Best New Home Defense Shotguns of 2020

There was a bit of everything this year, from semi-autos and lever guns to classic pumps with modern attributes.

There are many firearms that are well suited for home defense, but the humble shotgun is amongst the better choices for a variety of reasons. Most of this year’s scattergun introductions were aimed at the sporting market, but there were a few that were built with security in mind:

The Henry Axe in .410 and the new Henry X Model lever-action shotgun.
The Henry Axe in .410 (top) and the new Henry X Model lever-action shotgun.Henry Repeating Arms

You may not think of a lever gun for home defense, but Henry has a few options that you should consider. Introduced at the 2020 Show, the Henry X-Model in .410 would make an excellent tool for defensing your castle loaded with appropriate ammo. The X has a loading gate on the receiver for rapid reloads, in addition to Henry’s removable tube magazine.

Fiber-optic sights are as easy to find in low-light conditions, or addd a Pic rail to the drilled and tapped receiver for a red dot of your choice. You can add a light or other accessories using the M-Lok slots and Picatinny rail on the forend.

If you wanted to go with something shorter, the Henry Axe non-NFA firearm features the same receiver in a much handier package. Henry X $970, Axe $970; henryusa.com

Iver Johnson Stryker Shotgun
The Iver Johnson Stryker-SN shotgun (top) is a semi-auto that feeds from a detachable box magazine. The regular Stryker 12 is seen in the middle and on the bottom, the company's HP18 semi-auto shotgun. Joseph Albanese

Known mostly for their 1911s and derringers, Iver Johnson is building out its shotgun line with a new semi-auto that is configured more like an AR than a shotgun. Their newest entry, the Stryker-SN (the SN stands for “satin nickel”), is an eye catching version of the box-mag fed 12 gauge Stryker that was introduced last year.

The shotgun bears more than a passing similarity to the AR-15, but the mechanicals are pure shotgun, with a fairly common gas system soaking up felt recoil and cycling shells.

Loading is fast; accomplished via an MKA 1919 five-round box magazine capable of feeding both 2.75″ and 3″ shells. Adding to the AR styling is an A2-style detachable carry handle and a barrel-mounted front sight post, which houses a fiber-optic bead. The 20-inch smoothbore barrel is topped off with a muzzle brake. MSRP: $459/

Stoeger P3000 Freedom Series Supreme
The Stoeger P3000 Freedom Series Supreme shotgun.Joseph Albanese

Stoeger built the ideal home defense pump shotgun when it created the P3000 Freedom Series Supreme. This 12 gauge features a folding stock that makes covert storage and navigating the tight confines of a residential hallway easy, but offers support when needed.

The six-position buttstock even sports an adjustable cheek rest for a custom fit, taking the guesswork out of forming a proper cheek weld in a stressful situation. An extended magazine tube holds up to seven rounds, for a total capacity of 7+1.

Ghost ring sights allow for rapid target acquisition and make hitting with buckshot or slugs simple at even longer ranges. MSRP: $469.

The Remington V3 Competition Tactical.
The Remington V3 Competition Tactical.Remington

Designed for the world of 3-gun competitions, Remington’s V3 Competition Tactical also fills the home defense niche nicely. The 22-inch barrel means it’s not too long to navigate hallways easily, and the extended magazine tube holds enough to weather nearly any encounter.

Traits that useful in competition, like the oversize safety, bolt release, and bolt handle, are also excellent in stressful and/or low-light conditions. The flared loading port makes it quicker and easier to stuff shells in.

The 22-inch barrel is cut with RemChoke threads, and wears a fiber optic front bead that combines with an XS Sight Systems rear that is dovetailed into the rib. Included with purchase is a Delrin punch to adjust windage. MSRP: $1,127.

Escort BTS Bullpup Shotgun
The Escort BTS Bullpup Shotgun is great for maneuvering in the confines of a home.Escort

Bullpups are revered for their compact dimensions, shoving the receiver rearward to make the smallest possible packages without sacrificing barrel length. This is ideal for maneuvering in tight confines, like your home.

Escort has been delivering bargain semiauto scatterguns to the duck hunting crowd for years, but took a totally new approach with the BTS Bullpup. The new inline gas piston design is mounted around the barrel, minimizing bulk and permitting use of the bullpup layout.

The polymer lower receiver also doubles as the forend grip, with soft rubber inlays for improved handling. The one-piece carry handle sight can be replaced with included flip-up sights for a lower profile or when using mounted optics.

Available in both 12 gauge and .410, the BTS ships with 5-round detachable box magazines. MSRP: starting at $589.

Armscor VRPA40
The new Armscor VRPA40 pump actions shotgun.Armscor

Armscor released an AR-pattern scattergun last year, the VR80, that was a hit with the defensive shotgun crowd. This year, they are following the success of the semi with the introduction of a magazine-fed pump, the VRPA40.

Despite the different actions, the new pump utilizes the same magazines as the others in the VR line so you can stock up and keep them all well fed. The 7075 T6 aluminum receiver is chambered for both 2.75- and three-inch shells so it will take your favored range fodder or defensive round.

Two thirds of the 20-inch barrel are covered in a heat shield, and the end is capped off with a fiber optic bead. The receiver wears an adjustable rear sight and a Picatinny rail, if you’d prefer to mount your own optic.

Price is also a selling point, as the VRPA40 retails for less than $400—well below most magazine-fed shotguns. $399, armscor.com

Mossberg 940 JM Pro
The new Mossberg 940 JM Pro shotgun (top) and its namesake, Jerry Miculek, firing one at Range Day 2020.Joseph Albanese

Mossberg’s 940 JM Pro was designed with input from the legendary Jerry Miculek, who may just have the fastest trigger finger of all time. The 940 is a refined version of the 930 Miculek has been using in 3-gun competition for years now.

The biggest improvement is the new gas management system, which adds a stepped and vented spacer component that helps direct relics of the combustion process away from the receiver, keeping the 940 cleaner. In testing, Mossberg put 1,500 rounds through the 940 JM Pro without a hiccup. True to its competitive roots, the 940 has enlarged controls and an oversized loading port.

A fiber-optic bead is easy to find during competition or during high-stress situations. But for home defense, perhaps no feature will be more appreciated that the 9+1 magazine capacity, which should mean you won’t have to grab a handful of shells if something goes bump in the night.

The JM Pro is the first in the line, but look for other versions with more tactical features to be added in the near future. MSRP: $1,015.

Charles Day 301 pump
The new Charles Daly 301 pump action shotgun.Joseph Albanese

Charles Daly has been producing affordable sporting shotguns for the masses for quite some time now, though they have recently began expanding their tactical catalog. One of these new defensive entries is the 301 Pump-Action Tactical Shotgun.

The 18.5-inch barrel and receiver of the tactical 301 are coated in a bright nickel finish, which should help keep rust at bay. The black synthetic stock has a forend striated in the same style as a Benelli Nova, but features a short section of Picatinny rail to easily mount a flashlight or other accessory.

The 301 comes with improved cylinder, modified, and full chokes; but if you prefer aftermarket tubes there are plenty of options as the barrel uses Beretta/Benelli Mobil Choke threads. MSRP: $249.