Home Firearms Self Defense Shotgun

Self Defense Shotgun


Another recent addition to the armory here at TOTWTYTR Galactic Headquarters. This a Remington 870 Wingmaster shotgun. I bought this from a local dealer who took several in trade from a police department that was looking to upgrade their shotguns. These were shot very little and spent most of their time sitting somewhere in a police cruiser or locker. The metal was very good, but the wood needed some TLC.

That TLC consisted of breaking the shotgun down to it’s component pieces, removing the wood and smoothing out the finish with steel wool. After that, I applied several coats of Boiled Linseed Oil, using #0000 steel wool between each coat. After that I reassembled the gun, added the sling and swivels, a new recoil pad, and it was done. I’ll probably add a stock mounted ammunition holder for extra rounds.

The Remington 870 is the most popular pump shotgun there is, due to it’s ease of use and reliability. The 12 gauge round is a proven self defense round and is readily available. Different experts recommend different loads, but the consensus seems to be that 00 buck shot is the most effective round combining serious stopping power with low risk of over penetration in residential construction buildings.

Some experts recommend a sling, if for no other reason than it allows the shooter an easy means of retaining the shotgun while freeing up his or her hands for other tasks. Other experts recommend against a sling because it’s one more thing to catch or hang up on objects in the building. It comes down to a matter of personal preference, I guess.

As with any weapon, the owner should practice until he or she is familiar with the action of the gun and proficient in it’s use. Don’t count on the mythical powers of the sound of a round being racked into the chamber to protect you. The real protection in a shotgun, or any gun for that matter, lies in the owners ability to use it effectively and their willingness to do so if the situation should require it. Fortunately, target ammunition is relatively inexpensive so one can go to the range on a regular basis to practice.

The Box ‘o Truth has an article Fighting with a Shotgun that has some very useful advice. There are no doubt other resources out there, so search around.

If I lived in a state with rational gun laws, I’d always have a shotgun in my car or truck just in case the very worst happened. As they say at the Box o’ Truth, a handgun is a handgun and a long gun is a long gun. If you can, you should have both handy for your self defense needs.

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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


  1. The Remington 870 and the Mossburg 500 are probably the best choices for home defense, so you done good. Shotguns are far better for that purpose, in my opinion, than any handgun or rifle. True, you have better long range success with a rifle, and both rifle and semi-auto pistol have greater magazine capacity, but not much is more effective for close quarter defensive maneuvering than a short barreled shotgun.My favorite load is 4 buck. Slugs or 00 buck have too much penetration for a home defense situation (another reason not to use a handgun), especially if there are innocents in adjoining rooms. 4 buck tends to penetrate walls a little less effectively while doing a fine job on the bad guy in the same room.If the field of action moves outdoors, I like my Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. Like Dianna Ross, it can really reach out and touch somebody.

  2. Unfortunately the PRM doesn’t allow for self defense of the home if the threat is not in the home. That’s not written into statute law, but it’s the truth none the less. That being the case, and considering how close most homes are up here, rifles are really out for in home self defense. As to the choice of load, I think it’s a true YMMV situation.

  3. Technically, you can have a “trunk gun” so long as it’s unloaded and in a locked case.I’ve thought about getting a(nother) Mosin-Nagant M44 for just that reason – talk about a perfect trunk(truck) gun – shoots the very manly 7.62X54mmR ammo, costs about $90, and has an attached bayonet.Just in case you’re attacked by rampaging teletubbies… 😉

  4. What state do you live in? Any of them thar 870’s left? Could we do an FFL to FFL sale? Hm, Hm, inquiring minds..!Steve

  5. Steve, Based on what happened the last time this particular shop had some of these they are long gone. Jay, I was talking about states where you don’t have to lock up weapons if they are outside the house. Ones, you could, you know, actually use.


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