A good shotgun is a powerful defense tool when in the right hands. Here are our picks for the best home-defense shotguns.
Though they don’t come without shortcomings, a home-defense shotgun can be an incredible tool for defending your family. However, like any tool, you need to use the right one for the job. Yes, you can drive a nail with a screwdriver, but a hammer is a much better choice.

By the same token, a shotgun specifically designed with home-defense in mind is a much better choice for that sort of work than your trusty turkey or duck hunting shotgun.

Whatever home-defense shotgun you end up choosing, your work is only beginning once you actually obtain your shotgun. It can be extremely effective in the right hands, but it takes a lot of time and effort to truly become a master at running a shotgun. Invest the time and energy necessary to become an expert with your chosen home-defense shotgun and you’ll be a formidable obstacle to those who wish to hurt you.

Winchester SXP Defender

First up on this list of the best home-defense shotguns is the Winchester SXP Defender. The primary feature of the SXP (Super X Pump) series of shotguns is their inertia-assisted action, which Winchester markets as one of the fastest and smoothest pump-actions currently available. The SXP Defender combines this outstanding and innovative pump-action system with an 18-inch, fixed-cylinder-choked barrel (no constriction) that makes it a great choice for both buckshot and slugs.

It is reasonably priced, lightweight, very handy, and can hold six (5+1) 12-gauge shotgun shells. The fact that it’s manufactured in Turkey is a strike against it in the eyes of some, but make no mistake: the Winchester SXP Defender is an excellent shotgun for defending your home.

Benelli M4

One of the biggest problems with using a semi-automatic shotgun for home defense is that they tend to be more finicky than pump-action shotguns about the type of ammunition you use in them. However, the Benelli M4 has a self-regulating gas system that is specifically designed to reliably function with a wide variety of shotgun shell length and power levels. Add an 18.5-inch barrel, a six-shell (5+1) magazine capacity. This can be increased with an aftermarket magazine extension. Then by adding a ghost ring sight and a Picatinny Rail that gives the shooter the option of adding an optic, you get a very potent home-defense shotgun.

It has such an excellent reputation for reliability and durability that it’s used by a number of military and police forces all over the world, including the U.S. Marine Corps, where it is known as the M1014. With a retail price of around $2,000, the Benelli M4 doesn’t come cheap, but it’s one of the best home-defense shotguns money can buy.

Remington 870 Express Tactical

No list of the best home defense shotguns would be complete without a Remington 870. The pump-action 870 is the best-selling shotgun of all time for good reason: it works. That’s why it is such a popular shotgun for hunters, police and people who want a reliable shotgun to defend themselves from both 2 and 4-legged predators.

Sometimes simpler is better, and with an 18.5-inch barrel sporting a fixed-cylinder choke and up to a seven-shell (6+1) magazine capacity, the 870 Express Tactical has all the basic characteristics you need in a home-defense shotgun. Another cool feature is that it will safely and reliably shoot 2-3/4-inch or 3-inch 12-gauge shotgun shells. You can also get a version with ghost ring sights for more precise shooting with slugs.

It’s already a very reasonably priced shotgun, but the incredible versatility, reliability and stellar reputation of the Remington 870 makes it a good all-around choice.

Mossberg 590A1 Tactical

Though the Remington 870 is the best-selling shotgun of all time, the Mossberg 500 series is a close second and is also an excellent shotgun (the Robertson family likes Mossberg shotguns for a good reason). The Mossberg 590A1 Tactical is currently in use by the U.S. Army because of its rugged durability and reliability. The base model has an 18.5-inch barrel with a fixed-cylinder choke, a seven-shell (6+1) magazine capacity and a synthetic stock that can store an additional four shotgun shells.

However, Mossberg also makes variants of the 590A1 Tactical with a 20-inch barrel that increases the magazine capacity to nine shells (8+1). You also have the option to add a Picatinny rail, an adjustable stock and a ghost ring sight. All in all, the Mossberg 590A1 is one of the best home-defense shotguns around.

Remington Versa Max Tactical

Like the Benelli M4, the Remington Versa Max Tactical is a semi-automatic shotgun specifically designed to reliably operate with a wide variety of slug and buckshot loads. The Versa Max Tactical’s special gas-operated action combined with a high-quality recoil pad also dramatically reduces recoil, making the Versa Max much easier to shoot rapidly and accurately.

At the same time, it also has a nine-round (8+1) magazine and high-quality sights. Combine all of those features with synthetic stock and an attachment point for a flashlight and you have another great choice for a home-defense shotgun.

What do you think of our choices for the best home-defense shotguns? Did we miss any?