When deciding on a weapon, and in particular, a shotgun for home defense there are several things to consider. One major consideration of course is the ability to secure the weapon, while still maintaining accessibility. The balancing act can be a fine one when you must decide on how accessible the weapon will be yet still keeps it out of inexperienced hands.

Keep in mind there is a distinction between shotguns for home defense and hunting. There are laws that prohibit the number of shells one can load in a pump shotgun when hunting waterfowl. Shotguns will have a plug that prevents you from loading more than three shells in most cases. The number can however, vary by what type of migratory birds you are hunting.

Remington 870 Tactical

Remington 870 Tactical

Shotguns such as the Remington 870™ Express® Tactical can hold up to seven rounds with a 2-shot factory installed extension. For home defense, you want as many rounds loaded as possible. However, consider safety as well, a chambered round means the weapon is ready to engage an intruder.

A recommended self-defense load for home use is tungsten pellets with a mixture of # 2 and # 4 pellets manufactured by Remington called HD™ Ultimate Home Defense. Unlike full-jacked rounds, pellets will not normally penetrate (through and through) walls, bodies and other objects to injure others. This load is designed for close quarters and contrary to what many believe, you have to have the weapon on target for full affect because the spread is insignificant at very close range.

Members of the military have been known to call this type of shotgun a “room organizer” because of its use in close quarter combat in clearing confined spaces. A shotgun is ideal for home defense because shotguns not only are visually intimidating (can act as a deterrent) they have tremendous stopping power.

The 870™ Express® Tactical with a synthetic stock and 18 inch barrel is ideal for home defense, and is considered an outstanding self-defense weapon in any situation. Check with your local authorities for specific local, state and federal regulations concerning barrel length, pistol grips or collapsible/adjustable stocks.

Several models of the Remington 870™ have adjustable synthetic stocks with 18.5 inch or longer barrels making them ideal for male or females. Shotguns can be designated for law enforcement only therefore, some options may not be available, or you may not have the ability to modify or add certain options.

Shotguns used for home defense must be easily maneuvered in tight spaces such as around corners and through doorways. That is why 18 to 18.5 inch barrels are ideal for home defense. The weapon must be short enough to bring it around on target in confined spaces. Slings are not recommended for close quarter/ home use because they can be grabbed by the aggressor and they will hang up on doorknobs, nails/ protruding hooks, and any number of other objects. However, it is recommended you have a sling mounted on any weapon used for hunting. Carrying a weapon at port arms becomes tiresome and can lead to accidents with the weapon. The right weapon at the ready can mean the difference in a survival situation whether that situation is in your own home or in the woods.

The so-called backpacker shotguns are gaining popularity as a survival and home defense weapon. Some shotguns with an adjustable stock and 18-inch barrel can be reduced to an overall length of about 36 inches making it ideal for all around survival use.

Hunting for Survival

Many people are finding out that hunting is a great way to supplement their food source and are turning to hunting as a means of survival in some cases. Shotguns for hunting of course will need a longer barrel. The Remington 870™ Wingmaster® is available in 12, 16, 20, 28 and.410 gauge. The barrel sizes include 25, 26, 28 and 30 inch, making this the ideal hunting and wilderness survival shotgun. You will have to decide if you want a synthetic stock or the traditional wood stock typically made from American Walnut.

Remington 870 Marine Magnum

The Remington Marine Magnum Pump is ideal for woodsmen because of its durable and weatherproof finish. All metal is nickel-plated to include inside the barrel. The weapon is easy to maintain and does what it is supposed to do. It is a 12-guage and is considered an all around utility pump action shotgun. You want this weapon with you if you become lost or stranded in the wilderness. Some may find however, that they prefer a .410 gauge round but some and states and local governments prohibit, for safety reasons, some ammunition that is used for hunting.

When planning a hunting trip have sufficient ammunition, not only for the game you are hunting but shells for other game as well, such as birds, squirrels and so on because if you do become stranded or injured you will want options.

You must also consider self-defense if you are lost or stranded and you must keep distances in mind when choosing ammunition. You will be at greater distances in the woods and concealment of the aggressor is a real possibility so self-defense shot used for close quarters is not adequate. You will be firing through heavy brush and you will need rounds that can penetrate. Consider cover and concealment as a means of self-defense, as well as, movement away from the aggressors if possible.

Hunting for survival differs from hunting for sport. When you realize someone will go hungry if you fail, hunting takes on a very different perspective.

Wilderness Survival
Some inexperienced hunters will leave for a day of hunting with limited supplies, feeling confident that all they need is a weapon. Your weapon is important but you will need materials and supplies for fire starting, fishing, shelter building and collecting and purifying your drinking water. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, because a short walk into the woods for a few hours of hunting can turn into days or longer lost.

You should consider carrying all or some of the following items when you venture into the woods for any reason. You must keep shelter, water, fire and eventually food in mind if you become lost or stranded. You should have tools and materials that will allow you to collect and purify water, build a shelter, make fire and forage for food.

You can of course make changes to the list to suit your personal preferences, but keep in mind you must have shelter, water and fire first and foremost. You can survive three weeks or longer without food but only three days without water and only a few hours without shelter or fire in extreme cold.