If you don’t have much money to spend for home defense, make it a shotgun. Pump-action or semi-automatic should be your first choice. A double-barrel coach gun would also be a good choice. Even a $130 single shot is better than a baseball bat!
All shotguns on this page are 12 gauge. The 12 gauge is king, but the 20 gauge and .410 are good too. In fact, the little .410 is powerful as a 357 magnum revolver! The .410 is a good choice for women as the recoil is light and the shells are easy to cycle.
As for 12 gauge home defense ammo, anything between #4 and #00 buckshot will work fine. The #4 buckshot would be like getting hit in the chest 20 times by a 22 rifle! At 15 feet the pattern will be about 4″ wide from a 20-inch barrel. The #6 shot game bird loads should be the minimum size for use indoors.
Listed below are shotguns that are made for tactical situations. Shotguns for deer hunting work well for home defense too. For house guns, we have selected shotguns that you can buy from a dealer for $500 or less. I am sure we have missed a few.
$190-$300 from a dealer
We will update this listing when we know more about the Americal Tactical Imports shotguns. We do know they are made by Ottoman in Turkey. The ATI Grand Vizar pump should retail at a dealer for under $200. What I am excited about is the ATI Sultan autoloader that should be around $270 at a dealer. This is really cheap! Both defense shotguns carry 5 rounds in the magazine. Also available in nickel marine finish. Check out their website.
Benelli Nova Pump Tactical
$370-$410 from a dealer
I don’t have experience with the Benelli Nova Tactical, but I have shot the Benelli field guns. I do remember the action was very smooth and had a solid feel to it. The Benelli Nova Pump Tactical has an 18.5-inch barrel, weighs 7.2 pounds, and holds 5 rounds. The Italians are famous for their styling, and the Nova Pump Tactical is a sweet looking shotgun. You really need to haggle to get a good deal. The MSRP is $409, and dealers don’t discount the price much.
Browning BPS High Capacity Pump
$430-$460 from a dealer
You may pay more, but you are getting the quality Browning is known for. The Browning BPS has a Forged and machined steel receiver is a matte blued finish. 20″ fixed cylinder choke barrel with silver bead front sight. Bottom ejection action with dual steel action bars and a top tang safety. Browning BPS has composite stock and forearm in matte black finish. 8 round capacity. Also, see the Ithaca model 37.
Century Arms Coach Gun
$290-$320 from a dealer
Nothing will stop an intruder faster than looking down the bore of a double-barrel coach gun. 20″ barrel. Nice hardwood stock with blue finish. With practice, you can reload in only seconds. Brass bead front sight, sling swivel, 3-inch chamber, checkered forearm, and grip. Barrel: 20 inches, Century Arms Coach Gun is Overall: 37 inches, Weight: 7.84 lbs.
Century Arms Ultra 87 Tactical
$220-$250 from a dealer
Modeled after the famous Remington 870, this pump-action beauty is perfect for home defense. The Ultra 87 comes with front and rear sling swivels, fiber optic sights, black synthetic furniture, 5 round tube capacity, and a 19-inch barrel. Also, see the Norinco Interstate Arms Hawk Pump Defense. Many aftermarket 870 stocks and accessories will fit.
Charles Daly Field All Weather
$260-$290 from a dealer
The Charles Daly Field All Weather sure is pretty with the nickel-plated finish. Pump action. Ghost ring sight. 6 shot capacity. The aluminum receiver helps to keep weight down. 18.5″ barrel. Note: Charles Daly (KBI) is out of business. You still may be able to find them new at gun shows and dealers.
Citadel LE Tactical Standard
$330-$360 from a dealer
The Citadel LE Tactical pump shotgun is made special just for the law enforcement market. You can get one, but you may need to ask your dealer to order it. Citadel LE Tactical features a very modern narrow short stroke, lightweight receiver with a 22-inch barrel. The Citadel LE Tactical Standard weighs only 6.35 pounds, plus has a 7 round tube magazine. There are 4 different options for stocks. Made in the USA!
CZ 712 Utility Semi-Auto
$450-$480 from a dealer
CZ handcrafted shotguns merge old world craftsmanship with state of the art modern technology. The CZ 712 Utility is very rugged and built to last a lifetime. Great shotgun for police use, home defense, or on the farm. Semi-automatic action with 20″ barrel. 5 round capacity. The CZ 712 Utility Semi-Auto is priced low for a quality semi-auto.
EAA SAR Pump
$210-$240 from a dealer
The EAA SAR has a duel smooth reliable action bar. Solid drilled and honed barrel. Stock and forend produced from the highest quality polymers. Machined thread on barrel extension. Cross trigger block. Machined locking block and bolt. Aircraft quality machined not the cast aluminum receiver. The EAA SAR Pump has an 18.5″ or 20″ barrel and weighs less than 6 pounds. There is also a SAR Special Purpose version with tactical pistol grip stock. The sporter version is pictured. Made by Sarsilmaz, so you know the quality is good. EAA also offers a 24″ semi-auto deer shotgun you can get for around $350!
Escort MarineGuard Pump
$280-$310 from a dealer
The MarineGuard is built like a swiss watch! You can feel the premium Hatsan quality in the Escort MarineGuard. 6 rounds capacity and weighs 6.25 pounds. Escort MarineGuard and AimGuard shotguns are designed specifically for defense use. The MarineGuard has an 18-inch cylinder-bore barrel, five-shot magazine, and nickel finish. There is also an AimGuard version in black finish for about $70 less. The Escort has the fastest pump action of any shotgun I have ever fired. Faster than many semi-autos! HK FabArm FP6 aftermarket stocks and accessories should fit.
Interstate Arms 97T Trench Gun
$360-$390 from a dealer
The 97T Trench Gun is so cool. I want one! The 97T is an exact replica of the 1897 shotguns used in world war one and two. It looks like a military collector piece from the exposed hammer to the oiled wood. Of course, if I owned one, I would be shooting it! The Interstate Arms (Norinco) 97T is 12 gauge with 2 3/4 inch chamber, metal handguard, 20-inch barrel, bayonet lug, and military swivels. 5 shot capacity. All you need now is a replica bayonet.
Maverick Model 88
$200-$230 from a dealer
The Maverick 88 is made by Mossberg to the same quality standards. I have owned a Maverick 88 pump-action shotgun, and it was nice. I don’t know why they are priced so much less than the Mossberg 500 as the quality is very good. 20″ barrel with 8 round capacity. There is also a Maverick 88 model with an 18.5-inch barrel and 6 shot magazine. Aftermarket Mossberg 500 accessories and stocks will fit.
Mossberg 500 SP
$310-$340 from a dealer
The Mossberg 500 is the top-selling pump-action shotgun in the USA. It is available in many different barrel lengths and stock configurations. Shown is the Mossberg 500 pistol grip model. Pistol grip shotguns may look cool but are only fun for a little while. You will be glad you went with the rifle buttstock instead. Aftermarket accessories are galore! There is also a 510 Mini version great for smaller shooters in .410 or 20 gauge. The 510 Mini has an 18.5-inch barrel and weighs only 5 pounds!
Mossberg 590 SP
$400-$430 from a dealer
The 590 series Mossberg is a little beefier built than the 500. The 590 can also handle 3 1/2 inch magnum shells. The 590 the top choice pump-action shotgun used by the US Military. Also, check out the Mossberg 835 Mag. Model 835 for deer hunting is an awesome shotgun.
Mossberg 930 Special Purpose HS
$470-$500 from a dealer
The model 930 Home Security is a semi-automatic shotgun for police and home security use. The model 930 has 6 round capacity. Weighs in at 7.5 pounds. The 930 HS can handle 2 3/4 or 3-inch shells. If you are willing to spend more money, there is a 930 Blackwater version with 8 shot magazine and very cool stock. Autoloading shotguns are so fun to shoot! Also, see the SA-20 Tactical in 20 gauge.
NEF H&R; Pardner Pump Protector
$190-$220 from a dealer
Compare the New England Firearms Pardner pump shotgun, feature for feature, with any of its higher price competitors. The NEF pardner Pump has a steel receiver, double-action bars, and cross-bolt safety. 5 round capacity with 18.5″ barrel. Comes with the famous H&R; a two-year warranty! Many aftermarket 870 stocks and accessories will fit. Also, see the Norinco Interstate Arms Hawk Pump Defense. Note: My local Wal-Mart has the Pardner Pump for $160!
Remington 870 Tactical Express
$330-$360 from a dealer
The 870 model is over 50 years old and still going strong! The Remington 870 is the most popular pump shotgun for police use. The 870 Tactical Express has an 18.5″ barrel and 7 round capacity. Just like the Mossberg 500, there are tons of accessories and goodies for the Remington 870. The model 870 is the most copied shotgun on the market.
Rock Island (Armscor) M5 Tactical
$240-$270 from a dealer
You would swear the Armscor M30SAS (or RIA M5 Tactical) is a $600 shotgun. The picture does not do it justice. With the jeweled bolt and heat shield, it is a very nice looking pump-action shotgun. 7 round capacity with 20″ barrel. The M5 is patterned after the awesome High Standard police shotguns of the past and the Winchester 1200. The Rock Island M5 quality and finish is amazing for a shotgun at any price. RIA also makes an M5 with a shorter 18.75-inch barrel. Nickel finish is available. Lifetime warranty.
Savage Stevens 350 Security
$220-$250 from a dealer
Savage Stevens 350 Security Pump shotgun in 12 ga with a 3-inch chamber and 18.25″ barrel. Has matte blue finish with black synthetic stock. Savage Stevens 350 Security has 6 shot capacity and a sturdy 7.6 pounds. Very well built shotgun with steel receiver! Looks like an Ithaca model 37! A real bargain is the Savage Stevens Field/Security combo that includes a 28 inch vented rib barrel.
Stoeger P350 Pump Defense
$300-$330 from a dealer
The Stoeger P350 is designed to fire any 12-gauge ammunition, from light target loads to 3-1/2 inch magnum. The fore-end assembly with twin action bars delivers smooth, non-binding cycling. The Stoeger P350 is a very nice pump shotgun from the same family that brings you Benelli and Franchi shotguns. Quality is first-rate. 18.5″ barrel. 5 round capacity. Weighs 6.4 pounds. The P350 also comes with a standard style polymer stock (pistol grip stock is pictured).
Stoeger SXS Coach Gun
$340-$370 from a dealer
Stoeger Double Barrel Coach Gun in 12 gauge with 20″ Barrel. Single trigger. Modified & Improved Choke. Hardwood Stock, Matte Silver Finish. SXS Fit and finish is excellent. Stoeger SXS Coach Gun is nice enough to be a collector piece. Shoot it or hang it on the wall.
Stoeger M2000 Tactical
$450-$480 from a dealer
The Stoeger Model 2000 semi-auto shotgun uses the Inertia Driven operating system. This means fewer moving parts to wear out. The M2000 Tactical features 4 shot magazine and an 18.5-inch barrel. You know the Beretta-Stoeger family of firearms are always built to last. I like the 24-inch barrel deer version better as it has a conventional shaped stock with the same shell capacity.
TriStar Cobra Force (pump)
$310-$340 from a dealer
What a mean looking pump-action shotgun. The TriStar Cobra Tactical delivers reliability and firepower with a 5 + 1 capacity magazine. This easy to maneuver, short barrel pump shotgun comes with a standard molded stock.
TriStar Cobra Viper (autoloader)
$420-$450 from a dealer
Sweet shooting semi-auto with 5 shot capacity and 20″ barrel. The TriStar Viper Series Semi Automatic Gas Operated Shotguns are reliable, functional, and hard working. The TriStar Cobra Viper Tactical Shotgun comes with a 5-year warranty!
Weatherby PA-08 TR
$310-$340 from a dealer
You know if this 12 gauge tactical shotgun is sold by Weatherby, it must be a good one! The Weatherby Tactical Pump PA-08 TR has black synthetic stock and forearm. 18.5-inch barrel. 5 shot capacity. Weighs 6.75 pounds. The Turkish-made PA-08 TR features a dual-action bar design that is straightforward, overbuilt, and made for round after round of high volume shooting. Weatherby shotguns are made by Hatsan. Hatsan is one of the best shotgun makers in the world! Great price for the Weatherby brand!
Winchester Super X Pump Defender
$320-$350 from a dealer
The Winchester pump shotgun was a worthy warrior in the Vietnam war. 6 round capacity with 18″ barrel. It also has non-glare metal surfaces with a tough composite stock and forearm. Super X weighs in at only 6.5 pounds. The Winchester Super X Pump Defender is a good priced shotgun considering the big brand name.
The Single Shots
$100-$160 from a dealer
At these low prices, there is no reason to not be armed! H&R; (NEF) and Rossi build quality break-open single-shot shotguns. My favorite of them all is the Baikal imported by USSG. The Baikal does not use an exposed hammer as the break-action cocks the gun. Reloading to ready to fire is fastest with the Baikal. Reloading speed is important with a single shot. With some practice, you can be almost as fast as with a pump. There is a place for the break-open single shot for home defense. If you have a daughter living on her own, a youth-sized .410 or 20 gauge may be the perfect weapon. They are simple for an inexperienced shooter to operate.