The home defense shotgun is a powerful tool for the armed individual to defend what’s theirs with. When it comes to choosing a home defense shotgun, you have dozens of applicable options. Picking a shotgun is only the first step; next is outfitting it for success. A regular shotgun works, but there are some essentials it must have before being tasked with home defense. Here are your home defense shotgun essentials.  

A Light  

A home defense shotgun must have a light. A light is necessary to establish proper identification of a potential threat. Without a light, you may not be able to safely establish the difference between a bad guy breaking in and a cat knocking a pot over.    

 Lights on shotguns can be tricky, but my two first choices would be the Surefire DSF or the Streamlight TL Racker. Both of these are dedicated shotgun lights that replace your pump. These pumps have integrated lights, ambidextrous controls and are quite bright. The integration into the pump makes them a natural choice.     

 If the Surefire or Streamlight doesn’t work for you, consider a rail-mounted light like the TLR-1. This compact light is designed for pistols but powerful enough for a home defense shotgun.

A Sling  

A sling is a must-have for controlling your weapon. Should a bad guy attack you and try to take your gun, the sling will provide a natural means to resist the attack. With a slung shotgun, you can use your hands to resist the attack and reconfigure.  

   A sling also provides you with a degree of support when you may have to release one hand from your shotgun to open a door, shield a child, or lock an entryway. My favorite sling is the Vickers Tactical sling from Blue Force Gear.     

 This sling allows you to instantly change the length of the sling via the pull tab. This pull tab allows you to instantly tighten or loosen the sling as needed. The tight sling allows you to use your hands while retaining the weapon. Running it lose improves mobility and allows for total freedom of movement.    

Proper Set of Sights  

A bead sight will work and work well, but is a bead beast? You want a sight that can be used regardless of your situation, and that requires something worth seeing at night. Night sights for shotguns exist, and the big dot XS sights are perfect for home defense.

 This sight is made up of a massive white sight that surrounds a tritium vial.     Now, if night sights aren’t your cup of tea, look at adding an optic. Mini red dots like the Holosun 507 work brilliantly on shotguns, and all they need is a Picatinny rail to mount. They provide both day and night proficiency and keep things nice and simple.  

Side Saddle 

Shotguns are low capacity weapons and are limited to anywhere from four to eight rounds. While it’s unlikely you’ll need to reload in a home defense scenario, there is nothing wrong with having a little extra ammo on board. A side saddle is the only choice because you aren’t going to be grabbing a belt of ammo during a home defense scenario.   

   A side allows you to roll out of bed and into the fight without stalling. Side saddles come in different sizes and for a variety of different guns. NC Star produces a universal system that will function with nearly any semi-auto or pump-action shotgun.     Tac-Star also produces designs for most shotguns, including the Winchester, Remington 870, and Mossberg 500/590 series.    

 If you want the highest quality side saddle, then GG&G and Mesa tactical makes some fantastic but slightly pricey designs. These are going to war, duty ready designs that are overbuilt for home defense, but sometimes you just want the best.  

Shuck Shuck  

A shotgun and the defensive essentials are two steps on a path to success. The third step is training and practice. All the shotguns and accessories in the world can’t save you if you don’t know how to use them. Get the gun, outfit it with the essentials, and learn to use it.

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