The 8 Best Shotguns for Home Defense

We live in a dangerous and often scary world. While the home should be a place where we feel comfortable and secure, there’s no guarantee that it will remain as such. People spend thousands of dollars on closed-circuit televisions, intuitive alarms, and cameras that view every possible angle of the house, but is it enough?

Sometimes jail time isn’t enough of a deterrent. They need a stronger message, one that clearly says “I’ll protect what’s mine by any means necessary.” Thanks to the 2nd Amendment, every home owner has the legal right to try and obtain a firearm for home defense – and a shotgun is an imposing option that is quite a bit more threatening than a handgun. No person with a minute intelligence would stare down the barrel of a shotgun and still consider invading that home again in the future.

If you’re looking for the best means of protecting you and yours, consider picking between these eight shotguns that serve best for home defense.

Mossberg 500 TacticalMossberg 500 Tactical

Often touted as the “best tactical shotgun,” Mossberg works off of almost 100-years of experience to deliver a product that’s benefited from dozens of design breakthroughs throughout the years. Mossberg has earned praise from many sources, the United States’ government included; and any doubt of the manufactured quality should be dissipated with the 500 Tactical.

A six-round capacity of 12-gauge rounds ensure there’s enough in the shotgun should a situation get out of control, but its 18.5” barrel and imposing looking is often enough to deter anyone not abiding by common law. Equipped with a pistol grip for easy handling and a bead sight for optimal aiming, this tactical shotgun is everything a homeowner would want to protect their family with.

If you know a thing or two about tactical shotguns, the Mossberg 500 Tactical is upgradable with a range of aftermarket parts, but the standard build, complete with a corrosion resistant heavy wall barrel, should be enough to feel comfortable with.



Benelli M4Benelli M4

The Benelli M4 is a semi-automatic shotgun that improves upon the often-discussed flaws that a semi poses for home defense. While this kind of shotgun often requires one standard kind of ammunition, limiting what can be purchased for it, the Benelli M4’s self-regulating gas system is designed to function with a myriad of shell options. That means, if you’re looking for a more powerful or longer shell, the M4 can likely handle it.

The Benelli M4 comes standard with an 18.5” barrel and a six-shell capacity and benefits from a ghost ring sight with the option of adding an optic thanks to the Picatinny Rail. The M4 is more than just your average semi-auto shotgun, too. The inclusion of a gas piston similar to the AK-47 provides a rapid-fire response that the most prolific of operators could make great use out of.

The crisp two-stage trigger and corrosion resistant coating only amplify the M4’s usability. It’s such a reliable means of defense that it is used in the United States Marine Corps under the M1014 designation.



Winchester 1897 Pump ActionWinchester 1897 Pump Action

Even newcomers to the world of home defense shotguns will recognize the Winchester name, and this 1897 pump action firearm delivers on everything known of the classic manufacturer. Whether you prefer a 12 or 16-gauge shotgun, the 1897 is available in both and even comes with a 20” or 30” barrel length.

When it comes to home defense, the shorter barrel is optimal for tighter spaces and offers better control should things get hairy. Though the 1897 was pulled from production, it’s a popular model in the used market and anyone owner is going to have taken good care of it.

Admittedly, owning a Model 1897 Winchester Pump Action shotgun is partially for its usefulness as a firearm and for its ties to the earlier years of the classic gun company.



Remington Versa Max TacticalRemington Versa Max Tactical

Nobody in their right mind would stare down the barrel of the Remington Versa Max Tactical shotgun and feel like they’ve made the right decision with their life. This semi-automatic shotgun deviates from the norm and allows for the use of a variety of slugs and buckshot rounds.

The Versa Max aims to reduce recoil of every shot and its gas operated action and high-quality recoil pad ensure that each of its nine-round capacity fires off without as much of a kick. This also promotes better accuracy and a more rapid-fire, though the long barrel will likely scare off offenders before the trigger needs to be pulled.

The synthetic stock fits comfortably in most hands while an attachment point provides an option for a tactical flashlight. Put together into one package, everything the Versa Max Tactical has to offer is perfect for home defense use.




If there’s a shotgun that’s begging to be upgraded with aftermarket accessories, it’s the FN SLP. Manufactured by one of the most trusted brands in firearm design and construction, this semi-automatic shotgun breaks the mold – and it does so with a wide variety of slugs and buckshot. Regardless of most semi-automatic shotguns not being able to hold a variety of ammo, the SLP is able to fire off generally whatever rounds fit in it. And each pull of the trigger is met with a reduced recoil thanks to the synthetic stock.

Even without any added bells and whistles, the SLP is a quality firearm that will serve your home and family well. Firing speed and accuracy is top notch, making this one of the more reliable semi-automatic shotguns for keeping your property safe and secure. The only downside is that it takes a little time to get used to its weight, but once you do, there’s no denying the SLP will wind up being your favorite firearm in your collection.



Winchester SXP Extreme DefenderWinchester SXP Extreme Defender

Though the Winchester SXP Extreme Defender may not look like the classic firearms of the brand’s more classical years, it still carries with it the pristine craftsmanship and reliability expected from the company. The SXP Extreme Defender is a pump-action shotgun that sports an 18” black chrome barrel that is unmistakably a bad sign for any home invaders.

Through this sturdy barrel, five rounds of 12-gauge ammo will fire, ruining the day of anyone unfortunate enough to be on the other end of it. The shotgun’s total weight measures in at 7 lbs 8 oz, so adding the laser or light attachment to the side-mounted Picatinny rail won’t make it unbearably heavy. The SXP Extreme Defender also sports sling swivel studs and a rear ghost ring sight so there is no mistaking where each shot you fire off will go.

The SXP is a sign of innovation within Winchester’s ranks and serves as a promise for even more from the manufacturer in the future.



Mossberg 590A1 Mil-SpecMossberg 590A1 Mil-Spec

The 590A1 is part of a reliable series of firearms, so to be better than its predecessors, Mossberg put it through some needed changes. From earlier models in the 590 line, the A1 was bestowed with a more reliable corrosion resistance and was made from a higher-grade steel but better durability. From there, the 590A1 mimics the fine craftsmanship of Mossberg and is a suitable companion when it comes to home defense.

Its bark is deadly and its design is nearly flawless. Though it’s a bit heavier thanks to the heavier steel parts used, heavy polymer stock, and heavy wall barrel, the increased weight actually reduces the recoil, ensuring each shot goes where it’s intended. Helping with aiming is the option for ghost ring sites or the Picatinny rail, which can mount a red dot sight or scope.



Remington 870 Express TacticalRemington 870 Express Tactical

Remington is a name associated with the very best in firearms and the 870 Express Tactical only continues to deliver on quality and reliability. The 870 has been revered by a variety of users, including police and hunters, but has also been touted as one of the most reliable home defense shotguns around.

The 870 doesn’t go for all those bells and whistles, instead preferring to let its 18.5” barrel and 7-round capacity magazine do the talking. It is equipped to fire both 2 ¾” and 3” 12-gauge shells, which provides some options for the knowledgeable operator. If you want a ghost sight, there is an option for one.

Thoug the 870 may be straightforward, its simplicity is one of its bigger selling factors. It doesn’t require a lot to become a great home defense shotgun; it was already made as one of the best out there.