There are many shotguns with merit. The humblest shotguns will put food on the table and save your life. I am going to make a bold statement: For personal defense and all-around tactical use, the pump-action shotgun is the best choice. A pump-action shotgun can be very fast into action. These shotguns are simple, and there is no need to complicate simplicity. The  design features and quality of manufacture of the Remington 870 put it at the top of the heap.

About the Remington Model 870

The Remington 870 was introduced in 1951. And it quickly became the shotgun by which all others are judged. Remingtons feature dual-operating rods of strong steel. They are durable and include a strong extractor, well-designed safety and steel receiver.

Making the 870 ready is simple enough. Rack the bolt and you are ready for a shot. After firing a pump-action shotgun, the bolt is unlocked. It is a natural reaction to simply rack the action. The shouldered shotgun allows excellent leverage for racking the bolt. When pumping the shotgun, it is important to have a solid back-and-forth motion. Asymmetrical force will result in greater wear on the action.

Model 870 Express Specs

Gauge: 12
Barrel length:
26 or 28 inches
Trigger pull weight:
5.5 pounds
Overall length:
46.5 or 48.5 inches
Overall weight:
7 pounds

Easily interchangeable barrels are an important feature of the Remington, and the simple bead sight is all you will need for most purposes.

Easily interchangeable barrels are an important feature of the Remington, and the simple bead sight is all you will need for most purposes.

Pump-action shotguns may be loaded with light birdshot and then heavy buckshot, and it will still function. The versatility of the shotgun is ideal. Magazine capacity is plenty for the task at hand, with four shells in a standard magazine and up to eight in extended magazines.

Home Defense With the Remington 870

For home defense, the simple bead front sight is just fine. In fact, the less compacted the better for home defense. I don’t want anything to snag as I am moving. A telescoping stock is a good idea for storage and ensuring that the stock fits every user. If you envision longer-range use (meaning slug loads), then a set of quality aperture sights are a good addition. A few Remington Models are equipped with sights from the factory.

One advantage of the Remington shotgun is that the barrel may be easily changed. Your home-defense shotgun becomes a hunting gun or even a competition shotgun. Some may think racking the bolt is terribly frightening to an assailant. Racking the slide might work as a deterrent against some perpetrators, but it should not be relied upon. Always train for the worst-case scenario.




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