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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For nearly 3 decades since I became a CCW instructor I have recommended or placed handguns for defensive use with lots of people. I have carried shotguns in the military, law enforcement and like most on here have killed everything from doves to deer with them, so I know a little about shotguns. My current dilemma is recommending home defense shotguns to non-gun people and here is the rub.

My traditional recommendation has always been to the non-gun crowd is the Remington 870 youth model. Many reasons, but everyone can handle the short 20 gauge, full power 00 Buck in a short 12 is a bit too much for non gun people. If you have every touched off a 12 inside you understand there is a lot of sheet rock and curtains and decorations that go flying around the room. So, a little less blast and thump is not a bad thing. Nothing wrong with that advice or any of the cheaper pump clones, all seem to work well.

The question of the day is a family member, 67 years old, shoots her 380 EZ shield and handguns well, but she has little arm strength. She is a marketing manager in a Fortune 50 corp so money is not an issue. She and her affluent female friends have concluded that everyone needs 2 handguns, one full size and one for CCW, as most of us will agree. They (her gang of women) have also concluded that every home should have a defensive shotgun, like most of us would also conclude. Amazing how non gun people can get educated when crime gets high and their personal risk level goes up dramatically.

So, here is my dilemma and what she gets may be what many of them buy since she is the one with the brother who is the gun guy. I have been seeing lots of cheap semi auto shotguns. In this day and age we no longer worry about jams and things that happened 20-40 years ago, they all seem to go boom, once any factory issues are resolved. Pumping the gun for some of these ladies in a crises can be an issue. A semi auto is easy to master until it runs dry.

My recommendation has always been to stay away from any gun that looks overly tactical, no skull and crossbones on a gun a jury might see. So, I am recommending away AR patterns and from pistol grip stocks and only add simple devices like lights and lasers and night sights and a butt stock sleeve for extra ammo, the same stuff I put on mine. I am also recommending the low recoil 00 Buck for the 12 gauge and the #3 Buck for the 20 gauges.
I just got an add today for the

NEW! GForce Arms GF1, Semi-automatic, 12 Gauge, 20" Barrel, 4+1 Rounds $259.95.
Anybody have any experience with this one or recommendations for any of the many out there today? I prefer a gun with the 5+1 capacity but may buy one of these for myself. There is a tube extension that will make them 7+1. These have been around over 10 years and get good reviews. Any personal experience with any of these is appreciated.
 

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RFF - there are a ton of new semi auto and bull pups out on the market now, for some reason. And they are cheap. For this reason and others, I’ll say this, and I’m no expert either:
if you’re going to recommend a semi auto, recommend a name brand you know and trust, because as soon as the no name jams, all is lost with the non efficient user. Pump actions are a different story.

That being said, I have sold four of the GForce bull pups in the last 6 months and none have been returned for any reason. However, I have a feeling their sitting behind a door somewhere unfired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
RFF - there are a ton of new semi auto and bull pups out on the market now, for some reason. And they are cheap. For this reason and others, I’ll say this, and I’m no expert either:
if you’re going to recommend a semi auto, recommend a name brand you know and trust, because as soon as the no name jams, all is lost with the non efficient user. Pump actions are a different story.

That being said, I have sold four of the GForce bull pups in the last 6 months and none have been returned for any reason. However, I have a feeling their sitting behind a door somewhere unfired.
I usually agree, but the GForce have a 10-11 year history and all the reviews I have found are great. Many of them are supposed to be exact clones of the best guns, I just do not know which ones amoung shotguns. Some of the worst guns I have ever owned had a little pony and Colt emblem on them. Seems to me the home defense guns will be fired a few times for function and then sit idle for years, so not quite the same as a gun used for hunting or trap.

Maybe some G and G folks have actually experience with them. I am always skeptical of reviews from the store that sole them. FWIW
 

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I guess it is just me, but I still favor a pump for defense. Got a mossberg 20 gauge youth for the wife, and an old 870 for myself. Getting accustomed to the racking makes it more “freeze proof” in case of a misfire.
A shotgun isn’t my go to, but they definitely have a place in the arsenal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess it is just me, but I still favor a pump for defense. Got a mossberg 20 gauge youth for the wife, and an old 870 for myself. Getting accustomed to the racking makes it more “freeze proof” in case of a misfire.
A shotgun isn’t my go to, but they definitely have a place in the arsenal.
I spent about 4 years where one of my military issue guns was an 870, with foldover stock and a 10 inch smooth barrel-no front sight. The combat load was 18 rounds of military issue 00 Buck. My issue sidearm was a custom 1911, a series 70 the size of a commander, only about 2,000 in the inventory so not going to find them in Janes or in a TOE. But the short pump was devastating and running the qualification course was just the 18 rounds which were gone in about 2 minutes. The little gun would work you out and blast was substantial. It was picked for that role because it was so loud and obnoxious. So, I learned to love the pumps and have an 870 Supermag that I have used for maybe 40 years, 3.5 inch chamber, of course.

That said, having been in a few events, where people were close, I am aware the second arm out front manning the pump, may not always be available. Bringing that back to the subject of home defense for non-gun people, a 100% reliable semi auto with reduced power ammo or dropping back to 20 gauges just seems to make sense. Just point in the direction of danger and fire until it quits. I have a pump under my bed as I write this, I also have surgeries pending on my spine and wrist which will never be the same. So, that is an issue also, as we all age.

Anyway, appreciate the comment. My pumps are not going anywhere.
 

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I have no experience with that firearm, but it appears to be a sound choice.
In my experience with semi auto shotguns some do require more break in with suitable ammo (my Baikal 12 ga. for instance) to become fully reliable. And then proper and timely cleaning becomes more important than with a pump. With a pump failures are more likely to be user errors instead of ammo issues. Not too long ago I watched a newbie shooter short stroking the slide while attempting to get a quick 2nd or 3rd shot off at some clay targets being thrown by his uncle.
 

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Since 12 gauge ammo is usually the last to go and first to return, it might be worth a shot. If nothing else to have a shotgun to train and have fun with.

I'm NOT a huge fan of semi shotguns in a HD/personal protection role although there are reliable choices out there (fairly expensive ones). As is the case with ANY gun, the number one criteria is always reliability. I'm not sure that type of gun has demonstrated reliability over thousands of rounds and a multitude of conditions. With a pump, I'm the one doing the racking so if I do it properly for the gun type I'll have an infinitely reliable gun. Have I ever short stroked a pump ? Yup (usually a Winchester-type action which are relatively cantankerous and unlock when fired--the Stevens brand is a great value but incorporates this type of action and I HAVE screwed it up. Never had any problem with the Mossy 500/590 types or 870 types).

But I am suspicious of a low priced semi-shotgun. Might be a boon--most definitely DO test it with whatever you're gonna put through it.
 

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The issue used to be the expense. Remington 1100 or 870 was a no brainer for which one you wanted vs which one you could afford.
I'm from an area that was shotgun hunting only for deer. I'm not in any way woman bashing here, but the ones that could afford it and that liked to hunt prefered semi-auto's, 20 ga and 12 ga. A little buck fever and they forgot what to do after pulling the trigger. Of course, this could happen to anyone and guys would be less inclined to tell others about it. Point being that in a high stress situation without prior experience and many hours with a pump shotgun, most people will not act smoothly. Deer hunting is not a life or death situation so I would strongly recommend a semi-auto for home defense.
 

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I have no experience with that shotgun but semi auto sounds great
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My choice is a 12 guage pump riot shotgun. My experience in police work, I found perps are real familiar with the sound of a racked shotgun, gets their attention real fast.
When in law enforcement we all liked to rack em before we searched a building or looked for a runner. Being old and living rural, I do not do that anymore. I do it quietly inside. These days if there is a confrontation I want the coyote or evil person to see the flash as the first indicator of where I might be. I am just thinking these new generations of cheap short shotguns are so good that they are a good option for home defense. I know I would not have said that 20 years ago, they have just improved so much.
 
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I recommend and use the same guns I hunt and shoot all the time any way. I do NOT recommend people buy some tactaled up black plastic sit in the corner thing they barely ever shoot and barely know how to use. When your life is on the line and the fumble fingers hit, you are going to want the thing you've used the most in your life.
 

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I will put my .02 in; I honestly believe it has a lot to do with the person abilities to understand how a given firearm works...I keep a Beretta 1201FP as a primary as well as a Remington 870 Police. I can operate either as I know if I want to switch from a buckshot to a slug what needs to be done in both arms, obviously the 870 is easier on face value. If a person that owns a gun for protection and is not an active range attendee....I'd opt for the pump. It is a powerful arm that also needs to be understood, yet there is a lot less going on and you have to stay engaged to operate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My point of this thread is hoping to find someone with actual experience with some of these recent clones. I know for example the cheap Turkish clone of the Benelli has been marketed as the Weatherby Element for many years and gave aways had raving reviews. The Benelli inertia design is a near perfect method of firing lots of shotgun fodder without any issues. Weatherby thought it was so great that when the patent ran out, they decided to add the clones to their product line. The plastic stock gun is only about $500, the fancy walnut it about $1,100 but the function is the same. Anybody ever had a problem with the Weatherby Element. We all know there are a dozen clones of the 870 and none that I know of are bad.

I can stand and rack my my pumps all day long and they work well, but it takes two hands and is slow compared to what I can do with a semi auto. And I can shoot the semi auto with little or no support from my off hand. I can hold a light or cell phone in the off hand and the front of the semi at the same time., shooting all the while.

The advancements in manufacturing have solved many of the problems of 20 years ago.

We also know that some of the mass produced guns like the Rock Islands, now the largest producer of 1911s on the planet run just as well as the up scale 1911s. My point is that manufacturing has become so automated that most guns out of the box require maybe a couple hundred rounds to smooth out any rough tooling issues and then run for hundreds of rounds without failure. The cheapest Glock clone can be expected to run 10,000 rounds without a failure, once they are determined to be reliable. At one time I was on a range one day per week and assisted many shooters. The absolute winner of guns with problems was ARs. Much was user error, people taking a gun cut for .223 and firing 6-7 magazines of steel lacquered ammo as fast as they could and they would stick a hot round in the chamber. They would usually blame the model of the gun or maybe the ammo, it was user ignorance, they probably still do not know many of the early rushed to market ARs were designed for competition, so the shorter 223 chamber without lead and a smaller base in the chamber would not support steel cases under intense fire.

Now, transfer the technology to current semi auto shotguns. They are low pressure, big chambers with vast room for chambering. Take the enertia guns, which for decades been called the simplest, fastest, cleanest, strongest, most reliable operating system in the world. Certainly more so that a gun with a skinny little gas tube running from the front of the gun to the bolt. Arguably even better than the large piston system found on the SKS and AK designs. Fewer moving parts, No gas cylinders, No O-rings or other complicated parts. And at pressures far less than conventional rifles and handguns, yet the 12 gauge with slugs is still a favored choice for bear defense in most points north. A short range device with massive energy transfer at short range in a design that has less chance of failure than most on the planet. Other shotgun designs with gas systems may have to be tuned to a specific round, but not the inertia guns and now the last decade we have a dozen of so of the clones at under $500.

Anyway, the reviews I can find are all good,

Just saying the design is so simple the risk of a failure is almost not existent. So, I have began to question my own bias against them, as to the enertia type that are on the market and are cheap. The on- line reviews from sellers are good, but I do not always trust them, so hoping to find people who have bought them and put a few hundred rounds through them.

And while I am leaning toward the enertia guns, SWAT and military have moved toward the gas guns also. Examples-- here are some comments:

---U.S. Marine Corps has proven in combat, the Benelli M4 is a very rugged semi-automatic shotgun ready for LEOs as well.
---Beretta 1301 Tactical is a semi-automatic shotgun that features an oversized charging handle designed for SWAT
---FN SLP MK I Tactical semi-automatic shotgun designed for law enforcement
---The Mossberg 930 SPX semi-automatic shotgun is loaded with features, such as a seven-round magazine, a ghost ring rear sight and an M16-style front sight
---The Remington R12 is the big greens newest gun for law enforcement officer
---Weatherby’s SA-459 TR is a gas-operated, semi-automatic shotgun with a pistol grip and a Picatinny rail, MSRP is $699

Anyway, the military and police are moving to semi autos and it appears that they are reliable enough these days to by pass what the pump gun once did for us. Anyway just looking for folks with actual experience with them.
 
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I guess a question I would ask is how do the semi’s work with the shorty shells? I have never really bought into the concept but I know people who think they are great for home defense. They are less velocity, so less over-penetration, but also less to work the action. Not a problem in a pump. The big plus is more rounds in the tube. Just another factor to consider.
 

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I used to give the standard reply, passing along the same advice I'd received for 40 years. Remington, 870 pump action. Reliable, dependable moves shells in and out with our a hiccup. I never even owned a semi auto shotgun until 1995. That gun is a Remington 1187 premier trap. You know, I shot that gun10 years on trap ranges, skeet ranges, five stand, hunting sporting clays, and in formal friends in a hay field and never had a fail to fire on a clay or bird.

When I moved to this place in the country was the first time I EVER picked up "that shotgun in the corner" and stepped outside to kill "what ever that is out there" and I was carrying my 870 and a flash light. That started happening pretty darn regular AND it involved killing something about half the time I made those trips. You don't have to do that very often to realize if you are carrying a flash light and a pump shotgun, you are carrying a single shot weapon. Not many times resulting in a gottaway and you start to think "what if that had been an armed two legged critter?"

That is when my semi auto trap gun became my "shotgun in the corner" gun to and never turned back. Same as in the field, it is faster, it is simpler to operate, you suffer the recoil less with out down grading your whole defense system with wimpy ammunition. Semi auto, quality gun you trust, and keep it CLEAN, is the way to go.
 

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for me semi auto.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I used to give the standard reply, passing along the same advice I'd received for 40 years. Remington, 870 pump action. Reliable, dependable moves shells in and out with our a hiccup. I never even owned a semi auto shotgun until 1995. That gun is a Remington 1187 premier trap. You know, I shot that gun10 years on trap ranges, skeet ranges, five stand, hunting sporting clays, and in formal friends in a hay field and never had a fail to fire on a clay or bird.

When I moved to this place in the country was the first time I EVER picked up "that shotgun in the corner" and stepped outside to kill "what ever that is out there" and I was carrying my 870 and a flash light. That started happening pretty darn regular AND it involved killing something about half the time I made those trips. You don't have to do that very often to realize if you are carrying a flash light and a pump shotgun, you are carrying a single shot weapon. Not many times resulting in a gottaway and you start to think "what if that had been an armed two legged critter?"

That is when my semi auto trap gun became my "shotgun in the corner" gun to and never turned back. Same as in the field, it is faster, it is simpler to operate, you suffer the recoil less with out down grading your whole defense system with wimpy ammunition. Semi auto, quality gun you trust, and keep it CLEAN, is the way to go.
Excellent post and makes the point much better than I did at post 14 above.
 

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I have a few shotguns to include an 870 and a Benelli M4 semi-auto.

They both run reliably. As do a lot of the "newer" semi autos. The Beretta 1301 gets really good reviews as well. Its also significantly less than the Benelli M4. Obviously you should always keep your gun clean but guns like the Benelli M4 or the 1301, they still run well when dirty. I have found them to not be as near finnicky as some of the older semi autos like the Rem 1100 or whatnot.

Shotguns are like J frame revolvers... carried a lot (or stored in the bed room corner a lot) and shot way less than they probably should be.

Biggest thing is whatever platform you go with (pump or semi auto) is to practice with it and semi frequently. Even if its only a like 10 rounds at a range trip or something. Practice loading and reloading it efficiently as well.

If one doesn't practice that much with a shotgun its just as easy to make a self induced malfunction with a pump shotgun as anything else....

Short stroking the action casing a jam, forgetting to hit the action release if the action bars are in the locked position under stress to manipulate the pump etc etc.



When I moved to this place in the country was the first time I EVER picked up "that shotgun in the corner" and stepped outside to kill "what ever that is out there" and I was carrying my 870 and a flash light. That started happening pretty darn regular AND it involved killing something about half the time I made those trips. You don't have to do that very often to realize if you are carrying a flash light and a pump shotgun, you are carrying a single shot weapon. Not many times resulting in a gottaway and you start to think "what if that had been an armed two legged critter?"
Good point to make, also there are a lot of ways to mount a light to your shotgun. It used to be your only really good option was the pricey (but very good quality surefire fore end lights) but now there is a plethora of cheaper quality options out there for people such as the magpul 870 fore end with the m-lok slots to mount a light or the streamlite racker for mossberg and remington pumps.

Streamlight TL Racker Shotgun Forend Weapon Light LED Remington 870 2 (midwayusa.com)

There are less products out there for the Benelli M4 so i have a handheld light mount clamped onto the end of the mag tube barrel that lets me put a handheld surefire light at the end of the handguard.
 
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I have a few shotguns to include an 870 and a Benelli M4 semi-auto.

They both run reliably. As do a lot of the "newer" semi autos. The Beretta 1301 gets really good reviews as well. Its also significantly less than the Benelli M4. Obviously you should always keep your gun clean but guns like the Benelli M4 or the 1301, they still run well when dirty. I have found them to not be as near finnicky as some of the older semi autos like the Rem 1100 or whatnot.

Shotguns are like J frame revolvers... carried a lot (or stored in the bed room corner a lot) and shot way less than they probably should be.

Biggest thing is whatever platform you go with (pump or semi auto) is to practice with it and semi frequently. Even if its only a like 10 rounds at a range trip or something. Practice loading and reloading it efficiently as well.

If one doesn't practice that much with a shotgun its just as easy to make a self induced malfunction with a pump shotgun as anything else....

Short stroking the action casing a jam, forgetting to hit the action release if the action bars are in the locked position under stress to manipulate the pump etc etc.





Good point to make, also there are a lot of ways to mount a light to your shotgun. It used to be your only really good option was the pricey (but very good quality surefire fore end lights) but now there is a plethora of cheaper quality options out there for people such as the magpul 870 fore end with the m-lok slots to mount a light or the streamlite racker for mossberg and remington pumps.

Streamlight TL Racker Shotgun Forend Weapon Light LED Remington 870 2 (midwayusa.com)

There are less products out there for the Benelli M4 so i have a handheld light mount clamped onto the end of the mag tube barrel that lets me put a handheld surefire light at the end of the handguard.
I don't care much for lights fastened to a gun. Then you are pointing a deadly flashlight at every noise and shiny glint you want to look at. It doesn't take much to make a life altering mistake like that. Bump, trip, loud noise or just the cat jumping off a shelf can "trigger" the natural first instinct to "grab" what you are holding. I just think it is a bad idea for a main source of light. If you carrying a separate "looking around light" but then you are back to a one handed pump gun.
 
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