DEFENSIVE SHOTGUN SETUP
We can argue all day about whether or not a pump shotgun is a viable weapon for home defense, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just assume that it is. There is no argument however, that a well-placed shot with the correct load will have devastating effect on a would-be dirtbag trying to take your life, belongings, or precious virginity.
THE GUN ITSELF
12 gauge. End of story. Beyond that pump or semi-auto is a personal choice. Either needs to be reliable, and tested with the ammunition you intend to keep in the gun. My personal choice is a Mossberg 590A1 in 12ga. I chose pump because I’ve seen a semi auto failure at the range and I hold grudges. I chose the Mossberg over the Remington 870 because it has a safety that is placed somewhere you can actually get to it. Other than that, again it’s a personal choice/brand loyalty type thing in most cases. Both are cheap, and there is a huge aftermarket for accessories and parts.
This section is very much based on shooting technique/body type, so don’t take this(or anything else) as gospel… This is just what works for me. I like shotguns and carbines with as short a stock as possible- think “nose to charging handle” on an AR. I shoot with my chest square to the target, and with the buttstock more on my chest than in my shoulder. This is partially from my past, keeping my plates facing forward, in an aggressive stance. That being said, it can be a little difficult to find a short stock for your shotgun.
There are a few choices:
- Magpul stocks are very adjustable and get pretty short, but not quite as short as I like, plus they look kinda silly in my opinion.
- Hogue short LOP shotgun stocks are about the perfect length for me, and I’ve run one on mine for a few years. The rubber overmold is pretty lame, but it’s one of the only choices.
- Google “youth stock” for your particular shotgun, chances are there are some out there that might work for you.
ANY GUN INTENDED FOR HOME DEFENSE SHOULD HAVE A LIGHT ON IT. That is not up for debate. You need to be 10000% sure of your target in your home (also always). I use a Surefire Scout mounted up front on the left side of the gun with the lens level with the muzzle(no shadows) and a push-button momentary/on-off tailcap. I prefer to be able to switch lights on and leave them on in case I need my support hand free for opening doors/calling 911/violently pointing and yelling. Jawbone is in development on a scout mount made specifically for lights with the surefire mounting scheme (like the streamlight protacs, modlite, arisaka) and we hope to have those available early 2021. There are a lot of other options obviously, as long as it’s a reliable, white light without a dead battery, you’ll be fine.
Not birdshot. Not rock salt. 00 buck. I run Winchester Ranger Low Recoil 00, 9 pellet, with a few slugs on a side-saddle. I train with it and I’m very confident in its effectiveness on target, and my effectiveness using it. I’m not an expert, however there are lots of videos on YouTube about shotgun ammo, look up Luckygunner on there, they have some fantastic videos on shotgun ammo.
Whatever you use, you need to pattern your shotgun using what you plan to keep in it at home.
YOU NEED TO AIM A SHOTGUN. If this statement doesn’t sit right with you, you need to go take a combat shotgun class. It doesn’t work like it does in the movies, you can’t depend on the “spread” to magically find the bad guy. Especially when you see the real amount of spread from 12ga 00 at a distance you might shoot in your home. It doesn’t spread much at those distances! You are responsible for everything that comes out of the barrel of your gun, and if you fire from the hip or around a corner in your house, you are going to be liable for any damage/death/carnage that you cause.
I do not think bead sights are enough, that’s my opinion, you might be Annie Oakley with a brass bead, good for you. I think at a minimum you should have ghost ring sights. You can find models that come standard with these type of sights, or you can add aftermarket ones (XS Sights). I believe the ultimate setup however is a red dot, specifically with a circle-dot reticle. The circle is fast for up-close work with buckshot, and the dot can be used with slugs for longer distance. Again, make sure you pattern (zero) your shotgun with your sight and your ammo.
That’s where Jawbone’s mount comes in. I made one for myself a little over a year ago and after training with it and beating the hell out of it, I was confident that we could produce it and make it available. It works with any RMR pattern red dot (SRO, 507C, 508T, etc).
Side-saddle ammo storage: not a bad idea, there’s a lot of empty space on the left of your receiver. (it’s free real estate)
Sling: For home defense? Ehhh not so much. I can’t think of a scenario where you would need it in your house, but if you have one please chime in and leave a comment.
Heat shield: Looks cool as frig, maybe it will prevent burns?
Bayonet: Now you’re talking
Get some training, get to know your shotgun and what your capabilities are with it. Train or practice quarterly if you can. Set up your shotgun to work for you, in your house, or wherever you intend to use it.
Comment or email with your opinions, or tell me about your setup. I’d love to hear it. Especially if you disagree with what I just wrote. Lets fight!
Manufacturing Engineer, Designer, Inventor, Shooter, Instructor, Meddling Machinist.
I enjoy modifying guns and making widgets for them more than I like shooting them.