Shotguns: you love them or you hate them. Some people see them as flexible tools for home defence or hunting. Others view them as limited in both range and firepower, with bulky, heavy ammo. There’s no right or wrong here, so instead let’s assume that you like shotguns or at least what to know more about them. So what can you do with a shotgun? Well, for one, they’re great for home defence, whether you live in the city or out on the farm. Let’s face it; defensive shootings don’t generally happen at great range, and the close quarters firepower of a shotty is hard to deny.
So if you’re interested in a shotgun for these applications, where do you get started? What should you look for? What accessories do you need? What else do you need to know? Don’t worry, we’ll at least get you started.
For your consideration:
- When it comes to home defence shotguns, there’s a dictum that is nearly universally accepted: simple is best. Keeping your setup basic and flexible is the key to success. Your shotgun does not have to be all things to all people under all circumstances—it has to help you protect your home.
- Choose a design you like, first and foremost. Some folks have a deep love for the Mossberg 500/590 family of weapons. Others love the Remington 870. There are folks who like semi-auto shotguns or smaller brands like the Ithaca. Our advice is to handle and shoot a variety of weapons, read some reviews, and find the combinations of cost, reliability, and ergonomics that work best for you.
- Let’s talk accessories. 10 seconds’ worth of online research will show you a bewildering number of shotguns loaded down with every tactical accessory imaginable. Those might be nice, but remember our dictum about simplicity. In reality, you need a reliable shotgun with a simple sight you can see under low light conditions and a good sling. A sidesaddle for extra ammo might be nice, but most likely you won’t need it. Start slowly and grow into the setup you need.
- Now, let’s talk ammo. Regardless of whether you choose a pump or semi-auto shotgun, whatever the brand you go with, no matter what your setup, you need to, have to, must check your ammo. Test fire a box at various ranges, check how it patters, and practice, practice, practice. You need to know how your equipment handles, and this includes ammo.
- Finally, practice! You’ve got a lot to learn: how to reload in a tactical situation. How to move quickly and confidently. How to navigate tactically inside a building. How to work with a sling in a home defence situation. There are a lot of good resources out there, including the writings of Jeff Cooper, John S. Farnham, Gabe Suarez, and Lou Auerbach. Do some research, take some classes, and learn, learn, learn.
We can’t tell you all you need to know, but we can get you started. So get out there and enjoy practising with your new shotgun.