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5 Best Shotguns for Self-Defense

Over the decades, Gun Tests Magazine has reviewed dozens of self-defense shotguns chambered in 12 gauge, 20 gauge, or other bores. Some have been...

SDS Imports Radikal SAX2 713135218799 12 Gauge

The Radikal SAX2, along with many other M4 clones, are colloquially called a “Turknelli” for the fact they are manufactured in Turkey and are based on the Benelli. The patent for the Benelli M4 expired, and many Turkish manufacturers are building “Fakenellis.”

Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical 85152 12 Gauge

Mossberg is always pushing the envelope on new pump-action or semi-automatic shotguns. Mossberg debuted the 940 series with the JM Pro Competition in 2020 and has since added hunting models and this new Tactical model.

Stoeger M3000 Defense 31890 12 Gauge

The simple inertia-operated mechanism design in the M3000 Defender — as well as all inertia-operated shotguns — uses a two-part bolt with a spring that compresses after the gun is fired and recoil sends the gun backward into your shoulder.

Stevens 301 Single Shot 22557 12 Gauge

The 301 is more versatile with the screw-in choke tube. We thought the longer barrel was a slight liability in a cramped environment. It had the best recoil management of the shotguns tested.

H&R Topper Model 158 12 Gauge

This is a vintage single shot made in 1973, and it performed well. We’d load it with 00 buckshot and keep spare rounds in the slip-over ammo holder.

FedArm SS12 Model MBP1218 12 Gauge

This shotgun folds into a compact package but is afflicted with problems, and we would steer clear of this gun. FedArm provided zero customer support. When we could get it to work, 00 buckshot groups were tight.
best gun for home defense

New Shooter’s Guide: The Best Gun For Home Defense Isn’t a Handgun, Here’s Why

We have many choices for home defense. The widest choice is in handguns. There are single-action, double-action-to-single-action, and double-action-only self-loaders and also revolvers. Glock...

Mossberg 590 50674 12 Gauge

Winchester, Ithaca, Remington, Mossberg and Benelli have all supplied major quantities of shotguns to military and police units over the decades. Benelli is the current semi-auto shotgun of choice for many of our military units.

Remington 870 Tactical 12 Gauge

The Remington 870 was first introduced in 1950 to wide acclaim. In the 70-some-odd years since then, Remington managed to sell more than 11 million copies. In the firearms world, we call that a home run.

Tokarev TX3 12HD 12 Gauge

At the 2022 S.H.O.T. Show, we spied a short-barreled home-defense shotgun that reminded us of a Remington 870. Upon further inspection, we learned we were looking at a new offering from Tokarev.

EAA AKKAR Churchill 612 111375 12 Gauge

The Model 612 is a standard pump-action shotgun with an aluminum receiver, steel barrel, plastic stock and fore end, and plastic trigger housing.

More California Nonsense

I often write about outlandish judicial decisions in this space, but on March 15, 2024, Federal District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton raised the bar...