new or used in good condition, add a mag extension to match barrel length,
and buy a case of federal , winchester,or hornady full velocity 00 12 ga buckshot,|/pc/104792580/c/104691780/sc/104567580/herter-s-reg-defense-shotshells/1555113.uts?destination=/catalog/browse/shotgun-ammunition/_/N-1100191+4294388401+4294751475/Ne-4294388401?WTz_st=GuidedNav&WTz_stype=GNU|/pc/104792580/c/104691780/sc/104567580/winchester-174-military-grade-buckshot/706133.uts?destination=/catalog/browse/shotgun-ammunition/winchester/_/N-1100191+1000005171+4294388401+4294751475/Ne-1000005171?WTz_st=GuidedNav&WTz_stype=GNU

personally I would avoid buying a Mossberg as I've owned several and all of them eventually broke parts, the remington, ithaca and H&K shot guns are all operating flawlessly

your very likely too, die of old age,
long before a properly maintained, well lubricated, benelli M1, shotgun,
loaded with good factory ammo jams , breaks parts,or miss feeds, if your keeping it around your home for security



the semi-autos carry 5-8 shells and fire and aim, easily with practice, providing the user with both impressive firepower and excellent accuracy, but may jam if not held firmly as most require some resistance to recoil to function properly

this double barrel is short,handy dependable and 100% reliable if kept in good repair and maintained, but only carry's two shells, (not that your likely to need more but its something that you need to think about



thats one good example of why I taught the wife how to use a 12 ga riot gun loaded with #4 buck if shes seriously threatened in the home
and why we have redundant alarms, several key chain panic buttons, better locks and cell phones ... 7/redirect

a single application of #4 or -#1 or the popular 00 buck, to the intruders face/neck at short range cures that issue also, a skilled or even semi skilled person with a good effective shot gun like the one pictured above can do an enormous amount of damage to even several intruders at short (under 50 feet) distances

you get more projectiles . more potential damage but less penetration as the size of shot gets smaller, #4 will provide massive damage at ranges under 50 feet, 00 will extend the range to 40 yards, which is UN-necessary in home defense use in most cases

GOOGLE "pictures of shotgun wounds"
worth reading ... /index.htm

watch the videos ... re=related ... re=related

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many years ago I had some moron start pounding on my front door at 1 am,
he was cussing and swearing he was going to kick my %^&^& A$$ and cut my F$%^ throat, after a few heavy handed hits with is fist he busted the little glass decorative window in the center of the door,
he then started kicking the door, by that time Id loaded and handed my wife my 12 ga double barrel shotgun
,and instructed her to take the kids into our bed room and lock the door and to shoot anyone breaking down the bedroom door, in the face
I had a 10 ga semi auto Itahca Mag 10, I had retrieved, I have almost always kept under the bed in a locked gun case,
loaded with 3.5" 00 buck (18... 00 buck per cartridge)
I was on the phone to the 911 operator telling her to get a local cop over there fast as some idiot was trying to kick in my front door!
the cops arrived after about 10-12 minutes, ( I knew one of them as he was a regular at a restaurant we both liked)
but by that time the guy had done a good bit of damage to the door, when the cops showed up there was a brief fight,
some hand cuffs were used, and as the one cop dragged him to the car, the second cop (the one I knew) asked to come in,
as I opened the door he instantly noticed the 10ga on the couch where Id placed it,
when it was obvious the cops had the moron under control. he asked me what I was doing with that canon?,
I simply said, making damn sure this moron never made it past my hall way to injure my family if and when he succeeding in breaking thru the front door and getting into my house. just then, the second cop comes back all excited and a second cop car arrives,
while the new cops watched the moron, the second cop had the guy cuffed and found a 357 revolver in his pocket,
when he searched him. .only after cuffing him.
it turned out this moron was very drunk and lived about 6 blocks away in a house with a similar appearance and similar address.
the cops took a report, and left, I heard later that when he sobered up the cop told him that the guys house you were trying to break into had a 10 GA shotgun and was just waiting for you to step inside.
you were lucky you were too drunk to break in or you would be dead!
the guy once sober was just the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time, Im glad I didn't need to shoot!
just a reminder of well documented fact here,
your pattern density becomes all but useless for home defensive use as ranges increase,
once distance exceeds about 35 yards, well beyond any in-home defensive use ranges,

and well before the pellet strikes are not really lethal,
so for defensive use remember to try hard to not shoot at ranges exceeding across the room range.
Yes we all know guys that have killed deer at ranges buckshot is basically useless at,
but the guys that did so are surely wounding more deer than they kill,
at ranges past about 45-50 yards.
in your home defensive use,
its devastating as ranges rarely exceed 50-60 feet.
Id also recommend you use #4 buck shot, or 00 buck .
as slugs go through far too many walls endangering others you might not want to injure
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Shot Size Pellet Diam Pellet Diam Number Of
AM/STD (Inches) (Millimeter) Pellets/Oz

000 Buck 0.3600 9.1440 6
00 Buck 0.3300 8.3820 8
0 Buck 0.3200 8.1280 9
1 Buck 0.3000 7.6200 11
2 Buck 0.2700 6.8580 15
3 Buck 0.2500 6.3500 19
4 Buck 0.2400 6.0960 21
F 0.2200 5.5880 40
T 0.2000 5.0800 53
BBB 0.1900 4.8260 61
BB 0.1800 4.5720 72
1 0.1600 4.0640 90
2 0.1480 3.7592 103
4 0.1290 3.2766 135
5 0.1200 3.0480 170
6 0.1090 2.7686 225
7.5 0.0940 2.3876 350
8 0.0890 2.2606 410
8.5 0.0850 2.1590 470
9 0.0790 2.0066 585
12 0.0500 1.2700 2300
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The Mag 10 "Roadblocker". Good looking weapon. Didn't they stop making those sometime back?
John said:
The Mag 10 "Roadblocker". Good looking weapon. Didn't they stop making those sometime back?

yes, they did, in the late 1980sor early 1990s some time,its a really well made shotgun, but its a bit larger and heavier than your typical 12 ga. both the weight and size are required for the larger ammo, but I think it was the price of about $1000, and the limited 2 shell mag capacity limiting you to the 3 shots the feds limit you too on water fowl that kept them from being more popular
you might want to take any shot gun you might use for home defense ,use, out to a local range with a 1/2 sheet of 3/4" thick plywood and a couple sheets of typing paper as a target and a few thumb tacks , as a test, the sheet of typing paper is a decent indicator of the size of a deer or a mans chest and vitals,in size, your max effective range is where a load of buckshot all prints on the single sheet of typing paper and penetrates completely thru the 3/4" plywood indicating both the pellets have the penetration required and your gun will place all the pellets in a opponents center mass.
now you can occasionally get lucky and kill deer with buckshot out at 60-70 yards with a lucky hit but youll be far more consistent if you limit your shooting distance to a max of about 35-40 yards, MAXIMUM..
a properly loaded shotgun is very effective at under 35- 40 yards on un-armored targets but youll very quickly find thru testing that theres a wide variation in group size thrown by different guns and using different ammo, and you really need to know what to expect and get a feel for YOUR shotgun, not assume , but know with experience what it will do consistently.

a high quality shotgun is immensely effective,
in skilled hands, against human aggressors,

at ranges under 30 yards,
if loaded with #1 or 0 buckshot with center mass hits.



but keep in mind most defensive use , in most homes would be at less than 15 yards where a 12 ga load of #4 buck gives excellent results, with 24-27 pellets all of which are hitting about as hard as that many 22LR cartridges would , this is what would be about the most effective load in my opinion for most people, when your dealing with home invasion at across a room ranges, especially if you target the throat/head /upper chest
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I like semi-auto shotguns myself...I have a Mossy 930 with the urbino pistol grip buttstock...
Don't know if it's the best, But it works...!
Paul, I have thought about what I would like to put my hands on in the event we have a home invasion. Worst case scenario being multiple attackers entering our home, possibly from 2 directions.

Have decided that a 12 gauge shotgun with as much capacity as possible is the way to go. Have looked through Mr. Gore's internet and believe I have found what I need.

Looking at Kalishnakov based shotguns. Magazine fed 12 gauge semi-autos. Will take 5, 10 and 12 round stick magazines. Can also use 20-round and the new 25-round drum magazines (that would be my choice in a firefight). Saiga and VEPR make them in Russia. DDI in Tennessee also has a version with Kalishnakov parts up front and an AR type stock.

Here is a video of the DDI-12......

I am leaning towards the Russian built VEPR, though......


25 round drum magazine......

Looks like a good home defense weapon to me. Your thoughts?


I've shot the Kalishnakov based saiga and my B.I.L owns an AR based 12 ga , obviously its your choice here but both are long and rather heavy compared to my benelli M1
that holds 8 shells

more than sufficient for any confrontation, youll more than likey either kill any opponent or be dead before you use 8 shots in an in home gun fight at close quarters,
now you might not think thats important but if you were to take all three out and shoot a couple boxes of shells through each one I feel really confident you would go the route I did. the benelli is just faster and more maneuverable , and no opponents going to shrug off a direct hit from a 12 ga load of 00 buck I know one cop who was wearing a bullet resistant soft fabric vest that took a charge to the chest, he survived due to the soft fabric vest but it dropped him on the spot with 5 broken ribs , vests prevent penetration but you still absorb a good deal of kenetic energy, and your unlikely to face armor wearing home invaders,most criminals don,t wear the hard plate inserts to stop rifle projectiles .
if you want max capacity and a huge magazine capacity ...get an AK pistol and a 75 round drum mag,-wind-up,-blued-p-3785.html


these stevens shotguns are a darn good value in a pump shot gun

the benneli/ H&K below is a top quality gun
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Thanks Grumpy.

I will show my Bud Ed.

He will Appreciate.
I got asked by one of the guys in my elk hunt club , what shotgun I would suggest as he lives in an area thats yet too get power,
and theres been a great deal of looting of the empty homes in his area,
that was hit hard by the last hurricane.
for now hes living with an electric gas portable generator, and hes one of the few homes with a generator as most people evacuated.
hes short on cash as a result but feels purchasing a shotgun might be nearly mandatory.
I offered to loan him one of my shotguns ,
and STRONGLY cautioned him about the mountain of legal fees and potential jail time,
if he shoots someone in defense of property alone,

as only when your life or a family member is CLEARLY and UNDISPUTEDLY,
in serious danger of immediate and potentially mortal danger,
is deadly force potentially justified.
(and by definition thats generally only after someone forces entry,
into a locked home, and after being loudly verbally warned youll defend yourself,
or they openly display they are lethally armed, durring or after forced entry)

but he refused that offer and wanted to buy his own shotgun
, I suggested he purchase a moderately priced,
rust resistant marine finish,12 ga pump shotgun.

I reminded him, that,even just displaying you have a firearm,
can at times be deemed a threat and get you fines or jail time, or the gun confiscated.
if you shop carefully you can find a decent functional 12 ga shotgun at a reasonable price, this may not be top of the line but it certainly will work perfectly for home defense use.
remember its the quality of the ammo and constant practice that will have a huge effect on how effectively you can use any shotgun.



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this looks very impressive but its not a bit more lethal or easy to use than the H&K pictured below,
it is however considerably less expensive than the H&K,
and to people that don,t fully understand firearms.
Im sure it looks "SCARIER" its also heavy and in my opinion less useful

the benneli/ H&K below is a top quality gun
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I have a Winchester SXP Defender shotgun hidden at home. I love that it's lightweight and I got it for a very reasonable price.
i had a chance to try out a friends new toy, it cost him $255 and for the price I think is a damn good shotgun

STANDARD STOCK: For the shotgun traditionalist looking for a home defense shotgun, the Churchill 612 with a standard grip stock fits the bill. In 12GA 3”, the shotgun features an 18.5” barrel and super durable polymer stock and for end for years of confident protection.

SKU: 111370


no other easily available ,civilian accessible firearm,
beats a 10-12 ga shot gun, loaded with buckshot,
for lethality at common 20-ft-50-ft ranges.
if your life depends on wining a gun fight in your home Id grab a 12 ga semi auto shotgun
with a 6-8 shot mag capacity and red dot or open sights, given a choice.
generally barrel lengths exceeding about 20" become hard to easily maneuver in confined areas, so thats a consideration.
slugs have much higher chance of over penetration,
risking hitting someone you never intended to beyond the intended target,
through walls, in a room beyond the intended target
most people will be using a defensive shotgun at, for home defensive use.
and in most peoples hands a short barreled shotgun is far easier to hit
at those common 20-ft-50-ft ranges.
the the precise target you intend to hit ,over use of any handgun,
especially if your in extreme emotional stress ,
and very limited in time, available to make the shot.

your typical 357-44 mag carbine will of course work,
as a defensive tool in skilled and practiced hands,
but has far more potential for over penetration than any shotgun loaded with buckshot

while a 223 AR15 carbine or similar carbine has more precise aim and hit probability,
and far less recoil its not as instantly lethal if the bullet impact points are not as precisely made, and under extreme emotional stress ,
and on moving opponents that may be trying to kill you,
and shooting at you, that's not uncommon
as no single projectile matches the devastation a group simultaneous,
impact of 8-9 or more buckshot tends to have
statistically shots over 20-25 feet in home defense are rare
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