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Best SHTF Shotgun?

Reality Survival  What type of emergency are you preparing for (economic collapse, terrorist attack, Electro-Magnetic Pulse, natural disaster, hyper-inflation, etc)?  Nobody knows what exactly the future holds; therefore nobody knows specifically how to prepare.  When selecting a weapon, the shotgun seems to prove more versatile than most of the others.  This jack of all trades weapon can do all things from put food on the table (bird shot) to defend against hostiles (buck shot) and put down wild predators (slugs).

I won’t attempt to argue that there are better weapons for some specific applications.  Many law enforcement agencies across the US have moved away from the shotgun toward AR platforms due to increased accuracy, effective range, greater ammo capacity, lighter weight and reduced recoil.  That said the specific mission of a law enforcement carbine is limited to tactical applications (not so great at shooting birds).  The shotgun is sufficient for combat engagements greater than 100 yards with slugs and is superior at ranges under 35 yards with Buck shot. The vast majority of tactical engagements one would expect to encounter in an emergency SHTF situation would be within those ranges (beyond that a tactical retreat should be considered if practical).

A Shotgun Offers Variety!

The variety of ammunition is what makes the shotgun so versatile. The ability to switch types of ammo depending on the application is equivalent to having several different weapons. Loading a slug is ideal for hunting big game, engaging hostile threats at distances (or through barriers), and protection from wild animals (bear). Loading a round of 00 Buck is equivalent to approximately 8 or 9 rounds of 9mm.  A round of birdshot is great for hunting small game (bird, snake, and squirrel) and also pretty good for breaching door locks at contact distance.  A 12 gauge flare round is a great way to signal people well over a mile away.  Additionally there are several variations of “less than lethal” 12 gauge shot gun rounds that offer you an opportunity to incapacitate an individual (rather than kill them) if the situation presents itself. These rounds include bean bag rounds, rubber slugs, pepper rounds, etc.  The latter option (less lethal) may prove practical for many potential scenarios when you actually think about it (only having a “deadly force” option can really limit you both tactically and strategically).

Of all the types of shotguns available I prefer a good pump shotgun for a survival platform. I feel a pump offers the best compromise of capacity, simplicity and durability. Obviously a double or single barrel shotgun is simpler to operate and has less to malfunction; however, it is less ideal as a defensive arm due to limited capacity and slow reloads. A semi auto would be faster to operate as a defensive weapon, however, they have many more parts to break, more prone to malfunction, and many do no reliably cycle low powered ammo (like less lethal rounds).

I think the Remington 870 is probably the best choice for a SHTF shotgun

Of the pump shotguns available, my personal preference is the Remington 870 with the Mossberg 590 (and 500) being a close second. Take a look here to see the specification of the Remington 870.  Both of these shotguns have seen military and law enforcement duty.  Also there is a huge aftermarket for accessories for them. Common aftermarket accessories include side saddle shell holders (carry extra rounds), tactical lights (identify a threat in the dark), ghost ring sights, folding and recoil reducing stocks, rifled barrels, tube extensions and much more. If at all possible I would stick to the12 gauge platform for thesurvival shotgun with the 20 gauge being a suitable substitute for recoil sensitive individuals.

As I said, the shotgun may not be the “best” weapon for every situation, but for the “Jack of All Trades” weapon that will do most jobs reasonably well (and some of them best of all), the shotgun is hard to beat.

What are your thoughts on a shotgun for a survival weapon?

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28 Responses to Best SHTF Shotgun?

  1. Pseudo Nhymm says:

    Benelli M4. Costly, but rugged and reliable, semiautomatic military shotgun. Something you must trust your life to is not worth compromise, in my opinion.

    • European American says:

      Amen, got my girlfriend to get one (Benelli M4), while I stick to my favorite (3rd) Benelli/HK Super 90 M1 with ghost sites and 8 shell capacity (7 in the mag/1 chambered).

      Hands down, one of the best out there, if not the best.

  2. Peter Sabatini says:

    I like the Winchester model 1300 pump-action shotgun. It has a very quick, short, smooth action. The bolt rotates and has locking-lugs. They come in a “Defender” variety with an extended 8-shot magazine tube.
    It also cycles the Aguila brand “mini-shells” ( shortened 12-gauge cartridges )reliably, where the Mossberg can’t.
    There are lots of these Winchesters out there on the used-gun market -I believe they are no longer being manufactured. Obtaining parts and accessories still should be no problem, since so many were made.

  3. ARF says:

    BEWARE!!!! Safefy on remington 870…DOES NOT BLOCK THE HAMMER.
    Weapon can discard with saftey on from a downward bump or from falling over!!!!
    Hunter was shot by his dog when dog knocked over is 870 with safety on, one in the chamber…Others too…

  4. BentSpear says:

    Never had a problem with Rem870P/Mil. I have had ones discharge with safety “ON”. Turned out the owners either put in a after-market safety or changed the trigger group springs out to Rem-Spec “competition” springs.Others tinkered with the innards or failed to clean them. A peon with a rock & a nail can fix one in the field with readily available parts. I’ve used The MilSpec Rem in combat & it works, Period.

    You slug fellas ought to try DDPlex Monolit32. Shoots through both doors on a vehicle & it will disable with a engine shot. Get from J&G Sales. As for buckshot, keep it simple & cheap. Let the Zombie Hunter Squads buy the “rad” expensive sh!t. Those 1 oz 12ga #7-1/2 Value Packs sold at the box stores will work inside your castle at putting the bad guys down up close & flock shooting birds. Buckshot is out there with little known European Brand names fairly inexpensive. I stay away from so called defensive loads due to being over-priced & hyped. Most important with any firearm: TEST SHOOT your weapon & learn to handle it!

    • ARF says:

      Its that first problem you dont want, losing body parts…Most remington shot guns have the same faulty design trigger group…it does not block hammer…pull it out and see for yourself…there are aftermarket fixes…any safety that does not block the hammer on any weapon is dangerous…DO NOT CARRY WITH RD CHAMBERED!!

      • BentSpear says:

        Like I said, I have no problems. Mine rides in my lock rack without a round chambered. Reasons you listed are pretty much applied to most firearms that don’t have a positive safety that blocks/locks a part of a firearm’s striker/hammer, firing pin/striker assy. Remington 700 Bolt guns are famous for this lacking feature.

        Dunno about you, but I don’t put my body parts in front of my weapon or let my dawg play with it. Blaming the weapon instead of owner stupidity is a common practice of anti-gunners. Got a problem with weapon design, take it up with the manufacturer. Told you what I’ve found while repairing 870′s.

  5. ehswan says:

    Years ago I tried to buy teargas rounds and was told they were only sold to law enforcement and other authorized agencies. Same for flash and concussion. But lethal rounds were OK. Weird!

  6. Tim says:

    Mossberg all the way

  7. ARF says:

    Try rock salt…old school

    • Henry Shivley says:

      Get out your old guitar strings and a pair of wire cutters. You can make a round that will make its recipient look like he’s been in a fight with a wildcat on crack.
      Shotguns are fun because everything is a potential projectile. From four feet you can shoot a half inch hole through a piece of half inch plywood with modeling clay. Just pay attention to your weights and measures.
      How cool would it be to blow a traitor’s brains out with a ball of his own shit?

      • NC says:

        “How cool would it be to blow a traitor’s brains out with a ball of his own shit?”

        I don’t know. I think it would kinda stink. lol

      • diggerdan says:

        I have some old catalogs that sold some loads that were called garrots – not sure of my spelling – but they had wire that was connected to ball bearings. I haven`t thought about that in a long time. If I find the catalog I will send them to you henry. I know I got it some where. I just got to get up and do it. forgetful I am.

        • Henry Shivley says:

          Speaking like Yoda you are. lol
          We are always playing around with our shotguns. You can take one of those old bottom E strings off your guitar and clamp fishing weights down on them and work it down into the shot shell. I’m thinking this would be a good antidote to their toy drones. The fact is so long as you do not exceed the weight to powder ratio, that you can find on the reloading charts online, you can put anything in a shotgun shell, including mercury, which will pretty much skin alive the critter it hits.

          • diggerdan says:

            Back in the day we use to drill out a 22 hollow point so it was just a little bigger and put a little mercury in it and cap it off with some wax. Love your idea with the sinkers Henry.

    • diggerdan says:

      The old boys around here added some rice to that rock salt, that`s old school with the rice added.

  8. NC says:

    Be like Milla Jovovich in the movie, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” and use metal coins to take down a giant. That could possibly work, too. lol

  9. Nailbender says:

    The Rem 870 is a favorite of law enforcement as a result of braces on both sides of the slide. Police training dictates that in the event of a jam, you drop to one knee simultaneously striking the butt on the ground while working the slide in a downward fashion. This action clears almost 98% of all jams.

    What makes the shotgun an ultimate urban assault weapon is that you can actually skip shot. For example, if an identified threat is on the opposite side of a vehicle it is possible to shot at an angle on the near side of the car and skip the shot under the vehicle thus striking the threat in the lower legs and ankles on the off side of the vehicle.

    The same premise holds true for shooting down a wall.

    Albeit, both the ground and the wall must be of a solid construction ie concrete, asphalt, concrete block, brick etc.

    The reason automatics are used less often is as a result of the lack of ability to quickly clear a jam.

    There is one exception and the make alludes me, but it is both an automatic and a pump – I want to say Benelli but don’t hold me to it.

  10. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    My first choice would be the one Terry Crews had in “The Expendables”.
    You know, the one that literally blew people in half?

    Anyone out there know if that was a real shotgun, or was it just another Hollywood creation?

    It sure was LOUD!!!

    AND lethal.

    • Henry Shivley says:

      Sega makes a 12 and 410 gauge semi automatic and I believe you can get a 20 round drum. When they first came out they were only a couple hundred bucks, but now I would imagine they are up around $500. The report is they work quite well.
      For street fighting a shot gun is a fine tool that can also serve as an anti drone battery.
      Food for thought

  11. diggerdan says:

    Anyone ever heard of reloading with hat pins- I think they are called flechetts. Old Nam vets I knew told me of that one.

  12. Martin says:

    I had to add this non lethal round idea for those out there loading their own.

    A neighbour from South Africa told me the best option for discharging a crowd of marauders was a couple rounds of small broken glass shards together with ground/dried habenero pepper.

    He also mentioned that you can purchase paint balls full of hot pepper and they are designed to hit the chest and provide a face-full of hot pepper spray. I assume you can loud your rounds with one of those along with the other non-lethal items

  13. dnt wnna c it says:

    Im leaning to the kel tec ksg bullpup holds 12 rounds in two feeding tubes so you could have say 6 rounds of birdshot and 6 rounds of buckshot selected by a lever i have a keltec plr 5.56 which is the loudest gun ive ever shot but its never missed a beat and its gas piston system keeps its guts clean even with cheap ammo which it gobbles up with no problem

  14. REDHORSE says:

    #1 if you hit someone with a slug from a 12 ga it will look like they blew up.Also i reload with bb’s you know the silver ones at wallyworld and pellets but you have to stack them in and it takes awhile.I like the ones that have a point at the tip,light but ass kickers.

  15. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    Question: Are all models Benelli manufactures highly reliable, even the less expensive ones?

  16. Gary Mc Gurk/. says:

    Played around and hunted dear with a Ithica model 37 pump for many years.. Look for a hollow point rifled slug. Brenikie. was my favorite. I really believe up to 100 yards this is one of the hardest hitting devices out there. Will bust the engine mounts on most vehicle. I have seen one shot turn a 200lb deer 90 degrees, opened them up and the internal damage is convincing. Yep a shotgun is without a doubt your best friend and defense. And at 2 Am no mistaking the sound of that pump/ Only an insane intruder is sticking around. The best gun is one you don’t have to use. Even better if you have to, use .IT will get the job done. On better days it will fill the table with food. from birds to a bear if you can find one.

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