In this chapter, we’ll introduce you to a few of our top recommendations for a 12 gauge pump action home defense shotgun. 

We’ll also list a few of the “discount” companies that produce cheaper clones of the better name brands.

Mossberg 500 and 590 Series

The Mossberg 500 and 590 Series has stood the test of time over the past 50+ years as a top-quality shotgun serving the U.S military and countless police forces. 

A hammerless pump action repeater, the weapons from either series boast a simple design that lends itself well to the high versatility of shells, accessories, and parts available for shotguns. 

They are one of the top produced in the market, which means there are lots of used ones available for sale and great aftermarket parts.


  • Accepts 3” magnum shells 
  • 18.5” barrel holds 5 shells in the magazine + 1 in the chamber
  • 20” barrel holds 8 shells in the magazine + 1 in the chamber 
  • Parkerized finish 
  • Synthetic polymer stock 
  • Comes with or without a pistol grip 
  • Ambidextrous thumb operated safety mechanism

Remington 870 Series

The Remington 870 Series can be (favorably) compared to the Mossberg 500 and 590 Series above, and have also been favored by law enforcement and military. 

There’s a large selection available in 870 Series, with the 870 Express Tactical being the ideal option for home defense. 

You’ll also benefit from a wide range of accessories and upgrade parts for this model.


  • 18.5” barrel 
  • 7 shot capacity with factory magazine tube extension 
  • Accepts 3” magnum shells 
  • Parkerized Finish 
  • Synthetic polymer stock

Mossberg’s 500/570 Series and Remington’s 870 Series really are the top of the range and offer as much variety as you need to pick the best home defense shotgun. 



Collectively, they also make up about 80% of the market share and are practical, reliable answers to every home’s defense needs. 

However, if you have a compelling reason to look beyond these two, here are the next best options:

Benelli Nova Tactical

The Benelli Nova Tactical is a true gem from the Italian manufacture, being one of the most solidly built and thoughtfully designed shotguns in the world. 

It certainly earns its place on our list of pump action shotguns for home defense, but there are a few drawbacks worth mentioning.

Being an Italian import, the Benelli Nova Tactical costs more than the other two while offering virtually the same features and level of reliability. 

This also means there are few aftermarket parts available and you’ll pay more for any you are able to find. Compared to the other shotguns mentioned, the Benelli also has a lower magazine capacity.

It also features a 3 ½” chamber, which – while not a negative – does mean you’ll have to be a little more wary when using 2½” shells.


  • 18.5” barrel 
  • Tubular magazine that holds 4 shots with 1 more in the chamber 
  • Accepts 3 ½” magnum shells

Winchester SXP Tactical

Winchester isn’t really a strong contender against Mossberg and Remington when it comes the tactical shotgun market, as the manufacturer focuses primarily on sporting shotguns. 

However, the Winchester SXP Tactical is a decent option for home defence. Just be aware there’s a limited aftermarket for parts.


  • 18.5” barrel 
  • accepts 3” magnum shells 
  • 5 shot tubular magazine + 1 in the chamber 
  • Parkerized finish 
  • Black synthetic furniture

Discount Shotguns

As with most markets, there are a wide range of cheap replicas to be found when shopping for a pump action shotgun. 

This is good news if your budget is really tight and you need a cheaper selection to pick from.

You’ll easily find clones of the Mossberg and Remington models especially, but bear in mind they won’t be up to the same standards as those quality brands. 

Most of these discount guns come from countries like China or Turkey, where the main focus is mass producing goods using cheap labor and parts.

Below is a list of company names you’re most likely to come across while looking for discount pump action 12 gauge shotguns:

  • European American Armory (EAA) 
  • Harrington and Richardson (H&R) 
  • Weatherby Arms 
  • Maverick Arms 
  • Century Arms 
  • Savage Arms 
  • Charles Daly

Let’s say you’re not in the market for a discount shotgun. 

You’ll certainly find other name brand options on the 12 gauge pump action shotgun we haven’t included here. 

The simple reason for this is while several of these major firearms manufacturers do produce models that fit this type and gauge, those models aren’t ideal for a home defense shotgun specifically.

This is why our top recommendations are the Mossberg 500/590 Series and the Remington 870 Series. We do feel these are the options you should be considering above all others.

Buying new is always the better choice, but this isn’t always feasible from a financial point of view. This is another reason these two are a superior option, as you’ll have a much bigger aftermarket for used models.

Remember: even though having a discount shotgun for home defense is better than having nothing at all, this is certainly an area where most consumers are concerned with having the best possible quality. 

This is why the Mossberg and Remington models dominate the market for professional and civilian tactical use alike.