I'm planning on buying my first gun soon for home defense. I narrowed my options down to a pump-action shotgun or a 4" .357 dual-action revolver. I think I'll probably get the shotgun now and may revisit the revolver at a later date. I've seen lots of recommendations for the Remington 870. For those in the know, does that sound like a reasonable choice in an 18" barrel?

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As a first home defense gun, you can't go wrong with a pump action. They're reasonably cheap, and the sound of chambering a round is enough to stop any low-life in their tracks. Accuracy isn't really an issue either, nor is wall penetration, so less chance of collateral damage.
Yeah, that is what I figured. I went looking for one today without success. It sounds like they'll likely have better stock after xmas, so I'll try again then.
If collateral damage is a big concern on your list, there is hand gun ammunition specifically designed for that in mind. It will lodge in an object, (wall, dresser, door, etc...), and not penetrate. This keeps the fear of shooting through objects to a minimum.
Hey Vjack. The Remington 870 is a great firearm. I had several 870 Police-Magnums issued when I was in the Armored Transport industry and can personally give it two thumbs up. It can take a beating and still perform flawlessly. A true workhorse of a firearm and choice for Home Defense. As far as the barrel length, I would HIGHLY suggest you get the shortest barrel available. You don't want to knock over lamps and pictures as you swing the firearm around in the dark, ( or light ), as you aim at a perpetrator or sound outside your door. Which leads me to the handgun.

The Double Action revolver is in my opinion, the best choice for home AND outside defense. You can aim and hold the firearm with one hand and turn on light switches, open doors, push and fight an assailant away with your other hand. Try holding AND aiming a shotgun with one hand and using the other to perform those functions and see what I mean. Although IT IS possible to use a shotgun single handedly, ( u can even aim it with one hand and load it with the other ), it is harder to do that with a handgun. A revolver does not require a two hand operation AT ALL. It is a very good gun and gets my choice for Personal Defense, in or outside the home.

A handgun can also be carried with you during your travels, easily accessible while you drive, go an a hike and get lost, or end up in a bad neighborhood. The revolver would fill many more needs than a shotgun would, but it is still nice to have a shotgun too!!! U can't go wrong with the Remington 870 or a DA revolver. U've done your homework it seems.

Have you been looking at certain brands or styles since you last posted?
Correction: "...load it with the other ), it is harder to do that with a handgun." This should read: "...load it with the other ), it is harder to do that WITH A SHOTGUN THAN with a handgun."

Sorry about that.
All good advice. Another concern with close-range firing is being able to adjust your aim. As you said, practice and experience are key, but in a close-up range I'd imaging moving a shotgun to aim would be less-easy than with a pistol.

I totally agree that staying put (unless there are others in the house that need to be collected from harm) is the ideal. No need to go fumbling through the house where you might get caught off-guard or from behind when you can prepare for an intruder making their way into the bedroom you're already aimed at the door to.
Mossberg makes a cheaper version pump shotgun with a 20 inch lenght barrel, with an open choke. Reliable,made in the U.S.A.,been in the gun manufacturing business for over 100 yrs.Winchester also made a pump shotgun of good quality,in a riot gun version[open choke,rifle sights,and shorter barrel than standard] The reason Remington is used to compare to the other pump shotguns,the 870 has two action bars on each side of the slide handle to move the bolt open or closed,very reliable in a cold,muddy duck blind. I would watch the local newspaper for gun shows in your area and compare models,extra barrels with different choke inserts,the proverbial better deal.
I would suggest a "Mossberg 500 12 gauge defender" it's cheap, reliable, and has the easiest safety switch to access (it's on the thumb not on the finger). Also you can get special square(rather that round) 00 buck shot that will open up a lot faster. The defender holds 8 rounds and has a 18" barrel. The regular 500 holds 6 (if you pull out the plug otherwise 3) with a 20 something inch barrel (it varies I think).
This IS a good site! Thank you!
Thank you Mr.Stockton,I found that site very informative,and placed it on my favorite list for future reference.
I'm curious to know if you've made a decision and purchase on your firearm? I'd like to know what it is you went with.
I went out and tried to find either an 870 or a 500. After being unable to find either at the first couple stores I went to, I got way too busy at work, got lazy, and haven't followed through with anything yet. I'm also starting to realize that a big part of the problem is going to be not having easy access to anyplace where I can shoot. The nearest gun ranges appear to be more than an hour's drive, meaning that I don't know how much practice time I'll realistically get. This situation again pushes me toward starting with a shotgun.




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