Choosing a Tactical Shotgun

I remember in the past that when folks asked there were plenty of opinions around regarding weapon purchases. I honestly just don’t have the time to go back and look for those discussions and wanted to solicit advice from all the folks here at SUFA who know their way around a firearm. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly know my way around a weapon. I have my own preferences and areas where I can offer ample selection advice, but I am entering a new area when it comes to tactical shotguns and thought I would seek some opinions from the folks here. I do ask that the discussion stick to this topic in this thread. Others searching for advice may seek this post out later and I would prefer it stay on topic. Those wishing to discuss other topics can do so on yesterday’s thread!

Now let me paint my picture of where I am. As many of you know, I am no stranger to weapons or their use. I have had guns in my hands from the age of 9. While in the military I had ample opportunity to become more than proficient in their use and capabilities. I have spent countless hours honing my skills and have no doubt that I am a dangerous man should I choose to pick up a weapon. However, when I left the limitary over a decade ago, I eschewed owning any guns personally. I have seen enough of what they can do. I simply desired a different life than the one that I used to live that included lots of firearms. I have not owned a single gun in over ten years.

I have a ton of martial arts training, as some of you who know me are aware. I am proficient in the use of a quarterstaff or a Katana, and I own a real one that is on display in my bedroom. My joke with friends who were shocked by my turn away from firearms was that I don’t own a gun, but if you break into my home, my Katana and I will make you wish that I did.

Benelli M4 Tactical

But the world is changing. That kind of macho stance worked when I was a single guy and had to only worry about protecting myself. Now I have Mrs. Weapon to think about. And the city that I live in has had, over the last few years, a rash of home invasions. In the middle of the night, between 2 and 6 guys, all armed, kick in your front door in a full assault on your home. They rush in, head straight for your bedroom and do as they please. If you are lucky they tie you up and rob you. If you aren’t, they rape or kill you or your spouse. That thought petrifies me. Me and a Katana are at good odds in a dark house against a single intruder. Outnumbered 4 to 1, I don’t any longer like the odds.

So Mrs. Weapon and I talked and made some decisions about home defense. My first order of business is to obtain what I feel is the most effective home defense weapon, be it me with advanced training or Mrs. Weapon without…. A shotgun. If nothing else the sound of a pump-action shotgun chambering a round is one of the most harrowing sound a potential intruder can hear. But I am torn on what shotgun I would prefer to own. So I will tell you my thoughts and solicit your opinions from there.

Mossberg 500 Tactical

First we have gauge. I know a lot of folks believe that a 12 gauge or even a 10 gauge is a must. But we are talking about being inside the home at a range of between 10 and 25 feet. At that range, a 20 gauge shotgun, in my opinion can handle the job just fine, assuming you have the correct load. The real advantage there is that should it be Mrs. Weapon that is forced to pick up that shotgun, the 20 gauge would be lighter and have less recoil, making it easier for her to handle, especially should a second shot be required. So my initial thought is a 20 gauge.

Second is grip. In my limited use of tactical shotguns, I have found that a pistol grip incorporated WITH a butt stock is the best way to go (although I admittedly prefer a collapsable stock similar to the one used on the military M4). Eliminating the butt stock makes for a lighter weapon and one that is easier to maneuver with, but sacrifices greatly in the area of accuracy. Putting that stock into your shoulder simply makes for a more natural aiming position. The pistol grip added to that makes the shotgun more stable in your hands and more difficult to take away. Besides, should the worst happen and you end up in CQB, a butt stroke is a nice option to have.

Remington 870 Tactical With Collapsible Stock

Next we have barrel length. My strong opinion here is that I like going as short as legally allowed. That means an 18″ barrel length. This not only means a slightly wider dispersal of shot, but also helps to reduce recoil, which again is a must for Mrs. Weapon. If I were searching for accuracy at a greater range, I would think about a longer barrel. But no need in a home defense mode. Should I end up moving to the country and think I need range from the porch, I can buy another shotgun at that point.

Then we have capacity. Many of the tactical shotguns out there seem to differ from the military versions I have handled in this area. The military versions had extended magazines allowing for roughly 7+1 capacity. But it appears that most sold on the market these days go standard with something more along the lines of 3+1, with the ability to modify to 6+1 or 7+1. I am curious to see what anyone who has dealt with both think it does in terms of impacting the balance and wielding. While I am very comfortable with the 7+1 handling, I would think extending the capacity would unbalance the weapon in the hands of Mrs. Weapon. But three or four extra rounds could be important should she be wielding it.

Finally, we have the various specific models. I have a few that I am aware of and could be interested in. My first choice would be a Benelli M4. However, it seems like it could really be a waste of money. They run between $1500 and $1800. Does anyone feel that they are really that much superior to something like a Remington 870 Tactical or a Mossberg 500 that would come in at less than half the cost?I qualified with a M4 in the military and it was a reliable shotgun that had a good feel to it. But I have not had any experience with the Remington 870, and some have told me it is every bit as good for a price tag of roughly $600. Are there other tactical shotguns that I should be exploring outside of the three I mentioned?

The bottom line is that this purchase is to guard against nothing but someone breaking into my home in the middle of the night. I want reliable and functional. I will teach Mrs. Weapon proficiency. I need her to be able to stand at the top of the steps and make sure no one gets past step number two. So I look forward to getting thoughts from all of you!

Sometime in the future we can discuss handguns! Mrs. Weapon has recently consented to learning to handle a pistol, which makes me happy. My first thought was something like the Springfield XDM 9mm. She liked the way it felt in her hands, lol. My father, however, has suggested a .38, designed to scare the shit out of an intruder.


  1. **sigh**

  2. It is the wee hours of the morning here, so will post more in about 12 hours from now. My initial thought is what I got Mrs. Dawg over 20 years ago – Remington 20 gauge. I know this sounds a bit odd for someone with your background, but check out the gun shops around the Army and Marine bases if there are any in your area.

    More later.

    • Okay USW, I’m back. Had a good nights sleep and now my Internet connection has come back online.

      As I stated before, I own a Remington 20 Gauge pump shotgun that I have had since the mid 1970’s. Mrs. Dawg, being the daughter of a banker, doesn’t particularly care for guns but she has learned to use this one quite well over the years. I also own a Savage bolt action 30.06 that has put many a Venison meal on our table over the years. My personal “off-duty” weapon has been a Beretta 92f 9mm semi-auto that I keep loaded with 147gr Hydroshocks made by Federal (not the government, the ammo manufacturers). Why Hydroshock? The 9mm is a very fast round that the fmj bullets for it have through and through capability and if I ever have to use it I do not want any innocent bystanders hurt.

      I would recommend for Mrs. Weapon (without ever having met her or you) a 20 Gauge shotgun, most definitely with the pistol grip option and with the full shoulder stock as well. It helps a lady steady the gun when firing from the hip (or side actually), especially if she has never handled or fired any kind of firearm in her life. For a personal pistol, I would recommend a .32 caliber revolver loaded with snakeshot. The .32 is a light pistol and does not have that much of a recoil, and a revolver at night of any caliber makes one helluva side and muzzle flash that has a tendency to make the person being shot at think he is facing a hand-held howitzer thereby causing most attackers to hesitate – and you KNOW what is said about hesitating in a firefight. Why snakeshot? Pistols are notoriously inaccurate at any distance longer than 10ft, and especially for those who are relatively inexperienced or who do not have time to take aim. I would also urge you to teach her to aim at the general groin area as this will inflict great pain on any would-be attacker, and that is the name of the game – inflict as much pain on a home invader as possible without the express intent of killing someone (Juries have shown a tendency to be harsh on witnesses who were more intent on killing an intruder than making said intruder leave – local cops would also like it if you did not kill the intruder since that would mean much less time spent at the scene and tons less paperwork for them).

      Anyway, you asked so I have given my not so humble opinion on weapons and ammo. The final decision is up to you and Mrs. Weapon. Thank you for asking an old fart for his opinion 😉

      Not many folks do nowadays.

      • gmanfortruth says:


        State laws in Ohio and here in Pa state that lethal force is allowed if your home is invaded, no questions asked. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

        • Most state laws are pretty close together and usually frown upon a homeowner killing an intruder that has not posed an actual intentional threat to the homeowners life – The courts, on the other hand, focus on the “original intent” of the homeowner. An intruder is “presumed” to be there only to take property even if the intruder is armed and that has been the attitude of the courts in many cases.

          I know, it sucks, but that is the history of the situation. Even if a police officer has to take a life, the department is usually sued by criminals surviving family for “use of excessive force” and most juries decide in favor of of the family members. That actually happened to a friend of mine who shot a guy that was attacking his girlfriend with a butcher knife. The guy’s sister sued the department and him for use of excessive force and was awarded over $50,000.00 . . . yep it sucks.

          My comments above were made with USW and his family’s welfare in mind. Yes, I know that some states, like Texas do not charge the homeowner in those cases, but other much more liberal states like California and maybe New York does. Just trying to help out a friend.

          • And I truly appreciate the advice that you offered PD. It is always especially welcome advice coming from a former LEO. I hope that you and the Mrs. are well sir.

            • Thnx USW, we are as well as ever – I would be on here much more often except for this lousy cable internet service.

              We are bringing daughter & grandsons out to AZ for Easter vacation (spring break) in April. First time seeing them in four years – way too long. Gonna be fun! Got the tickets B4 Egypt fell apart 🙂

  3. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi US Weapon,

    In regards to Shotguns, I don’t have one, but do remember shooting my Uncle’s 10-Gauge…it about killed me and was very heavy…You have to know that I’m a rather large woman too at 5’8″ who at the time was rather fit and muscular. It was too heavy to hold at ready for any needed length of time and the recoil sucked (although, I never let my Uncle or Dad know that!). So, definately, the 20-Gauge would be better for Mrs. Weapon, particularly if she is a petite woman.

    In regards to Handguns — My first purchase was a S&W .38 with a Titanium Frame w/hammer. Spent alot of moolah on it and I absolutely hated it! I tried to love it, but it was awful… The selling points for me were:

    1. I have small hands, so the butt fit my hand well…was able to fit my hand around it completely.
    2. Was simple to use…Point and Shoot.
    3. Was VERY light in weight.
    4. Was somewhat small for concealment.
    5. .38 ammo is common and somewhat inexpensive.

    So, the Cons after using it:

    1. The butt was actually too small…upon recoil it would slam back into the palm of my hand and actually bruise it…OUCH!
    2. Because it was so light, I almost felt that the recoil gave me a feeling that I was a bit out-of-control with keeping the barrel somewhat level…would pop-up TOO much.
    3. FYI…My Dad hated it too and would refuse to shoot it after the first few times…he does have Rheumatoid Arth now, so that may have played a factor there.

    What do I recommend…more to follow below…

  4. Richmond Spitfire says:

    So, anyway, I decided to go Semi-Auto (and I haven’t turned back).

    I am partial to Berettas and I love my pride of kittycats!

    I have moved on to the lighter weight guns that are of a composite material vs. steel.

    My favorite Beretta, and the one that I carry most is the .40 Cal PX4 Storm… I also have a 9-Mm that I like to shoot.

    The good thing about these handguns is that they have a rotating barrel in them that absorbs alot of the recoil.

    The Beretta Cougar (.380) is a great gun to carry…slim and smaller…the only problem for me is the hand strength to grip and pull back the slide (it’s very tight). So…if you decide to go for a semi, please do make sure that the slide is more loose than tight due to less female strength for that action.

    Alternatively, the .32 Cal Bobcat has a tilting barrel where you can actually place a bullet directly into the barrel, pop it down and your are ready to go (of course, it does come with the clip too). But works well if a person just doesn’t have the strength to pull the slide back…

    US Weapon…at first, I was rather intimidated by the Semi-Automatics…you know, alot of moving parts. But now, I’ll never go back…

    Good luck with your endeavors on this!!!!

    • Beretta pistols are not my first choice. Compared to others they are heavy and a little thicker. (My perspective is for carrying inside the waistband , in a purse would be different)

      The flip barrel on the Tomcat .32 is cute and shooter friendly. Have had a couple different shooters get bit by the slide.
      Other experiences.
      H&K, good, but overrated.
      Sig, fair, very overrated.
      Browning, poor.
      Glock, good to very good.
      Baby Desert Eagle, outshoots them all.
      Ruger also has a new .380, the LCP. It’s a “pocket” pistol.
      Most accurate for that size that I have shot.
      Drawbacks: trigger safety only. Persons not experienced may not like carrying with a round in the chamber, kids at home may also color what you want. Front sight is worthless until you dab a little white or orange paint on it.

      Have also stayed away from the .40’s because of the ammo cost, which is higher than for a .45. Personally favor the 9’s, more shots so if I miss, they may die from a heart-attack. Thinking about getting a new one in pink. A man with a pink gun would be someone I would not want to mess with!

    • I would recommend no pistols on home invasion.

      • “I would recommend no pistols on home invasion.”

        I agree except that is how I am set up at this time, in a quick access pistol safe. When my boys are just a little older, perhaps I can change my arrangements. I have heard a lot of excitement over this pistol, loaded with .410 buckshot, a good mix of shotgun and pistol advantages. Don’t forget the speedloader.

        from gunbroker: (asking $450.99)
        Up for auction today is a

        TAURUS INTERNATIONAL 45/410 Tracker Polished Stainless Finish Exclusive

        Taurus Polished Stainless 410 Ga(2 1/2″)/45 LC w/3″ Barrel/Fiber Optic Sights

        The Taurus 45/410 Tracke is capable of chambering both .410 gauge 2 1/2″
        shotshell or the 45 Long Colt. This combo gun is ideal for short distances
        where most altercations occur, or longer distances with the 45 Colt ammo.
        Taurus has skillfully tuned the rifling to spread the shot pattern at close
        quarters or to guide the .45 caliber bullet to the target. The polished
        stainless steel makes this gun a Exclusive.

        Mfg Item Num: 2441039TPSS
        Category: FIREARMS – HANDGUNS
        Type :Revolver
        Action :Single / Double
        Caliber :410/45 Long Colt
        Barrel Length :3″
        Capacity :5 rd
        Safety :Transfer Bar
        Grips :Ribber Grip Overlay
        Sights :Fiber Optic
        Weight :29 oz
        Finish :Polished Stainless Steel

        Shipping will be $25.00

        2nd day UPS

        • LOF;

          Great weapon, have one, but it is not a FIRST choice weapon for the ladies. It is too big and is a clumsy weapon to be wheeling.

          I have enjoyed mine now for two years and sometimes carry it about on the home range. It will do the job, but I think it is more of a close-quarters weapon (15′ or less).

          I know a fellow that keeps it in the car and used it once to repel a car jacking – worked very well.


          • Never handled one, but thought it worth bringing up. Could see it working, mix .410 & .45 ammo. Easier to place for quick access than a shotgun. Couple speedloaders. Comes down to personal preference. I would like to use a 12 ga pump, but am using 9mm pistol. .327 sounds interesting, but I like to stay with common ammo’s.

            • LOF;

              Ammo quantity in a preferred caliber can be easily overcome by taking up the hobby of reloading. Plus you get to experiment with different bullets, propellant and effect.

              It would have to get pretty hairy before I or my brother-in-law ran out of projectiles.


        • The ONLY reason that I do not recommend them is because most people are not thoroughly trained in the point and shoot techniques and it takes too much time….a well trained person can use almost any weapon. Additionally, on home invasion….high projectile pistol rounds if the target is missed will penetrate into the rooms next to you and possibly more than one wall. I would rather replace a shattered door frame than my son in the next room should I miss.

          • Richmond Spitfire says:

            Excellent Point Sir…

            My Uncle passed away 2 years ago and all of his rifles, shotguns and handguns were left to my father. I have a variety of Shotguns to choose from, but do not have a gun cabinet (only safes) in the house to hold one. With three kids in the house, ages 9, 12 and 21, I’m very hesitant to bring one of the shotguns home…

            Is anyone aware of any “holders” that can be mounted on the wall where a combination can be keyed in to open it…? Sort of like the shotgun holders that you see in a police car?

            • SK Trynosky Sr says:

              Raised four kids with guns out in the open on wall racks, ammo stored separately. Teach them not to touch. Anytime they want to see or touch a gun come get me. Proudest moment for me was when my 9 year old twins had friends over who wanted to just hold the guns. James said, Nope, I’ll go get my Dad he’ll let you hold one. Guns like liquor are forbidden fruit. Expose kids to them early, teach them to respect them and there will be no problem.

  5. I will ask Doc (he’s an expert marksman and my gun consultant for my novels). He really knows his stuff.

    Frankly, I’m with you on this, USW. I too have similar fears (although no recent outbreaks at the house) about “push-ins” or break ins. I, who know nothing about guns, always felt it would be smart to have one of each (shotgun and a handgun) for just such events. Even the wife wants to learn how to shoot (Doc is sponsoring that project). I will forward this link to him and see what he has to say. I’m guessing the eye-talian make (because he discussed shotguns with me once and I seem to remember that name you mentioned and that he wasn’t as fond of the Mossberg make.

    • For the wife learning to shoot, a .22 target is your best starter.
      Even experienced shooters benefit from using the low recoil to practice and work on trigger control. Use it for a warm-up. before taking out the big gun.
      I like the Ruger MK’s. Browning, S&W and several others make some good one’s. Nothing touches a Colt in .22 target, but you pay for that. High Standard is also good, if you can find one.

      Home defense, most females, 20 ga pump, buckshot.

    • I got it wrong (as usual — with guns). From the Doc (to me):

      Hey Frenchy,

      You keep posting at sites like that and you are going to lose your NPR membership.

      Obviously, you were not listening (as usual). I like the Mossberg. It’s inexpensive, reliable, with lots of accessories available. And I have never recommended the Benelli.
      First off, it’s eye-talian. Secondly, it’s still eye-talian. Thirdly, for $1400 I want something that gets 25 mpg. Use that to run the bad guys over.


  6. I have several shotguns including the 870 and a Mossberg.
    None have extended mag’s or pistol grips. Shooting clays, Beretta or another high end brand will out-perform the common brands.

    During slug hunt this winter, I selected my 870. At 100 yrds, it hits 2″ above the bullseye, dead center, every shot. I think I have read the 870 is the most popular shotgun in the world. More made & in use than any other. That also means more accessories on the after-market. Buy a used one for $200(what I paid for mine), buy a spare barrel, extended magazine and the pistol-grip stock. Remember to get a 3″ chamber.

    Cheaper-than-dirt, Browenel’s and Midway USA all sell accessories. CTD and Gunbroker all sell guns online, but must ship to a FFL holder. A local pawn shop does this for me at no charge, but that means there is BATF paperwork.
    Local classifieds or a gunshow may allow you to skip putting your name down.

    Sportsmansguide and CTD both sell ammo and the tac-lights/lasers you might want. BSA has a dandy combo for about $30. My father-in-law dropped a armadillo using the laser only at about 75 yrds, with a .22.

  7. D13 recommendations for HOME INVASION as requested:

    Considerations: Access to weapon, impact of weapon for close range, concussion effect on shooter, and recoil.

    20 guage pump Mossberg with conventional butt stock/18 inch barrell. remove plug (if installed) it becomes 5+1. The reason for the conventional butt stock over the pistol grip is for the Mrs. You and I can handle pistol grip and bring weapon back on target. The longer butt stock is slimmer on the Mossberg and fits on the hip or just under the arm without bringing it to shoulder. Mrs Weapon can handle the recoil with her body rather than a wrist action. Also, the pistol grip requires a strong hand wrist combination to handle the recoil up and right to keep it from rocking in grip. The spring combination in the Mossberg and the conventional slim stock absorbs 90% of the recoil straight back adn slightly to the right but Mrs can get it on target quicker and easier and can turn her body and point at the same time where as a pistol grip requires aiming with arm strength. I would recommend 4 or 2 shot…not slugs. Reason for this is that in close environments, where there might be children in another room or close for ricochet, the 4 shot is more easily absorbed into walls and furniture. 4 shot has been proven to stop any intruder, including vested ones, because of the pattern…while not going through the vest the patterns widens to the face. With slugs, it does not. We are talking maximum 20 foot ranges.

    The reason for the pump…..there is nothing more sinister than hearing a pump chamber…however, if you are carrying one in the pipe you will not be pumping lest you lose a round.

    I have been training in home invasion techniques with the military of late because of the tactics of the cartels and their use of home invasion on the border for kidnappings. We have been timing the responses. A person whom is fully asleep in the back bedroom of a 2500 sq ft home has 9.4 second response time…..4.4 seconds in a front bedroom. This means being awakened, making a determination that it is a home invasion and not a bad dream or a kid dropping something in the middle of the night. You have no time to actually chamber a round.

    You cannot make a determination that having children in the home is detrimental to weapons in the home and leave them unloaded or unchambered. Home invasion, which is becoming an increasingly used tactic now, does not allow time for loading or unlocking your weapon. Protecting from home invasion is also a mindset. People will be hurt and killed. It is that simple…but I am telling you nothing that you do not know. The average person, including a mother protecting her child, will hesitate. Thy will always think for a split second before going ballistic. That split second will be deadly to those that hesitate. So, it is a mindset and it is brutal.

    I would recommend more than one Mossberg at strategic locations. You can make them easily accessible without endangering children.

    You can find the weapon that I am describing for $500 each.

    • One other thing to instruct Mrs Weapon on…..I am sure you will do this but I would not be a good Colonel if I did not mention it. If Mrs Weapon ever has to use it…..tell her to not assume a kill on the first shot. A home invasion is just that an invasion and the perpetrator deserves to die. Shoot to kill and if the first shot does not do it a second shot to the face will. For a wounded perpetrator is like a wounded bear…you must be prepared to kill without remorse. You should only get upset for having to clean the mess after it is over not the dead person nor have compassion on a wounded one.

  8. gmanfortruth says:

    Good Morning USW,

    You ask very good questions, for very good reasons. In answering, I’m going to rely on my experience as a waepons instructor in the service, first and foremost, and add some opinions based on that. Let me begin by explaining my fun in teaching women how to shoot, which at times was an exercise in futility 😆 (only joking)).

    First, I’ll pose a question and answer it. Which weapons were the most disliked and the most liked by female trainees. Let’s start with liked. In order, handguns and the M-16. Disliked, most disliked first, M-203, M-79, M-60, M-870. I’m sure you can see why, but for the sake of LeCharlie, I’ll make it simple, recoil! Yes, they all disliked training with the weapons that tend to be physically uncomfortable. Shotguns, any guage, are just that to the ladies out there. But that doesn’t mean that one won’t work for Mrs. Weapon and yourself (Mr. and Mrs. Communist too).

    I have 4 shotguns, an 870, a Mossberg 500 (both pump action), a 16 ga. DBL side by side Fox Sterlingworth, and a Mossberg bolt action 20 ga, clip fed. I’ll leave out the last two, and talk pumps. My guns are set up for hunting, but can be converted by changing barrels and stocks for the tactical look. THe Mossberg is lighter and the action is smoother. The 870 is heavier, which helps with recoil, and the action is tighter, requiring more strength to operate. While both would serve well in home defense, the simple fact that they are manually operated is a turn off for me in small spaces, so if you go this route, go semi-auto.

    What’s much more important in your deciision (s), is the your better half. Their comfort and ability with whatever your choice will be can be the difference between a successful home defense, or one that fails. In my humble opinion, a tactical shotgun is not going to give the ladies that comfort (and the desire to practice).

    I’m not saying that a tactical shotgun is a bad choice, it is not. But as far as investment, I see a good semi-auto handgun with a laser sight to be a better choice. There is a plus to that as well. The time together at the firing range honing your skills can be much more enjoyable and add to your already strong relationships.

    Try out your options, but guys, you may have to set aside you machoism in favor of what is best for the ladies. It’s my experience that the ladies are better shots with handguns than men, and they learn that skill quicker.



    • gmanfortruth says:

      OH! As for that sinister sound of pumping a shotgun, it is equal to a warning shot, as you have one less round in the weapon to use. I deplore warning shots, if your going to warn the enemy, you’ve lost the element of surprise.

    • Gman;

      Everything you said I mirrored except you go with an auto verses the revolver. My brother and I have gone back and forth especially when the handgun of choice is for a lady. I opt for revolvers as a lady’s FIRST weapon, and that is mainly due to the number of actions involved when clearing a misfire or jam and executing a reload.

      My wife, as an example prefers the revolver because she knows that all she has to do is pick it up, put the red dot on the target and squeeze the trigger; six times.

      Given your background and expertise: what are your thoughts?


      • gmanfortruth says:


        When I began teaching marksmanship (handgun) it was with the S&W .38 revolver. When we switched to the Barretta 9mm, the ladies expert rates tripled.

        This could be to experience, as most had to qualify every six months. Now a less experienced shooter may find a revolver more to their liking. This is where the ladies should try both, and make that decision individually. The guys could treat it as a shopping trip, which we all know, the ladies love! 🙂

        • G:

          Maybe I am just too bullheaded, but I cannot bring myself to ever recommend a 9mm, simply because of the round itself.

          My dad, a former Army Sniper and Pathfinder instructed me that your sidearm of choice should always be the .45. Now I have myself grown to love the .40 S&W especially in a Glock model 22, but I still swap it out with my Kimber from time to time.

          I guess I just don’t like a round that does nothing more than put dime size holes in paper and for that reason I am not a 9mm fan.

          I know the rounds are more universal, but to me self defense is all about stopping the threat, and a .45, .40, .327 mag is far more suited

          BTW: What are your thoughts on the “Judge”? Has anyone shown up at your courses toting one of those?


          • gmanfortruth says:

            I don’t own a 9mm, my Dad does though. Out in these parts, folks are more likey to run into a sick fox than a criminal. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t carry concealed, and the handguns are of all types. Like you, I’m more of a knockdown power person. I’ll take a 40 cal or a magnum over a 9mm anyday. But, that’s where the threat is high.

            Around home, we keep our high powered rifles handy, one in each bedroom, one in the living room and when were out side, one in the barn. When scouting for deer, we carry one. I bought a Makorov .380 for conceal carry. 8 round clip, adjustable rear sight, deadly accurate at 15 yards. It’s light and comfortable, and with little threat here, serves it’s purpose.

            To me, bullet size is second to bullet placement, but I also think heavily about collateral damage. I don’t want to pop someone and have the bullet pass through and hit someone behind the target. I am fortunate in that my past has afforded me mad marksmanship skills. I’ve won numorous handgun and rifle competitions, including an EIC medal for handgun in the USAF. So as long as the weapon shoots straight, I can make it work. I’m also very safety conscience, which plays a major roll in my choices of firepower.


            • G;

              I guess it is all about personal choice, comfort and accuracy. I keep a few weapons loaded and ready in certain places about the property, mostly handguns or shotguns. I would keep a rifle loaded if I could, but since I live South of US 10 in Michigan we can only use rifles on coyotes,


    • Laser sights, red dots……all excellent provided you have time to aim. Please note:

      Stats in home invasion training: In a 4.4 second response, laser sighting takes 6.2 seconds…red dot 7 seconds. Shotgun 3.6 seconds. PAttern dispersal 7 feet at 15 foot range. The target only has to be in front of the weapon.

      Everything you say is true and great and the weapons described are also good….just reporting what we are finding in our training stats on response time.

      If you are awake and have thoughts coherent…..great. But out of a dead sleep and recognizing it is a danger and assessment……you do not have the time.

      Please, I am not trying to dissuade…just reporting what I do for a living right now.

      • gmanfortruth says:

        Good advice Colonel. How do the stats compare to those who have dogs that bark in the house?

        • Great question but then that means that you are prepared and any weapon you are trained for becomes an asset. I do nothave statistics on being warned. Fore warned as they say is fore armed.

      • I might add…..once someone is trained in the use of handguns and sighting techniques then the odds become more favorable…but I am assuming an untrained or lightly trained person.

      • D13;

        Can’t argue with the stats; especially coming from you; an expert. I would offer up some unconventional alternatives to aid in home defense.

        – A dog – preferably one that barks at every bump or sound made in or outside of the house. I have a 90 pound golden lab that has a bark like a bear. He is a great first warning system.
        – An alarm system – preferably one that makes a rather loud screeching sound when tripped
        – A plan that involves staying in place (a safe room) provides immediate access to weapons, ammo and adequate cover and a cell phone.
        – Practice – lots of it.

        BTW: My wife shoots better and faster with a laser than without, especially after I instructed her that she didn’t need to line the red dot up with the weapons sites. Ha Ha!



        • Can’t remember a study I read years ago, dogs was high on increasing safety, lights might have been the #1 thing you could do. Those automatic lights would be scary for a prowler, never know if someone inside was watching.

        • Absolutely….there is not a thing wrong with prevention. What is happening on the border is those with outside dogs are being poisoned by throwing red meat over a fence laced with whatever is available. The seond thing that is happening is that electrical lines are being cut prior to penetration in the home, and, third alarm systems are great but loud sirens and bells ringing are not much of a deterrent for a quick hit. Most home invasions on the border last about 60 seconds….long before any response time of local police or even neighbors should the neighbors be so inclined. I would recommend that you contact neighbors as well and work out a response plan with them. But even then, unless you are on guard at night… is almost impossible to stop an organized home invasion.

          One more stat that I forgot to mention.

          Entry procedures with a battering ram on a non deadbolt door with wood frame…..1.2 seconds. With a dead bolt door with wood frame…1.8 seconds….with a dead bolt on metal frame 5.0 seconds. Upper and lower dead bolts in metal frame….9.3 seconds.

          Safe rooms are great provided you have the time to get there and everybody has access to the safe room quickly.

          But, I agree prevention is worth a lot.

  9. USW;

    Given your extensive military background and knowledge of weapons I feel like the student try to advise the teacher, but here are my thoughts.

    First: You should re-think your initial choice of shotgun over handgun if for no other reasons than accessibility and speed of use. A shot gun does not store well near the bed and is difficult to access quickly if locked up or stuffed in a closet.
    Second: It is not a weapon you can carry with you as you and Mrs. Weapon execute your normal daily activities.
    Third: There is a higher risk of collateral damage with a shotgun, and we don’t want to forget about the doggy.

    My suggestion is to move forward on a handgun and go ahead and purchase the shotgun as well. Keep the shotgun in the bedroom. As for shotgun choice I would not spend a lot of money, so a Mossberg 500 is more than enough. You cannot shoot the guts out of it, it is inexpensive and ammo is readily available. I would strongly suggest that it be equiped with a lazer and a tactical light. (BTW: should you chose to take up deer hunting it can be easily converted by just changing out barrels.

    As for handguns I suggest that you look at the following:
    -Ruger P101 – $572 / Caliber: .327 Federal Magnum / Capacity: 6 rounds / Rifling: six grooves, 1 16 RH twist, 3½ SA, 11½ DA trigger pulls. Dimensions – Type: Double Action. Weight: 28 oz (794g) Length: 7.88″ (200 mm) Width: 1.31″ (33 mm) Barrel: 2.25″ (57 mm) also 3.06 and 4 inch barrel options. Make sure you equip it with a Crimson Trace laser. The P101 will also shoot .32 S&W long and .32 S&W rounds, which are great for practice. This is a wonderful weapon and one the experts feel rivals the .357 mag, but with 20-25% less recoil

    This is one that Mrs. Weapon can easily manage and the caliber is more than adequate for “stopping the threat”.

    As an alternative you might look at the Walther PPK .380, but then it is an auto and auto’s present the challenge of clearing a fouled round, although I have never had any issues with my Walther.

    Both these weapons are easily portable and make great concealed carry weapons.

    I would also suggest you think about keeping a handgun on your hip at all times, especially while you and Mrs. Weapon are at home. Bad guys do sometimes work in daylight hours.

    I am never without my weapon of choice and after a while it is no more noticeable than a wallet or Leatherman.

    Both of you should obtain your CCW permit, although you don’t need one if you are on your own property. Not sure what the local laws are down your way, but my home town allows ‘open carry’.

    Shotguns are great, but they present some issues that a handgun does not. If your main objective is to protect yourselves from intrusion, then a handgun is a more practical choice.

    Buy both the Rugar and the Mossberg and you won’t invest more than $1500, and that would include the laser sights. It would be even less if you bought a used Mossberg, which will last you many years.


    • gmanfortruth says:


      I really like my Mossberg pump. I’ve taken many deer in shotgun only hunts, and have won one trophy and several turkey shoots with it as well. It’s well over 40 years old as well!

      • G;

        Me too! I have three barrels for it: slug, smooth bore and turkey barrel. The scope is mounted on the cantilever so swapping out barrels is never an issue, although I have put some thought into changing it out for a ‘red-dot’ or illuminated. Nothing I hunt with it is more than 50 yards out and the scope can be a bit of an issue when turkey hunting.


  10. gmanfortruth says:

    What not to buy for the ladies!

  11. Benelli ‘Nova’ pump tactical shotgun with Aimpoint red-dot or Eothech L3 holographic sight with extended magazine. 9 + 1 in chamber. Why go with anything other than 12 gauge? I’m a firm believer in having an adequate amount of ammo on hand and in the weapon. It just makes more sense to have more rounds to fire than the other guy.

    As far as pistols go why would you go with anything other than .357 Sig caliber? Almost identical foot per lbs. force as a .45 and yet it is a very hot round so has penetration as well…windshields, through cover etc.My S&W holds 15 + 1.Much better than the 8+1 of your typical .45’s.

    If you can afford it, Knights armory has a Personal Defense Weapon ideal for home protection.Only thing is you have to have a class 2 manufacturer FFL/SOT.

    • PS…

      Get Ms. Weapon a .38 special. All she has to do is point and squeeze. I wanted something “idiot proof” (don’t tell her I said that!)I say that because she is does not hunt nor sport shoot.You wont have to worry about her fumbling with a semi-auto wondering if theres a round in the chamber or if she even chambered it or if its on safety etc. Thats what I got my wife and taught her to use.

  12. Ok, I am not highly versed in tactical shotguns per brand, but I am pretty solid on theory, and familiar with the 870.

    I like the 870 for the lower recoil (a key to all but the first shot, especially for the less trained/small like the Mrs.), and even more so for the commonplace nature. As regulations tighten, as well as other potential changes (I tend to choose weapons based on worst case scenario, meaning that I like to have a round my enemy is likely to carry, and even the same model of possible so that I can pick up supplies from them). That leans me toward the 12ga more than any other reason, but the 20 is common enough. Avoid things like the 16 or the 10, there just arent enough of them out there. USW, I agree that the 20ga is better on recoil, again a key two shot 2 and beyond. The last thought on the 870 is that, while it may not be the best gun, it is good enough for the price to meet the need you are trying to fill.

    I concur with the choice of #4 or maybe #2 shot. It is plenty damaging, and has less likelyhood of going through a wall to secondary targets. If you want to shoot through sheetrock at intruders, you need a 12ga anyway. One of the main advantages to the shotgun is the fact that it does not punch through as much, making it less dangerous in an apartment or close housing situation, or in a situation where the next room could have a pet or child or other family member. A miss can be a disaster, or even a hit with some weapons. I remember a story of a .50 cal desert eagle going through 3 apartment walls after winging the target intruder. Keep your ordinance focussed on the task it is assigned to do.

    As far as capacity, go with the maximum legal. A shotgun is not so light as to be significantly thrown off balance by a few extra rounds. The reason for the commonplace nature of the 3+1 designs is that in some states, including mine, that is the legal maximum. Most designs come with a plug that is removeable. Check your state’s regulations and remove it if you legally can.

    Speaking of regulations, the other reason a shotgun is prefereable to other weapons is that it is easily argued to be a hunting or sport weapon. Handguns and assault style rifles, or other higher capacity weapons are usually targetted first by regulators. At a certain point, I will cease to care about legality, but availability of ammo and parts and repairs comes into play as they encroach further onthe 2nd amendment. It may affect your decision to add a pistol grip as well, since it “looks bad” to regulators.

    Of course, the shotgun has the accuracy forgiveness factor in the less trained or highly stressed hands, and even can be more easily trained on multiple targets. Because of the ranges you are dealing with and the desire to have maximum spread, I also concur with the legal limit on length, as short as possible. It also makes the weapon a little lighter and much easier to weild quickly and at short range. And the lower recoil is good too, as well as the power reduction (again to prevent secondary target damage). As far as stock, get a proper butt stock. Adding a pistol grip may be a help to you, and it should not hamper the Mrs. too much as long as she practices a little with the weapon, but do not use a folding butt stock, she will need to be able to set it in her shoulder. The extra weight and balance will be helpful too, with absorbing recoil and aquiring target. And, as you said, it makes a good impact in CQ situations.

    A handgun is great for carrying, and for hiding, and maybe for speed of access, but I think you are wise to go shotgun for home defense. Far too many advantages over the handgun. The ONLY negatives to the shotgun are size and weight (not important for home per se) and the inability to be effective in hostage situations. The key would be to not have to deal with such a situation. Actually, the katana aint bad for those sort of tight spots….

    As always, whatever you get, get familiar, test the weapon, get modifications done to the action if it is too difficult for the Mrs. to work easily, and make sure you both practice with it a lot. You know this, just an admonission. 🙂

    My dream weapon would be a semiauto belt fed or drum fed unit with buckshot in 12ga with a duckbill choke, but that is not realistic in our freedomless society. 🙂

  13. Quickly (since the wife is ready to leave for grocery shopping) I am with Jon. Nothing better – to me – than my 870. If I had to give up every weapon to keep only one – it’ll be the 870 that would stay.

  14. gmanfortruth says:

    New article, wanted to see if I could get LeCharlies head to explode. Our Spoiled Society

    • Gman, did you see Doc’s reply to me above? On my way to your joint now …

      • gmanfortruth says:

        Yes, I giggled loudly!

        • I’m back. That’s just you being you (at your place). I don’t mind it so much … my head remains in tact … frankly, it’s the labor unions across the country right now that are pissing me off for not demanding Obama fulfill his campaign promise. This just goes to show (not that it’ll make a difference to so-called liberal democrats) that the Democratic Party is a pubic hair to the left of the Republican party and won’t do a damn thing for anybody but those who own them (Wall Street, etc.) I’m sending President Fredo (I’m back to calling him that — Doc’s name for him) a pair of my old sneakers Monday.

          • gmanfortruth says:

            What can Obama do, it’s not his business, these are state issues. Both parties are worthless scum puppets. They are owned by the PC. Th PC has a nice little clique’ , and we ain’t in it!

  15. gmanfortruth says:

    Just Stay

    A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.

    “Your son is here,” she said to the old man.

    She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

    Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

    The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lightedward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.

    He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

    Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

    Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

    Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

    “Who was that man?” he asked.

    The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

    “No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”

    “Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

    “I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.

    When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”

    I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey.

    His Son was Killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this gentleman’s name?

    The Nurse with tears in her eyes answered,

    Mr. William Grey………….

    The next time someone needs you … just be there. Stay.

  16. USW

    Shotgun for home protection.

    20 gauge with 2 or 4 shot.

    12 guage with 2 or buck shot. More beebees so you can go bigger.

    Seriously shop the net and/or gun shows. Find a semi-automatic of any brand in the gauge you want.

    Look for regular,long stock as The Colonel suggests. Tucked under the arm works great.

    One possible modification on stock. Look for a thumb grip with regular stock. Might help your wife keep the thing under control.

    Buy a modified magazine if removing the chock wont work. Could expand number of shots from 5 to 8 or 10.

    Then cut the barrel off to the minimum length allowed. That is if you can’t find a manufactured barrel short enough.

    Invest in double door locks and an alarm system that fires off when the power is cut.

    Childrens gates on stairways at night or other obstructions that will increase the time needed to reach your sanctuary.

    Biggest suggestion I had was the semi auto shotgun.

    You need to fire as fast as possible while holding the gun tight. The semi auto allows your wife to focus on hold and point and pull.

  17. Of course, with a perimeter of Night vision Raptors…who needs a shotgun anyway.

  18. I think it’s been well-covered in the comments here, but I’ll throw in 2 cents anyway.

    If Mrs. Weapon is small, I’d suggest a 20ga as easier for her to handle. Shotguns have the advantage of not (usually) sending pellets through walls, adding to their safety factor. Of the guns you’ve included photos for here, I’d suggest the Mossberg (lower cost) or the Remington (ease of use) as the others are more law or military use, for the most part.

    Consider a folding, collapsing, or easily removable shoulder stock. In the house, moving around corners is not easy with a full-sized SG and even a shorty with that added shoulder stock length can be a hindrance. A 20ga without a shoulder stock is not all that bad in recoil, really. A 12ga is OK too once you get used to it.

    Most short-barreled SGs will hold at least five shells (six with one in the chamber). The safety on a Mossberg is intuitive, since it’s right at the thumb and you push it forward (towards the barrel) to turn it off.

    I would also suggest getting some dummy rounds (there are several, I’d go with the ones that have a feel similar to the real thing) that can be thrown back and forth and loaded/unloaded safely. These are great for drills and will make reload time on 5 shells from a pocket or carrier happen in 2-3 seconds.

    Check out places like Cheaper Than Dirt for accessories. They make an under-mattress hanger for an SG, flashlights, and so forth.

    Ammunition is also important with a SG as your home defense weapon. I shy away from heavy buckshot and go with lighter pellet sizes. Smaller pellets mean a larger spread and thus an easier chance to hit. They can also mean more damage on the whole, since getting hit by 5 vs. 3 pellets, even if the 5 are almost half the diameter of the 3, does a lot and has a higher percentage chance of doing critical damage to the target. Smaller pellets also have lighter penetration, so they aren’t as likely to go through sheetrock walls and do unintended damage.

    The bonus to a SG, as you already obviously know, is that training time is minimized. They’re point-and-shoot weapons and most training will be centered on safety and quick deployment with little need for accuracy.

  19. Some Sunday morning entertainment for yous crazies on the right … The Doc Says …

    • CHARLIE! You’re gonna get us in trouble. USW said stay on topic on this page..but Doc is right usual!

  20. Another thought. Instead of cutting to 18″ right away. Measure you hallway & house. Fit the length to your individual needs. Put up a paper target and measure the spread of the shot you choose at the selected distance. May want to start at 22″(WAG) and work down. You can always cut more off, duck taping an inch back on won’t hold up very long, but would give you class points with Larry the cable guy.
    I think the 18″ would be for a 12 to 15′ target?

  21. The only other advice I can add is very simple:

    Should either you or Mrs. Weapon find yourselves in a situation where you are forced to lethally stop a threat (God forbid) make sure the only thing you say to the police is “I want to speak to my lawyer”. Don’t discuss the circumstances or any details until your lawyer advises you and only when you have counsel present.

    Call the police post the event and then call your lawyer.

    I saw a video about a year ago that was presented by a well known defense lawyer and his business partner, a retired police detective, and they advised that is your only course of action. They went on to say that the police will use any and all information they garner or gather in a court of law, so don’t give them anything without first getting counsel from a lawyer.


  22. I have enjoyed looking over everyone’s recommendations so I might as well add mine. I have an old pump 12 gauge in the bedroom if I need it but it is not my primary first grab weapon. That said you just can’t beat the sound the pump makes when it loads a shell; that sound alone will cause most amateurs to flee. My primary get to gun in the night stand is a 357 revolver and before you say it is a cannon and can’t be operated by the woman of the house be advised I load it with 38 special rat shot. The recoil is light and the rat shot is around a number 4 shot and will put a serious hurt on an intruder at close range. Another plus is you don’t have to worry about family members in other rooms as this round will not penetrate interior walls. There now you have my 2 cents, think I’ll run on down to my gun room and hand load some general purpose .308’s just in case the SHTF.

  23. Get a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

  24. Finally got a chance to talk to my dad (one of the best gunsmiths in the area) about this. He concurs with the 870 as the choice for part interchangeability, availability, and access to others familiar with the weapon for repairs, maintentance, upgrades, training, etc. He also thinks the pumps is the way to go for the warning sound and dependable operation.

    He did mention a specific model for lefthanders that ejects out the bottom instead of the side, but I do not think that is a concern for you and the MRs. USW. There is a model Aiga that is sort of a semi-auto chotgun version of the AK-47. Dependable, not too hard to find, comes in 20ga, 12ga, and 410ga, but the 20ga is the most popular. It is a dependable semi-auto if you decide not to go the pump route, and apparently there are 20 round drums easily accessable for the unit. More for house to house sweeps than defense of a single house. Unless you end up with a lot of enemies…:)

  25. I have an 870, nickle plated, pistol grip. very cool.

  26. Is anyone aware of any “holders” that can be mounted on the wall where a combination can be keyed in to open it…? Sort of like the shotgun holders that you see in a police car?

    Have not used one, so cannot say how well they work.

    • I’ve never used one either, but there are a couple of them at Cheaper Than Diert:

    • from a different(financial actually) blog:
      Any thoughts on this controversial subject ? Teaching your children to understand how to use a gun.

      We are struggling with this issue. I have taken my ten year to the practice range with me and she has learned to operate our 20 gauge shotgun. She has taken two safety courses with me and we go to the range monthly. Now, one of her friends has told this to her parents and this friend is not allowed over anymore and it has upset my daughter very much. Any ideas on how to handle this ?

      • Richmond Spitfire says:

        Other than assuring the parents of the other child that all guns in the home are safely locked up and that keys are locked up and that ammo is stored separately, there’s really nothing that can be done to alleviate ignorance and fear.

        Maybe show the other parents that the home is safe would be helpful.

        This of course is going with the other parents’ concern is related to fear of their child getting accidently shot vs. gun control maniacs who probably would faint if someone says “boo” to them….

      • Education for those willing to learn. Sounds like some closed-minded parents. Everything I have heard on teaching kids firearms safety results in a very well balanced child. Might be comparable to CCP holders having a two percent or lower crime rate. It teaches responsibility.

        Did you know that the mother of the girl in Colorado that GAVE the two shotguns to the maniacs that did the shooting is an avid member of HCI (Handgun Control International)?

        Remember back to the shootings in Oregon. The boy that killed his liberal, college educated, school teacher parents and went to school the next day on a rampage. Remember the boy, with a bullet in his chest, who wrestled the gunman to the floor – taking another bullet in the hand in the process? Did you know he, and his little brother that assisted, and his whole family were life members of the NRA? I bet not! The Clinton / media never told you the NRA awarded both boys their highest honor for community service.

        • Thanks LOI, I remember the kid, but didn’t know the NRA connection.

          An interesting twist on that situation -from the same blog -‘I just opened an email today from my 10 year old daughter’s school. Teacher wants to meet to discuss not having my daughter share her experience of going to the shooting range with me. Un freaking believable. I want to teach my kids about guns and how to use them and bond with them as we shoot at the range and take safety classes. That is all the email said but I am sure there is more to it. Any thoughts ?.’

          I suspect that the teacher wants to tell him to make sure his daughter doesn’t talk about guns at school. I’m having trouble seeing that as a reasonable request when you assume she’s not threatening to shoot anyone or offering to bring it in for show and tell. Also wondering how it will be justified. I passed your response along with the NRA kid bolded.

          all the best .. c

          I don’t know, but I’m guessing public school. My nephew belongs to a rifle club at his parochial high school. Some days the catholics make me mad, but not today!

          • I guess that teacher skips or omits there being a 2nd amendment. Our Public school is looking to start a shooting program outside the ROTC already offered. But this is the south, could be the red-neck influence.

            • Not all rednecks live below the mason dixon line. When I was growing up we called them good ole boys. They knew how to shoot, how to drive (anything as far as I could tell), and how to drink cold beer. Had some great times – ever been mudding?

              • mudding? 2, 3 & 4 wheeled and lost a boot walking for help. Have not allowed kids to have 4-wheeler yet, keeping them on bikes as long as possible. About to start on a hunting blind/treehouse for them & my father for him to spend some time with them and teach them to hunt. Reloading is my current hobby, trying to optimize long distance shooting.

                Was trying to remember an article by a former military member on sheep, wolves and sheepdogs that has been emailed several rounds, but then G-Man wrote his own.

              • Wait.. there’s people that DON’T know how to do that stuff? How do they survive?

%d bloggers like this: