Tactical Weapons

Best options for a home defense shotgun

Brady Kirkpatrick Avatar
Best home defense shotgun

A U.S. Marine with combat engineer platoon, Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 171 stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, shoots a Benelli M4 Super 90. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson)

Choosing the best home defense shotgun is not easy, but the Benelli M2 tactical shotgun takes the top prize. It’s a durable, reliable firearm that can stop just about anything in its path. Shotguns offer several advantages for home defense, including superior stopping power, wider coverage, and greater intimidation. However, not everyone wants the same features in a shotgun.

The Benelli M2 tactical shotgun is a carefully crafted firearm that should offer a lifetime of protection with proper care. It’s also a costly shotgun. Depending on your budget, you may want to explore some of your other options. You also need to consider whether you want a semi-automatic shotgun or a pump-action shotgun, as each choice offers separate pros and cons.

Keep reading to compare the features of the best home defense shotguns.

Benelli M2 Tactical Shotgun – Best Overall Home Defense Shotgun

The Benelli M2 Tactical Shotgun is a superb firearm and the best overall home defense shotgun. It holds 5+1 rounds and has a barrel length of 18.5 inches. The Benelli M2 includes a synthetic stock, which helps keep the weight to just 6.7 pounds. It’s a surprisingly lightweight yet sturdy shotgun with a unique “ComforTech” stock that reduces recoil by up to 48%. Reducing recoil makes it easier to get back on target quickly after firing a round. The gun also includes an inertia-driven system for expelling the cartridge and loading the next round, which further reduces recoil and limits the number of moving parts in the shotgun.


  • Lightweight design
  • Significant recoil reduction
  • Durable construction for a lifetime of use


  • Expensive
Best home defense shotgun benelli m2
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Johnathan Cardenas, a member of the Marine Corps Action Shooting Team and a Stevens Point, Wisconsin native, practices shooting with a Benelli M2 for upcoming shooting competitions on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, July 27, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Sean Potter)

Stoeger M3000 Semi-Auto Shotgun – Best Low-Cost Semi-Auto 

The Stoeger M3000 is an affordable alternative to the Benelli M2. It is another 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun but with a much longer barrel. The Stoeger M3000 has a 28-inch barrel and holds 4+1 rounds. 

You can chamber it with 2-3/4-inch or 3-inch shells without adjustment. The M3000 is a low-cost shotgun with a walnut stock. It may not hold up for a lifetime with frequent use at the range but should be more than adequate for home defense.

As with the Benelli M2, the Stoeger M3000 relies on inertia-driven action to provide semi-automatic action with less recoil and fewer moving parts. At 7.4 pounds, the gun is also relatively lightweight. 


  • One of the most affordable semi-automatic shotguns
  • Comes pre-drilled for use with Weaver-style scopes


  • A shorter barrel may work better in closer quarters
  • May not hold up as well compared to higher-priced options

Mossberg 590A1 – Best Overall Value for a Pump Action Shotgun

The Mossberg 590A1 is one of the most popular pump action shotguns thanks to its affordable price tag and reliable performance. The Mossberg 590A1 has a barrel length of 18.5 inches and holds 6+1 rounds. It weighs 7 pounds. While the previous semi-auto shotguns are dependable, the Mossberg 590A1 is even more resilient. Pump action shotguns contain fewer parts, which makes them less prone to failure and jams. The 590A1 shotgun also has an anti-jam elevator and dual extractors, further reducing the risk of the gun jamming. However, you’re unlikely to fire multiple rounds quickly with decent accuracy. The 590A1 is a pump-action shotgun, which requires you to pump the action to expel the cartridge and load the next one. This slows your firing rate, as you often need to reacquire your target. 


  • One of the most reliable shotguns on the market
  • Offers great value for your money 
  • Holds up to 7 rounds


  • Reduced firing rate compared to the previous picks

Mossberg Maverick 88 – Best Budget Home Defense Shotgun 

The Mossberg Maverick 88 is about half the price of the Mossberg 590A1, making it one of the most affordable shotguns from a trusted manufacturer. It weighs 6.5 pounds and has a 20-inch barrel and a 7+1-round capacity. As with the previous options, the Maverick 88 is a 12-gauge shotgun. It’s also a pump action shotgun, which is typically more reliable compared to a semi-automatic shotgun but also slower to fire multiple rounds. The Maverick 88 isn’t a highly durable shotgun. It can eventually show signs of wear and tear, such as reduced accuracy and speed. Proper care is needed to preserve this gun and protect it against damage. However, its inexpensive price tag makes it attractive.


  • The most affordable shotgun for home defense
  • Reliable and easy to use


  • Requires care to prevent premature wear and tear


The Benelli M2 is the top shotgun for home defense due to its performance and reliability. It also has a barrel length of just 18.5 inches and weighs 6.7 pounds, making it one of the easiest to store. 

Yet, the Benelli M2 is expensive. The Stoeger M3000 is a close runner-up with a more affordable price tag. If you want a pump-action shotgun, the Mossberg 590A1 and Maverick 88 are the top two picks. Both options are reliable and extremely unlikely to jam, but the Maverick 88 is the least expensive choice.