We each have our own unique situation dictating which home defense weapon works best for us. Some gun owners have kids. Some live in apartments. Some have disabilities. Whatever works best for you weapon wise is what I recommend you stick to—be it shotgun, revolver, SBR or whatever.
The best gun for home defense is one that, when handled safely and competently, provides peace-of-mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a handgun, shotgun or rifle, the trick is knowing what each gun does well and what it doesn’t do well.
If you’re a gun owner, you’ve probably heard someone tell you to “just get yourself a shotgun for home defense.” The fact is, a shotgun is an ideal choice for a home defense firearm for many gun owner and there are great reasons for this;
- Avoidance of over-penetration
- Slightly less demanding accuracy standards in less-than-perfect shooting conditions
- And mighty stopping power
Practically every conversation about home defense shotguns also includes mention of that ominous racking sound - although no one should be depending on sound effects to scare off intruders, when real force may be necessary.
Like anything else associated with the word “tactical” these days, a plethora of add-ons are available for even defense shotguns, not all of which are really useful.
Like any weapon system, there are accessories that can enhance the platform. Below are a few of the ones that deserve consideration.
If there is one universal truth when it comes to a home defense weapon, it would be this: Make sure you’re well practiced with your home defense choice.
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TOP DEFENSIVE SHOTGUN ACCESSORIES
If you look at some of the gun catalogs, you'll find that most repeating defensive shotguns come out of the box weighing 7 to 9 pounds. This is already pretty heavy and we don't want to make the shotgun even heavier by adding a bunch of junk to it.
So the smart thing to do is to give serious thought and study to just what accessories you are pretty sure you can't live without.
In general, I’ve found that every little thing that hangs from your shotgun is at risk of getting hung up on something, especially under duress - in the average home, there are plenty of doorknobs, banister spindles and chair backs that can reach out and grab your shotgun just when you need to aim it most.
There is an upside to this accessory because I can envision a possible scenario where you may need to free the hands to hold a child and call the police at the same time. The shotgunner will rarely need to wrap up in a sling, as rifle marksmen do. What the defensive shotgunner needs, is some sort of carrying strap.
During a defensive encounter, there may be reasons that you need your hands free and simply laying down your shotgun might not be the very best of ideas. The ability to slip it over the shoulder on a carrying sling is really a handy benefit.
Being able to navigate space hands-free is a major asset; however, it’s also a good idea to keep your gun with you. A sling lets you do both.
Blackhawk Shotshell Shotgun Sling
- Surprisingly Comfortable
- Fully-Adjustable Non-Slip Nylon Material
- Durable Spring Hooks
- Holds 15 Extra Shells
- Insanely Affordable
2. Ammo Carrier
The typical shotgun will hold five or fewer shells in the magazine. Even six rounds may not be enough in dire situations where multiple attackers or poor marksmanship have created the need for more ammo.
So, having a few extra rounds handy is especially useful. Due to the loading method in many shotguns, the shooter can keep the gun topped off after shooting just a few rounds, or even feed in specialty rounds when needed.
One advantage of an external ammo storage system is being able to organize, and see ammunition types in relation to their position on the gun.
Methods vary, but some defenders like to have one type of ammo, like buckshot, in the magazine, and birdshot ready in the most available loading position - perhaps slugs will be in the rearmost position - storing the shells with primer up or down, or a combination thereof, can also help indicate ammo type in a high-pressure situation.
Where will more ammo go? As with slings, there are choices. I’ll eliminate things like belt-mounted ammo storage for this discussion since this is about ammo that’s needed in fast order—so it needs to be in or on the gun.
One of the easiest methods of carrying extra ammo is buying an elastic or neoprene sleeve that goes over the shotgun stock. These sleeves will have a number of loops sewn in that allows the shooter to have five extra shells on hand.
Similar to a cloth cartridge holder, but possibly requiring some modification, is a sidesaddle-type shell carrier. These can be mounted anywhere from the buttstock to the receiver, depending on design, and price can vary from $25 to more than $100, depending on material and capacity.
**Left-handed shooters should note that many cartridge storage products are made with a right-hand bias, and may not be used without modifications.
TacStar Shotgun Rail Mount With Sidesaddle
- Fits Remington 870, 1100, & 11-87 (As well as Mossberg 500 & 590 Shotguns - No gunsmithing needed)
- Top Picatinny rail can mount a variety of accessories yet designed to sit just high enough to allow continued use of the shotgun's bead sight
- Lightweight Aluminum
- Low profile design
Target identification saves lives, and a tactical bright light can actually deter the use of lethal force. A defensive light on a is one of the most important upgrades that are required for a home-defense or tactical shotgun. If you have a flashlight on your shotgun you can use it day and night. If you can’t identify the target, you can’t shoot it.
The handful of tragedies and more near-tragedies that happen annually due to failure to identify the target are inexcusable. We’re talking about a gun that you’re likely to use in the dark hours.
Light is a must for identifying your target. It also might serve as a navigational or signaling aid, but this kind of use should be minimized since, with a weapon-mounted light, the muzzle will point at everything you light up - a shaky proposition from both safety and legal viewpoints; the latter especially applies when outside of your residence.
Wouldn’t a nice flashlight do just as well?
Perhaps, but most people aren’t prepared to wield both a flashlight and a long gun while making accurate shots. So a gun-mounted light makes sense and is the obvious choice. Though it cannot avoid the muzzling issue so keep in mind one of the important rules of firearm safety - always keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you’re ready to shoot.
- Lumens: 800 lumens
- Weight: 4.18 ounces
- Dimensions: 1.44 x 3.39 x 1.77 inches
- Material: Aluminum
- Anodized aluminum build construction for durability
Shotguns are pretty good at hitting things with only a general sense of aim, but if you want to hit things consistently (or hit the right things), it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra help in the aim department. The idea that you can’t miss with a shotgun is one of the big myths about this weapon - you got to aim the gun like any other, and that means using the sights.
Most shotguns come with a simple bead sight. In general, there is nothing wrong with a bead sight. It works fine for buck/birdshot and out to 100 yards, it’s effective for slugs. It’s not perfect though. Beads are often quite small, and they can be difficult to see, especially in low light, or if you are in a hurry the bead can work, but they are not the end all be all for shotguns.
The majority of weapons can benefit from upgraded sights and the shotgun is no different.
The Trijicon RMR® Type 2 Adjustable LED Sight
- Available in three different dot sizes, the Trijicon RMR® Type 2 Adjustable LED features eight brightness settings, two of which are night vision-compatible.
- Easy-to-use buttons on the sides of the optic allow the user to adjust the illumination brightness, toggle between manual and automatic modes, and power down the RMR for storage.
- The automatic mode functions the same as the Trijicon RMR® Type 2 LED version.
If a manual mode has been chosen, the RMR will remain in manual mode for 16.5 hours following the last push of a button. After 16.5 hours, the optic will default back to the automatic mode so that the RMR will be ready for your next mission or task.
- Additionally, the user can lock out the buttons so that the RMR functions in automatic mode only.
- 1.0 MOA Dot:
The 1.0 MOA dot gives the user our smallest dot available in our Adjustable LED models. The fine dot allows for shooting more accurately at greater distances and is a great solution for long-range pistols, rifle, and carbine applications.
- 3.25 MOA Dot:
The 3.25 MOA dot is the most versatile and popular of all RMR dot sizes. The dot is small enough to allow accurate shooting at range while also being big enough to locate quickly.
- 6.5 MOA Dot:
The 6.5 MOA dot gives the user the biggest dot available in Adjustable LED-operated models. The bigger dot size gives the user the ability to locate the dot quickly, which is ideal for close-quarter engagements and is also a great solution for those with poor vision.
Hopefully, this has given you some ideas of choices to accessorize your home shotgun to make it safer and more effective for defensive use. And hopefully, none of us ever have to actually defend ourselves or family from a home invasion.
However, it is one of those things where it is better to have and not need than need and not have. So as responsible citizens, we need to always be protected as is our right.
While these gadgets are useful, having them is only half the equation. Practice, and with that, knowing how to use them in dim light, is equally valuable.
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Stop by our blog page as we continue our Home Defense Series and cover Top Rifles and Top Handguns for protecting your home. As we mentioned, the best gun for home defense is one that, when handled safely and competently, provides peace-of-mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a handgun, shotgun or rifle, the trick is knowing what each gun does well and what it doesn’t do well.