Today when you ask someone why they own a firearm, many will say for the purpose of home defense. Developing a sound home defense plan is more important today than it has ever been, and we’ve all seen that you can’t count on police response times as your only line of defense. For many, a shotgun is the best choice for home defense. They are easy to operate, ammo is readily available, and they are good options in close quarters engagement. When used with the proper ammo, shotguns also don’t penetrate nearby walls as much as say a full metal jacket round. Let’s take a look at five options to consider for home defense:

What To Look For In A Home Defense Shotgun

Home defense shotguns must be maneuverable, and the long barrels found in hunting shotguns are not desirable in home defense situations. Instead you want a barrel that measures 18 inches or so, but depending on your home, you should be able to use something a bit longer, say 20 inches max. Aside from barrel length, you’ll need a shotgun that is relatively light and easy to handle, and one that can hold and cycle rounds fairly quickly. The addition of a semi-automatic action is a nice upgrade, but you can get by with a pump action just fine. A shotgun with a fixed or adjustable stock is also preferable, and the optional pistol grip can make it easier to clear rooms with the shotgun. Finally, the addition of a laser sight and/or weapon mounted light can be a worthwhile upgrade, especially when it comes to clearing rooms in the dark.

Mossberg 500 Tactical Pump Action Shotgun

The popular Mossberg 500 is a prudent choice for home defense, especially in the Mossberg 500 Tactical Pump version. This shotgun has all the necessary features for home defense including an 18.5 inch barrel, a 5+1 round capacity, included pistol grip, a Ghost Ring rear sight with matching Fiber Optic front sight, and an adjustable stock with attached shell carrier. The adjustable stock lets you customize the shotgun’s length of pull so you can hone in on the right length and home use setup for you. The thumb safety is located on the top of the shotgun above the pistol grip and is easily released when you need to shoot. All in all this is a solid shotgun that comes ready for home defense right out of the box.

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Specs: Barrel Length: 18.5″, Total Length: 36.375″, Length Of Pull: 10.75″ – 14.25″, Chamber: 3″, Capacity: 5+1, Weight: 6.75 lbs.

Price: $747.83 right now at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com.

Benelli M4 Tactical Semi-Auto Shotgun

When it comes to home defense, you want only the best shotgun for the job. The Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun is exactly that, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option in any other shotgun. The M4 is Benelli’s answer for a true combat shotgun, and this shotgun is still the primary shotgun used by the US Military. It uses an Auto-Regulating Gas-Operated (ARGO) system that ensures efficient, accurate cycling. The ARGO system is renown for its ability to cycle almost any round (3 1/2″ rounds excluded) with no adjustment to the system. The shotgun also sports a Ghost Ring sight and plenty of Picatinny rail for other optics. There are a couple drawbacks to this shotgun, as it is the heaviest shotgun on our list. It is also slightly longer than the other shotguns listed here. However, the M4 is by far the most rugged shotgun available, and you get added durability in that extra weight. Simply put, this is the best home defense shotgun you’ll find on the market, and the price certainly reflects that.

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Specs: Barrel Length: 18.5″, Total Length: 40″, Length Of Pull: 14 3/8″, Chamber: 3″, Capacity: 5+1, Weight: 7.8 lbs.

Price: $1,799 right now at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com.

Benelli M2 Tactical Semi-Auto Shotgun

If you’re not quite prepared to spring for the M4, Benelli does have a viable and more affordable alternative in the Benelli M2 Tactical Shotgun. Instead of using the ARGO system, the M2 relies upon Benelli’s tried and true Inertia Driven System. You’ll find this system in Benelli’s line of sporting guns, and while it’s a great semi-auto cycling system, it doesn’t cycle some types of rounds that the M4 would handle no problem. This is certainly not a deal breaker, as the Inertia system will do just fine with most home defense loads. The M2 is also less rugged than the M4, and additions like the aluminum trigger guard in the M4 are replaced with a polymer trigger guard in the M2. Still this is an excellent shotgun, and a prudent option for those that want the quality of a Benelli but aren’t prepared to purchase the M4.

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Specs: Barrel Length: 18.5″, Total Length: 39.75″, Length Of Pull: 14 3/8″, Chamber: 3″, Capacity: 5+1, Weight: 6.7 lbs.

Price: $1,099  right now at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com.

CZ 612 HC-P Pump Action Shotgun

On the other end of the spectrum, CZ makes an ultra-affordable tactical shotgun in their CZ 612 HC-P Pump Shotgun. All the essentials are here, and the 612 comes with Ghost Ring sights and a similar pistol grip styling. This shotgun does have a longer barrel at 20″, and it does accept one less round than the models listed above. However, those who need a home defense shotgun but are on a tight budget will find the CZ 612 a viable option with a similar feature set to other tactical models.

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Specs: Barrel Length: 20″, Total Length: 39.5″, Length Of Pull: 14.5″, Chamber: 3″, Capacity: 4+1, Weight: 6.5 lbs.

Price: $369 right now at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com.

Stoeger Double Defense Over/Under Shotgun

It’s generally prudent to have as many shells as possible in any home defense shotgun. High capacity tactical shotguns with pump or semi-auto action dominate the home defense shotgun market. However, there is one option we wanted to give some attention to, and that is the Stoeger Double Defense Over/Under Shotgun. Of course, the two shell capacity makes this shotgun undesirable for most home defense options, but there are some things to like here. A side Picatinny rail on the barrels makes for a great flashlight or laser sight mounting option, and it’s well out of the way of the fiber optic sight. The gun is also pretty short, a mere 36.5″ compared to the longer guns listed above. The Stoeger uses a single trigger, and you pull it, let it reset, and then pull it again to cycle both rounds. That said, it would be less than ideal to miss your mark and have to extract and replace both shells in the heat of the moment. So maybe not the top shotgun we would recommend for home defense, but if your house or apartment is small, or you fancy yourself a patient shooter who will make each round count, the Double Defense might be worth a look. In addition, the $399 price tag is hard to pass up, especially if you plan to use this as a sporting shotgun as well.

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Specs: Barrel Length: 20″, Total Length: 36.5″, Length Of Pull: 14.5″, Chamber: 3″, Capacity: 2, Weight: 7.1 lbs..

Price: $399 right now at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com.

Prices and availability subject to change at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com. Don’t see your chosen self-defense shotgun listed above? Let us know what we missed in the comments section below.