5 Best Home Defense Shotguns

Home defense is a crucial aspect of protecting your family and property, and choosing the right home defense shotgun is an important decision. A shotgun is an excellent choice for home defense as it is easy to use and has more power than a handgun. However, selecting the right shotgun can be overwhelming, especially if you have little or no experience with firearms. In this article, we will provide some tips on how to choose a home defense shotgun that fits your needs.


The gauge of a shotgun refers to the diameter of the barrel. The most popular gauges for home defense are 12 and 20 gauge. The 12 gauge is a popular choice as it delivers more energy on its target and ammo is readily available. The 20 gauge, on the other hand, delivers less energy but has less recoil, this can be important for individuals with smaller builds. For the majority of people the 12 gauge is the best home defense shotgun.

Barrel length

The barrel length of a shotgun is also an essential factor to consider. A shorter barrel makes the shotgun more maneuverable in tight spaces such as hallways and rooms. For home defense, a barrel length of 18.5 to 20 inches is recommended.


Pump Action: The pump action is usually the cheapest option for a self defense shotgun. Pump shotguns are also considered to be more reliable than their semi-automatic counterparts. Home defense pump action shotguns usually have the greatest capacity among all action types. These make the pump action the most popular home defense shotgun.

Semi Auto: Semi auto home defense shotguns allow a faster fire rate and don’t require the shooter to manually pump to chamber a new shell. Typically, they are more expensive than pump action shotguns and seen as less reliable.

Break Action: The double barrel shotgun is a home defense classic, although it has become outdated. The main draw back for the break action is capacity. Typically, a break action shotgun will have a capacity of either 1 or 2 rounds. Most people prefer a shotgun with greater capacity for home defense.


The capacity of a shotgun refers to the number of shells it can hold. Shotguns come in various capacities, ranging from two to eight or more shells. A shotgun with a higher capacity allows for more rounds to be fired without reloading. For home defense, a shotgun with a capacity of at least five shells is recommended.


The weight of a shotgun is also an important factor to consider, especially for individuals who may have difficulty handling a heavier firearm. A lighter shotgun is more manageable and easier to aim, but it may also have a greater recoil. A heavier shotgun has less recoil but may be more challenging to handle. A shotgun that weighs between 6 to 8 pounds is recommended for home defense.


Lastly, consider the accessories you may need for your shotgun. A good quality sling, flashlight, and laser sight are popular accessories for a home defense shotgun. A sling allows you to carry the shotgun hands-free, while a flashlight and laser sight help with aiming in low-light conditions. If you’d like a flashlight or laser sight on your shotgun you’ll want to be sure the shotgun you are getting has a way to mount one.

With the right training and the right shotgun, you can protect your family and property effectively. You can shop all shotguns here. Looking for ammo for your home defense shotgun? You can find our best home defense ammo here.

Remington 870 Tactical 12 Gauge Pump Action Shotgun 18.5" Barrel Black

Its solid, ultra-dependable action makes it America’s favorite. If you could throw the lid off every duck blind, stop by every pheasant field and check out every tract of timber where deer and turkey are hunted, you’d probably see more Model 870 Express pumps than any other shotgun. It’s been the standard for slide-action performance for more than 60 years.

Its versatility, reliability and uncompromising quality make the Model 870 Express a shotgun you can’t afford to be without. Remington is proud to make them, but even prouder of the fact you’ve made them America’s Pump Guns.


  • Receiver milled from a solid billet of steel for maximum strength and reliability
  • Silk-smooth twin action bars prevent binding and twisting for maximum strength and reliability
  • Available in 12-gauge
  • Magazine capacity is six 2 3/4" or five 3" shells


This shotgun will not accept replacement barrels due to the magazine configuration

What Customers Are Saying

Reliable Home Defense Shotgun

This is my second Rem 870 Express, so I can now gift one to each of my two sons later on. But this is my first tactical with a 6+1 capacity, so I don't need to upgrade the mag extension this time. This new 870 Tactical has good fit and finish for an Express model and operates smoothly. Glad I found this on MidwayUSA's website, and at a fair price considering the current environment.
- VicM, 11/11/2021

About Remington

We’ve been here since 1816. Together, Remington and America have fought and won wars, put food on millions of tables and brought countless generations together at the range and in the field. We are proud of each and every round that rolls off our factory line. Bringing a renewed focus to ammunition, innovation, and quality, we are reinvigorating our company so you can continue to trust our brand and our products – all while staying true to Remington’s legendary heritage and stature as an American icon.

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Benelli M4 Tactical 12 Gauge Semi-Automatic Shotgun 18.5" Barrel Phosphate and Black Pistol Grip

The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun is a semi-automatic, tubular magazine fed weapon chambered for the 12 gauge (18.4 mm) shotshell cartridge. The operating system employed in this weapon is the improved ARGO (Auto-Regulating Gas Operated) Twin (two gas pistons/cylinders/ ports) System with rotating bolt head with dual locking lugs.


The Benelli Armi S.p.A. line of semi-automatic M4 shotguns is a result of painstaking work at Benelli’s Research and Development Center and of Benelli’s extensive experience in precision engineering and technical know-how. A number of military and police forces, domestic and foreign, have chosen the M4 special version to be used where the greatest reliability of service in required. The small number of components, an extremely simple operating principle, make the new shotguns highly reliable and practical, easy to strip and upkeep to the extent that the M4 can be considered are of the most modern, accurate, safe and fast shotgun available today.



  • Auto-Regulating Gas-Operated
  • Ghost-Ring Sights
  • Drilled and Tapped Receiver

What Customers Are Saying

If I had more hands and it made any sense, I'd buy another

Owning this Italian sports car of a shotgun has been a decade long pursuit of mine since I first handled one in the corps so I might be somewhat biased but whatever. The neutered version you're likely to encounter thanks to 922(r) (not hard to circumvent incidentally) is pretty impressive by itself. Upgrade your tube, switch out the foregrip and a part or two, and refine the process of reloading and this thing becomes an absolute war machine. Do yourself a favor and forget about the collapsible stock because they're nigh impossible to find for less than double MSRP and there are several substitutes that are arguably better including pretty much everything sold at Mesa or Freedom Fighter Tactical. Out of the box, your average Benelli M4 may have trouble cycling certain loads but once the shotgun is broken in, this will most likely stop. The breaking in process can take I think between 20 and 100 shells. I had stoppages initially with target loads but once I fired probably a box of the good stuff out of i...
- Mack, 4/2/2021 Shop Now

Mossberg 590 Shockwave Shotgun Cylinder Bore Synthetic Black

The Shockwave Raptor bird’s head pistol grip is uniquely shaped to minimize felt recoil. Includes all the features that have made Mossberg pump-actions the choice for millions worldwide: ambidextrous safety, dual extractors, positive steel-to-steel lockup, twin action bars, and a smooth operating anti-jam elevator.

The Shockwave Raptor bird’s head-style pistol grip is constructed of durable polymer. A feature on all Mossberg pump-actions, the ambidextrous top-mounted safety is easily reached and operated by left or right-handed shooters. The 590 Shockwave features a convenient clean-out tube magazine cap, a front bead sight, and strapped forend to keep shooter’s lead hand clear of the muzzle.


  • Bird’s-head Grip
  • Clean-out Tube
  • Heavy-walled Barrel
  • Strapped Forend
  • Drilled & Tapped Receiver


What Customers Are Saying

Great Home Defense Firearm

I love my Mossberg Shockwave. I've added some accessories to make it my own and increase its practicality. SB Tactical SBM4, Ergo Tactical Adapter, Magpul MOE pistol grip, and Magpul SGA Forend.
- Brad, 3/11/2019 Shop Now

Kel-Tec KSG-25 Bullpup Pump Shotgun 12 Gauge 3" 30.5" Barrel 25-Round Cylinder Bore Matte

The KSG-25 is no ordinary KSG. Its extended dual tube magazines hold twenty 3 inch, 12 gauge shells (plus one in the chamber), with the flexibility of switching between various projectiles. A patented downward ejection system makes it truly ambidextrous, while its 38 inch overall length, and 30.5 inch cylinder bore barrel still makes it more compact than a traditional style shotgun that holds a fraction of the amount of ammo.

The KSG is a dual-magazine select-feed 12-gauge pump action shotgun. The bullpup dual-magazine select-feed design provides the operator with a more compact layout, increased total capacity, and the option to rapidly switch between two magazines of ammunition. The KSG features positive extraction and ejection, allowing it to be reliably fired in any shooting orientation. Loading and ejection are combined into a single port rearward of the grip assembly under the shotgun, enabling the KSG to be fired from both the dominant and non-dominant side. Two integral MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails, located above the barrel and on the forend, come standard with the KSG for mounting accessories. Unloaded, the KSG maintains a center of gravity over the grip assembly to facilitate ease of handling.



  • MAGPUL MBUS Flip-up Sights
  • MAGPUL Vertical Grip
  • Cylinder Bore Choked

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Mossberg 590A1 Magpul Security 12 Gauge Pump Action Shotgun 20" Barrel Matte and Black

Selected by the U.S. Armed Forces after passing the rigors of Mil-Spec qualification, the 590A1 is the duty weapon of choice for military and law enforcement agencies worldwide. The 590A1 Magpul Security comes with a Magpul forend and highly adjustable MOE stock. The stock has 4 length of pull spacers that can adjust the stock from 12.25"-14.25" LOP and an included .25" cheek riser. The Ghost ring sights are easy to see and the cylinder bore is perfect for short distance self protection.


  • 20" Heavy Wall Barrel
  • Parkarized Finish
  • Highly adjustable, MOE stock
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