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Home Protection - hand held shotgun?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by ACbutch, Feb 3, 2007.

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  1. ACbutch

    ACbutch Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    Atlantic City
    I'm looking for some advice on the best shotgun to use for home protection.
    (pump action or semi automatic?)

    There's been a few home breakins in my area as of late, middle of the night with some terrible things happening to the innocent folks that were at home.

    I was thinking of a light weight handheld pump action 12 or 20 guage shotgun. I've never owned or shot one and would appreciate any advice available here. Your thoughts on if this is the right direction to go and what brand and model, price range, etc. you would suggest.

    Your input would really be appreciated...

    Thanks a lot in advance
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    Welcome to THR!

    WRT your question, No. All the problems of the handgun and shotgun with none of the benefits.
  3. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Member

    Aug 20, 2006
    Chairborne HQ, MA :(
    Do you mean a single handed shotgun?

    Well, you wouldnt want that. Best bet would be a pump action such as a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500 with an 18" barrell.

    Do you have an FID/CCW already?
  4. The-Fly

    The-Fly Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Northern Colorado
    Go with a normal shotgun, avoid mall ninja type stuff.

    pump's are going to be a lot cheaper, and they tend to be less picky about ammo. Some of the semi auto shotguns get bitchy with certain types of ammo, like the reduced recoil buckshot thats all the rage lately.

    On the other hand, some of the semi auto's (like the gas operated ones) cut down on the recoil due to the mechanics of the gun. Plus you can achieve a little higher of a firing rate with one.

    If you go the pump route, the remington 870 and mossberg 500 are both very common and highly reliable. You should be able to find an 870 with an 18" barrel and +2 shot extension for under $300 (mine ran me about $280). Load it up with any major brand buckshot, and your good to go.

    One last thing, what ever you get, PRACTICE with it. You can buy some cheap birdshot at Walmart to save on ammo costs, but fire that sucker (I'd say at least 50-100 rounds) until your comfortable with how it works.
  5. TFin04

    TFin04 Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Buy a "defender" pump 12ga from any of the well known makers, Remington, Mossberg, Winchester, Maverick, etc. Any of them will be reliable for you. My personal gun is a Mossberg pump, but that's just because I got a nice deal on it recently.

    Bring said firearm home and rack the slide quite a few times to get everything broken in. Disassemble, clean, rack slide a few more times. Run a couple boxes of rounds through it to familiarize yourself with the gun and keep it loaded by your bed.

    How are these home invasions happening? Window or door entry? If door, buy some of those stoppers that go on the floor and create a siren sound when the door is kicked open. I'm in a very deep sleep at night and probably would not wake up to just the door breaking.

    Rack the slide on said shotgun and handle your business the way you see fit.

    Stay safe and alert out there, good luck!
  6. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I would suggest you buy either a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500 because the price is right. If it's for HD only the buy the shotgun with an 18" barrel. Then buy yourself a few boxes of #4 Buckshot and you're good to go. IMO #4 Buckshot is just right in your home but some people would rather use 00 Buck. Also, use 2.75" shells for HD since they produce a lighter recoil than the heavy 3" stuff so you can re-acquire the target faster. (if necessary)

    A pump shotgun is fine and there's no need for a semi-auto, besides, if you have to use it (God forbid) you wouldn't want an expensive shotgun taken by the Police and locked away while they sort things out.

    You might want to look into an alarm if things have been bad in your neighborhood lately. Most BG's would rather hit a softer target and if they do break in anyway, you will have better warning that being awakened by the BG busting into your bedroom.

    WOW, when I started to write my answer there were no other answers. I took so long there were several there when I posted. Sorry for repeating what the others have already said!! LOL
  7. Charles S

    Charles S Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    North East Texas
    I personally would choose a handheld shotgun over a mounted one. There is a lot of issues with having a mounted shotgun in your house, where you mount it. how you explain it to your family and friends, and how you explain it to the police when they find your adversary in front of mounted weapon.

    LOL, just kidding.

    If money is no object, look into the Remington 1187P you won't go wrong.

    If money is an object look into any good used Remington 870 or Mossber 500.
  8. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Mar 26, 2004
    AL, NC
    Welcome to THR, ACbutch. Sorry to hear things are not going so good in your neighborhood. Thinking about a shotgun is a reasonable response to news of unwelcome visitors in the middle of the night.

    But just buying a shotgun won't help a lot though, if you don't learn to shoot it effectively. If by 'hand held' you mean a shotgun with a pistol grip only rear stock, that's a tough approach to take if you're just learning to shoot shotguns. Best bet by far is to stick with a conventional type shoulder stock, and learn to shoot that configuration. Then you can start experimenting with other options and see if you can do better than with a conventional gun. Chances are, the pistol grip stock will hurt more than it helps.

    You will want to be careful not to get a shotgun that is TOO light. Remember, the rules of physics still apply, and the lighter a gun is the more it is going to belt you back when you shoot it. I would suggest you start with an 18- 20" barreled repeating shotgun, pump action, in standard 'riot gun' configuration, from one of the major American manufacturers- Remington, Mossberg, Ithaca or FN/Winchester. As long as you have no physical disabilities you should be able to handle such a gun, and it should not be a problem to shoot if it is properly fitted to you. Most of the time that means making sure the stock is the right length. New shotguns are often like new pants- they are too long and need to be shortened a bit.

    Deciding on a gun is far less a problem than the process of learning to shoot it. Any good pumpgun will work fine, if you do your part. Remington supplies most (about 90%) of the law enforcement shotguns in the country by far, and the Remington 870 has been around since about 1950- there are millions and millions of them in circulation. It happens to be my favorite, I've been shooting them for about four decades now.

    A lot of folks like Mossbergs too. They're good guns, a little lighter in weight since they have an aluminum receiver instead of the steel receiver of the 870. Mossberg's Model 500 is more often seen, the military contract Model 590 is IMHO a better design, since it's easier to clean the tubular magazine on the 590.

    Ithaca's Model 37/Model 87 has been in and out of production several times now. Right now the company is back in business, I hope it stays- the design is an American classic. Ithacas are all steel guns too, but they tend to be a little lighter than other all steel designs. They have a long history of solid performance in the sporting field, with law enforcement, and on the battlefield.

    Winchester's Model 1300 went away when the company closed its doors recently, however the same design is still in production as the FN Police Pump Shotgun. It's an aluminum-receiver gun, out of the box it has a lot of features that make it appealing as a defensive shotgun- an 18" barrel with rifle sights, interchangeable choke tubes, a shortened stock with a recoil pad, and a durable finish.

    It would be hard to go wrong with any of the above, the big thing is to learn how to use whatever you get effectively. A shotgun is not some sort of magical talisman that will keep evil at bay by its mere presence. It is up to the shooter to do that if necessary. But that comes after you get the gun.

    My advice is to find a friend or relative who knows shotguns and let them teach you the basics, then get some hands-on experience with different makes/models. It's easier to make an informed decision after you get some trigger time on different guns. It may take some looking on your part to find someone helpful, check around at different sporting goods stores and gun clubs too while you are looking for beginner level help.

    Check with the NRA to see if anyone near you is offering classes ( http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/basictraining.asp ). See if there are hunter safety classes available near you- you may have no interest in hunting, but the class will give you a good grounding in gun safety. You will have to be proactive in getting started, as much as I hate to say it far too few people will really go out of their way to help a new shooter get started.

    I wish you good luck in the process, don't be shy about coming back here if we can help from the other side of your monitor.

    Stay safe,

  9. ravencon

    ravencon Member

    May 5, 2005
    The responses to questions about choosing a HD shotguns always include a fair number of responses that assert personal opinions as fact--"Get a pump action, they're more reliable than a semi-auto". I suspect that people like to believe that the choice they've made is the "best" for everyone.

    As others have pointed out, there are many factors that should be considered in choosing a HD shotgun and for many a good pump action is the only realistic choice because of the cost.

    However, the bare assertion that a pump action is more reliable is doubtful. A high quality semi-auto using quality and personally tested ammo may well be more reliable when it really counts--in a high stress, home invasion scenario. Under such circumstances it would be very easy to forget to cycle the action or to short stroke it.

    Edit: rereading this post I think I come across as being critical of responses on this thread. That's not what I meant to do. The pro-pump responses herein have been well stated. I'm thinking of things I hear at gun stores and in magazine articles. BTW, I am not anti-pump action. I have a Mossberg 590, though I'd like to add a Benelli M4 to the "family".
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
  10. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    Here's my criteria of what a good defensive shotgun should be.

    A repeater, of 20 to 12 gauge, using common ammo.

    It has to pass the Ayoob Test. IOW, it has to fire 200 rounds of DUTY ammo glitch free.

    It has to have at least 4 rounds ready and be capable of fast and glitchproof reloading.

    It has to be as heavy as the operator can handle to help reduce the kick. For me, that's 8 to 9 1/2 lbs.

    It has to be less than 46" in length.

    It has to have a usable stock and decent pad.

    It needs a sling and method of attachment.

    It has to have a bead, open or peep sight.

    It has to have a decent trigger and function with at least one common brand of slug to a level of accuracy of 3" at 50 yards from a rest.

    Stuff like lights, tritium sights, optical sights, and bayonets are not essential but may help complete the mission.

    Pic rails, lazers, M-16 style stocks, etc, fall more in the Cool Stuff pile.

    Note that the terms, Pump, 870, and Tactical have not appeared previously in this post....
  11. frez

    frez member

    Feb 4, 2007
    As I mentioned in another post, I'm considering the product from www.housegun.com

    Wondering if anybody gave it a shot.
  12. Charles S

    Charles S Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    North East Texas
    Dave McCracken,

    Excellent post.


    I personally would pass on that product, wider patterns are not always better, louder has its disadvantages also. A shotgun is an intimidating weapon, I really don't know how much of an additional factor this product would be.

    I would rather count on my preperation and training than the possibility of someone else being intimidated.
  13. Guntalk

    Guntalk Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    Even though this is in the shotgun section, if you are simply looking for the best home defense tool, you may want to walk past the shotgun rack and get a carbine/rifle.

    Many police departments are switching from the shotgun to the carbine, and some self-defense schools now advise the carbine (.223) over the shotgun for home defense.

    More ammo. Less recoil. With the right ammo, less pass-through. And did I mention more ammo?

    A home invasion in Houston a couple of weeks ago involved SIX criminals breaking in, holding a young boy on the ground at gun point, etc.

    How much ammo is enough? As much as you need without running out.

    Just one more perspective to consider.
  14. Striker

    Striker Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio
  15. strambo

    strambo Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    I like the fact that my 18" 870 patterns 2 1/2" at 10 yards w/ Hornady LR TAP 00 Buck. I certainly wouldn't want a super wide spread. Peripheral hits aren't gonna stop an attacker. Only center mass hits will, which means you have to center even that super wide pattern. If the pattern needs to be centered...it might as well be tight to keep all the hits in the vitals.

    This is an invention (that cost as much as a shotgun!!) to help a person's "luck" by getting peripheral hits when you would have otherwise missed. Hitting center mass with a shoulder mounted firearm isn't difficult at in-house distances. Just need some practice. $250 will buy a lot of shotgun practice ammo. Heck, it could pay for a 1 day training course & ammo.
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