The shotgun is probably the most versatile firearm you can own, and I believe every prepper needs to have at least one in their home inventory.
Now I know some folks out there disagree with me, but it is more powerful than a handgun but does not have the range of a rifle. It also lacks in its limited magazine capacity.
But I wanted to give you my reasons why you should own a shotgun.
Reason #1 – Price
Like it or not, the first question everyone is concerned about is money. The good news is that you can go to almost any sporting goods store that offers firearms and find shotguns. They are everywhere and cheaper than the other alternatives – an AR-15 or an AK-47.
If you have $200-$300, you can walk into your local sporting goods store, gun shop, or megastore and easily walk out with a shotgun under your arm.
Knowing this, you can quickly save the money needed, and within a week or two, you can upgrade your preps plan and add a shotgun to your home inventory.
Reason #2 – Different Types of Ammunition
One of the features I like about the shotgun is that there is a mix of different ammo you can purchase for the gun, and you can also vary your loads.
- Wild Game Shot
- Buck Shot
- Rubber Ammo
- Flying Nets
- And yes…Dragon Breath Rounds (see below)
Assume you can carry at least 5 in the tube. You can make your first-round bird shot for close range. It will probably not blast through a wall if you are some distance away; if it does, they lose their velocity quickly.
Secondly, you can put a couple of “00” buckshot followed by a couple of slugs.
Here is a home defense scenario…
It is late at night, and you hear a noise in your home. You then hear multiple voices coming from the front of the house. Sitting next to your bed is your trusty Mossberg 500, and you have prepared just for this situation.
You know your home, so you use the corners and concealment to your advantage. You see the first bad guy has a gun sticking out of the front of his pants. He is at a close range, and your first round in your shotgun is birdshot. At this range, it will cut him to ribbons and take him out.
You fire, and bad guy #1 goes down.
The #2 bad guy you see is coming toward you. He is a bit further out, but that is okay, as your second round in the stack is buckshot, and it will take that person out before he reaches you.
You do not know if there is another bad guy, but you have another round of “00” buckshot ready and waiting.
There is the #3 bad guy who was driving the car. Suddenly bullets are coming through the front window. You have that buckshot chambered already, so you fire busting out the car windows. But that is not all, you have some slugs that will go some distance in the stack, and they do a lot more damage.
Bad guy #3 took up a position outside the car and is now shooting blindly through the blown-out car windows. He is using the old spray-and-pray method and is not coming even close to where you are. You chamber the slug knowing these will go through walls and car doors.
BLAM…CLICK CLACK…BLAM. Two slugs down range, and both are right on target. Taking more buckshot from your rifle butt carrier, you load more buckshot into your shotgun.
And there you have it. You have eliminated the bad guys. You practicing this exercise over and over again has paid off, you and your family is safe, and the bad guys are finished.
Yes, this is a glorified scenario, but this is an excellent example of stacking the different rounds in your shotgun, anticipating the need.
There is birdshot, which is good for the small game for food or can be used for close-quarter indoor defense. There are upland game rounds where the “BBs” are bigger and pack a meaner punch. 00 buckshot is like sending eight rounds of 9mm down range, and then there is the slug – a big 50mm hunk of lead that is like a cannonball hitting you. There are also many different types of rounds in between these I have named.
Shotguns can even shoot rounds containing non-lethal bean bags, rubber bullets, and even small nets that deploy when they exit the gun bore.
So, the variety of shotgun rounds is wide, and for every need, there probably is a round to meet that need.
Reason #3 – Power and Performance
The power that the shotgun delivers beats a handgun hands down. Where the handgun has maneuverability and high capacity, the shotgun delivers a deadly volley of BBs, buckshot, and slugs. They have been the weapon of choice for law enforcement for ages. In fact, the term “riding shotgun” comes from when there was a driver of the stagecoach, and the other person was acting as security who carried a sawed-off double barrel shotgun.
Shotguns were used during the bloody trench warfare of WWI. The Allies brutalized the Germans so severely with the shotgun they protested their use and threatened to instantly execute any of the troops found in possession of them.
During Vietnam, they were used by the tunnel rats who went deep into the Viet-Cong tunnels to clear out the enemy.
Fast forward to today, and our military boys stationed in the Middle East have used the shotgun effectively to clear out buildings in building-to-building searches seeking out the enemy.
Reason #4 – Easy to Maintain
Most shotguns are very easy to maintain. In fact, breaking down a pump shotgun is easy, and with a bit of practice, you can even change out to a different barrel, depending on the situation you are using your shotgun.
There are plenty of different cleaning solvents and oils you can use, and most, if not all, can be used on the common shotgun with no problem. In fact, if things get bad, you can even use gasoline or diesel fuel with a bamboo pole with a cut-up t-shirt and get your shotgun clean. It isn’t rocket science and is made to keep it simple.
Reason #5 – Different Roles a Shotgun Can Play
The basic pump shotgun can play various roles and gladly takes on those roles and performs. For example, you can pull your long hunting barrel off and put on the shorter home defense barrel, and already your shotgun has changed from a recreation tool to a “get-the-bad-guys” defensive weapon.
You can swap out the common wooden stock and replace it with a cammo or flat black nylon stock and front forearm. You can even get dual pistol grips, one for the trigger and one for the forearm, and you have a tactical weapon at the ready.
There are flashlights, lasers, and 20-round bandoleer slings. You can get scopes, red dot sights, and even holographic heads-up sights for your shotgun. You can get a short or long barrel, even one between the two sizes. There are folding stocks, collapsible stocks, and even no stock using a single pistol grip. If you can think it up, odds are they have it for the shotgun.
The shotgun can wear many different hats and, with each one, be as effective for the role you have made for it.
Reason #6 – Protected by the Law
Even with all the different roles the shotgun can play, it is still seen as a sporting arm by legislators, and because of this, it will be the last type of weapon to be banned or have legislation drawn up against it.
You can own a shotgun in some of the most anti-gun havens in the US. In New York, they are legal to own, and even in Chicago, where handguns have been completely banned, a shotgun is legal. This is something the modern-day prepper needs to remember and why I say every home needs to have at least one shotgun in the home armory.
So, we have discussed why I think every home needs a shotgun, now, let’s talk about the type of gun that is good for you.
Choosing the Gauge
Ok, I can hear it now, “What is the gauge?”
The gauge is the size of the diameter of the barrel measured from the rear of the weapon. The gauge determines the size of the round your shotgun can fire.
There are different gauges of the shotgun. The smallest is 410, then 20 gauge, then the most popular is 12 gauge.
There are other big bore gauges like 10 and 8, but these are not very common, and if you can find it, ammo is at a premium.
The 410 Shotgun
The 410 is a small bore round, about half the diameter of a dime or a little bigger than a #2 pencil is round. This shotgun is usually a boy’s first shotgun. Commonly it is a breach break, and you have to feed one round per shot. These are good for small game and doves, as well as taking care of vermin like rats, snakes, and mice. They have very little kick at all, and I do not recommend using them in a home defense role. They really do not have the firepower but can be used as a backup weapon if a firefight ensues.
Their rounds include snake shot, bird shot, upland game, buckshot (3-4 balls), and slug with some other sizes in between.
The problem is that because the round is so small in diameter, it does not carry enough projectiles to be used as a primary home defense weapon. But I think it is an excellent weapon to have if you have a young teenage boy or girl learning to hunt and shoot. It is a good gun to start them out with.
The 20 Gauge Shotgun
The choice most people get when it comes to a shotgun is usually a 12 gauge, but once they start shooting it, their shoulders wish they would have taken a 20 gauge.
For a home defense weapon everyone in the family can use, I recommend a 20 gauge. It has enough firepower to it to be effective but not quite the kick that a 12 gauge has. The 20 gauge is a very woman and teenager-friendly shotgun. Teaching everyone how to use and be effective with a 20 gauge is a good home defense solution. One cannot say that the “man of the house” will always be within arm’s reach of the shotgun. Having one that both the wife and kids can effectively use is a smart tactical solution. I like the 20 gauge for an all-around general home defense shotgun and a good weapon to hunt with.
The 12 Gauge Shotgun
For most preppers, the hands-down standard for the shotgun will be a 12-gauge pump. As we discussed, you can pick one up just about anywhere that sells firearms.
There are also great semi-auto shotguns, but with more working parts, there is more chance of something going wrong. And you just can’t break down a semi-auto shotgun and do a quick repair on it; with a pump, you can usually pull it apart, find the problem and get back in the action.
Where pump shotguns are inexpensive, the cost of a semi-auto shotgun is three to four times that of a pump. Sure, you can find some that are less expensive, but they jam up, break, and always at the worse possible moment. Now, are you willing to bet your life and the life of your family on a cheap semi-auto shotgun?
Then there is the issue of parts. It takes more parts to cycle that semi-auto than there are parts in the standard pump shotgun. These parts will wear out and eventually break, usually at the worst possible time.
There is also the issue of bad feeds and finicky ammo. Where a pump shotgun will “eat” almost any round you put in the magazine, semi-autos have been known to not like all rounds or sizes, which results in the weapon jamming. If a pump jams up, it is relatively easy to clear, whereas if semi-auto jams up, you are basically out of the fight until you can clear that jam.
The Pump Shotguns I Like
When it comes right down to it, there are only two choices which are the Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870.
I like the Mossberg 500, but both are excellent and dependable shotguns when you butt up weapon to weapon. These two are probably the most famous and the most owned shotguns out there. They are both affordable; you can find them at almost any sporting goods store, mega-mart, and gun shop out there. Both Mossberg and Remington make different varieties of the individual shotgun.
For example, I own a Mossberg 500® TACTICAL TURKEY™ Series pump shotgun.
Here is the same model, but it has been made into a tactical weapon.
This Mossberg 500 has a front and rear pistol grip and a modified butt that holds 6 extra rounds. The Tactical Turkey is already drilled for a scope, but this person has added a weaver rail to the top so they can use a red dot or a holographic rear site. This is a fine example of how one can modify their shotgun, specifically the Mossberg 500 Tactical Turkey series.
This is the Remington 870 Sportsman Synthetic.
As I have said, it is a toss-up between the two guns. They are both fine weapons, but the Mossberg wins by just a hair.
When I was going to purchase my shotgun, I was using an older gun for a trade-in. I had limited cash and had my eye on a Remington 870 Sureshot Super Turkey. I liked the feel of this weapon with its Monte Carlo stock with a built-in pistol grip. But it was slightly out of my price range on what I had budgeted.
I would recommend it to anyone looking for a shotgun. With the Monte Carlo pistol grip set up, this was a very comfortable shotgun.
Both of these shotguns come in 12 gauge and 20 gauge. You need to head to your local gun shop and feel both. Look at all their features and the third-party add-ons.
In fact, regarding third-party add-ons, the Mossberg 500 has a few more things out there over the Remington 870. Besides the price, it has the ability to have the opportunity to add a few more modifications that finally won me over to the Mossberg 500.
Either of these will fit the bill and serve you for a long time.
Get a shotgun while you still can and while they are still affordable. A day may come when you wish you did.
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