Home defense shotgun:
Remington 870 customization
A home defense shotgun could have many iterations, but the most important thing is that is accomplishes its namesake purpose: defending your home.
It’s important to remember that a home defense shotgun doesn’t take a specific shape for all who need one; it is a personal choice and has a ton of personal input from the gun owner. My home defense shotgun will be different from yours. Even if we choose the same basic model or type of home defense shotgun, there is a robust aftermarket for parts, customizing and ammunition, which allows each home defense shotgun to have its own fingerprint so to speak.
In the first part of this article series, I will use the Remington 870 as an example to explain what I mean. I will show you the myriad ways to customize and transform a bone stock Remington 870 (a very capable home defense shotgun in its own right) into something truly special, without going too far into debt. But the Remington 870 isn’t your only option for a home defense shotgun, our future “Home defense shotgun” titled articles will bring you up to speed on a whole host of styles and models perfect for a HD shotgun setup in your home.
Why is the Remington 870 an excellent home defense shotgun?
The Remington 870 has a reputation for reliability and versatility. Not just the surface treatment concept either. Compare the Remington 870 pump shotgun to a mid-range (or even high range) automatic watch. The mechanical beauty of the gun, combined with the real functionality of the piece is the beauty of a piece like this. It just does its job, every time. A mechanical watch is generally seen as a more luxurious and capable version of the mainstream quartz movement, but the simplicity of its design is the reason why it is so sought after. It is the lack of need for extras; the precision and the reliability; the pure mechanical operation. That is a Remington 870: purely a mechanical tool, without need for extraneous contraptions. Mechanical functionality is the reason this shotgun is a perfect home defense shotgun.
Need for versatility in a home defense shotgun
A home defense shotgun must be able to digest the ammunition to fit the situation you envision, and those which cannot be planned for. Not every situation you can think of will need the same type of threat mitigation tools. The ammunition types and load sizes will dictate their specific usage capabilities. In a home defense shotgun, multiple ammunition and load types can play a major role. With hundreds of weights, sizes, and purpose driven designs in the shotgun ammunition arena, the delivery vehicle (in this case a pump shotgun) can become a big part of usefulness for a shotgun in home defense scenarios.
From a home defense shotgun perspective, ammunition deliver is the most important aspect. You must be careful not to overpenetrate, but you must be able to reliably stop the threat of violent criminals with a relatively low quantity of shots. The pump action delivers a looser action, and a more forgiving feed cycle than the gas limited builds of semi-automatic shotguns. With proper training, it’s not impossible to match the speed of a semi-auto shotgun with your pump action home defense shotgun. A pump shotgun can shoot different lengths of shotgun shells; different types, different pressures. A gas based system cannot handle the variety of loads which might make the most sense for home defense. Shotgun shells are used for different purposes; for instance, in a home full of family with thin walls, you will want a low penetration round, with several backups. For those who need to protect a large home with big hallways and long stretches of space, but no children or close neighbors might want to shoot tactical slugs for maximum stopping power. These two loads would never work right in most semi or auto shotguns. Using a combination of loads might work perfect for either scenario: a first shot slug for shots where an intruder would be exposed (and a shot would be easier to place on target); a second shot of #4 Buckshot, or even a milder bird load would make more sense for follow-up shots when family members are already awake and in the picture.
Customizing a home defense shotgun
With a pump, you won’t need extensive range time to dial in loads, but you should practice heavily with your chosen rounds to break in the gun and to get familiar with the way things work.
Another major factor with home defense shotguns will be the way they balance and their ability to add functionality in the heat of “battle”.
There are so many worthless aftermarket components, which ones are the best for your home defense shotgun? Definitely you will want to maintain the upper hand in a home defense situation; the following will be excellent choices for your Remington 870 Pump action home defense shotgun:
Side Saddle for your home defense shotgun
- Mesa Tactical Side saddle
- Side saddle with rail
Flashlight for your home defense shotgun
- Flashlight integrated foreend
Sights for your home defense shotgun
- Ghost Ring sights
Other items to consider for your home defense shotgun
- Oversized safety for Remington 870
- Extended magazine tube for a home defense shotgun
- Magpul stock
- Mesa Tactical Urbino Stock
Sure you can add a bunch more useless stuff to your home defense shotgun in an attempt to make it more tactical/practical/effective/insert adjective here, but you won’t squeeze too much more usefulness out of it.
A home defense shotgun needs to start with a dependable and robust base firearm and you must add only those items which bring it to the next level of versatility (for loads), reliability or balance. Forget the parts that make it look cooler; add the parts which ensure it will go bang every time on target.
Look for future articles to talk about tactics, other shotgun models and styles, and above all, practice with the firearm of your choice to make it a true home defense shotgun.