If you’re like me you appreciate the wide array of uses for a good ole scattergun. Hunting and home defense being at the top of the list. Interestingly the defensive shotgun seems to have lost its following.
Even in the law enforcement arena, the shotgun has in many cases been pushed aside in favor of the AR-15 style carbine.
But for me and thousands of others, the shotgun can never be replaced. It is truly one of the most versatile firearms of all time.
But the true intent of the article is to point out a few added enhancements worthy of consideration to your home defense or vehicle-carry shotgun.
Although for a home defense shotgun a standard front bead is probably more than sufficient, you may want to consider an upgrade to your shotgun’s sights. Your defensive shotgun may travel with you on the road or even possibly be used in a hunting situation with slugs or buckshot. In those cases, a red dot sight may provide more versatility.
Many companies are building a red dot compatible with a shotgun and a picatinny rail mount. Recently we tried out the Sightron S30-5. While the Sightron is not specific to a shotgun its design is beefy, a 30mm tube with solid rings that performed well in a recent test with 12ga buckshot and slugs.
Shotgun Ammo Carrier
Over the years my serious defensive shotgun use has been mostly related to law enforcement. Carrying additional ammunition was routine and logical. In my opinion, there are two viable ways to carry spare ammo on the gun.
First, on the butt stock and secondly, on the side of the receiver. For home or vehicle defense, either of these two is viable. Today the most common is probably the receiver carrier also known as the “sidesaddle” ammo carrier.
Many are on the market; I have personally used the side saddle carriers from Mesa Tactical and found them to be solid. Here’s a link to where you can find some on Amazon.
Shotgun Light System
Ideally, any home defense shotgun ideally should be coupled with a light attached to the gun. Why? To clearly identify an intended target. Shooting at perceived threats or shadows may end poorly. If you consider that over 50% of defensive encounters are in a reduced light setting, the point becomes obvious.
Today rail systems for a light or even a light integral to the fore end of the shotgun itself are widely available. One light system I have used is the EOTech Integrated Fore-End Light (IFL). While this fore-end light is no longer available there are many others on the market today.
Shotgun Magazine Tube Extension
If you find the sidesaddle ammo carrier a bit too bulky for your home shotgun, then another option is a magazine tube extension. Depending on the model these can easily add two or possibly four rounds of shotshells to your magazine capacity. One that I have recently used is the XS Sights Plus 2 Magazine Extension Tube for a Remington 870.
This aluminum one-piece tube weighs less than traditional steel tubes found on the market today. The XS Sight lightweight magazine tube extension increases the capacity of standard 870 shotguns by two shotshells. In my case, I have the tube extension and a side saddle ammo carrier on my defensive shotgun.
For an all-around defensive or survival shotgun, a solid sling is a must. While I may not recommend a sling on an in-home shotgun simply because it may hamper the use of the gun in tight quarters, day in and day out I choose to have a sling or at least the ability to quickly add one to the gun if need be.
An old saying to consider is, “the sling is to the long gun as the holster is to the handgun … a way to secure and control the gun when carrying, but not in use.”
Ammo selection varies greatly for a defensive shotgun. But for buckshot loads, I would look no further than, Federal Premium Tactical 00 Buck with the Flitecontrol wad system.
You can read our review on those shotshells, here.
Even with a cylinder bore choke, all pellets (9 pellet, 12 ga) will easily be within a torso-size area out to 25 yards with this load–something not attainable with older styles and brands of 00 buck.
There are of course many other options for your defensive shotgun including collapsible stocks, fore-end grips, and the like. But I have found the above-mentioned accessories are more than suitable for any circumstance.
There is certainly a place for a long gun in your home defense considerations. Many folks tend to look only to semi-auto carbines today. But don’t overlook a semiauto or pump 18-inch barrel shotgun and a few of the accessories that will enhance its useability in a worst-case scenario.