Photos: SHTF: WAR: 5 Best Home Defense Shotgun Upgrades & Ammo


When I take a trip to my local gun store, I can usually find AR-15s, AK series rifles, some KelTec bullpups, and heck, even a sweet micro uzi pistol.

Do you know what I can’t find?

Tactical shotguns.

Remington 870 (17)A collection of Remington 870 shotguns.

Okay, fine. That’s a slight exaggeration…well, so long as you’re in the market for pricey Benellis and Berettas.

But what about the Mossberg 500/590s, Remington 870s, and other common shotgun platforms?

This has been one helluva year, and gun store shelves are best described as bare.

Tactical shotguns are seeing a bit of a resurgence as people scramble to arm themselves in the wake of COVID-19 fears, civil protests, and a contentious election season.

Yoda Future

Whatever their reasons, many people are being introduced to shotguns for the first time, and that, at least, is great news!

Tactical shotguns are fantastic home defense weapons that are designed for close quarter shooting.

The most popular models – and the ones flying off the shelves – are pump-action shotguns, which are relatively user-friendly and reliable.

They also avoid most gun bans, making them a primo choice for anyone living in a state with strict regulations.

Woman defending home with shotgunA queen defending her castle.

If you are new to guns, or just new to shotguns, you may have some questions about home defense essentials. These are the accessories your weapon needs to be the most successful in an emergency scenario.

We’ve got you covered. Today, we’re going to review the 5 must-have items you need to turn your weapon into an effective home defense shotgun.

Table of Contents

  1. The Shotgun Conundrum
  2. 1. Shotgun Light
  3. 2. Ammo Side Saddles
  4. 3. The Perfect Sling
  5. 4. An Effective Sight
  6. 5. Ammo Selections
  7. The Bare Necessities

The Shotgun Conundrum

Unlike the super-customizable AR-15, there is no universal design that allows shotguns to share accessories.

Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870Mossberg 500 vs Remington 870

For example, a Daniel Defense can swap parts with a BCM, but a Remington can’t switch parts with a Mossberg.

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To make matters worse, manufacturers primarily design gear and accessories for the most popular shotgun models.

In other words, finding purpose-built accessories for guns outside of crowd-pleasers like Remington, Mossberg, Berretta, and Benelli can be challenging.


It sucks, but don’t let that factor turn you off shotguns.

When it comes to home defense, you need a reliable and effective weapon. A shotgun delivers a terminally devastating payload that could save your life and protect your loved ones.

For a detailed examination of the shotgun as a home defense weapon, I recommend jumping over to 6 Best Home Defense Tactical Shotguns [Hands-On], where we explore what a tactical shotgun is, how it works, and which models excel in defensive situations.

rem Vs mossbergSpoiler Alert: Mossberg and Remington deserve their accolades!

To help you get the most out of your tactical shotgun, I’ve created a list of the top accessory and ammo options for both popular and not-so-popular platforms.

And don’t worry about trying to save money. I have selections for even the most budget-conscious shotgunner!

1. Shotgun Light

All home defense weapons need a light. It’s an absolute requirement, not an option.

Streamlight Mag Tube Rail TL & Streamlight TLR RM2Streamlight Mag Tube Rail TL & Streamlight TLR RM2

I understand wanting to save money by foregoing accessories for a weapon that is purely for home defense. If you’re lucky, you may never even need to use it.

But this isn’t one of the accessories you can afford to sacrifice.

You need a light that can assist in the positive identification of a threat. If there’s a dangerous intruder in your house, you might only have one chance to make that perfect shot.

And if it’s not an intruder, you definitely don’twant to fire.

Always remember that tactical shotguns are designed to take down a target. Without positive identification, you don’t pull the trigger.

Safety First Gif

Finding and equipping a dependable shotgun light can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to outfit a pump-action shotgun.

The moving parts and two-handed design can make it difficult to mount a light. It also kills the ability to use pressure switches, so you have to be selective in how you approach it.

Streamlight TL-Racker in action!Streamlight TL-Racker in action!

Home defense lights don’t have to be spotlights; in fact, when you’re inside a house, a good amount of spill can be better than a torch-like beam.

The light fills a larger area and illuminates objects in your peripheral vision. This feature can be advantageous if you’re facing a late-night surprise.

RM2 at 50 yardsRM2 at 50 yards

While there are many options out there, I recommend aiming for a model that shines bright but isn’t overpowering and painful – you don’t want to help an intruder by accidentally blinding yourself.

Because lights are so damn crucial for home defense, I’m including options at multiple price points that work with different types of shotguns.

Best Option: Surefire DSF

The Surefire DSF was the first purpose-built shotgun light to see widespread success.

This compact and durable light replaces the pump on your shotgun with a convenient all-in-one unit.

Surefire DSFThe Surefire DSF is perfect for home defense guns!

The Surefire DSF series generates 200 lumens when set to low mode and a blinding 600 lumens at its max setting.

Personally, I like that the controls are entirely ambidextrous and easy to engage with your thumbs or point fingers.

With top-notch ergonomics, the Surefire DSF delivers bombproof performance. The DSF is the light of choice for many armed professionals, and yours truly wields one on his Remington 870.


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