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Some people just need to shoot, and a shotgun is the perfect tool!

In the heartland of America, where self-reliance and the right to bear arms are deeply ingrained in the culture, a group of friends gathered around a rustic wooden table the night before hunting season. They were passionate about firearms, and on this warm summer evening, they began a spirited discussion about the top 5 popular 12-gauge shotguns used for self-defense. Each had their favorite, and as the sun set behind the rolling hills, they shared their insights.

Remington 870: John, a seasoned hunter, spoke highly of his Remington 870. He believed it was the epitome of reliability and versatility. Its pump-action design made it easy to use, even in high-stress situations. John recounted a time when he heard an intruder on his property. The unmistakable sound of a shotgun chambering a round sent the trespasser fleeing into the night.

Mossberg 500: Sarah, the group's sharpshooter, advocated for her Mossberg 500. She praised its affordability and ruggedness, saying, "It's like the AK-47 of shotguns." Sarah shared a personal story about defending her home during a power outage. The Mossberg's ghost ring sights and comfortable grip gave her confidence in the dark, ensuring her family's safety. Two Perps took the asphalt challenge and the third is permanently in a wheelchair. That double ought buckshot did what it was supposed to have done.

Benelli M4: Mark, an ex-military man, had a soft spot for the Benelli M4. Its semi-automatic action and quick follow-up shots appealed to his tactical sensibilities. Mark recounted an incident where he found himself alone at home when a sudden storm unleashed chaos in his neighborhood. With the M4 by his side, he felt like a one-man fortress, ready for anything. The Roof Top Koreans couldn’t have performed better. Mark’s family will never forget the M4’s quick effective action when it proved the Ace in the hole.

Winchester SXP Defender: Emily, a petite woman who believed in empowerment through self-defense, was a fan of the Winchester SXP Defender. She appreciated its lightweight design and smooth pump-action. Emily shared a story of a late-night scare when an unexpected visitor knocked on her door. With the SXP Defender, she felt in control, her confidence soaring as she ordered the stranger to leave her property. That nefarious character decided to skedaddle when Emily handled the 12 gauge with steadfast and resolute.

Stoeger Double Defense: Jake, a man who loved classic aesthetics, extolled the virtues of his Stoeger Double Defense. This break-action, double-barreled shotgun exuded a timeless charm, reminiscent of the old west. Jake recalled an encounter with a pack of aggressive stray dogs while hiking. The imposing presence of the Stoeger made them think twice about challenging him once he dropped 3 curs with one blast.

As the friends continued their discussion, they agreed that choosing the right shotgun for self-defense was a deeply personal decision, shaped by one's preferences, experiences, and needs. These top 5 shotguns had earned their popularity in America for a reason – they were trusted companions in times of uncertainty, offering a sense of security and peace of mind in a world where the unexpected could always be lurking just beyond the horizon.

Certainly, these most important characteristics are why these top 5 popular 12-gauge shotguns used for self-defense in America, including their capacity, perceived recoil, and the most effective ammo:

Remington 870:

Capacity: The Remington 870 typically comes with a 4+1 or 6+1 capacity, meaning it can hold four or six rounds in the magazine tube plus one in the chamber.

Perceived Recoil: The perceived recoil of the Remington 870 can vary depending on the specific model and the type of ammunition used. Lighter loads and recoil-reducing stock options can help mitigate recoil.

Most Effective Ammo: For self-defense, 12-gauge buckshot loads, such as 00 buckshot, are often considered the most effective. These shells contain multiple large pellets that spread out upon firing, increasing the chances of stopping a threat.

Mossberg 500:

Capacity: The Mossberg 500 is available in various configurations, with 5+1, 6+1, or even higher capacities, depending on the specific model and magazine extension.

Perceived Recoil: The perceived recoil of the Mossberg 500 is manageable for most users, especially when using standard defensive loads.

Most Effective Ammo: Similar to the Remington 870, 12-gauge buckshot loads are commonly recommended for self-defense with the Mossberg 500.

Benelli M4:

Capacity: The Benelli M4 is often found in a 5+1 capacity, but extended magazine tubes can be added to increase capacity.

Perceived Recoil: Thanks to its semi-automatic action, the Benelli M4 has reduced perceived recoil compared to pump-action shotguns, making it more manageable for follow-up shots.

Most Effective Ammo: The Benelli M4 is known for its reliability with various types of ammunition, including buckshot and slugs. Some users prefer reduced recoil buckshot for faster follow-up shots.

Winchester SXP Defender:

Capacity: The Winchester SXP Defender typically comes with a 5+1 or 6+1 capacity, depending on the model and magazine extension.

Perceived Recoil: The perceived recoil of the SXP Defender is manageable, especially with lighter defensive loads.

Most Effective Ammo: Like other shotguns, 12-gauge buckshot is commonly recommended for self-defense with the Winchester SXP Defender.

Stoeger Double Defense:

Capacity: The Stoeger Double Defense is a break-action shotgun, typically with two barrels, allowing for two shots before reloading.

Perceived Recoil: The perceived recoil in a double-barreled shotgun can be sharper than in pump or semi-automatic shotguns, as there's no action to absorb recoil. It's important to practice managing recoil with this type of shotgun.

Most Effective Ammo: The Stoeger Double Defense is versatile and can use various types of 12-gauge ammo, including buckshot or slugs, depending on the user's preference and intended use.

Remember that perceived recoil can vary from person to person, and it's essential to practice with your chosen shotgun and ammunition to become proficient and comfortable with it for self-defense purposes. Additionally, always follow local laws and regulations regarding firearm ownership and use.

Prices: Here are approximate price ranges for our favorite shotguns, including their manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), typical street price (new), and estimated used price (for used firearms in good condition). Please note that prices can vary significantly depending on factors like location, demand, and any included accessories:

Mossberg 500:

MSRP: $400 - $500 (for base models)

Street Price (New): $300 - $450

Used Price: $200 - $350 (depending on condition and accessories)

Benelli M4:

MSRP: $1,800 - $2,000 (for base models)

Street Price (New): $1,500 - $1,800

Used Price: $1,200 - $1,500 (depending on condition and accessories)

Winchester SXP Defender:

MSRP: $350 - $450 (for base models)

Street Price (New): $250 - $400

Used Price: $150 - $300 (depending on condition and accessories)

Stoeger Double Defense:

MSRP: $500 - $600 (for base models)

Street Price (New): $400 - $550

Used Price: $300 - $450 (depending on condition and accessories)

Please keep in mind that these are approximate price ranges and can fluctuate over time. Factors like the shotgun's specific model, any included features, and the region in which you're purchasing can all impact the actual price. When buying a used shotgun, it's essential to inspect its condition. Additionally, prices may have changed since my last knowledge update in September 2021, so it's a good idea to check with reputable firearm dealers for the most current pricing information.

Extra value to this post:

Buckshot is considered effective for self-defense and hunting purposes for several reasons:

Multiple Projectiles: A standard 12-gauge buckshot shell contains multiple large lead or steel pellets, typically ranging from eight to fifteen, depending on the specific load. These pellets are collectively known as "buckshot." When fired, these pellets spread out in a controlled pattern, increasing the likelihood of hitting the target.

Stopping Power: Buckshot pellets are relatively large and heavy, which means they carry significant kinetic energy. When these pellets strike a target, they create a considerable amount of tissue damage and can incapacitate or stop a threat more effectively than a single projectile, such as a handgun round.

Spread Pattern: Buckshot patterns open up as they travel downrange, making it more forgiving for shooters who may not have pinpoint accuracy in high-stress situations. This spreading pattern can increase the chances of hitting a threat even if the aim is slightly off.

Versatility: Buckshot is versatile and can be used for various purposes, including self-defense, hunting deer or larger game at close to moderate ranges, and home defense. This versatility makes it a popular choice for those who want a single type of ammunition for multiple applications.

Effective Range: Buckshot is highly effective at close to moderate ranges, typically within 20-30 yards. In a self-defense scenario, this is often the range at which encounters occur, making it suitable for home defense.

While buckshot has its advantages, it's important to consider the potential risks associated with its use, such as over-penetration (the pellets passing through walls and potentially harming innocent bystanders) and the need for accurate shot placement within the effective range. Additionally, always follow local laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms and ammunition for self-defense. It's advisable to train regularly with your chosen firearm and ammunition to ensure safe and effective use. And, when you need to defend your life and family, do not hesitate to send that buckshot right into the killer's breadbasket.

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