Firearms

Home Defense Shotguns for Less and Free Ammo!

Black synthetic semiautomatic shotgun

The shotgun is arguably one of the best choices for home defense. Shotguns are easy to use, provide ample “stopping power,” are reliable and require little maintenance.

Shotguns made for self-defense or law enforcement and military applications are generally black matte finished with a synthetic, pistol grip stock, hold 5 to 6 rounds and have barrels shorter than 20 inches for easier maneuverability in tight spaces. These home defense shotguns also feature rails, muzzle brakes and other tactical-like features not found on typical wooden-stocked hunting shotguns holding two to three rounds.

One reason making shotguns so popular for home defense is price. Because shotguns function simply, many manufacturers can make reliable shotguns cheaply, keeping retail prices generally lower than any handgun of equal quality.

This week, Cheaper Than Dirt! features three semiautomatic and one pump-action home defense shotguns ranging in price from the very affordable Weatherby Threat Response for $295 to the 20-gauge pump-action Weatherby Tactical Response for $520.

Black semiautomatic shotgun
The reversible gas system allows you to switch from heavy to light loads.

12-Gauge SAR Arms Home Defense Semiautomatic Shotgun, $425

Sarsilmaz is one of the best-kept secrets. A major world player in the firearms industry for years, this Turkish firearms manufacturer is also the Turkish’s military’s supplier of service arms. Unfortunately, few of the company’s guns are available in the U.S. However, EAA imports a few of them and Cheaper Than Dirt! sells them. These guns are the B6, K2 and the home defense semiautomatic and pump-action shotguns.

Though pump-action shotguns tend to malfunction less than semiautomatics, semiautomatics cycle faster, meaning follow-up shots to stop the bad guy are quicker. Many law enforcement agencies and militaries choose semiautomatic over the pump. Many of these same groups trust their lives to the tactical Benelli M4. For those who prefer the gas operation of the Benelli, but can’t part with the cash should look at the Benelli-cloned SAR Arms (Sarsilmaz) Home Defense 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun.

It features a 3-inch chamber that holds five rounds in the magazine tube and one in the pipe, a Picatinny rail, a high-visibility fiber optic front sight and a ghost ring rear and a door-breeching muzzle brake.

The reversible gas system allows you to switch from heavy to light loads. The black rubberized pistol grip is comfortable to hold, while the black rubber recoil pad absorbs recoil well from this hard-hitting 12-gauge autoloader. Further, the receiver is CNC-machined aluminum. The bolt is also machined and the barrel hammer-forged.

USSG SAR Home Defense Shotgun 
ActionSemiautomatic
Barrel Length18.5 inches
Caliber12 gauge
Overall Length41 inches
Weight Unloaded6.9 pounds
SightsFiber optic front and adjustable ghost-ring rear
StockBlack synthetic pistol grip
Capacity5

12-Gauge Escort MP-S/A Tactical Semiautomatic Shotgun, $449

Black synthetic semiautomatic shotgun
Another Turkish gun worth checking out is the Escort MP-S/A 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun.

Another Turkish gun worth checking out is the Escort MP-S/A 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun. Made by Hatsan Arms Company, Legacy Sports International imports the Escort MP-S/A. This special purpose shotgun shares many of the same features as the SAR, like the 18.5-inch barrel, black matte pistol grip synthetic stock, 3-inch chamber, Picatinny rail and CNC-machined aluminum receiver. However, for not much more, the Escort offers a few more features than the SAR. For one, the bore and chamber of the Hatsan Escort is chrome-moly lined. Both shotguns have the fiber optic front and ghost-ring rear sights, and well-known company Hi-Viz makes the Escort’s front sight.

One major difference is the valve system. The Escort MP-S/A has a piston system that self adjusts for the different loads you feed it. Another major difference is the stock. The Escort’s stock has a built-in two-shell holder. The grooved extended forend includes another Picatinny rail so you can add a flashlight, laser or vertical grip if you so desire. The Escort features a double bar loading gate, which makes loading the shotgun one-handed quick. An enlarged bolt handle is easy to operate with gloves on and easy to locate when stressed.

Escort MP-S/A Tactical Shotgun 
ActionSemiautomatic
Barrel Length18.5 inches
Caliber12 gauge
Overall Length39 inches
Weight Unloaded7.3 pounds
SightsFiber optic front and adjustable ghost-ring rear
StockBlack synthetic pistol grip with shell holder
Capacity5

20-Gauge Weatherby SA-459 Tactical Response Semiautomatic Shotgun, $520

Known more for its fine big-game hunting rifles, in 2011, Weatherby introduced its tactical shotguns with features required for home defense. Available in semiautomatic and pump-action, the Weatherby tactical shotguns come in a variety of interesting finishes from digitalized camo to skull motifs. This particular one is a 20-gauge self-loader in matte black. Weatherby calls it the SA-459 Tactical Response. It shares many of the same exact features as the other home defense shotguns listed. Such as the textured pistol grip, CNC-machined aluminum receiver, 18.5-inch barrel and fiber optic front and ghost-ring rear sights. Like the Escort, it has an enlarged bolt handle. And like the SAR, it has a user-adjustable valve system for light and heavy loads.

Unlike either, though, the Weatherby 20-gauge has a shorter length of pull at 13.5 inches for smaller shooters and handling better in close quarters. The fiber optic rod is placed in an M16-style front sight post and the barrel is chrome-lined. It also has sling swivel studs for easier carry in the field.

Weatherby SA-459 Tactical Response Shotgun 
ActionSemiautomatic
Barrel Length18.5 inches
Caliber20 gauge
Overall Length39 inches
Weight Unloaded6 pounds
SightsFiber optic front and adjustable ghost-ring rear
StockBlack synthetic pistol grip
Capacity5

20-Gauge Weatherby PA-08 Threat Response Pump-Action Shotgun, $295

Black synthetic pump-action 20 gauge shotgun from Weatherby
With the synthetic stock and aluminum alloy receiver, the Weatherby PA-08 TR only weighs 6 pounds 10 ounces.

Like revolvers, the pump-action shotgun has a lot less likelihood of failure and if that is what you prefer, check out the extremely affordable 20-gauge Weatherby PA-08 Threat Response. Right away, you notice the differences in this pump-action shotgun. For example, it does not have a pistol grip stock, rail, muzzle brake or ghost-ring sight. However, it does have an 18.5-inch barrel and 3-inch chamber.

The PA-08 is more traditional with only a ramp, white dot front sight and no rear. It holds five 2-3/4-inch shells in the tube and one in the chamber. With 3-inch shells, you fit one less. The cylinder bore patterns tightly and the 14-inch length of pull is typical for shotguns of this size. With the synthetic stock and aluminum alloy receiver, the Weatherby PA-08 TR only weighs 6 pounds 10 ounces. As one of the lowest-priced 20-gauge pump-action shotguns for sale at Cheaper Than Dirt! this Weatherby makes a good fighting shotgun. Break yourself in with this excellent entry-level pump shotgun for home defense.

Weatherby PA-08 Threat Response Shotgun 
ActionPump action
Barrel Length18.5 inches
Caliber20 gauge
Overall Length39 inches
Weight Unloaded6 pounds
SightsBladed white dot front
StockBlack synthetic
Capacity5

Since all these shotguns weigh seven pounds or less, there is no denying that they kick. Enjoy sending plenty of shot down range invest in a thick and hearty good-quality recoil pad, like the large Pachmayr Decelerator slip-on recoil pad.

For more on home defense shotguns read the following articles:

Which shotgun will you buy? Tell us which one and why in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. The Remington 870 is the best general purpose shotgun!?! Period!?! For home defense situations, you couldn’t ask for a better weapon. You have unlimited options when it comes to upgrades and accessories? I have a Police Magnum with only a 5 shot shell carrier on the buttstock and I feel like I could Take on the World!!! I am gonna add a 1 round mag extension and that’s it? The PROPER AMMO(not that cheap s#&t) and you are ready to ROCK! Got maybe 300$ wrapped up in the entire gun. I cut down a small oak with Winchester PDX 1 the other day LOL, 3 shots!!! The Mossberg 500 is not a bad fly swatter either? But hands down?..The Remington 870 with the magnum reciever..GREATEST AMERICAN SHOTGUN PERIOD!!!!

  2. what do you think of the high capacity tactical shotguns like the UTAS UTS 15 and the Kel-Tec KSG? I have the UTS 15, which I have used to shoot a turkey and to take a tactical course. Early models suffered from reliability problems, but there are inexpensive factory upgrades and the customer service representatives are quick to respond to other problems. of course, they are pretty expensive compared to the other shotguns in this post.

  3. I bought a Weatherby PA-459 a couple of years back and have only shot it once due to the severe recoil due to the HOLLOW stock that these weapons come with. I’m still trying to figure out how to solve that issue. other than that, their good shotguns I do wish that they came with a larger magazine capacity.

    1. Find a way to fill that hollow stock. Maybe a small hole under the butt plate or recoil pad, install some lead shot & epoxy so they won’t shift positions or make noise. It’s not rocket science man, just possibly your life in the right (or wrong) situation.
      I’ve fixed broken wood stocks back in the 80’s with a router,wood glue & a pine-wood dowel rod from the hardware store. Yea, looked like crap till I painted both butt stock and fore end with black ”Wrinkle Paint” The man asked me, ”How DID you fix this??” I just smiled, and charged him less than he would have paid for a new wood stock which back then, was about $185.00 for just the butt stock. Now, most people replace their wood with a polymer one to keep that nice, pretty wood one safe in the house.
      If you remove the butt plate, you’ll see a tunnel for the screw to remove it. Make a mold with Plaster of Paris and a shaped stick that fits snug in the tunnel, then melt some lead, fill the mold. You’ll only get half the stick-shape out the mold. Shove it in the tunnel, adjust the weight by cutting off of the lead at either end, insert it in the tunnel with another half stick or memory foam or anything to keep it tight.
      DON’T FORGET to epoxy a piece of para chord to the stick and/or the weight, just in case you ever need to remove the butt stock.. just pull the string like we do to remove batteries from a tight compartment. Good luck,, safe shooting,,,,,,,,,

  4. I’ve recently purchased 2 Stevens 12 gauge shotgun 18.5 barrel…

    One with bead front sight and the other with ghost ring sights.

    They function similar to the Remington 870 and can be had in the $200 price range.

    Stevens is owned by Savage firearms company out of Massachusetts.

    Haven’t used them yet but good reviews can be found on this weapon.

    1. Except the Savage Stevens Model 320 which had issue with spot welds breaking on the slide bars of the pump action be aware of these for you might have to send it back to the factory at YOUR cost to and from!

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