Shorty Shotguns for Home Defense
A few things you should seriously consider before choosing a stockless pistol-grip-only shotgun as a go-to self defense firearm.
Let me start by saying I’m one of the few gun people who actually likes shooting pistol grip only (PGO) shotguns. I liked it before the Shockwave grip, with reduced recoil shells, and I really like it now that guns like the Remington 870 TAC-14 and Mossberg 590 Shockwave shotguns are on the market. But I’ve been wrestling with the idea of keeping one at the ready for home defense.
When I first took my Shockwave and my Remington semi-auto V3 TAC-13 to the range, I didn’t feel as confident with a stockless shotgun. I didn’t know exactly how to stand. I could fire both from the hip, but did I didn’t feel confident the first shot would hit where I wanted, and I didn’t like that a bit.
A laser sight helped immensely, but not at the outdoor range on a sunny day, plus I don’t like being completely reliant on that little green dot. So the next thing I added to my shockwave was a red dot sight, and then it all started to click.
I began shooting the Shockwave in an odd kind of high stance that was comfortable and stable, and more importantly, allowed me to hit my target repeatedly.
It took me one range session to get comfortable shooting the Shockwave that way and I realized I didn’t really need the red dot anymore and never even attached one to the TAC-13, using the high stance and the simple front bead that came on the gun. There’s a small laser sight on the rail as a JIC, but it isn’t necessary.
To me, shorty shotguns are a lot like handguns. Shooting them well is a perishable skill that requires a bit of practice as upkeep. That said, if you do put the time in and build the muscle memory, and confidence, shorty shotguns are absolutely viable home defense tools that are, in fact, easier to use than a handgun and offer a number of advantages in a small home. But they require practice and awareness.
A while ago, InRangeTV did a pretty solid comparison of a traditionally stocked pump gun, a pistol-grip-only shotgun, and an old-school double-barrel exposed hammer coach gun (video above).
When it comes down to it, according to their tests, having a stock significantly increases accuracy and speed over a PGO shotgun (theirs had a traditional pistol grip, not the Shockwave Raptor grip).
Oddly enough, the old school coach gun had better times than the other two shotguns, but of course, when it came to firing more than two shells, the necessary reload slowed everything down a bunch.
It’s something to think about if you’ve considered moving your shorty shotgun from the range rack to the defense rack.
And keep in mind, there are products out there that allow you to attach a pistol grip and a brace to a TAC-14 or 590 Shockwave, keeping the overall package really short while adding stability and retaining the “firearm” legal status. (check your local laws and regulations before making any similar modification). You could also get a Short Barrel Shotgun (SBS) tax stamp and attach the stock of your choice to any of the aforementioned shorty shotguns.
Not to mention the fact that the Shockwave and the TAC-14 pump guns are now available in variants that use detachable box magazines, offering additional capacity and fast reloads.
It’s worth a think.