Price is an important factor when buying home defense shotguns. After all, if you are not a gun enthusiast then you may not be so interested in paying top-dollar for special features. Or, maybe you are interested in paying top dollar to ensure quality so that you buy a shotgun that will always work — something you can always depend on.
The good news is that you can get a reliable home defense shotgun for approximately $300.
The two most common candidates that make the best shotguns for home defense are the Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870.
GOOD ALL-AROUND CANDIDATES
A six-shot 12-gauge, pump-action Mossberg 500 shotgun with an 18.5-inch barrel can typically be purchased (NEW) for $299 at retail. At this price they typically come with extras, such as a changeable pistol-grip stock included in the box. This is a standard, black shotgun with a synthetic stock and synthetic forearm (pump). It is one of the most reliable shotguns money can buy. The commercial Mossberg 500s are duplicates of the same shotgun that passed stringent military standards.
There are many, many videos of satisfied owners firing their Mossberg 500s on youTube. Do a search to find plenty of examples. Their testimonies will sell the gun. Though not its official title, unofficially you might call it the Mossberg 500 home defense shotgun.
The Remington 870 boasts of being the official shotgun in active use by the US Armed Forces. It is similar to the Mossberg 500, and the fact that it is trusted by the US Military lets you know that they are indeed dependable firearms. The twin to the Mossberg 500 mentioned previously, a five-shot 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun with an 18-inch barrel can typically be found at retail (NEW) for around $335.
A prominent difference between the Mossberg and the Remington is the style and position of the safety switch. The Mossberg safety is on the top side of the gun above the trigger, positioned so that you can be in firing position and switch the safety off without interrupting your posture. The Remington 870 features a traditional safety switch on the underside of the gun, behind the trigger. Switching the safety off requires more movement than the Mossberg 500. But since it’s traditionally positioned it may be more familiar to you than the Mossberg’s safety position.
This is a difference that you should figure into your purchase.
The most important point is to know that you can get a high-quality shotgun for low price. You can certainly pay more for additional features, such as wooden stocks and forearms and extended magazine capacity. You can buy blue-steeled or chrome-plated barrels. Even so, the simplest, cheapest shotguns are easy to maintain and clean.
DON’T FORGET THE ACCESSORIES WHEN CALCULATING YOUR COSTS
When buying a shotgun keep the cost of additional accessories in mind. You’ll need shells — perhaps two packs. It can damage your firing pin if you dry-fire your shotgun. You may want to buy a pack or two of snap caps, which are fake shells that allow you to practice loading, unloading, and firing your shotgun without damaging the firing pin. These typically cost $10-$15, after tax.
You may spend up to $40 on a simple cleaning kit for your shotgun. You can buy an all-in-one kit, or you can save money buying just the basic necessities. You should get a synthetic oil to lubricate the action internals. A bore snake is a great tool for cleaning your barrel. You’ll want a simple cleaning brush to clean debris off of the action internals (they look like toothbrushes. But don’t get wool or steel brushes!) A cleaning spray that’s a combination lubricant is good for cleaning the exterior of your gun. It’ll clean off the dirt and grime but leave it coated with a thin film of oil — this keeps moisture and dust from accumulating on the metal, which prevents rusting and maintains your home defense shotguns for many, many years.