What do you know about the best home defense shotguns?
American history is filled with classic rivalries and debates: the chicken or the egg, Coke vs. Pepsi, vanilla vs. chocolate. I think that these debates are here to stay, but I would like to put one to rest: Mossberg 500 vs. Remington 870 for best American made home defense shotgun.
I will look at standard, out of the box shotguns. No pistol grips, sidesaddles, or EoTechs included. Some people may get mad, but that's okay. It means you care about something.
The Mossberg 500 is a pump-action shotgun manufactured by O.F. Mossberg & Sons. The complete series incases models 500, 505, 510, 535, and 590. It's very inexpensive at Cabela's and it's a beginning shotgun.
The Remington 870 is a pump-action shotgun manufactured by Remington Arms Company, LLC. It's very popular for sporting, self-defense, law enforcement, and militaries. 870's are competitively priced at Cabela's and is a great beginning shotgun.
I have been shooting both guns for years with thousands of rounds delivered through both and lots of game taken. I love both of these guns and would be happy to field any of them for game abroad or self-defense at home and everything in between. I would pick the Mossberg 500 if I were to choose one over the other. Keep reading before I lose half of my readers and get nasty comments below. It's not that I think that the Mossberg 500 is superior mechanically or has a slick paint job. Mossberg isn't paying me to say this, but it comes down to simple ergonomics.
The Mossberg 500 is easier to operate both right and left handed. It's pump release is a button behind the trigger guard on the left side. The safety is a visible, color-coated switch on top of the receiver in front of the stock.
The Remington 870 has a pump release lever in front of trigger guard and the safety button is operated from right to left behind the trigger. These two minute differences are what makes the Mossberg 500 slightly scoot ahead of the Remington 870 in my rankings, but not by much. Let me explain.
The pump release on the Mossberg 500 can be operated without sacrificing grip position on a standard stock, but on the Remington 870 you must let go of the grip and slide your shooting hand up the receiver to reach the pump release. However, the Achilles' heel of the Mossberg 500's pump release is that's difficult to operate with gloves on. Still, I think the placement is more natural.
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The Matter of the Safety
I think the Mossberg 500's safety is superior to the Remington 870's, because it's visible on the top of the receiver. The Mossberg has a thumb-operated switch above the grip. This set up is ambidextrous. A bright red color indicates the safety is off and it's right in front of the shooter's dominant eye. The safety on a Remington 870 is a small, side-to-side operated switch behind the trigger. I like the top mounted safety of the Mossberg 500.
Having a shotgun for home defense is very important and picking the right one is up to you. Take the time to compare specifications and get testimonials. Comment below on your favorite home defense shotgun.