The author of Neo-Survivalist contacted me the other day with this question:
I’m thinking about buying a shotgun for self defense…I’ve looked at the standard Mossberg 500 (sells at walmart for $217 which seems like a great deal) and I looked at a mossberg tactical shotgun the other day at a gun store and it sells for approx $400….do you have any thoughts and suggestions… i’m slowly and steadily prepping
If I’m gonna to take the time to give Neo my best answer, which is what he deserves, I’ll drop it here for everyone else to read. But Neo’s question is dependent on a whole variety of other factors, like:
- define “tactical shotgun”, there are a bunch, Mossberg alone makes a whole variety
- define “standard” shotgun – barrel length? Wood? Synthetic?
- you’re talkin’ 12 gauge …. or are you thinking 20 gauge?
Given all of the unknowns, it’s better if I just present (insert drum roll, please):
My thoughts on choosing the best survival SHTF shotgun!
ONE – Maintain versatility!
The advantage to the shotgun is it’s versatility. You can fire slugs, bucks shot, bird shot, get a variety of barrels, stocks, etc. If I could only have ONE SHTF firearm – it’d be a shotgun. “Maintaining versatility” means that if I’m looking for a shotgun, I’m going to maintain that versatility by getting a shotgun that I can change to fit the situation. I want something that I can take deer hunting, rabbit hunting, goose hunting AND defend the Ranger Man’s keep WTSHTF.
TWO – Gotta go 12 gauge!
Well, you don’t have go 12 gauge, but for the average dude or healthy female, the 12 gauge is a given. If you’re a frail, thin, or generally don’t like 12 gauge recoil, 20 gauge is perfectly acceptable – truly, it is.
THREE – Price point!
I wouldn’t necessarily go shopping for the most expensive shotgun available. I’m looking for something that will achieve my goals at the least affordable price without sacrificing practical and realistic quality expectations (a fancy way of saying I’m not gonna buy junk).
Without going through all of the ins and outs of the shotgun SHTF market (I could write a book on this shit), given what I outlined above, I’m gonna end up with something like the Remington 870 or the Mossberg 500 series.
But I know you, the SHTF blog reader, expect and demand more from me, so I will deliver, in hopes that you’ll use the Amazon search bar in the left sidebar for all your Amazon shopping needs. Dig?
What? Say what? Ah right - you demand more detail.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so let me present them this way. The Mossberg 500 series – look at this version of the 500:
I like the synthetic stock. Wood is pretty and all, but for practical and versatile, synthetic wins out in strength, durability and weight. You know what I think of it’s AR-15 style stock, though? Cool on an AR1-5, not so much on a 12 gauge shotgun. I want something I can rest my chin up against, something meaty to counterbalance the front weight.
I know some people like the pistol grip on the shotugn … it’s fine, but …. I don’t feel the need for a pistol grip. Maybe if I was busting into buildings in Baghdad, but …. I’m not. I want something more practical. Check out the next version of the Mossberg 500. Do I like this one better?
No – I don’t! What’s worse than a 12 gauge shotguns with an AR-15 stock? A 12 gauge shotgun with NO stock! What the hell? So you can swing it around without shouldering it? Not what I would want. Pistol grip is still present, too. But I do like the fact that the bottom tube extends all the way to barrel’s end. If I’m going to buy a single SHTF shotgun, that’s what I want – so it’ll pack more shells – duh!
This is what I want – the Mossberg 590 Mariner:
It blends the best of all worlds. It’s synthetic, full stock, 20″ barrel, extended tube (holds 9 shots) and it’s stainless. You want versatility for camo turkey hunting? Wrap it in camo – don’t be a wussy. The Mariner is awesome. You like the other features, the pistol grip, no grip or shorter tube? Just swap those out, customize the Mariner, it doesn’t care.
Price point? I’m looking at Impact Guns, for the above shotgun, as pictured with a pistol grip to swap out (like in pic #2), and the price is $479.99 …. oof, that’s kinda high …. but …. it’s stainless, has everything I’m looking for ready to go, will take different barrels ….. $479.99 …. ?
Maybe we don’t like Mossberg? In my opinion, the Remington 870 will achieve the exact same results. Look at this Remington 870 Marine Magnum:
Woah …. what’s the price on this bad boy? Are we saving any money? No – we’re not. Instead of stainless steel we’re getting a nickel finish (durable, though). This thing (as pictured) sells for about $600 – ouch!
If the Mossberg Mariner at $479.99 is too much cabby for your wallet, you’ll have to sacrifice the stainless steal, kick it down a notch. Realistically, these are called the “mariner” and the “marine” because of the water aspect – hence the stainless steal. Kick the stainless out and drop the price. You’ll still be totally fine. The Mossberg 500 “Persuader” with 8 shot tube will drop the price to about $300. That’s a fine choice, too.
Do I own one of these shotguns? No, I don’t. I own a basic, no frills, wood stock, non-stainless, non-extended tube Remington 870 shotgun with a 20″ barrel. It’s the old school style, like cops used on TJ Hooker. Remember that show? It looks like this one:
Some day I’ll buy an extended tube. The Mariner and the Marine are better, but this one came from family, and I’m not buying another one.
- Ranger Man
BTW: You might also want to get a shotgun bed holster for your new shotty.