Concerned about the threat of home invasion? You’re not alone. It’s estimated that more than one million home invasions happen in the United States each year.
Shotguns and handguns are among the best options for home defense. While shotguns in general are versatile and suited to many uses, a tactical shotgun is specifically equipped to be more effective in close quarters. At a close to moderate range, a tactical shotgun can protect your home without concerns of over-penetration.
Keep reading to learn more about tactical shotguns and what you need to consider when choosing a firearm for home defense.
Tactical Shotgun Overview
Like many law enforcement or military shotguns, tactical shotguns have short barrels. This makes the gun more agile and easier to move around in smaller spaces, such as a house. 12-gauge tactical shotguns tend to be the most common, but other gauges are also used, including 20 gauge.
There are a variety of accessories for tactical shotguns, ranging from lights to precision sights to pistol-grip stocks. Optional features like ghost ring rear sights and red-dot optics can increase shooting accuracy.
What is the Difference Between a Tactical Shotgun and Regular Shotgun?
Tactical shotguns are designed to be more effective at closer distances. They have short barrels, open chokes, and, in some cases, higher capacities. Tactical shotgun barrels range between 18” and 20” in length, while hunting shotgun barrels are between 26” and 30” in length. Hunting shotguns typically have longer barrels and tighter chokes because they are engineered to be more effective at longer distances.
If you’re defending yourself from a possible attacker in your home, you don’t need to be able to shoot accurately at 40 yards. While you can use a regular shotgun for home defense, a tactical shotgun is easier to maneuver due to the shorter barrel. Additionally, the shorter barrel combined with the open choke on a tactical shotgun delivers a wider pattern at a shorter distance when compared to a hunting shotgun. In other words, you’re more likely to hit your target at close range if you invest in the tactical option.
Semi Auto Tactical Shotgun vs. Pump-Action Shotgun
Shotguns are often one of the first firearms new shooters learn to shoot. They’re easy to use and you can get a great shotgun at a very reasonable price. The relatively low cost of ammo means that you’re not going to break the bank by regularly shooting a few rounds. This is an advantage for home defense because you’ll want to be comfortable with your firearm.
Semi-auto shotguns like the Beretta shown below have reduced recoil and a faster rate of fire compared to pump-action models. When you shoot a semi-auto shotgun, the spent shell is ejected and a new one is automatically loaded thanks to an internal spring-loaded mechanism. With a pump-action shotgun, you manually eject the spent shell by pumping the forearm back and then manually load the next round into the chamber by pumping the forearm forward.
Pump action shotguns like the Mossberg 590 have a simpler design that is easier to clean and maintain. They are more affordable and easy for new shooters to use. They tend to have more recoil than a semi-auto and, generally speaking, most shooters are not able to shoot them as fast as a semi-auto.
Both semi-auto tactical shotguns and pump-action tactical shotguns can be used for home defense. Mossberg 500 tactical shotguns include a lot of great features. Remington and other gunmakers also manufacture quality tactical shotguns.
Tactical Shotguns for Home Defense
One of the top things you should consider when choosing a home defense firearm is the gun’s penetrating power. Shooting an overly powerful round may stop an intruder, but the bullet could keep going through the wall and something (or someone) else. In other words, it’s not just about what you’re shooting at. You also need to think about over-penetration risk.
Any gun is better than no gun if you end up in a potentially dangerous situation, but tactical shotguns are designed for home defense. After all, most rifles are too powerful for this use case. Also, using them at close range tends to be clumsy—not ideal if you’re trying to defend your family. Shotguns and handguns are typically recommended for home defense for this reason.
While a handgun is smaller and easier to use with one hand if needed, there’s something about staring down the barrel of a shotgun that tends to get an intruder’s attention. The tactical shotgun’s shorter barrel and open choke make it an excellent option for a home defense firearm. Tactical shotguns are a smart option for home defense because they are designed for use in smaller spaces. These powerful weapons have plenty of stopping power.