These tactical shotguns won't let you down when your life is on the line.
Most experts agree, a home defense shotgun is the one firearm you should own if you own no other guns. A good semi-auto or pump-action shotgun is easy to load, aim and use in a pinch. When it comes to getting proficient, they're also much easier to master than a handgun.
Firearms manufacturers have responded in turn by continually introducing different tactical shotguns specifically designed with defense in mind.
Because if someone breaks in and law enforcement is still minutes away, you or your family's life may be on the line. These are some of the best shotguns for that purpose.
Stoeger Model P3000
One huge benefit shotguns have over handguns is the price. A quality self-defense handgun will often set you back at least $500. A good self-defense shotgun is much cheaper. The Stoeger 12 gauge starts at just $249. This gun can chamber up to 3-inch magnum shells. This shotgun has a 4+1 capacity (four in the magazine tube and one in the chamber). The blade front sight is fixed and easy to get on target quickly. The barrel length is just 18.5 inches and has a fixed cylinder choke. At just 40 inches overall length, this is gun short, light and easy to handle. For an extra $50, Stoeger also offers this gun with a pistol grip for even more control and accuracy.
This semi-automatic shotgun is top of the line as far as self-defense purposes go. Benelli offers several different variations of this shotgun with or without a pistol grip and differing finishes. This gun uses an auto-regulating gas-operated system to cycle up to 3-inch shells. It has a 5+1 capacity. These guns are already pre-drilled and tapped so you can mount an optic of choice. However, the M4 comes with ghost ring sights standard. There is also a picatinny rail for mounting flashlights or other accessories. It features an 18.5-inch barrel and comes with four choke tubes standard. This is one of the more expensive options on the market, but you're getting your money's worth with this package.
Remington 870 Express Tactical
The model 870 is already one of the best hunting shotguns on the planet as far as reliability and price point goes. The tactical version takes the classic pump shotgun design and pairs it with a shortened 18.5-inch barrel and an increased magazine capacity of 6+1 rounds for less reloading. The receiver is pre-tapped and drilled for optics, but you can get along just fine with the XS ghost ring sights. This gun features a synthetic stock and forend and a picatinny rail for more customization options. Sling swivel studs all you to quickly attach or remove a sling in a pinch. The 870 is a solid and affordable defensive shotgun at $529.
Mossberg 500 Tactical
I like to put the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 side-by-side because they are very comparable guns. I own both myself and both are great at what they do. This is the tactical version of the classic 500 design. It has an increased capacity of 7+1 rounds, a fiber optic front sight to help with low light conditions and a ghost ring rear. It has a full-length bottom picatinny rail for accessories. A couple of things this gun has going for it over the 870 is the pistol grip and a six-position stock that can be adjusted quickly to each shooter's frame. This gun is also significantly lighter than the 870. The 500 Tactical comes in at a light 6.75 pounds and is available in either 12 or a smaller 20-gauge model.
Beretta 1301 Tactical
While the Beretta name may be better known for their bird hunting guns, the 1301 is a fine semi-automatic shotgun with great ergonomics. This gun is gas-operated to cycle up to 3-inch shells and features an oversized charging handle and safety button. Oh, and the safety is reversible, making this an ambidextrous firearm. The front sight is interchangeable, and the rear is a ghost ring. The barrel is 18.5 inches long. It also has the standard picatinny rails, sling attachments and other features you'd expect from a tactical gun. Beretta makes a few different finish variations of the tactical model of this gun including the "Marine" version which has a coating and finish designed specifically for use in wet environments.
Savage 320 Security
This pump action shotgun tends to fly under the radar a bit as far as tactical guns go, but Savage Firearms offers five solid variations for this gun and all of them have an MSRP under $300. These guns have a 5+1 capacity and feature an 18.5-inch carbon steel barrel, black matte synthetic stocks and forends. They're also light at just 6.6 pounds for the standard security bead sight model. Savage also offers this gun with a pistol grip and ghost ring sights. The one with the most features, the 320 Security Ghost includes those plus a heat shield and one-piece rail for accessories. Now everyone can afford a reliable tactical shotgun with all the bells and whistles of more expensive guns.
FN SLP MK1
This is another 12 gauge shotgun that seems to be forgotten often in discussions about the best tactical guns. This gas-operated semi-auto shotgun has a generous 8+1 capacity and an overall length of just 43 inches. It can handle up to 3-inch ammo and is available in either a standard or pistol grip stock configuration. This one features adjustable rifle sights and a thick recoil pad to keep you on target longer. The receiver features a weaver-pattern accessory rail. The barrel of this gun is slightly longer at 22 inches for anyone looking for a little more accuracy. It takes standard Invector series choke tubes.
This company has worked hard the last several years to set themselves apart in the shotgun home defense market and it shows with the variations offered in the 590 tactical line. There are guns like the 590A1 which offers an 8+1 capacity, XS ghost ring sights, picatinny rails and more in a standard shotgun package. However, they also offer the 590 "Chainsaw" model which is only 31 inches long and features a "chainsaw" style handle attached to the forend. For even more versatility, there's the Flex 590 which has a six-position adjustable stock. A large secondary market for 590 accessories and upgrades has also emerged which means this gun can be customized with different stocks, slides, rails, grips and more.