I'm a huge advocate for a home defense shotgun. This posting will be about my personal home defense shotgun which I named "The Death Machine." I personally feel like when choosing a specific firearm for one purpose, there is a few different factors that you should consider. When choosing mine, I factored in Length of pull, Barrel length, Sights, capacity, easy of loading, carry load, lights, and weight. You can buy any shotgun off the shelf, load it up, and set it next to the bed and call it a home defense gun. I went a little further with it. I considered my options and shot all the major competitors shotguns. I love the Mossberg 590A1 but I knew I was going to be adding a lot of weight to it and it's pretty heavy already. I don't like the safety located on top of the frame either. I prefer the remington 870 for the weight and the safety location. The argument on Remington VS Mossberg VS everything else is an entirely different argument altogether and will be another blog in the future.
That brings me to my description:
•Remington 870 Express Tactical 12 gauge
•Magpul SGA buttstock
•Magpul SGA fore grip
•Magpul rail sections
•Mesa Tactical 8 rd side carrier
•Blackhawk tactical buttstock 5 rd carrier
•stock bead sight
I'm short, and I have short arms. So whether I went with a Remington or Mossberg this had to be addressed. I chose the Magpul SGA buttstock for the Remington 870. This is an excellent option for my length of pull as it sits about 12" from shoulder to trigger. Also with the large 1" rubber butt pad you can manage recoil on any load very easily. The angle of the actual grip on the stock is perfect for me. Shouldering the weapon system from low or high ready positions is easy and effortless, even with a "tactical vest" or bulky clothing on. I also noticed that when I shoulder the weapon with a back pack on there is no issue at all. I would highly recommend this stock to anyone as it is adjustable from 11.5" to 14" in length.
The next factor for me when choosing my home defense firearm was how much ammo I can carry at one time. I'm not expecting to get in a firefight with an intruder, but I'd rather have too much than too little ammo. This Mesa Tactical side saddle carries 8 rounds and is very well built out of steel. It holds my rounds very tight and has never dropped a shell even under extreme recoil from slugs. I keep 2 extra birdshot rounds, four 00 buckshot rounds, and 2 slugs in this 8 round carrier. All are very easily identified for me by color and length of brass.
Remember when I said I'd rather have too much than too little? Well I meant it. I keep 6 rounds in the magazine tube, 1 round in the chamber , 8 rounds on the side in a Mesa Tactical side saddle, and 5 more rounds in a Blackhawk tactical slip on ammo carrier. That's 20 rounds. I can pick up my firearm and have 20 rounds on hand. I know it weighs a lot. The total package weighs in at 9.14 pounds. But weight was a factor I decided wasn't as important as this firearm sits at the ready next to the bed. Now if this weapon needed to go out of the house in a survival situation, I have a Magpul SGA sling mount I can put on in minutes to carry the weapon on a sling. For this I choose a Magpul MS3 single/double point sling. I'm not a spokesperson or anything for Magpul. I just feel like their equipment is proven and therefore I trust it with my life and my families' lives. The ammo I keep in my slip on carrier is made by Hornady I believe and has a 1" slug and 3 buckshot rounds in each shell. I call it the "overkill 5 pack" because those as well as the 1" slugs in the side saddle are a last resort option against an intruder. I have learned how to do quick ammo changeovers in case I need to switch from one type of ammo to another.
Again for the fore grip on my shotgun I chose Magpul's SGA line. It's lighter, stronger and has as many options as their line of fore grip acessories for the AR15 platform. I custom built a full length rail on my fore grip using Magpul plastic rail sections to fit both my AFG2 and my Streamlight TLR-1 on the fore grip. For those of you that are unsure of the AFG2's comfort under recoil, I have never had a problem with it. In fact it helps me cycle the pump a little faster by sitting securely in my hand. As stated, I have a Streamlight TLR-1 attached. It's a relatively inexpensive light option with 160 lumens of light and a momentary switch. I am very pleased with the performance of the combination I have on the pump of the shotgun.
Probably the main reason to use a shotgun for home defense is the ammunition options. Whether you choose to use birdshot, buckshot, slugs, or non lethal ammunition in your firearm depends on where you live and what your are doing with your shotgun. Personally I keep seven rounds of 7 1/2 birdshot in my home defense shotgun. The reasons are simple. The longest hallway in my home is 22 feet. Using range tests I feel comfortable with my weapon's shot pattern at 22 feet and under with birdshot. At that distance, I can get every single pellet encased in the shell inside of a 12" by 18" target. I use 12" by 18" because that is roughly the size of an average persons torso. Also the reason I use birdshot instead of 00 buckshot is because I have done range tests studying accidental misses of pellets inside if my shells. Buckshot is far more devistating and dangerous to anything beyond the target than birdshot is. I live in an apartment and I refuse to be the cause of an accidental death in the next apartment over due to my lack of study on the effects if different types of ammunition.
Sights and barrel length
I stuck with the standard bead sight on this gun. I decided to use the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" theory. I happen to like the "belly sight" that comes stock on these. It stays centered, doesn't take batteries, and is as accurate as the shooter. I'm not against red dot sights or anything like that, I just feel this is a more reliable option for my personal use. I also took the shortest legal barrel length I could since my apartment hallways are only 40 inches wide.
So there it is. My home defense shotgun. Nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done and is reliable. If you have any questions or comment please leave them below and I'll respond as soon as possible.
"I'm a man who enjoys power and fire, but I enjoy firepower more than I enjoy either of those"