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Best Tactical Shotgun for Home Defense

Shotguns are great: ammunition is affordable, shells come in a variety of loads for different situations, and can even be found in gas stations. One might even think that scatterguns were built for utility as they are often affordable, well-accommodated with accessories, and useful for hunting bird and bigger game, competitions, military applications, and home defense. With 2020 showing America that the 2nd Amendment is Alive and Well, a tactical shotgun is not only a good choice for home defense, but is something that can continually be useful when hunting season comes around.

Instead of making an argument over what firearm is best for home defense, we are concerned with what shotguns are a good fit for the job. For having such a long history in sport shooting, hunting, and competition, there's no shortage of options. The criteria are divided into minimum requirements and preferential options above and beyond. The term tactical is no marketing term here, but rather signifies specific features that extend beyond hunting applications.


  • 12 or 20 gauge, as these shells can come in slugs, buckshot, and birdshot.
  • Reliable Construction: no need for aftermarket parts or gunsmithing.
  • Able to hold at least 5 shells, plus 1 in the chamber, and have extension tubes available.
    • Caveat: Carry 8 shells, plus one in the chamber, or magazine fed.
  • Smooth Bore: No rifled barrels.

Additional Considerations:

  • Availability of aftermarket accessories such as tube extensions.
  • For Tube-Fed Shotguns: the design of the loading port.
  • Manufacturer options that include a built-in flashlight.
  • The ability to change out chokes.

Semi-Automatic Tactical Shotgun

For those who are familiar with 3-gun competitions, one of the most important features that make-or-break a good semi-automatic shotgun is the reliability of operating system across different loads, a factor which crosses over into tactical shotguns. A picky shotgun is not fun to deal with, and in 2020, each of these has a track record of having the least trouble across loads. A feature that has pollinated between both tactical and competition that we look for is oversized or large controls.


Mossberg 940 JKM Tactical Shotgun

Over 15 years of collaboration in the 940 JM PRO.

The long standing relationship between the historic manufacturer Mossberg and competition legends Jerry and Lena Miculek has recently evolved into the new short-stroke gas piston operated 940 JM Pro. Holding 9 shells in the tube, to a fully loaded capacity of 10, out of the box this tactical shotgun will be ready for competition or home defense. The bevelled loading port and oversized controls, domains once dominated by aftermarket gunsmithing and parts, make for an easy to manipulate shotgun in low-light and high stress environments. The street price of about $1050 is generous considering other shotguns in its genre typically demand quite a bit more cash.


tactical shotgun stoeger m3k

Though it is not new to 2020, the Stoeger M3K has a special place in the line up. Shown with an aftermarket tube extension.

This one takes a little extra thought and goes a long way with it. Another 3-gun style tactical shotgun, the M3K by Stoeger is clear about it's price. Owned by Benelli, the manufacturer of the world-leading tube-fed shotguns, the M3K shares the bombproof Inertia operating systems with the Benelli M2. Even when including a tube extension to push the capacity to 10, the cost can still rival that of many pump-action options, all while featuring large, easy to manipulate controls. While harder to find in the wild, Stoeger offers a freedom series complete with a 10 round tube for around $650.


dissident arms tactical shotgun

Don't mind the colors, these custom shotguns come in custom colors of your choice.

The question of best is tricky, often. Dissident Arms, however, produces a world-championship conquering tactical shotgun that earns the title through reliability and control. In the same way that a high-end 2011 should not be compared 1 for 1 with a well operating striker fired handgun, so it doesn't seem fair to put a Dissident arms right net to most Kalashnikov-inspired 12-guage shotguns. A king of the VEPR style builds, the KL-12 comes in around $3000, give or take additional accouterments, a price demanded of custom guns, constructed of meticulously honed parts.


ts12, the tavor of shotguns.

The TS12 is shorter than our 13-inch SBS, but with three times the capacity.

This space-age looking scattergun has made more than a splash. A gas-operated, multiple-tube, bullpup design based on the Tavor catches eyes, and demanded a longer review than expected. From our experience, this shotgun is slightly picker about ammunition, so it should not be considered an 11th-hour purchase. With a little testing across load types, all staying above the recommended 1250 fps mark, and ensuring smooth loading between shots, there's something to be said about this amalgamation of staple features, all in one small package.

Pump Action Tactical Shotgun

Putting political antics and Hollywood theatrics aside, there is a reason almost everyone we know has some form of pump action shotgun. Rugged, reliable, and with staples coming in at under $300 on the used market, these ubiquitous home defense tools are often the first firearm many acquire. Through accessories, old pump actions can be refreshed into a tactical shotgun for the price of a mid-grade handgun. With some good practice, proficiency fit for the field is within reach for anyone.


remington 870 magpul tactical shotgun

Magpul offers a complete suite of stock and pump replacements incase you are upgrading a classic Remington 870.

The legendary pump shotgun needs no introduction. From short-barreled breaching configurations, to full on futuristic looking modifications, to hunting fowl and bigger, redder meat, the Remington 870 is possibly the most American shotgun. It makes the list in 2020 not only on the grounds of its inherent qualities, but on the ever-expanding utility made possible by massive aftermarket support. While the original 870 is tube-fed, and would warrant an extension, now one can even find magazine-fed variants. Finally, for those who are concerned about recoil, Remington offers the same tube-fed models in 20 gauge.

Multiple models can be found at here. 

remington 870 DM magazine fed tactical shotgun

Coming in at an MSRP of $529, getting into a magazine fed shotgun costs about the same as a Glock.

Sorting out the options of things to add to an 870 to make it more advantageous for home defense, there are at least three places to get started. Most important will be adding some form of flashlight. After that, adding extra ammunition capacity thought a longer shell tube should rank highly, keeping in mind to change out the follower spring to maintain smooth loading. Finally, an optic can be added, especially if you are in a rural area, and are interested in hunting with the shotgun. Additional considerations to take in mind: replacement Remington 870 barrels are very easy to find, so if you have an extra long one useful for field use, consider having a second, shorter barrel to keep on the gun when local game is out of season.



kel tec ksg tactical shotgun

The surprisingly short KSG has less utility for hunting or in competition, but stands out as defensive tool.

Despite having been around for a few years, the KSG still stands out as a purely tactical shotgun. Even featured in John Wick, the bullpup, dual-tube, pump action scattergun packs a whole lot of shells into a small package, most notably the ability to hold 12+1 shells. The KSG spawned a whole generation of bullpup shotguns from Kel-Tec, including a KSG-25 with a capacity of up to 40+1 mini shells, or 24+1 full size 2 3/4 inch cartridges. Unfortunately the KS7 does not yet have our full endorsement. A standard KSG will cost around $750 and do not come with sights, but have all the rail-space for either AR-15 style irons or red dot optics.


Fabarm STF 12 folded

The shortened barrel and folding stock make for a very compact package. Note how tightly
the SureFire Mini Scout Light Pro tucks up against the forend.

Hailing from Italy, the Fabarms STF 12 is a pump-action shotgun for the modern era. Modular as far as barrel and tube length goes, with a folding stock and a quick detach rail, it can be modified to fit many situations: further enhancing the diversity of shotgun applications. When building a custom short-barreled shotgun, we found the platform an excellent tactical shotgun by virtue of it being excellent out of the box, with room to add icing to the cake.

Closing Off

From affordable to high end, from single-purpose to utilitarian, there is a tactical shotgun to fit the bill. Choosing what is best for one's home is an exercise of personal responsibility, but with a little survey of what comes recommended in 2020, there is a place to start. In some cases, a home defense shotgun may eventually find its way onto the competition field, but in times of concern, it is security that comes first.

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4 responses to “Best Tactical Shotgun for Home Defense”

  1. Jeff says:

    “12 or 20 gauge, as these shells can come in slugs, buckshot, and birdshot.”

    Like pretty much every other gauge.

  2. Gerald says:

    Please phone me 702-217-1707
    I’m ready to buy a pump short shotgun preferably 12 gauge. I see one in your advertising photo but no gauge or phone number to order. HELP!!!!

  3. Jacqueline saunders says:

    I would like to buy a shotgun for home defense which one is best

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