When out and about in our daily routines, concealed carry is a critical facet of personal safety and civic responsibility. And I've written on a number of great handguns for that purpose, and plan to write on many more.
But when we look at home defense, it's difficult to beat a pump shotgun. Don't get me wrong, a handgun will work and is used by many for home defense every day and night. However, a pump shotgun in the hands of someone who's well acquainted with it provides overwhelming force.
In large part, this is because a handgun shoots one bullet at a time--a single projectile--while a shotgun blasts out numerous lead pellets, called "shot," all at once. The amount of force expended to blow the shot out of the barrel is what gives the shotgun its classic kick, or recoil. It's also what literally drops intruders in their tracks.
Two classic, dependable shotguns I will consider here are the Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870.
Both are 12 gauge weapons, and before demand went through the roof following Obama's re-election and all the gun control talk, you could purchase either of them in the $400 to $600 range. I'm sure those prices have risen as the guns have become scarce in places.
First the Mossberg 500.
The 500 is your father's shotgun, yet it's nothing like your father's shotgun. By that I mean you can get a Mossberg 500 that simply looks like a classic pump shotgun or you can get one of the many variants which literally turn the weapon into a home defense tool.
You can get it with a 6 or even 8 shot magazine (not a detachable magazine, but a tubular magazine that simply runs under the barrel).
For those of you who have fired a .12 gauge, just think about it--8 shots of that lethal ammo at your fingertips when glass breaks in the night or someone kicks in the front door.
You can get a 500 that has a rear stock like normal but with a pistol grip by the trigger or you can get one that has no rear stock at all--just a pistol grip instead. This shortens the overall length of the gun, making it easier to pull up and put on target in a situation where someone might be coming through the door of the very room in which you are sleeping.
Mossberg even has a version of the 500 with a flashlight built into the fore-grip so you can see where you're going or who's coming at you if in fact you find yourself in a life or death situation in the dark of night.
Now, the Remington 870.
The 870 is sacrosanct for many pump shotgun enthusiasts. Military personnel use it, police departments use it, and civilians of all walks of life use it for hunting, self-defense, and home-defense.
Like the Mossberg 500, the 870 is now available from the factory in many configurations: some more suited for home defense than others.
Owning an 870 is like owning a 1911 .45 handgun, a Ruger 10/22 .22 rifle, or a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver in that you will always be able to get parts for it, accessories for it, etc. It is a staple in the gun world.
The bottom line--If I were going shopping for a 12 gauge pump shotgun for home defense, I would go to Wal-Mart, Gander Mountain, or the local gun store, examining and holding different configurations of both guns, one at time, in my hands. I would consider how quickly I could pull one variant of the guns up over another, if in fact I had to point and click to defend my life.
It would not matter to me which gun I ended up buying, the 500 or the 870, because either one can be trusted to get the job done.