The shotgun is one of the most popular home defense weapons in the United States. At typical distances involved in self-defense, the shotgun is a devastating tool, and is relatively easy to run. The pump-action shotgun is a proven design, and many of the modern semi-automatic scatterguns are extremely reliable. Like any weapon system, there are accessories that can enhance the platform. Here are a few of the ones that deserve consideration.
I consider a mounted bright flashlight a must. Probably the best option on the market is the newly updated SureFire DSF series forend weaponlights. These units combine a SureFire flashlight with a proprietary forend to make a complete illumination package for your shotgun.
The SureFire weaponlights are extremely bright: 600 lumens. The DSF forend packages are available for the:
- Remington 870,
- Mossberg 500 and 590,
- Benelli M1 and M2,
- Winchester 1200, 1300, Super X Pump Defender, and
- FNH P-12.
MSRP starts at $375.
A less expensive option is to attach a LaserLyte Sight Rail Adapter to your shotgun (MSRP: $35) and then mount a good weaponlight like the INFORCE WML (MSRP: $125). You can even step up and add a white light/green laser combination unit like the Streamlight TLR-2 G (MSRP: $550). It costs significantly more, but gives you a true daytime-visible laser for aiming in addition to a very bright flashlight.
The typical shotgun will hold five or fewer shells in the magazine. So, having a few extra rounds handy is especially useful. Due to the loading method in many shotguns, the shooter can keep the gun topped off after shooting just a few rounds, or even feed in specialty rounds when needed.
One of the easiest methods of carrying extra ammo is buying an elastic or neoprene sleeve that goes over the shotgun stock. These sleeves will have a number of loops sewn in that allows the shooter to have five extra shells on hand. There are a number of companies that make these types of carriers.
For a plate carrier or tactical vest, the absolute best shotgun shell carrier that I have come across is the Vessel Pursuit Shotgun Pouch made by Head On Tactical. These pouches take up minimal space on a plate carrier, yet hold up to 24 rounds. I have never found anything else quite like it, and the construction is top notch. I highly recommend this pouch. MSRP is $45 and can be had in MultiCam, desert A-TAC, coyote, Ranger green and black.
Shotguns are known for having serious recoil, especially in 12 gauge. While technique and practice can overcome any problems presented by recoil, being able to reduce it can make the guns more palatable to the recoil-adverse.
When it comes to reducing recoil, the Knoxx Stock works extremely well. It absorbs recoil through the use of heavy-duty springs, making for a softer shooting gun with even heavy loads.
Installing the Knoxx Stock is a simple swap for anyone with a screwdriver. There is no need for a gunsmith, and the swap can be made is just a few minutes at the kitchen table.
Some people have complained the stock will pinch their cheek. However, I have never experienced such a problem. Blackhawk makes the Knoxx Stocks in various configurations, and for a variety of shotguns. Check out the company’s website for all of the options. Pricing starts around $90.
If your gun does not already have one, consider adding a recoil pad. There are a variety of options on the market. Some screw into the gun, while others are a slipover product. One of the better slipover products I have tried is the Stock Sock from Telor Tactical.
The Stock Sock is a neoprene sleeve that adjusts to the size and shape of your gun’s stock. It uses Sil-Air Foam, a medical grade cushioning material, to reduce the felt recoil of the gun. Pricing is reasonable at only $25, and you can order a sleeve with shotgun shell loops for only $5 more.
An additional way to reduce recoil is to buy lighter loads. Many manufacturers make reduced recoil loads for hunting and self-defense. Many police departments, for example, issue the very effective Remington Managed Recoil rounds. These 12 gauge shells load eight 00-buck pellets and are rated for 1200 fps. I am unaware of any officer-involved shooting where these loads failed to perform as well as the “full power” 00-buck loads.
Hornady just announced an expansion of the company’s Custom Lite line of ammunition. For shotguns, Hornady offers a 12 guage FTX slug and a 20 gauge FTX slug. Both loads are designed for rifled barrels and decrease recoil by 25-40%.
If you have a shotgun for home defense, what accessories do you have for it?
Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments below.