The Top Rated Shotguns for Home Defense

It’s shotgun season! Let’s see which one fits your needs.  We’ve reviewed just about every type of shotgun out there and brought you a comprehensive list to pick and choose from to you make sure you get the right shotgun for the protection of your home!

Many of us will do almost anything to keep our homes safe. We install security systems and make sure we have the best locks and bolts.

Yet, sometimes, that’s not enough. For an extra layer of security inside your house, you may want to opt for a shotgun.

These weapons are relatively easy to control and can cause some serious damage. However, there are a few more factors to consider, like range and barrel size.

You’re in luck if you’re looking for the best shotgun for home defense. Let’s take a look at some of the firearm’s most notable features and what you should look for.

When an intruder enters your home, you have the right to stand your ground and protect your space. This is known as the Castle Doctrine. There are many ways you can go about securing your house. One of them includes registering a firearm.

Usually, people will go with smaller firearms, like popular handguns and pocket pistols, because they’re easier to hide. Yet, they’re not always ideal.

Shotguns are a much better option for home defense for a few reasons. First off, they’re pretty easy to use. Generally, all you have to do is aim the gun and pull the trigger. This can be crucial in the middle of a heated invasion.

Other than that, shotguns are also incredibly effective weapons. They’re arguably the best guns for close-range combat.

That’s because they have a wide damage field, which makes hitting your target more likely. This is especially useful if you’re dealing with more than one intruder.

Finally, shotguns are one of the most affordable types of firearms on the market. So you can protect your home without breaking the bank.

Home Defense Shotgun Types

Before you head out and buy a shotgun, it’s good to know all the different types available.

Snake Charmer Shotguns

One of the most common shotguns for home defense is the Snake Charmer. These are weapons with cylindrical barrels and operate on single-shot action.

That means you can only shoot one bullet per trigger pull.

Snake Charmers have average length barrels, ranging from 25 to 35 inches. This gives you excellent control over the weapon, which makes it great for beginners.

Coach Shotguns

Even though Snake Charmers are easy to control, sometimes they can be too large. If you’re protecting a cramped space, a 30-inch barrel may get in the way.

In this case, coach shotguns may be the way to go. Their barrels are around 18 inches, which is the shortest legal length.

Riot Shotguns

Home invasions are intense and stressful events. During this time, all you can think about is keeping your family safe.

To do that, you want to scare off the intruder and not necessarily cause a fatality. For this case, you’ll want a riot shotgun.

These weapons act like traditional shotguns, but they pack less of a punch. They’re more likely to cause wounds rather than permanent injury.

This also makes having these guns at home a little safer than other firearms.

Top 10 Best Shotguns for Home Defense

Now, with this knowledge in mind, we can start looking at shotgun models. More information about shotguns is provided after the reviews.

Here are the top 10 best guns for home defense:

Remington 870

  • Barrel length: 20 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 7.5 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 7 rounds

The Remington is an incredibly popular pump-action shotgun. Most of its fame is due to its amazing reliability.

This weapon can carry seven bullets at a time. Once you pull the trigger, the empty shell flies out the side of the gun, and you can reload another.

That means you can shoot the gun multiple times, consecutively, without the need to stop. On top of that, it’s quite easy to use.

Because of the short barrel and large gauge, aiming the firearm shouldn’t be an issue. In addition, the stock provides great recoil absorption to make your grip more stable.

Besides that, the Remington comes with a raised bead sight for more accurate shots. It also has a safety switch right next to the trigger.



  • It’s one of the most reliable shotguns on the market.
  • The streamlined and lightweight design makes for easier maneuvering.


  • The stock may be too long for people with short arms to handle.

Mossberg 590A1

  • Barrel length: 18.5 in.
  • Support: Standard Stock
  • Mode of operation: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 7 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 7 rounds

As you can tell by the specs, the Mossberg 590A1 is similar to the Remington 870. They both have the same gauge, mode of operation, and bullet capacity.

However, there are a few key differences. First off, the 590A1 has a slightly longer barrel. This shouldn’t affect how you hold or aim it.

Still, it will increase the power of the shots. With a longer barrel, the gunpowder has more time to burn, which will result in more force.

Even with the extra length, this gun is lighter than the Remington. The only other notable distinction is the position of the safety switch.

On the 590A1, the switch is on top of the receiver rather than on the side. That means you can only trigger it using your thumb.


  • The slightly longer barrel delivers more powerful shots.
  • The extra length doesn’t affect the aiming or handling of the gun.


  • You can only access the safety switch with your thumb.


Kel-Tec KSG

  • Barrel length: 18.5 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 6.9 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 14 rounds

The Kel-Tec KSG’s main selling point is its compact size. It has the same barrel length as many other shotguns but smaller overall dimensions.

Kel-Tec decreased the size by moving the pump behind the trigger instead of in front.

Doing so means this gun measures 26 inches from top to bottom. That makes it much easier to grip and aim, especially if you have shorter arms.

To add to its stability, the KSG comes with an extra grip. There’s room for a flashlight attachment, too.

On top of that, it has a massive bullet capacity, with space for 14 rounds. You can also switch between magazines while using the gun.

The increased stability and additional rounds make this shotgun versatile. Other than keeping your home safe, this firearm is excellent on hunting trips.



  • The KSG’s compact size makes it ideal for users with shorter arms.
  • The gun has a bullet capacity of 14 rounds.


  • The additional features mark up the price of this firearm.

Beretta 1301 Tactical

    • Barrel length: 18.7 in.
    • Support: Standard stock
    • Mode of operation: Semi-automatic
    • Gauge: 12
    • Weight: 6.4 lb.
    • Bullet capacity: 7 rounds

    The Beretta 1301 Tactical is the first semi-automatic shotgun on our list. That means you don’t need to manually pump the gun to reload.

    Other than that, 1301 has adjustable sights and a flashlight mount. It also has a large safety switch. This makes it much easier to deal with in the heat of the moment.

    Overall, this shotgun can be a little bulky. This reduces the effect of the recoil but makes the gun too large for some users.

    Still, to make up for the size, 1301 is lightweight and has a rough textured outer shell. The exterior gives you better traction and allows you to keep a better hold over the gun.

    Finally, there are a few mods you can buy to enhance 1301’s performance.


    • The shotgun doesn’t require manual pumping, so you can fire more frequently.
    • There are many mods you can add, like sights and flashlights.


    • The weapon may be too bulky for some users.

Benelli M4

  • Barrel length: 18.5 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Semi-automatic
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 7.8 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 6 rounds

Benelli M4 is another excellent semi-automatic shotgun. Even though it’s similar to Beretta 1301, there are a few key differences. The Benelli M4 may have a shorter barrel, but it’s much heavier. This aspect is a double-edged sword.

Some users prefer the extra weight because it makes the weapon feel more stable in their hands. In addition, this does a fantastic job of dampening the effects of recoil.

Yet, other people think the gun becomes too heavy to handle.

Other than that, the M4 has a decent bullet capacity and is easy to use. However, to get full use out of it, you may need to buy additional parts. This adds a hefty cost to an already expensive shotgun.

Overall, this firearm is more suited for experienced shooters.



  • The shotgun offers minimal recoil due to its large size.
  • It has an extra pistol grip for stability.


  • The overall price with additional parts is quite expensive.


Armscor VR80

  • Barrel length: 20 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Semi-automatic
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 7.3 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 6 rounds

The Armscor VR80 comes with many unique features. Most noticeably, the shotgun has a pistol grip and a stock that connects in the back.

This creates a thumbhole, which makes transporting and storing the gun simpler.

The main difference between the VR80 and the Benelli M4 is the barrel length. VR80 has a much longer barrel. Yet, the differences don’t end there.

VR80 is lighter in weight but bulkier in design. For this reason, it isn’t the easiest to use. There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to this shotgun.

In addition, the VR80 reloads much faster, which means you can fire more frequently.

Besides that, the weapon has adjustable sights and a reliable trigger.



  • The VR80 has a thumbhole that makes moving it around easier.
  • The trigger mechanism is incredibly reliable.


  • There’s a learning curve, which makes it less suitable for novice shooters.

Hatsan Escort PS

  • Barrel length: 28 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Semi-automatic
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 7 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 5 rounds

If you’re looking for a shotgun on a budget, you may want to check out the Hatsan Escort PS. The low price isn’t an indication of quality.

In fact, the main attraction of this weapon is its durable build. It can handle a lot of wear and tear.

Yet the smooth black finishing is prone to scratches or dents.

Escort PS’s barrel is a little long for home defense, but it’ll still get the job done. The extra length can come in handy if you live on a large estate or have an open floor plan.

In addition, the stock comes with a rubber butt pad to absorb some of the recoil force.

However, this firearm will need constant maintenance. You have to clean out the gun and oil the barrels regularly to make sure it functions normally.



  • The sturdy build can handle plenty of wear and tear.
  • It comes with a rubber butt pad to absorb some of the recoil force.


  • The shotgun requires frequent upkeep to maintain its performance.

Iron Horse Firearms Sentry 12

  • Barrel length: 18.5 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 6.5 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 5 rounds

If you’re looking for a heavy hitter, the Iron Horse Firearms Sentry 12 may be the way to go. This weapon has a short barrel and is lightweight.

That means maneuvering the gun around shouldn’t be an issue. On top of that, it has a similar size to the Kel-Tec KSG.

When it comes to maintenance, the Sentry 12 is a breeze. You can swap out the barrels and field strip the firearm, all without any tools.

Aside from that, the gun offers ambidextrous controls. So, you can use it with both your right and left hand.

The major downfall of the Sentry 12 is the limited number of rounds. In addition, while this is a possibility for upgrades, very few mods are available.



  • You can maneuver the shotgun effortlessly.
  • You don’t need any tools to disassemble the shotgun and put it back together.


  • There aren’t a lot of mods available for this model.

Mossberg Maverick 88 Slug

  • Barrel length: 24 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 7 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 6 rounds

This is the second Mossberg weapon on our list. The 590A1 and the Maverick 88 Slug have a lot of features in common, with a few minor changes.

First up, the obvious difference is the barrel length. Maverick 88’s barrel is a full five and a half inches longer than 590A1.

Because of this, the Maverick shoots out with more force. It’s also slightly easier to aim since you have a longer pipe to guide you.

However, in close quarters, this may turn into a disadvantage.

Another major is the price point. The 590 series is generally quite a bit more expensive than the Maverick version.

Pump-action shotguns are usually a little slower than semi-automatic ones. Yet, with this shotgun, you won’t be able to tell.

Maverick 88 offers seamless reload so you can fire faster.



  • The longer barrel provides more forceful shots.
  • It has a seamless pump-action mechanism for quicker reloading.


  • The barrel may be too long for small homes

Stoeger M3000 Freedom Defense

  • Barrel length: 18.5 in.
  • Support: Standard stock
  • Mode of operation: Semi-automatic
  • Gauge: 12
  • Weight: 6.6 lb.
  • Bullet capacity: 7 rounds

Stoeger M3000 Freedom Defense is an all-around amazing shotgun. It offers reliable performance at an incredibly reasonable price point.

The most comparable firearm to this one is Mossberg 590A1. However, it’s relatively more compact, which makes it a great choice for beginners.

In addition, the Freedom Defense operates on a semi-automatic system. So, it’ll be able to fire more shots per minute than the 590A1.

Besides that, the Stoeger has a ghost-ring sight to ensure you’re aiming true.

With the Freedom Defense, you’ll get a shim kit to help you take care of your gun. That should include all the tools you need to clean and maintain your firearm.

On its own, this shotgun is pretty impressive. Yet, with a few additions, this weapon can become incredibly versatile.

The Freedom defense is entirely customizable to suit your specific needs. Still, the more features you add, the more expensive the gun will be.



  • Its compact design is great for beginners.
  • The shotgun comes with a shim kit and ghost-ring sight.


  • The recoil can be heavy.

What to Look For in Home Defense Shotguns

Shotguns come in many shapes and sizes, so it can be a little tricky to pick one. For that reason, let’s take a look at some factors that can help you decide.

Shotgun Barrel

As we mentioned, barrel length can affect your maneuverability. However, it can also impact how well you shoot.

Generally, shorter barrels tend to be a little less accurate. So, if you’re new to guns, a longer shaft will make hitting your target slightly easier.

For home defense, you want to find a happy medium of motion and accuracy. A safe bet is a shotgun barrel between 18 and 25 inches.

Anything larger may be too difficult to wave around in the dark.

Shotgun Mode of Operation

Shotguns are capable of two different modes of operation. This will decide how you shoot, eject, and reload bullets.

Jumping in, the first type is a pump-action shotgun, which is the standard for many shotguns. Once you shoot a bullet, you have to pump a lever to reload the gun.

The second type is semi-automatic action. As you can probably guess, that means the gun auto-loads bullets when you shoot a round.

Pump shotguns are usually more reliable than semi-automatic, and more affordable. However, they reload slower, which may be a problem against multiple assailants.

Home Defense Shotgun Gauge

The gauge describes the inner diameter of the shotgun barrel and ranges from 10 to 28. The smaller the number, the larger the barrel size.

That means a 10-gauge will use the largest bullets available for shotguns. Bigger bullets have a wider range and offer more power. Yet, they also have the most recoil.

For home defense, 12-gauge is the ideal size. It’ll provide you with enough range to stay as far away from the intruders as possible. In addition, the recoil shouldn’t be too bad if you need to fire a second shot.

Shotgun Shell Type for Home Defense

There are three types of shotshells you can load into your shotgun. We classify them depending on the number of pellets inside.

Birdshot has the highest number of pellets, which means it has the largest field of damage. This is because once you shoot the bullet, the tiny projectiles will spray in every direction.

Buckshots are similar to birdshot but with fewer pellets. Since there are few projectiles, they can be quite large and pack quite a punch.

Slugs are the shotgun equivalent of regular bullets. They’re solid pieces that fly out of the gun in a single shot.

These are the most deadly types of shotshells, but they’re also quite tricky to aim.

Supports for Your Shotgun

When dealing with a live weapon, you have to be in complete control the entire time. This includes aiming the gun and recovering from recoil.

Shotguns come in two main shapes, standard and pistol grip. The standard variety offers a longer shoulder stock that can absorb a lot of the recoil.

This is crucial when dealing with a 12-gauge. Still, pistol grips offer more maneuverability and are easier to aim and shoot.

You may have to test both types at a shooting range first before you make a decision.


Choosing the best shotgun for home defense can be a daunting task. To help you make this decision, there are a few factors you should consider.

Start by picking out which type of shotgun you’d prefer. Then, you can move on to more technical details.

First off, you want a barrel length between 18 and 25 inches. On top of that, it’s best to use a 12 gauge weapon for home security.

Finally, the mode of operation and type of support will play a major role in your decision.

For beginners, the Stoeger M3000 or the Armscor VR80 is an excellent place to start. As for advanced users, check out the Benelli M4.