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The 5 Best Shotguns for Home Defense under $1,000

Bonus 5 Shotguns That Are Prefect For Women Shooters

The 5 Best Shotguns in 2020 for Home Defense Under $1,000




Bonus 5 Shotguns that are Perfect for Women Shooters




Shotguns have long been a favorite for home defense. And rightfully so. Shotguns are amazing gun specimens; they can do things no other gun type can do. You may be wondering why I need a separate gun for my home? The NRA article Home Defense: Pistols vs. Shotguns vs. Rifles, does a great job of delving into this often debated topic.


Well, the answer for me was a simple one; when you need to get a nail into a piece of wood efficiently, you grab a hammer. When you want to tighten a bolt, you use a wrench- not a stick. You use the specific tool for the job you want to accomplish. A handgun can serve double duty, but the disadvantages make it less efficient. The rounds penetrate deeper and can go through multiple walls, especially if they are drywalled, so in a small home, condo, or apartment, this may be the best option. In this instance, a shotgun would be a better option for a home defense gun. The shotgun is the most efficient tool for home defense in 95% of home defense scenarios.


According to the NRA article, Handguns are better for moving about and for other tasks where a free hand is needed, whereas a shotgun needs two hands to operate effectively.


Granted, shotguns have both pros and cons. For me, the primary advantage of using a shotgun for home defense is the burst of projectiles when fired that reduces the need for accuracy. No other gun shares this capability. And to be quite honest, there is no more intimidating a sound as a shotgun shell being racked into the chamber of a pump shotgun. I find this a preferable method for my spouse, because she can just point in the general direction and pull the trigger. The shotgun requires less aiming and an overall reduced amount of accuracy, especially with Buckshot alternating with slug loading. It’s just by far the most efficient firearm for self-defense. The last advantage I find appealing for home defense is minimal penetration.


A few cons are the heavy recoil, the size, the intimidation factor. The biggest con is the recoil. There are memes all over the internet with shotguns flying out of the shooters hands from the recoil. These are exaggerated but still, have a negative stigma. The size, even the home defense models that are 16 to 18 inches long, pose a risk being too long to maneuver corners or tight confines.


Acknowledging these pros and cons, the shotgun is still the firearm of choice for most for home defense and with good reason. The post by Larry Case, in Gun Digest, Why The Home Defense Shotgun Rules The Roost, states range and firepower as the primary reasons. Below we will identify the five best shotgun models under $1,000 for home defense.


Pros and Cons


 A. Multiple projectiles enter your target with each trigger pull. Ammunition To Go wrote an article, The Best Shotgun Ammo, for home defense, and I highly recommend reading it.


a. Birdshot has the smallest pellet sizes but has the advantages of numbers. These tiny pellets lack deep penetration and lack the lethality of Buckshot, but Birdshot leaves a peppering of surface wounds that can be quite painful.


b. Buckshot is used to kill, well what else, White Tail Bucks the most commonly hunted North American Deer Species. According to the Shotgun ammo article, Buckshot is devastating when used at close range. I found this tidbit super interesting; they state that the average human body structure is eerily similar to a typical whitetail buck. The use of comparison between humans and animals is strictly to understand why this selection of ammo is also efficient for personal protection. The logic is if the load is lethal on whitetails, who have a similar makeup, then conversely, it will be lethal on a human. Buckshot pellets are significantly larger than Birdshot.


c. The article states that #5 birdshot measures .12 inches in diameter while 00 Buckshot measures .33 inches in diameter, making the pellets of Buckshot almost three times larger than Birdshot. The larger size ensures deeper penetration. The NRA States, 00 Buckshot throws twelve, .33 diameter pellets at one time into a target.


d. Shotgun Slugs contain a single metal projectile. A lot of experts recommend alternating 00 Buckshot, and slug shells for home defense. That’s exactly how I load my shotguns at my home, used for self-defense. The article best shotgun ammo for self-defense states these projectiles are massive and deliver serious internal damage. Unlike Birdshot or Buckshot, they require the shooter to be much more accurate in their aiming. They also have more range, which isn’t a factor in most residential home defense situations.


e. Slugs penetrate deeply and, according to this article, aren’t recommended for home defense. They note that slugs can be a major liability in a home defense situation because the typical range in which an intruder is engaged is between 7 and 15 feet, the typical length of a hallway and slugs can travel much longer distances. They will go through drywall, wall studs, doors, furniture, and bodies. They go further to say that shooting a slug inside your home could potentially put your entire neighborhood at risk. Again, this is debatable, but I never advise using slugs in an apartment or units with shared walls, like a condo or multifamily dwelling, but in a larger home, more aptly, in my home, I stand by their use.


B. The intimidation factor for a shotgun when raked is second to none.


Greg Ellinfritz asked the question, How many times have you heard this statement?


“Just get a 12 gauge pump shotgun for home defense. The noise of the slide racking will make any burglar piss his pants and run.”
Many people still subscribe to this notion, but today’s criminals don’t seem to think of it as much of a deterrent. This Youtuber takes this position. He even states that 80% of home burglars are high, or on a drug binge and just don’t care.



C. Minimal penetration primarily with Birdshot Birdshot causes mostly surface wounds, although painful but not usually lethal.


D. Recoil can be a bit much for a smaller framed person. I’ll never forget taking a petite woman to the range for shotgun training, and she kept hitting the ceiling and wall. The range safety officer told us to just stop. The shotgun kept getting away from her, and the slugs weren’t on target. It was the length, and she was quite frankly just intimidated by the thing.


E. Size. Even a tactical shotgun with a shorter barrel is harder to maneuver around corners or tight spaces. It also requires two hands to operate effectively. Chris Baker, from a post in Lucky Gunner, clearly states that he doesn’t think the shotgun is always the best choice for everybody for self-defense.


F. Intimidation Factor. This is listed twice. A shotgun intimidates the person it’s trained on or within earshot of it being racked, but it’s also intimidating for a lot of users. A shotgun can be very awkward for the smaller framed person to use.


Here are my recommendations for the best five shotguns for home defense under $1,000.


Compensated Affiliate Disclaimer


Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy the product I may receive some monetary compensation. I only recommend products I use and love!



Mossberg 500 Tactical


 This is the best tactical shotgun on the market in this price point. The Mossberg 500 is the best balance of battle-proven features, customization options, and budget. It strikes a balance for being affordable and still delivering on performance. This shotgun is a perfect option for home defense.


It comes with the Mossberg 500 action that has twin action bars, fully ambidextrous battle-proven design fitted to a 20-inch barrel with an extended magazine tube. It still comes with a heat shield, bead sight, and synthetic stock ready to mount a flashlight. This is a great gun that you can pick up out of the box and use it as a tactical shotgun. All you would need to add is a sling and a light to make it fully serviceable.


The Mossberg 500 can be modified with a ton of aftermarket parts and accessories. These aftermarket parts allow for customization that will make this a better home defense weapon and tactical shotgun. The difference between this gun and the standard Mossberg 500 is the heavy wall barrel that is extra corrosion resistant. The addition of a heat shield and extended magazine tube are other features worth noting.


Mossberg 590A1 Mil-Spec


 The Marine Corps commissioned Mossberg when they needed a shotgun. Mossberg upgraded everything on the 590 series gun they produce. The result, a fully loaded weapon ready for any terrain, from the jungle to the desert, and even urban combat.


The Mossberg 590 A1 features a heavier barrel combined with greater ammunition capacity than the 590 series. It has corrosion resistance and is made of high-grade steel. The 590 A1 has fewer mimed parts used in manufacturing. Mimed parts are Metal Injection Molding (MIM), which is a metalworking process in which finely powdered metal is mixed with a binder material to create feedstock that is then shaped and solidified using injection molding. This is a less expensive manufacturing process that allows for high volume, complex parts to be formed in a single operation.) The Mossberg 590 also has more robust forgings than the lower grade guns. The 590 is a gun that will probably outlive you and is arguably the most durable on the market; this is a great option.


 The 590 comes standard with ghost ring sites, similar to the famous sites on the M14 and in M1 Garand rifle. The ghost rings allow you a greater range and faster target acquisition. It also comes with Picatinny rails included; it’s ready to mount a red dot or scope. This combat shotgun is also much heavier than other guns in this space, because of the heavy steel parts, a heavy-duty polymer stock, and a heavy wall barrel. The additional weight helps minimize the recoil and makes for a very easy shooting gun. Special processes and finishes have been added to the inside of the receiver to make the parts even more reliable. This combat shotgun is nearly fail-proof even in the worst of operating conditions.


Remington 870 Express


 It is hard to debate the reliability of the Remington 870. The Remington brand has been manufactured for over a hundred years; it was one of the original designs featuring double-action bars. The double-action bars feature greatly enhances reliability in the field, or in a home defense situation. The 870 is one of the original tactical shotguns introduced; it has a large assortment of aftermarket parts available for it.


The 870 counts the US Navy, Army, and most special operations forces use this shotgun because it is battle-proven. Because it is a pump-action shotgun, you don’t have to worry about reliability or ammo malfunctions that are more common in semi-auto shotguns. The 870 is made to operate simply, just load shells into the magazine and pump shells into the action as fast as you can. Its time tested, and will fire every time!


One of the great things about the Remington 870 is the overall weight and balance. Few other shotguns come close to the weight balance and feel of this pump-action shotgun.


There are several models to choose from in this product line; the wing master and a police model, to name a couple notable models. However, the express is still the most cost-effective way to have a basic tactical shotgun in your home and comes with many features that you can upgrade. If you are on a budget, there is simply no better shotgun. There are a few drawbacks, the safety is non-ambidextrous, as well as being a cross-bolt safety that is sometimes hard to reach. Aside from this design flaw, this is an excellent shotgun for anyone looking for a reliable, low-cost model. These guns are pretty saturated in the marketplace and can always be found for an affordable price.




The KSG is one of the best models when it comes to combat shotguns. The manufacturer did a good job when it comes to the overall design. It’s aggressive, and unique design will change where shotgun design goes for years to come. The KSG is definitely a disruptor.


 The KSG is not a new invention in the world of combat shotguns, but it has tons of innovation and definitely one of the best. The pump action can work two different types of ammo on the fly. You simply swap the load and start shooting.


 This is on my to-buy list and I hope to buy one as a quasi Father’s Day gift to myself.


Remington 870


 This model is one of the best on the market and builds on the legacy of the Remington name and brand. The 870 has a robust pump-action and has the ability to shoot different types of ammo. The 870 has a lower recoil as compared to the many other models on the market.


 The 870 has a loyal following, and it stands to reason it would, it has been in production for 70 years. Over the decades, this shotgun has evolved to be one of the best on the market. The 870 faithful should see those improvements from one model to next through the years. This model is renowned for delivering reliability and sturdiness; it boasts a solid steel receiver.


 Beretta 1301 Tactical 12 Gauge


 The Beretta 1301 Tactical 12 Gauge Shotgun is a reliable and fast shooting defensive shotgun. 1301 Tactical is chambered in 12 gauge and features a 3″ chamber. This shotgun has all the features of a modern shotgun at a price you just can’t pass on. The 1301 Tactical has a compact 18.5″ barrel, Ghost ring sights, and a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail. The integrated BLINK operating system, featuring a cross tube gas piston, allows the 1301 Tactical to cycle 36% faster than other shotguns on the market.


 Best models for women shooters


 A. Benelli M4 H20


a. Granted, this is about a $1,000 more than our budget; it’s such an amazing firearm it could not be ignored. Coming in at $1,999.


 B. Mossberg 590 Shockwave Pump


a. $445.99


 C. Remington Model 870 Express


a. $369.99


 D. Henry Repeating Arms Lever-Action Shotgun .410 gauge


a. $824.99




 In this environment, home defense is imperative. As we delve deeper into the current crises, people will become more desperate, and home invasions and burglaries will be more commonplace. Home invasions were already on the rise pre-COVID-19. And a reliable method to defend your home will be more of a necessity. It would be a personal preference if you chose to use a handgun, rifle, or shotgun to make sure your home safe. I do, however, strongly urge you to give the shotgun a look. It has its drawbacks, but I firmly believe the shotgun’s strengths far outweigh the limitations. A shotgun is and will always be a part of my family’s home defense strategy. Yes, I said strategy. Just like a fire strategy, natural disaster, or a tornado strategy, you should have a drill for bumps in the night or home invasion.


 My families strategy is simply this:


As the hunter and gatherer, my task is to investigate any bump in the night with my home defense handgun. My wife’s assignment is to grab my daughter out of her bedroom, usher her and our dog back to our master bedroom. She is supposed to lock our bedroom door, slide the dresser in front of the door, go into the master bathroom, lock the door, proceed into the master closet and call 911.


 She is then to point the 12 gauge shotgun at the door and position herself between the door and my daughter. If anyone attempts to make an entry, without the safe word, she is to pull the trigger and release the pellets.


 When I have cleared the house, I give her the all-clear, with our safe word. I cannot stress this enough; a shotgun is a vital piece of any home defense strategy and one of the best tools to defend your home.


 Hopefully, this list of 5 best shotguns under $1,000 helps you land on the best model for your family’s needs and budget. The list of best shotguns for women is also worth a look; these models are shorter and easier to use.

Kevin Flowers's Headshot 2019

By Kevin Flowers

Remington 870

Woman Shooting shotgun video

Kel-tec KSG 12 Gauge

Kel-tec KSG 12 Gauge

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