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What is the best home defense shotgun for women?


Hi, I will be purchasing a shotgun soon for home defense and would like to ask a few questions as to what is best for me. I am female and am looking for a lightweight shotgun since having tried a Remington 870 in the range, I was tired after just a few rounds. I have come up with 3 models after some research:

Mossberg 505 Youth #57110 20ga. 4+1 capacity, 5 1/4 lbs.

Mossberg 500 Super Bantam #54210 20ga, 5+1 cap, 5 1/4 lbs.

Remington 1100 20 gauge youth stock (Remington LT-20)

I was wondering if you’re familiar w/ these youth shotguns and if so, which one would you get? There also is a Mossberg shotgun weighing 6 1/2 lbs. I’ve heard that lighter ones have more recoil, is this true with shotguns? If so, should I go with the 6 1/2 lbs.? Again, I want a lightweight shotgun with light recoil, if such a thing exists. Thanks.


Thanks for your question. In my experience in teaching shotgun classes, many women have trouble with the considerable recoil of a 12 gauge shotgun. Sounds like your experience was consistent with this. I routinely recommend a 20 gauge shotgun for women or young teens as the recoil is considerably less.

As far as the weight is concerned, I don’t think a little over a pound difference in weight is going to be a big deal one way or the other. Some may say differently, but in my experience there is not a major difference.

The big difference in the youth model vs. the standard Mossberg 500 in 20 gauge is going to be the length of the stock, the reach to the trigger and the reach to the pump action. The youth models are engineered with a shorter reach to accommodate smaller bodies with shorter arms and fingers. If you are a person with a small build, then that might be just the ticket for you. If you have a more normal build, with a height of 5′ 7″ or taller, you might want to go with the standard model.

Here’s what you can do to determine if it fits you or not. Place the butt of the stock firmly in your shoulder, with your shooting hand holding the gun around the pistol grip area of the stock. You should be able to reach the trigger comfortably without stretching. With your non-shooting hand on the fore-end pump, your elbow should be bent at about 90 degrees. Again, you should not feel like you are reaching or stretching to hold the fore-end.

If you are using it strictly for personal defense, a 20″ or 22″ in barrel is what you should look for. If you are going to use it for defense and sporting purposes (hunting or clay target shooting) you should go with a 24″ barrel.

As far as ammo is concerned, look for reduced recoil ammunition. It is available in most gun stores or sporting outlets that cater to hunters. It will reduce the amount of felt recoil considerably. You should look for .00 buckshot (double ought buckshot). Bear in mind that if you shoot that load inside your house, it will penetrate drywall and hollow core doors easily. It will not penetrate cinder block or brick.

As far as the brand of shotgun is concerned, either the Remington or Mossberg would be a good choice. They are both high quality firearms. My personal preference is for the Mossberg as I have owned one for years and have had zero problems with it. It is also very easy to find parts and accessories for the Mossberg.

Once you purchase your gun, you should take it out and test what the pattern of the shot looks like at several distances. I would recommend that you test it a 5 yds, 10 yds, and 20 yds. Use a fresh target or piece of cardboard each time. You will need a target or a piece of cardboard at least 24″ x 36′. The purpose of patterning your shotgun is to see how much the buckshot spreads out as the distance increases. This will make it more apparent to you how critical the aiming process needs to be with your particular gun. Each shotgun is different, so that is why I recommend that you do it for your particular gun.



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