10 Best Shotguns for Home Defense 2022

By Quinn Bonner

Christmas and the Holidays are coming around the corner and there is no better gift than the gift of safety for your loved ones. Here are some of the best shotguns to add to your shopping list this season.

Why Shotguns for Home Defense?

Shotguns are definitely the biggest nightmare of any home intruder. Just the “CHICK CHICK” sound of a pump action is enough to send any invader running for the hills. They deliver the power and the level of force necessary to end a home invasion quickly and with little collateral (with the proper ammo of course, birdshot is a little messy). With good training and the right load out, you’ll be prepared to stop anyone or anything that tries to harm you, your family, or your property.

Holding a shotgun woman

What to look for in a Home Defense Shotgun

Barrel length & Length of Pull

Having the stopping power of a 12 gauge is awesome but it’s absolutely useless if you can’t maneuver it where you need it. You want to stay away from hunting or trap shooting style shotguns which typically have longer barrels and an overall length of 42in or more. If you’re buying a shotgun for home defense, look for tactical style barrels between 18-20 inches. Anything shorter than 18 inches will make the shotgun an NFA item (National Firearms Act) and be considered a Short Barrel Shotgun (SBS) which requires a bunch of tax stamps, approvals, and other legal mumbo jumbo to own, and that’s if your state even allows you to carry a SBS at all. That being said, what can really be a major factor in maneuverability is length of pull. Length of pull is the distance from the trigger to the end of the stock. Having a shorter length of pull and a reasonably sized barrel will allow you to move through narrow hallways, doors, and clear rooms with ease.

Length of Pull Diagram

Action Type

There are two types of shotgun an action you should consider when picking out your home defense shotgun and that is Pump Action and Semi-automatic. Bolt action, break action, and lever action shotguns are too cumbersome and slow to reload unless you’re John Wick, Clint Eastwood, or John Wayne. Semi-auto shotguns by far have the fastest rate of fire and are more tactically efficient when it comes to putting rounds down range quickly. Pump actions are considered more reliable because they eliminate variables in gas operated semi-automatics but are at risk for short stroking. A short stroke is when you don’t complete a full pull on a pump action gun so the action isn’t able to completely cycle, so you have to pump it again. This will obviously slow down your shot speed in a situation where every second could count.

Pump action vs semi auto

Stocks & Pistol Grips

Some people out there will say you don’t need a stock for a home defense shotgun but that’s an absolute load of malarkey. Stocks will help you aim under stress and reduce the heavy recoil a shotgun produces. Shooting a shotgun without a stock is an inaccurate hip-fired wrist rocket, even with a pistol grip. Pistol grips can be useful for added stability but it comes down to preference of the shooter if they feel comfortable gripping a shotgun like that.

Shotgun Shell Size/ Capacity/ and Type

Most tactical shotguns fire 12 gauge shells. Some are offered in the less powerful 20 gauge for smaller shooters or for those who are more recoil sensitive. When it comes to ammo capacity shotguns are more limited than pistols, carbines, or rifles. When seeking a shotgun for home defense you do not want a shotgun that holds anything less than 4+1. Preferably you want a shotgun that holds 7 or more shells. As far as the type of shell to use, buckshot is the most ideal. Buckshot pellets are larger than birdshot and have a really effective stopping power up to 50 yards. They also have a pellet spread which reduces the chances for collateral damage. Birdshot pellets are too small to effectively stop an intruder, although they’re going to want to get to a hospital after being peppered with little metal BB’s. Slug shells offer incredible stopping power but you risk over penetration causing accidental collateral damage. Unless you’re trying to stop a bear, slugs are a little overkill.

2 3/4 shell vs 3 in shell

Accessories

All accessories are up to personal preference. Some accessories I recommend is rail mounted lights and lasers for rapid target acquisition. I like using lasers on my home defense weapons because it allows for rapid target acquisition and lets me know what my muzzle is aiming at in the dark or if I need to quickly fire from the hip. I also highly recommend a sling with swivel mounts. Slings allow you to free up your hands if you need and makes it more difficult for an attacker to take your weapon from you. There are a lot more accessories out there that can help you defend yourself more efficiently, tactically, and safely.

Best Shotguns for Home Defense

Kel-Tec KSG - Best All Around Home Defense Shotgun

Kel-Tec KSG

Caliber: 12 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in chambered for 2¾ ‘’ or 3’’ shells

Overall Length: 26.1in

Weight (unloaded): 6.9lbs

Capacity: 7+7 Dual magazine tubes + 1 in the chamber = 15 total (with 2¾ shells, 13 total with 3’’ shells)

Action: Pump Action

Controls: Ambidextrous safety, ambidextrous pump slide release. Patented downward ejection system makes it truly ambidextrous.

Grip/Stock/Frame: Composite Graphite Polymer w/ Steel Receiver

Rails: Upper and Lower Picatinny Rails

Sights: N/A, Aftermarket optics only

Price: $825 MSRP

Kel-Tec is a company that designs some of the most unique firearms on the market. They built the KSG with home defense in mind and absolutely delivered! It’s the most compact shotgun on the market with the highest capacity available for a single barrel shotgun. The KSG holds up to 15 12ga rounds with a manual selector lever between the magazine tubes which allows for the fastest reload possible or a quick change in ammunition. The bullpup style frame keeps the KSG compact at just over 26in while holding a standard 18.5in barrel. Along with its compact bullpup frame, it’s also the lightest shotgun on the market at 6.9lbs unloaded. Keeping up with the tactical appearance, it also has Picatinny-style rails on the top and bottom to mount all your favorite optics and accessories. This all comes at a reasonable price point of $825. Not to mention it had a cool little cameo with Keanu Reeves in John Wick and a bunch of other great action movies. All the Kel-Tec skeptics out there need to throw out what they believe, go to a range, and try this bad boy out!

We have some of the best KSG accessories on the market! Check ‘em out here!

KSG TACTICAL

KSG TACTICAL

Kel-Tec KS7

Kel-Tec KS7

MSRP- $530


Benelli M4/ Benelli M1014 - Highest Quality Shotgun

Benelli M4/ Benelli M1014

Caliber: 12 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in chambered for 2¾’’ and 3’’ shells w/ Phosphate or Titanium Cerakote finish

Overall Length: 40in

Weight (unloaded): 8.42lbs

Capacity: 5+1

Action: Auto-Regulating- Gas-Operated (A.R.G.O.) Semi-Automatic

Controls: Ambidextrous options

Grip/Stock/Frame: Composite Polymer w/ Titanium Cerakote or Anodized Receiver

Rails: Upper Picatinny-style rails

Sights: Ghost-Ring rear sight, Tritium-dot front sight

Price: $2,099 and up depending on the model

If you are someone who has a taste for the finest things in life and loves to go all out on the highest of quality, look no further than the Benelli M4. The Benelli M4 has been combat proven to be the most reliable shotgun on the market, being used by the United States Military, U.S Special Forces, and just about every other Special Forces group on the planet. The M4 is perfect if you are the kind of person who wants a shotgun you can pick up in a hurry and know it will fire every single time. The A.R.G.O. gas system has been proven to make the M4 a reliable semi-automatic shotgun and it even reduces a lot of the abrasive recoil of a 12ga. While it may not score an A+ on tactical efficiency being 40in long and having a relatively small shell capacity, it’s on the list because of its unparalleled reliability. Coming in at $2,099 or more, it’s definitely not the most affordable. But with a great price you get great quality. Because of this it has earned the nickname “The Ferrari of Shoguns”… well and there also both Italian.

Benelli M4

Benelli M4

Mossberg 500 - Most Versatile Shotgun

Mossberg 500

Caliber: 12 Gauge, 20 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in, 20in, 22in, 24in, 26in, 28in

Overall Length: 36-40in depending on model

Weight (unloaded): 7-7.75lbs depending on model

Capacity: 5+1

Action: Pump Action

Controls: Ambidextrous receiver

Grip/Stock/Frame: Wood and Composite Polymer options w/optional polymer pistol grip

Rails: Upper rails only on the ATI Tactical Model

Sights: Dual Bead, ATI has Wing Post & Bead sights

Price: $490 - $706

Are you looking to use your home defense shotgun for more than just home defense? The Mossberg 500 platform has all the options you want for shotguns. Mossberg is the top name in shotguns and their 500 platform is what brought them a lot of their fame. The 500 has several different models for hunting, trap shooting, and even home defense. For home defense I recommend the ATI Tactical model because it has a shorter 18.5in barrel with an adjustable stock to give you the optimal length of pull for more tactical environments. The 6 round capacity is pretty decent for a home defense shotgun. Also price point for the Mossberg 500 is pretty awesome at $490 for base models and $706 for the ATI Tactical model.

Mossberg 500 Retrograde

Mossberg 500 Retrograde

Mossberg 500 ATI

Mossberg 500 ATI

Mossberg 500 Combo Field/Security

Mossberg 500 Combo

We have some of the best Mossberg 500 accessories on the market! Check ‘em out here!

Remington 870 - Best Value Pump Action Shotgun

870

Caliber: 12 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in, Fixed Cylinder Choke

Overall Length: 38.5in

Weight (unloaded): 7-8lbs depending on model

Capacity: 4+1 and 6+1 options

Action: Pump Action

Controls: Right handed only, Aftermarket Ambidextrous accessories available

Grip/ Stock/ Frame: Wood and Polymer options

Rails: N/A

Sights: Single Bead

Price: $400-$450

Looking for a home defense shotgun that is easy on the wallet and great quality? The Remington 870 is the perfect choice when it comes to great quality and a fair price. The two 870 models that are best for home defense is the Model 870 Hardwood Home Defense and the Model 870 Special Purpose Marine Magnum. They come with the optimal 18.5in barrel and a standard 6 round capacity. The overall length of 38.5in isn’t terrible for a home defense gun either. Remington receivers are milled from a single block of solid steel making their durability remarkable. This gun has been tried and true. Remington has been producing the Model 870 since 1950 and over 11 million have been sold since. There are tons of aftermarket slings and accessories available for the 870 as well because it’s been popular for so long.

Model 870 Special Purpose Marine Magnum

870

We have some of the best Remington 870 accessories on the market! Check ‘em out here!

Mossberg 590 - Overall Best Pump Action

590

Caliber: .410 Bore, 20 Gauge, and12 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5-20in w/ Matte Blue finish and optional heat shield

Overall Length: 36.9 - 41in

Capacity: 5+1, 6+1, and 8+1 options

Weight (unloaded): 7-7.25lbs depending on the model

Action: Pump Action

Controls: Ambidextrous Safety

Grip/Stock/Frame: Walnut/Polymer stock and Forend options w/ optional polymer pistol grip. M-Lok Forend model available

Rails: Upper Picatinny-style rails only available on the model 590 SPX

Sights: Single Bead, Ghost Ring and Ghost Ring w/ Front Fiber Optic sights models available

Price: $532-$853

If it’s good enough for our ladies and gents in the Military and Law Enforcement, it’s got to be good enough for you! The Mossberg 590 is essentially a Mossberg 500 designed specifically for the military’s need for a higher capacity pump action shotgun. Since 1987 the U.S Military has relied on the Mossberg 590 and its still in service today. Since then it has been widely adopted as a home defense shotgun, giving you the classic feel of a 500 with more shell capacity and shorter length of pull. Today Mossberg has a bunch of different 590 models with all sorts of unique tactical accessories. Although the larger capacity models are a little bit longer than most tactical shotguns, it makes up for by being far lighter than most shotguns. The reliability and quality are phenomenal for the price. The mass production of the 590 has created a huge aftermarket for parts and accessories as well.

590A1 - 9 Shot

590A1

590M

590M

590S Shockwave

590S Shockwave

We have some of the best Mossberg 590 accessories on the market! Check ‘em out here!

Rock Island Armory VR80 - Best AR Shotgun

Rock Island Armory VR80

Caliber: 12 Gauge (2¾’’/3’’) and 20 Gauge

Barrel: 20in Contoured Black Chrome

Overall Length: 39in

Capacity: 5+1 Round Magazine Fed

Weight (unloaded): 7.39lbs

Action: Gas Operated Semi-Automatic

Controls: AR-15-style Ambidextrous Safety

Grip/ Stock/ Frame: Polymer w/ Black Chrome Receiver, Polymer Stock w/ Rubber Buttpad

Rails: Upper Picatinny-Style Rails w/ M-Lok style Handguard

Sights: Rear Flip-up Peep sight w/ Front notch

Price: $699 MSRP

When I first saw this shotgun it blew my mind. I always enjoyed AR-style shotguns but Rock Island Armory took it to the next level with the VR80. The VR80 is definitely not your Pappy’s ol’ shotgun and brings home defense into the 21st century. This shotgun is perfect if you are already familiar with AR-15 ergonomics and want an easy transition into shotguns. Rock Island Armory made tactical efficiency the center of their focus making the gun out of lightweight 7075 T6 aluminum while keeping it at a relatively compact size. The upper Picatinny rails and the M-Lok Handguard allow for a lot of customization for optics, lights, and lasers to trick out this bad boy. The VR80 is part of a series also comes in a variety of styles. The VR series comes in a pump-action style VRPA40, an M-16 style VR60, and even in a Bullpup style VRBP-100. Whatever your preferred platform is, Rock Island Armory has it in a modernized 6 shot shotgun.

VR60

VR60

VRBP-100

VRBP-100

Beretta 1301 Tactical - Best Semi-Auto Shotgun

Beretta 1301 Tactical

Caliber: 12 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in Cold hammer-forged steel with an Anodized/Cerakote finish

Overall Length: 37.8in

Capacity: 7+1

Weight (unloaded): 6.4lbs

Action: Semi-Automatic

Controls: Extended Charging Handel, Right-side only

Grip/ Stock/ Frame: Cold hammer-forged steel with an Anodized/Cerakote finish. Optional Pistol Grip

Rails: Upper Picatinny-style rails

Sights: Ghost Ring Sights w/ Front Notch

Price: $1510-1530 MSRP

The Benelli 1303 leaves all other semi-automatic shotguns in the dust in efficiency, firing rate, and style. The 1301 is comparable to the Benelli M4 with a lighter price tag, the same ridiculously high quality, and a higher shell capacity. The innovative BLINK gas operating system with a cross tube gas piston allows for 36% faster cycling than any other competitor. This is the trusted shotgun by law enforcement officers everywhere due to the immaculate reliability this shotgun has. This would be the best overall shotgun if it wasn’t for the higher end price tag. But if you got the cash I highly recommend this over any other shotgun on this list.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Marine

Beretta 1301 Tactical Marine

American Tactical Bull Dog - Best Value Bullpup Shotgun

American Tactical Bull Dog

Caliber: 12 Gauge and 20 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in

Overall Length: 26in

Capacity: 5+1

Weight (unloaded): 4.5lbs

Action: Semi-automatic/ Gas Operated

Controls: Ambidextrous AR-15 style charging handle/ Right handed mag release

Grip/ Stock/ Frame: Black Synthetic Polymer stock and grips w/ a finished steel receiver.

Rails: Upper and lower Picatinny-style rail w/ upper M-Lok option as well.

Sights: Adjustable Peep Sight w/ Front Post

Price: $499

There aren’t many Bullpup fans out there but I am a big one. I love them because I don’t have to sacrifice a compact size for a longer barrel. Plus the longer length of pull gives me more control and stability of the firearm. American Tactical absolutely delivered at a super low price on their Bull-Dog. The Bull-Dog is compact, affordable, and probably the lightest shotgun on the market. What more could you want out of a home defense shotgun? It is brand new to the market so I can quote on the reliability factor but there hasn’t been much bad to say about it. If you like the bullpup platform and you want a cheap but good quality shotgun; the ATI Bull-Dog is the one!

Mossberg Maverick 88 Security - The Cheapest Home Defense Shotgun

Mossberg Maverick 88 Security

Caliber: 12 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in Steel

Overall Length: 39.9in

Capacity: 5+1

Weight: 6.25lbs

Action: Pump Action

Controls: Fixed Right handed w/ an ambidextrous safety

Grip/ Stock/ Frame: Polymer with Fixed/pistol grip/ no-stock models

Rails: N/A

Sights: Single Bead

Price: $253

Looking for a decent home defense shotgun but not looking to spend a lot of cash? Mossberg developed the Maverick 88 just for you! The Maverick has the same great quality that Mossberg shotguns deliver at an extremely affordable price. It is a durable bare-bones shotgun great for first time shotgun owners. Many were initially skeptical on the quality but James Reeves, one of YouTube’s top firearm guys, put those notions to rest on his Maverick 88 Torture Test video. He even made hit Maverick set-up complete with the M*CARBO Mossberg 500/Maverick 88 Trigger Kit! The Maverick 88 Security model is the most optimal one for home defense due to its shorter 18.5in barrel and shorter overall length. Overall the Maverick is a great shotgun for the price and was a must have on the list.

Check out our Mossberg Maverick 88 Compatible Trigger Spring Kit!

Maverick 88- Top Folding

Maverick 88- Top Folding

Maverick 88 Cruiser

Maverick 88 Cruiser

Check out James Reeves from TFBTV using our Maverick 88 Trigger Spring Kit

Mossberg 930 Tactical/SPX - Best Value Semi-Auto Shotgun

Mossberg 930 Tactical/SPX

Caliber: 12 Gauge

Barrel: 18.5in

Overall Length: 39in

Capacity: 7+1

Weight: 7.5lbs

Action: Semi-Automatic/ Gas operated

Controls: Ambidextrous Safety, Right-handed charging handle

Grip/ Stock/ Frame: Polymer Grip and Stock w/ Pistol Grip Option

Rails: Upper Picatinny-style

Sights: Ghost Ring w/ Fiber Optic

Price: $720-1,156

Comparable to Benelli M4 and the Beretta 1301, the Mossberg 930 Security/SPX is great Semi-automatic shotgun at the most affordable price. Semi-automatic tube-fed shotguns like the 930 offer the smoothest cycling rate of fire and make great auto-loading shotguns. Mossberg, who is the largest producer of shotguns, saw the success Benelli and Beretta had and wanted in on it. They went on to develop a more affordable American-made semi-auto-shotgun that still holds its own in quality. The Mossberg Security models maintain that great tactical frame and are designed to help you preserve safety and protect others.

Mossberg 930 Tactical-8 Shot

Mossberg 930 Tactical-8 Shot

Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical

Mossburg 940 Pro Tactical


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