Why To Choose A Remington 870 For Your Home Defense

One of my old weapon instructors used to refer to the pump action shotgun as an instrument of the Lord: it brings truth and understanding to the disbelievers.

That’s a good reason to keep on hand for home defense the pump action shotgun.

You do not have to be an expert marksman to shoot or hit your target; just point and pull the trigger. The sound of the pump action shotgun when chambering a round is like no other sound on Earth.

And from all the pump action shotguns, Remington 870 would be my first choice.


There Are 6 Reasons Why You Need a Pump Action Shotgun

  1. Power and Performance

The pump shotgun has more power than the average pistol. Throughout history shotguns have been the backup arm of police and sheriff departments in America.

The pump shotgun is a great equalizer in close defense of your home and protecting your family.

  1. Ease of Maintenance

You can clean and maintain a pump shotguns with both improvised or conventional cleaning supplies. A cleaning kit for bug out bags can be made in a small compact package that takes up very little room.

Also, improvised supplies can be used to clean and maintain other firearms.

  1. Price and Availability

Pump shotguns are cheaper and more available than most rifles. With a couple of hundred dollars in any Walmart , the average law a bidding person can buy a shotgun, (as long as you can pass the firearm background check). With the low prices of the pump action shotguns you can afford to buy more than one of them for your defense needs.

  1. Versatility of Ammunition

The pump action shotgun can fire either lethal or non lethal rounds. Non lethal rounds like bean bags or rubber projectiles can stop violent encounters without killing or causing serious bodily harm. When the Pump action shotgun is loaded with normal shot shells, it can be used to hunt game or be used as a defensive weapon.

  1. The Pump Action Shotguns Are Modular

Yes, the pump shotguns are modular. If you do not like the wooden furniture on the shotgun you can change it to synthetic parts.

The shotgun can be set up with a longer barrel for hunting. By changing to a shorter home defense length barrel (18”), the pump shotgun is now ready to better protect the family in close quarter fighting.

If you want a cruiser type shotgun with only a rear pistol grip, this can be done by replacing the rear stock with a pistol grip. There are also many kinds of accessories from slings, lasers, lights, and shell holders.

Remember to use the KISS Theory when deciding which accessories to put on your pump action shotguns.

  • Keep your shotgun in its original configuration.
  • Stay away from folding or collapsible stocks or unsightly muzzle attachments.
  • Try not to use heat shields. To some they look cool, but in reality they might shoot loose and jam the action.
  • If you wish to hunt with your shotgun, try adding a longer barrel (24” or 26”) and get a choke set for it.

If you want to keep extra ammunition handy, bandoleers are the best. Some people attach a magazine extension to increase the shotguns ammunition capacity above factor standards. Usually these magazine extensions are installed by unscrewing the tubular magazine end cap and screwing on the extension. This extension can increase the magazine capacity by up to 5 rounds depending on make, model, and barrel length of the shotgun.

Tactical lights that are mounted on the shotgun forearm are very important to make a correct identification of an individual or a group of individuals at night. This light allows hands free operation when needed to stop a criminal incident, or if lethal force is needed to defend one’s life.

  1. Protection of the Law

The pump action shotgun in most cities and states is considered to be a sporting arm, not an assault weapon. In some cities and states where handguns and large capacity magazines are banned, a pump action shotgun can be a lifesaver and a good weapon to own.

Video first seen on Gun Carrier

What Is a Shotgun Gauge?

Shotgun barrels are not chambered in calibers, but in gauges. A gauge is the number of pure lead balls it takes to roll down the barrel that is the same diameter as the internal diameter of the barrel to make a pound. This was an old English  Imperial measurement.

The most common chambering for shotguns are 10, 12, 16, 20, and .410. The .410 was based on the old .45 Colt round and is an American invention and not a true British gauge.

Choosing the Gauge for You

When choosing a shotgun gauge pick one that is suitable for your build and needs. Recoil must be considered as a determining factor along with availability of shotguns and ammunition. The 12 Gauge shotgun is the most bought shotgun gauge in the USA. For this reason12 Gauge ammunition is easier to find and buy than other gauges.

If you cannot handle the 12 Gauge recoil then go with a 20 Gauge shotgun. If you still have problems with the 20 Gauge recoil then try the .410.

I would not recommend the 10 Gauge because of the very heavy recoil, hard to find, and expensive ammunition. The 16 Gauge is also an almost obsolete gauge and the shot shells can be very expensive. This makes it mostly unsuitable for home defense and survival preparations.

The 12 Gauge shotgun is the over-all best gauge in modern shotguns. There are excellent supplies of different types of ammunition like bird shot (#1- #12), slugs (1oz), and buckshot (0,00, 000, and 0000).

In 20 Gauge ammunition there are bird shot (#1-#12), slugs (1/2 oz.), and buckshot (0,00, 000, and 0000), but smaller and lighter than the 12Gauge. In the .410 shotguns there are bird shot(#1-#12), buckshot (00, 000, and 0000), and .410 slugs (1/4 oz.).

Slugs can be sometimes very hard to find outside of shotgun only deer hunting states.

Which Type of Shotgun Is Best for You?

There are four types of shotguns: the single barrel, the double barrel, the semi-auto, and the pump action.

  1. The single barrel shotguns have only one barrel that must be loaded and unloaded manually by opening the breech. They do not have tube magazines.
  2. The double barrel shotguns have two barrels mounted side by side or over and under each other. To load and unload this shotgun the shooter must manually open and close the breech. Like the single barrel shotguns the double barrel shotguns do not have tube magazines.
  3.  The semi-auto shotguns have tube magazines which can hold from 2-8 rounds depending on how the shotgun is setup. After a round has been chambered and fired, the shotguns use either recoil or gas to operate the action and reload the the shotguns automatically. There are some semi-auto shotguns that use box magazines or drums. For this “crime” they have been mis-named assault weapons by the anti-gunners and are either out right banned or are strictly controlled by state or local laws.
  4. The pump action shotguns have a tube magazine that holds between 4- 8 rounds depending on how the shotgun is setup. After a round has been chambered and fired, the shooter must manually pull the forearm backwards to eject the spent shell and push the forearm forward to chamber the next round. A high quality pump action shotgun offers a distinct advantage over auto-loaders because their operation is more mechanically reliable. Under the worst conditions imaginable, the pump action shotguns are the best choice for home defense. They can be carried safely with a loaded magazine, an empty chamber, the safety on, and the hammer down.

I’d say that the best shotgun for the prepper is the 12 Gauge pump action shotgun. The pump action shotgun will cycle any load you feed it, including reduced recoil loads, light bird shot loads, and less than lethal ammunition.

The advantages of a shotguns are threefold.

  • There exists less danger of harming third parties through walls in the event of missing the perpetrator or by accidental discharges.
  • The potential for inflicting massive wound trauma to a criminal is maximized thus ending a violent confrontation quickly.
  • It is easier to hit the attacker with a shotgun than with a pistol.

Semi-auto shotguns are good and have less felt recoil, but you must take the following into consideration before buying one:

  • Semi-auto shotguns cost much more than pump action shotguns.
  • Some of the cheaper ones have quality and reliability issues.
  • Gas system parts can wear out faster and more frequently.
  • Some auto-loaders have feed preferences and will only feed certain loads reliably usually the full power loads.
  • Auto-loaders rely on either recoil or gas to operate the action.
  • Each has its advantages, but both require more preventative maintenance and cleaning for reliable functioning than do pump action shotguns.

Why to Choose a Remington 870

My personal choice for a pump action shotgun for survival and home defense is the Remington 870, which is an extremely high quality pump action shotgun.

The receivers are milled from a solid billet of steel for strength and durability. Twin action bars ensure a smooth, reliable non binding action.

There are many variations of this shotgun and all will serve you well. When it comes right down to it after you have researched all the brands of pump action shotguns that interest you, only you can decide which pump action shotgun appears best for you.


Training and Ammunition

Now that you have your shotgun, it is time to shoot it and become familiar with it. Please read the owner’s manual and understand it. Clean the shotgun before shooting it. Finally if you have any questions about the shotgun call customer service and speak to one of the gunsmiths because they are the best source of the right and the correct information that you are looking for.

One of the best ways to sharpen your defensive and shooting skills is to shoot skeet and trap. These two shooting sports will help you learn how to lead the target and to follow through.

When training in different scenarios always use the exact ammunition that you will be using in a crisis situation. If you do not, the recoil may be less or much more than the practice ammunition. The point of impact could also be higher or lower than you are use to.

  • For training in houses or other buildings, I prefer to use reduced law enforcement 2 3/4 inch 0000 buckshot loads. These loads will do the job without too much over penetration of the target. If you do miss the target the buckshot will not rip through more than a sheet of sheet rock wall.
  • If you do not want to shoot buckshot or slugs in these buildings then use #4 shot shells (turkey loads, no pun intended). These will stop your target and have less over penetration than buck or slugs. For home defense use the 2 3/4 inch shells.
  • The 3 inch or the 3.5 inch have just to much recoil and make it harder for accurate follow up shots.

Video first seen on Iraq Veteran 8888

Training in the outdoors

When training for outdoor scenarios, learn how to safely shoot slugs, buckshot, and shot shells. Know the pros and cons of each. Always train with safety in mind and always know what is behind your target. Finally, do not shoot until you have positively identified the target.

It is my opinion that the Remington 870 pump action shotguns are excellent survival and home defense shotguns. These shotguns have stood the test of time for over 50 years.

The 870 pump action shotguns set the standards that all other pump action shotguns rely on.


This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia

Further reading:




About Fred Tyrell

Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones. Fred refers to himself as a “southern gentleman” – the last of a dying way. He believes a man’s word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years. You can send Fred a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *