Pump-Action and Semi-Auto Shotguns for Home Defense

Shotguns are the home defense choice for many Americans due to their ease of operation, effectiveness, wide variety of ammunition types and availability. If you’re looking to choose a shotgun for home defense, here are some of our favorites that are up to the defensive task.

Mossberg 500

Mossberg 500 Flex Tactical

The iconic Mossberg 500 has a long tradition with both law enforcement and military thanks to its extreme reliability and relatively low cost. This pump-action shotgun comes in both 20-gauge and 12-gauge, giving users the ability to tailor ammunition to meet specific needs. The pump action is reliable and intuitive to use while the safety is rock solid, and the factory finish proves durable.

Another benefit is a large aftermarket that offers everything from extended magazines to pistol grips, lights to optics. Gun owners will be sure to find any combination of accessories to customize the shotgun to their preference. The Mossberg 500 starts around $500.

Remington 870

Home Defense

Remington 870 DM

The 870 is Remington’s flagship shotgun and there are dozens of configurations you can purchase this firearm in. Like the Mossberg, it has both military and law enforcement background but with the ability to fit into any niche in needs to. This is a gun that can easily fit into a home defense plan or out in the woods duck hunting.

As there are multiple configurations of this shotgun available, some of the less expensive models sometimes require some attention to prevent rust from developing. Besides that, the design is a proven one. A large aftermarket also exists for this shotgun, so even if you can’t find a model that fits your specific needs there are sure to be parts available to tailor the gun to your preference. The Remington 870 retails for $609.

Kel-Tec KSG

Home Defense

Kel-Tec KSG

Kel-Tec has staked its reputation on creative new designs for the firearms market and its pump-action KSG is no different. This shotgun opts for two internal magazines capable of holding up to fourteen 2.75-inch shells, but it can also handle 3-inch shells reliably.

A bullpup design, the KSG puts the action of the gun behind the trigger finger creating a much shorter overall length. This construction is great for use in enclosed spaces such as hallways and bedrooms. The shotgun also uses integral top and bottom rails for optics, lights, and foregrips – all of which make the shotgun that much more user-friendly. The KSG switches between magazines with the flick of a switch, making it possible to switch between ammunition types for changing situations. As if that’s not enough, it’s also fully ambidextrous.

The only drawbacks here is the slightly more complicated battery of arms which require additional training when compared to other entries on this list. The cost is not exorbitant for this shotgun, but it is on the higher end for a home defense gun priced at $990. That’s something to be aware of for price-conscious consumers.

Benelli M3

Home Defense

Benelli M3 Convertible

Aside from nabbing a starring role in the movie Heat, the Benelli M3 boasts an innovative design with a semi-auto approach. The Benelli M3 offers manageable recoil, even with heavy loads packed into it. As a semi-auto, it comes with the added benefit of being an efficient option for inexperienced shooters as it can continue putting rounds on target without the need to rack the slide between each shot.

Of course, a semi-auto shotgun does leave a larger possibility for malfunctions due to a more complicated operating mechanism. Benelli planned for this, though, and gave shooters the ability to operate the shotgun as a pump-action to clear malfunctions or cycle lighter loads. The increased functionality of this shotgun does come at a cost, though, as this is the most expensive firearm on the list at $1,599.

Mossberg 590 Shockwave

Home Defense

Mossberg 590 Shockwave

Although technically a “firearm” and not a shotgun under the law, the 590 Shockwave from Mossberg puts a ton of firepower in a super small and maneuverable 15-inch platform. With multiple models available in .410, 20, and 12-gauge and with the option of either tube magazines or box magazines, consumers have up to 11 shells ready to go at a moment’s notice.

As new and exciting as this firearm might be for many home defenders, it is definitely an expert’s gun. The 590 Shockwave can be challenging to shoot effectively while remaining on target. Also, while the legality of this firearm has been given the go-ahead by the ATF, gun owners should verify that the gun is legal in their state before purchase. The Mossberg 590 Shockwave comes in at $469.

Final Thoughts

Shotguns have made their stamp as one of the most viable options for home defense. While this is far from a comprehensive list of all potential home defense candidates, the aforementioned models will fill the home defense role nicely.

For more great shotgun models, check out Guns.com’s full inventory.

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