Best Home Defense Shotguns

Choosing a shotgun for home defense is a great way to ensure that you have a well-suited, high-quality firearm for your home environment.

With the right selection of shotgun, you’ll be able to protect your home with ease, while also enjoying the benefit of a powerful weapon.

When deciding which is the best home defense shotgun for you, you’ll want to consider factors like your home environment, recoil sensitivity, and personal preference.

We’ve put together a guide to help you find the best home defense shotgun for your needs. So no matter your situation, you can rest easy knowing that you have the right weapon for the job.

10 Best Tactical Shotguns

Mossberg 500 Series

mossberg 500

The Mossberg 500 Series is an excellent choice for home defense due to its durable, reliable design and its features that make it user-friendly.

The receiver is made of lightweight aluminum alloy instead of steel, making it light and easy to maneuver.

The action lock lever is located behind the trigger guard and can be reached by right-or left-handed shooters without breaking their firing grip.

The safety switch is located on top/rear of the receiver so it can be accessed with your thumb quickly in an emergency situation.

There are many different configurations available for the Mossberg 500 series shotguns including ghost ring sights or night sights as well as fixed or collapsible stocks with capacities of up to nine rounds which makes this shotgun ideal for home defense use.

mossberg 500

Mossberg 500

Caliber: 12GA
Capacity: 5+1
Length: 36.37″
Chamber Size: 3″
Price Check: Grab-A-Gun | PSA

Remington 870 Express Tactical

remington 870 exp tactical

The Remington 870 is a great home defense shotgun due long-standing design and it has a wide range of available models.

The pump-action design of the 870 is one of the smoothest and tightest around, ensuring slop-free operation and reliability in any situation.

It also comes in various tactical models, such as the Remington 870 Tactical Magpul, which offers added features such as M-LOK mounting points for lights and ghost sights on top with 1913 railing for a red dot sight.

Remington’s quality has improved over recent years so buyers can rest assured they are getting a high-quality product at an affordable price point.

remington 870 exp tactical

Remington 870

Caliber: 12GA
Capacity: 5+1
Length: 38.5″
Chamber Size: 3″
Price Check: Brownells | Grab-A-Gun | PSA

Mossberg Shockwave

Mossberg Shockwave

The Mossberg Shockwave is one of the most well know tactical shotguns on the market today.

It is built for CQB operations in tight quarters, and its 11 shells provide unmatched firepower and maneuverability.

The 590 Shockwave is made in collaboration with Shockwave Industries to provide Mossberg with a low-profile, shortened version of their 590 shotgun.

This shotgun features a 15″ barrel and an 8″ shorter Raptor’s Bird Head pistol grip stock that weighs 6.55 lbs, making it one of the shortest shotguns on the market.

The magazine-fed Shockwave almost doubles the loadout from 6 shells to 11 shells. The 590 Shockwave also comes with a forend strap to ensure you maintain control with each shot and an optional wrist strap to hold the shotgun to your firing wrist for extra support.

The recoil can be felt more in this shotgun than in the 590M and the Shockwave 590M, which is why it should be used with caution.

It is important to note that the Shockwave may not be legal in some states, so be sure to check your local laws and regulations.

mossberg shockwave 1

Mossberg Shockwave

Caliber: 12GA
Capacity: 5+1 or 7+1
Length: 30.75″
Chamber Size: 3″

Benelli M4

Benelli M4 Best Tactical Shotgun

The Benelli M4 is an excellent choice for home defense due to its high-quality construction, gas-operated system, and 1913 rail for mounting a red dot sight.

The M4’s ARGO (Auto-Regulating Gas-Operated) piston system makes it 100% reliable with any type of ammunition and requires no adjustments.

The 18.5″ barrel and 40″ overall length make it easy to maneuver in tight spaces while still providing enough power for effective home defense shots at longer ranges if necessary.

The standard pistol grip stock also provides better control when firing compared to traditional buttstock designs.

The Benelli M4 is the golden standard for Tactical Shotguns and holds a special in the shotgun world.


Benelli M4

• Capacity: 5+2 or 7+2
• Action: Semi-Automatic
• Caliber: 12 Gauge

Mossberg 930 Tactical

mossberg 930 tactical

The Mossberg 930 Tactical is an excellent choice for home defense.

Out of the box, it is ready to rock and roll with 7+1 capacity and a Picatinny rail for mounting an optic.

It also has an ambidextrous safety and a wide ejection port for speed reloads. The sights are also top-notch – they feature a rear ghost ring sight and front fiber optic sight.

Finally, it’s built like a tank with its durable construction that reduces recoil to a pleasant thump when shooting.

All in all these features make the Mossberg 930 Tactical an excellent choice for home defense shotguns!

mossberg 930 tactical

Mossberg 930 Tactical

• Capacity: 7+1
• Action: Semi-Automatic
• Caliber: 12 Gauge
Price Check: Grab-A-Gun |

KelTec KS7

KelTec KS7

The KelTec KS7 is an excellent choice for home defense with a 7 round magazine tube and a compact package.

It also has an 18.5-inch barrel making it just legal in both overall length (OAL) and by barrel length requirements

The gun weighs less than 6 pounds making it very maneuverable and easy to handle in stressful situations.

The reloading process is slow like most bullpups. Still, it’s completely ambidextrous so lefties don’t have to worry about right-handed shooters getting in their way during a reload or mount lights/slings/extra ammo easily on the rail space provided on the gun without any issues!

keltec ks7

Kel-Tec KS7

• Caliber: 12 Ga
• 6 Round Magazine
• Weight: 5.9 lbs
Price Check: Grab-A-Gun | PSA

Kel-Tec KSG

kel tec ksg woods

The Kel-Tec KSG is a good home defense shotgun due to its compact design, large capacity, and versatility.

The pump action sliding behind the trigger allows it to have a smaller profile than other shotguns, while still providing an impressive 14+1 round capacity when using dual magazine tubes.

It has ample picatinny rail space to mount iron sights and red dot optics. Its bullpup design also makes it incredibly maneuverable while still remaining compact enough for left-handed shooters.

Its 13-inch length of pull (LOP) makes it easy to handle in tight-quarters situations like homes or apartments.

Its price tag is relatively low compared to other options in its class, making it affordable for those looking for home defense firepower without breaking the bank.

Kel Tec KSG

KelTec KSG

• Caliber: 12 Ga
• 7 Round Magazine
• Weight: 6.9 lbs

Beretta 1301 Tactical

beretta 1301 tactical

The Beretta 1301 Tactical is an excellent choice for home defense due to its reliability, ultrafast BLINK gas operating system, and lightweight yet powerful design.

Its cold hammer-forged, back-bored barrel ensures accuracy and decreased recoil while its enlarged controls make it easy to use in any situation.

The 1301 has a 7+1 capacity (using 2 ¾” shells), providing plenty of firepower for self-defense situations.

Beretta’s proven track record of making high-quality firearms adds confidence that this good-looking boomstick will last for years of reliable use.

beretta 1301 tactical

Beretta 1301

• Caliber: 12 Ga
• 7+1 Round Magazine
•  Length: 37.8″
Price Check: Bereli | EuroOptic | PSA

Remington Tac 14/Tac 13

Remington Tac-14

The Remington Tac 14 is an ideal choice for home security due to its compact size and ability to load 5 rounds of 12 gauge ammunition.

It features an 18.5-inch barrel and a 6-round capacity, making it reasonably compact without sacrificing firepower.

It has the added benefit of being able to mount a weapon-mounted light directly onto the hand guard without needing an additional adapter or remote pressure pad (like other models).

The Tac 13 is a semi-automatic version of the Remington Tac 14 and is a great option as well.

remington tac14

Remington Tac-14

• Capacity: 5+2 or 7+2
• Action: S/A D/A
• Caliber: 12 Gauge
Price Check: PSA | Grab-A-Gun | | Primary Arms

Armscor VR80

armscor vr80

The VR80 is a decent choice for home defense with a modern design, AR-15 grip, and stock compatibility, M-LOK rail system, sights and optic rail options, high magazine capacity of up to 19 rounds, and reliable feeding capability with a wide variety of loads.

The gas-operated action delivers fast cycling while remaining controllable during use.

Additionally, the adjustable AR stock allows users to alternate between different lengths of pull depending on their needs.

The presence of an optic rail makes it easy to attach lights or other aiming devices while the M-LOK rail provides additional versatility when mounting other accessories such as flashlights or grips.

The 7075 aluminum upper receiver ensures durability in harsh environments while allowing for precise accuracy when shooting at long-range distances with multiple shots from a single loading chamber.

The only downside to the VR80 would be the length of the gun. It may be a bit long to easily use in close quarters.

armscor vr80

Armscor VR80

• Caliber: 12 Ga
• 5 Round Magazine
• Length: 40″
Price Check: Grab-A-Gun | | PSA

Things to consider when choosing a Home Defense Shotgun

Action type

Shotguns are available in various action types, such as pump-action, semi-automatic, and break-action.

Pump-action shotguns are quick to fire and easy to handle, while semi-automatic shotguns offer increased speed.

Break-action shotguns may be dead simple to operate but are slower to reload and have limited ammunition on board, they are probably not your best bet for home defense.

Pump action shotguns use the shooter’s manual labor (pumping) to cycle rounds into the chamber for firing. They typically feature a magazine tube that can hold multiple rounds of ammunition, which must be manually loaded into the gun before shooting.

Semi-automatic shotguns automatically cycle rounds into the chamber after each trigger pull without requiring any additional effort from the user.

Break action shotguns utilize a hinge mechanism that allows for single shots or double-barreled shots with one pull of the trigger.


When choosing a shotgun for home defense, the main considerations should be gauge, action, and barrel length.

12 gauge is the best option for power and recoil balance while 20 gauge provides a lightweight alternative with lighter recoil than 12 gauge. However, in modern shotguns, recoil mitigation makes the two rounds almost identical.

.410 is the smallest caliber available but has reduced ballistics due to its small size and fewer pellets in each load compared to other gauges.

In addition to considering caliber when choosing a shotgun for home defense, you may also want to consider the ammo capacity of the shotgun you’re choosing.

Barrel Length

The barrel length of a shotgun is an important factor to consider when choosing one for home defense because it affects the weapon’s handling and accuracy.

Longer barrels provide better accuracy and are more suitable for longer-range shooting.

Conversely, shorter barrels are easier to handle and lighter weight, making them ideal for home defense situations where maneuverability is key.

However, 18 inches is the shortest legal barrel length without requiring a tax stamp and federal registration – so it is important to consider this factor as well when choosing a shotgun for home defense purposes.

There are ways to get a shotgun shorter like the Remington Tac 13 or Tac 14 series of shotguns, which are classified as AOWs.

Choke Type

The choke type can be an important consideration when choosing a shotgun but it isn’t as big of a deal for home defense shotguns.

Choke refers to the constriction of the barrel near the muzzle, which affects how much shot disperses after it exits the gun.

The wider the choke, the wider the spread of shot and therefore greater chance of hitting your target.

Fixed chokes are permanently installed in the barrel while interchangeable ones can be switched out depending on what type of shooting you are doing.

A tighter choke will result in a more concentrated pellet spread but is less effective at longer range than a wider one.

This is mainly utilized for hunting where you are shooting shotguns at longer distances.

Ammo Capacity

Ammo capacity can affect the choice of your home defense shotgun.

High-capacity shotguns allow you to carry more rounds, which can be helpful in case of multiple targets.

High-capacity shotguns are generally heavier and have larger magazine tubes than standard shotguns, which may make it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces such as hallways and bedrooms.

Higher-capacity shotguns tend to have longer reload times due to their larger magazines or tubes which hold more rounds.

This can put you at a disadvantage if you are facing an intruder with a smaller caliber weapon who is able to reload faster than you can with your high-capacity shotgun.

Weight and Overall Length

Managing weight and overall shotgun length is important for two reasons your stamina for holding the gun, sometimes for long periods of time and the maneuverability in tight spaces.

For example, a Glock 21 isn’t very heavy for short periods of time but I had a situation once where I was in a standoff with a person and had to hold the Glock 21 at the ready for nearly an hour and a half.

Any gun becomes heavy if you have to hold it elevated long enough so keep that in mind, even if you think the situation will never arise, you never know and always prepare for the worst.

Sights and Optics

Your shotgun’s sights and/or optic will allow you to get on target quickly and accurately.

Red dot sights are one option that provides quick target acquisition, while weapon lights provide additional illumination in dark environments.

While red dot sights offer faster target acquisition than traditional iron sights, they may not be as durable or reliable as traditional sights.

It’s also important to consider your weapon lights as they can help illuminate your target in dark environments but may add extra weight to the gun or require batteries that need to be replaced over time.

Gas/Piston System

When choosing a shotgun for home defense, it is important to consider the system of the weapon.

Shotguns will run on either a gas or gas-piston-based system. Both have their pros and cons.

The gas system determines how efficiently the gun operates and how much recoil it generates.

A semi-automatic with a piston-driven gas system will provide more reliability, efficiency and less recoil than other types of shotguns with different types of gas systems.

This makes these types of shotguns ideal for home defense purposes as they are easier to use and handle in stressful situations.

Side Saddles

Side saddles on a shotgun for home defense offer several advantages. They allow the user to quickly and easily switch between different types of ammunition, such as buckshot or birdshot.

The main disadvantage of side saddles on a shotgun for home defense is that they can make it harder to maneuver in tight spaces due to their extra bulkiness.

Some side saddles may not be compatible with certain types of ammunition or may require additional modifications before use.


Shotguns are available in a variety of configurations for home defense, including pump action, semi-automatic and single-shot models.

Stocks can be made from wood, polymer or metal and can feature different features such as recoil reducers or shell stops.


What is a home defense shotgun?

A home defense tactical shotgun is a type of shotgun designed for use in home defense situations.

Home defense tactical shotguns are easy to use and provide a powerful means of self-defense.

They are versatile enough to be used for various types of shots, from close range to long distance, making them ideal for defending your home from intruders or other threats.

Shotguns can fire multiple rounds quickly without reloading, making them more effective than some other types of firearms in home defense situations.

What type of shotguns are best for home defense?

There are two main types to consider: semi-automatic and pump action.

Semi-automatic shotguns are more popular as they are easier to use, have faster firing rates, and typically have less recoil than pump action shotguns.

Pump action shotguns may be less popular than semi-automatics but they do offer some advantages such as being more durable, having fewer moving parts that can malfunction, and being cheaper than their semi-automatic counterparts.

What shotgun gauge is best for home defense?

12 gauge is the best and most popular defensive shotgun option for home defense.

It provides the right balance of power and recoil, is the choice of military and police forces, and most defensive shotgun loads are designed around this loading.

20 gauge can also work well for home defense, providing a lightweight alternative with lighter recoil than 12 gauge.

12 gauge 2 ¾-inch #00 buckshot loads generally contain eight or nine .33 caliber pellets per shell which provide excellent range and firepower in a home defense situation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a shotgun for home defense?

The advantages of using a shotgun for home defense include its short-range effectiveness and wide spread of projectiles, which can help to neutralize multiple attackers or threats quickly and efficiently.

It is also easy to use and maneuver due to its lightweight design and smoothbore barrel. Additionally, shotguns are widely available in many different types, sizes, and gauges so there is likely one that will suit your needs.

The main disadvantage of using a shotgun for home defense is its limited ballistic performance; while it may be effective at close range against multiple targets or threats it becomes less effective as distance increases due to decreased accuracy and power.

Additionally, the loud noise associated with firing a shotgun can also be considered a disadvantage as it may startle those inside the home who are not expecting an intruder or attack.

What type of ammunition should I use in a home defense shotgun?

When choosing ammunition for your home defense shotgun, you should consider factors such as gauge, range, the effectiveness of the ammunition, availability of different types of shells, and cost.

When it comes to gauges, you should look for shells that are effective enough to stop an attacker quickly but power in a way to avoid over-penetration which could lead to unintended injuries or damage in your home.

In terms of range and effectiveness, it is important that your chosen ammo can reach out far enough to hit your target without putting yourself in danger while still being powerful enough to stop an assailant quickly.

When considering the availability of different types of shells, think about what type best meets your needs or what would be most accessible if needed in a crisis situation.

Additionally consider cost as it may become an important factor when stocking up on supplies for home defense purposes. Thankfully shotgun shells typically aren’t very expensive.

What type of recoil should I expect when using a home defense shotgun?

When using a home defense shotgun, you should expect moderate to heavy recoil.

Generally speaking, 12 gauge shotguns will have heavier recoil than 20 gauge shotguns due to their larger shells and higher ammunition velocity.

However, there are many factors that can influence the amount of recoil experienced when shooting a shotgun such as the type of shell used (buckshot vs slugs), choke type (fixed vs interchangeable), and weight of the firearm itself.

Shooters with less experience may find that semi-automatic shotguns have increased recoil compared to pump or lever action models due to actions absorbing some of the recoils.

Regardless of which model you choose for your home defense shotgun though, be prepared for some significant kickback when firing it!

Yes, there are a variety of accessories that are recommended for home defense shotguns. These include:

  • Red dot sights – Allows you to get on target quicker than traditional sights.
  • Weapon lights – Essential for nighttime situations as it provides direct light onto the firearm.
  • Rail sections or aftermarket products – Tactical shotguns should have these in order to be effective for home defense purposes.
  • Side saddles – These allow you to keep extra shells close by for reloading during an emergency situation.

What safety precautions should I take when using a home defense shotgun?

When using a home defense shotgun, several safety precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. These include:

  • Selecting the correct gauge, action, and barrel length for your needs.
  • Knowing how to operate your shotgun properly, and seeking out quality instruction if you are a beginner.
  • Putting a couple hundred shells through your shotgun including your self defense rounds so you know it works with them.
  • Making sure to lock up the weapon when not in use, and keeping it out of reach of children.

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