Prepper Guns: Why a Shotgun should be part of your Home Defense Arsenal

Firing a shotgun

This is probably one of the most divisive topics that we write about, and every time we try to start a discussion about which firearms are the best it seems to generate some pretty strong feelings. So in the spirit of stirring shit up, we are going to look at what we consider to be one of the best defensive firearm options for defending your home.

If you are just starting to think about the defensive aspects of preparedness, then I advise finding a local expert that can walk you through proper firearms and self-defense tactics. The best firearm is only as good as the person wielding it, so if you don’t have experience you need to seek out someone who can help train you before stockpiling weapons that may do more harm than good.

The Home Defense Shotgun: Why a shotgun is one of the top choices for preppers

Holding a shotgun

We are going to look at what we think is one of the best options for home defense, especially if you have limited experience with firearms. There are two main reasons that we recommend adding a shotgun to your defensive stockpile: Firepower and Ease of Use


When I say firepower, I mainly mean the ability to pump an intruder with as much lead as possible, as quickly as possible. When it comes guns that can quickly fill an asshole with lead, there is no better option than a shotgun.

A 12-gauge shell loaded with 00 buckshot contains anywhere from 8 – 15 Pellets – with one good shot you are delivering the equivalent of four to five concurrent rounds of .45 ACP. Each pellet packs about the same power as a round of .380 ACP: Now are you starting to see why a shotgun ranks at the top of the list for home defense guns?

Ease of Use

My second reason for choosing a shotgun is that even a beginner has a pretty damn good chance of being effective with very little training. Unless you routinely train with a handgun, you are more likely to hit your target with a shotgun than you are with a handgun, especially during a high-stress situation like a home invasion.

When it comes to protecting your home, the good thing about a shotgun is that you don’t have to be as accurate as you do with any other type of firearm. A shotgun has a very forgiving blast pattern; chances are pretty high that you are going to hit almost anything in the general direction of where you are aiming.  

So Why is a Shotgun at the top of the list of preparedness weapons?

Home Defense Shotgun

I’m not going to debate whether or not the sound of racking the slide of a shotgun is enough to scare off an attacker; there are a million and one different opinions on this, and there are some people who insist that the sound of racking a shotgun is enough to scare off an attacker. While racking a shotgun can be a scary sound, I sure as hell am not going to count on it to do the job. If sound was enough to scare an intruder effectively, I would keep a chainsaw in my bedroom – I don’t!

One thing I will add to the debate, something every side needs to consider is that unless you store your shotgun with a round chambered, your choices are either rack or face the intruder with an unloaded firearm.

When it comes to defending your castle, there’s simply nothing better than the accuracy and power of a shotgun. A SHOTGUN IS GOING TO END THE FIGHT!

Some things to consider when buying a Home Defense Shotgun

Mossberg 500 Flex 12 Gauge Shotguns

The first time you fire it should not be during a home invasion!

While I did say this was a great choice for people who lack firearms experience, I didn’t say it was for someone who hsd never fired a gun.

PLEASE, if you are buying a firearm to protect yourself and your family from criminals, you owe it to yourself and them to learn how to use it properly.

Consider buying either a Mossberg 500 or a Remington 870

If you are just getting into firearms, then chances are you don’t know what the hell to buy.

If you’re looking for a good beginner shotgun, you really can’t go wrong with either a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870. I personally like the Mossberg 500 Flex system, because it can literally be converted from a deer or bird hunter to a tactical home-defense gun in a matter of seconds. You can read more about it here.

What’s the best Shotgun load for home defense?

Shotgun loads -Buckshot, birdshot and slugs
A look at the difference between Shotgun Loads

This is another one that is going to divide the hell out of people, but in my opinion there really is no wrong answer – but there are a variety of situations to think about. While some loads are going to have some positive and negatives, pretty much any shotgun shell you choose is going to stop an attacker.


One reason people choose birdshot is it does a lot of up-close damage without having to worry too much about penetrating household walls. That being said, if you are shooting from further out, you may want to consider 00 buckshot.

00 buckshot

When it come to shotgun loads, defense is one of the primary uses for 00 buckshot.

00 Buck is one of the most effective choices for a home defense shotgun; in fact, it’s so useful that the military and numerous police departments throughout the country use simple 00 buckshot for their shotguns. The stopping power and penetration of 00 buck is better than any other size on the market.

Look for the Tactical Version

While your hunting shotgun will do the same damage to the bad guy, a tactical shotgun is specifically made for defense and moving around in the tight quarters of a home.

The difference between a hunting shotgun and a tactical or combat shotgun really comes down to just a couple of things:

  • A shorter barrel: Usually around 18 to 20 inches so it can be easily handled when used indoors.
  • A good set of sights – we recommend investing in a ghost ring site; it will increase both your accuracy and target acquisition.
  • Pump or Semi-Automatic Operation – When it comes to defensive shotguns there are really only two options semi-auto or pump action.

The Top 5 Tactical Home Defense Shotguns

Mossberg 500 Tactical

Mossberg 500 Tactical

For the price, this is probably one of the best choices on the market. It’s simple, but effective and a great option for those who are looking for their first shotgun.

  • Price: $399
  • Action: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Barrel: 20”
  • Capacity: 8
  • Chamber: 3”
  • Sight: Ghost Ring
  • Weight 7 lbs
Mossberg 590 Tactical

Mossberg 590 Tactical

If you want to take it a step up from the 500, the 590 has been used for decades by both military and law enforcement and has a long history of reliability in combat situations. Additional features on the 590 include tri-railed forends for accessory lights and lasers, an adjustable stock for rapid adjustment of length of pull.

  • Price: $559
  • Action: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Barrel: 20”
  • Capacity: 9
  • Chamber: 3”
  • Sight: Ghost Ring
  • Weight 7 lbs
Remington 870 DM

Remington 870 DM

Remington 870s are known to be damn fine weapons, and the 870DM takes that reliability and combines it with tactical features that make it one of the top shotguns on the market. What sets this apart is it features a detachable 6-round box magazine for quick and easy ammo loads.

  • Price: $599
  • Action: Pump-action
  • Gauge: 12
  • Barrel: 18.5”
  • Capacity: 7
  • Chamber: 3”
  • Sight: Single Bead
  • Weight 7.5 lbs

Shotguns: The Ultimate Home Defense weapon for Preppers

Shotgun shells

Remember, it’s all about firepower, accuracy, and ease of use.

The number one thing that swayed our thinking was a statistic on how many shots hit their mark during real-life gunfights where police fire a shot at a suspect.

Up to 75% of all handgun rounds fired by trained police officers miss their mark.

These are shots taken with a handgun by people who in all likelihood have more training, more range time, and more experience dealing with high-stress situations than the average Joe. Now take that average Joe and throw him into a home invasion situation and what do you think is going to happen? Do you think the hit rate is going to go up or down?

This one thing is the primary reason we think the shotgun as the ultimate home defense weapon.

In a home defense situation, nothing beats a good shotgun and training.

Selecting a home-defense firearm is not something that should be taken lightly, make sure you do the proper research. Do your homework. Go to your local gun shop or range and try out as many different firearms as you can before you buy.

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  1. I have a Mossberg 500, and I think it is an amazing firearm. I would have no problem using it for home defense… if it was all that was available.
    I recently built an AR pistol in 300aac with a 7.5″ barrel, and I must say, that is my preferred home defense firearm now. It shorter length gives me far more maneuverability in close quarters than the Mossberg 500, and the 300aac round gives me more punch without the over-penetration that 5.56 has. In addition, the AR pistol in 300aac has far less recoil then my 12 gauge Mossberg making followup shots far easier, and with a 30 round magazine I can get a lot more follow up shots.
    I will never give up my Mossberg 500 12 gauge, but if I hear a window break in the middle of the night, I will be grabbing my AR pistol in 300 aac

  2. Shotguns are fine weapons… Training is essential. You soon learn that keeping them topped up with ammo is critical to win the fight !

  3. The outdoor channel series “Gun Stories” has an excellent show on the “Combat Shotgun. It shows you the history and evolution of the shotgun.

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