There is nothing more powerful in a shoulder-fired weapon than a 12-gauge shotgun. Whether loaded with buckshot or a modern hard-hitting slug, the shotgun completely outstrips a handgun in wound potential.
And while we cannot always rely on psychological factors, the threat of a shotgun is something our protein-fed, ex-con criminal class understands. Many of them have been stabbed or shot, although few are walking around who have met the business end of a shotgun.
A few hundred years ago, a single guard could direct European prisoners with a blunderbuss. Prisoners were not about to use superiority of numbers to jump him because of the awesome power of the single-shot shotgun. A quality self-loading shotgun answers a lot of questions and solves problems today.
Advantages of a Self-Loader
Another advantage of the self-loader is that most of us use self-loading shotguns for hunting. So, we might as well use a self-loader as a dedicated home-defense shotgun. We also use self-loading handguns and semi-automatic rifles. The self-loader has many advantages, provided we find an example that works reliably.
With modern CNC manufacture and quality control, I have found that the surprise is when the shotgun does not work. A shotgun with an excellent reputation is the Mossberg 930. Offer the 930 in a version short enough to maneuver in the home and give it a tactical black finish, and you have a great home-defense shotgun. The Mossberg 930 currently is my favorite go-anywhere/do-anything shotgun. It rides in my truck on trips and gives me great confidence. The short shotguns are kept handy in zoos in case a dangerous animal needs to be stopped, and they are even kept on fishing boats to stop the occasional large shark brought on deck that is gnashing at everything. Plus, with a powerful, accurate slug, such as the Fiocchi Aero, the shotgun becomes a problem solver to at least 50 yards.
The Mossberg 930’s Greatness
The 930 has an aluminum receiver, the same material used in the proven Mossberg 500 pump. The barrel is 18.5 inches long, with an interesting muzzle brake. The end of the brake is sharp with ragged edges. No one would pull against that prick. While prodding animals was the use of the wooden prick from Biblical times, this one seems designed as a door opening aid. In any case, it looks way cool. The stock is synthetic. The gas-operated action absorbs some recoil, and the bolt and recoil spring absorb more of the momentum.
While the mechanics are good, the real story is that the 930 is well-balanced and a joy to handle.
- The shotgun is just the right size for fast handling.
- The controls are ideally located.
- A large cocking knob on the bolt allows rapid manipulation.
- The safety is centered in the rear of the receiver.
- Either right- or left-hand use is a joy. A left-hand shooter easily may use the right hand to rack the shotgun, and loading is fully ambidextrous.
The gas-operated action absorbs some of the recoil. The gun kicks; it just does not kick as much as a 12-gauge pump. It is ridiculous to expect a combat shotgun to feed and function with birdshot, and this one does not. If you want to use birdshot for practice, simply work the bolt for each shot, and it will use those light loads. Most of the buckshot loads fired were Federal 2 ¾-inch, full-power buckshot.
The reduced-recoil law enforcement loads may cycle, and they may not, but the gas-operated Mossberg absorbs some of the recoil and delivers full power, so no crying on that count. The Federal load delivered a good, tight pattern out to 15 yards, a reasonable combat range for a shotgun. I also fired a representative sample of loads, including buckshot and slugs in 2.75- and 3-inch flavors. All performed well.
There are those who prefer the slug for interpersonal combat. I load my personal truck gun, the Mossberg, with two Federal buckshot loads followed by two slugs. Buckshot solves many problems, although slugs have greater penetration and accuracy. The carrier on the stock is loaded with a mix of buckshot and slugs. I test fired the Fiocchi Aero slug. My shotgun has the simple bead front sight.
There are more developed versions of the Mossberg that use rifle-type sights. That is fine if it is what you prefer. However, the simple bead gets on target quickly; the shogun is fired primarily by feel, which is an advantage in close-range combat. Just the same, using the front bead and taking aim at 15 yards, I cut one ragged hole with the Fiocchi Aero slug.
I like that a lot and would not criticize anyone who loads the shotgun with slugs for combat use. In the end, I like the Mossberg 930 a lot. My personal pump-action shotgun—that has been at the ready for more than 20 years—is long overdue for retirement.
The Mossberg is not only new but also better.
Mossberg 930 Features
- Caliber: 12 gauge (2.75 inches and 3 inches)
- Barrel: 18.5-inch cylinder bore
- Sights: Bead
- Finish: Matte black
- Overall Length: 39 inches
- Overall Weight: 7.5 pounds
- Action: Gas-operated, semi-automatic
- Capacity: 4+1
How about you…do you like a shotgun? Have one you use? Share your thoughts and favorite model in the comments section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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