Question # 7 – What is the best shotgun for home defense?

June 3rd, 2006  

Hi, this is Ignatius Piazza, Founder and Director of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. I am answering the Top 10 questions as surveyed by our students on May 15, 2006.

Question Number 7: What is the best shotgun for home defense?

Well again, this is one of those questions that begs the answer, our motto:

“Any gun will do if you will do”

Meaning, we train you to be good with any type of weapon. You are the weapon, your firearm is just a tool.

But of course, there are some choices that are better than others. When it comes to a shotgun for home defense you really have to decide: “Do you want a pump shotgun or do you want a semi-automatic shotgun?”

In the semi-automatic category, there is really one leader and that is the Benelli shotgun that is made by H & K. The reason we like it is it’s just a work horse. The shotgun performs, it’s reliable, it’s easy to use, it’s ergonomically correct – and that’s what we see at Front Sight most in the semi-automatic variety.

In the pump shotgun you’re looking at the Remington 870 which has been a perennial favorite of law enforcement for years and years and years. The Mossberg 590A1 is also a pump shotgun that we see quite often at Front Sight and we also provide to students who are renting weapons from us.

So those are probably the two leaders that we see in pump shotguns.

The question that did not come up, but normally does is the discussion that moves further down the line is “what type of ammunition you put in the shotgun for home defense?”, and there’s a lot of discussion as to whether you should use bird shot or buck shot.

We recommend that you use buck shot and for the simple reason that if you have to use a weapon in your home to defend your life, job number one is to stop the attack. Stop the person who is attempting to injure you that causes you to have to shoot them and to do that you want buck shot. That is definitely going to create the greatest amount of stopping power.

Now, some people will say “Well, what if you miss?” – “What about the shot going through the wall and striking a non-combatant in another room?”

Again, we will tell you problem number one is to stop the attack. If you don’t solve problem number one you don’t have problem number two and if you have been trained you are going to be able to perform with that shotgun to levels that far exceed the law enforcement and military standards and you will be able to hit with that shotgun.

So, put buck shot in it – double-aught buck. Your choice; either pump or auto loader. We have given you the three that we like best; the Benelli, in semi-automatic, the Remington 870 or the Mossberg 590A1. Those are the three choices that we like best. Hopefully that answered your question, but certainly if you have any other questions feel free to email us at Thanks very much.

Entry Filed under: Dr. Ignatius Piazza,Front Sight.

Ignatius Piazza
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