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Which is Better for Home Defense: Semi-Automatic or Pump-Action Shotguns?

Posted by Justin on

Home defense is no joke.

While pistols can be great choices for most home defense situations, nothing beats the intimidation factor and relative ease of use of a shotgun. 

But should you choose a semi-automatic or pump-action shotgun for home defense? 

Let’s break down both of your options in detail:


Semi-Automatic Shotgun Advantages

Semi-automatic shotguns are more modern firearms and utilize gas systems, as well as the energy from each proceeding shot, to fire. 

Because of these systems, semi-automatic shotguns don’t require shooters to slide forearms as you would have to with a pump-action shotgun. 

This could be advantageous for new shooters since you can take quicker follow-up shots if necessary. Such shotguns are also a little heavier, but they also produce a little less recoil, which may make them easier to handle for certain individuals. 

However, semi-automatic shotguns are usually a little more expensive than their pump-action counterparts.

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Pump Action Shotgun Benefits

Pump-action shotguns are the archetypical shotgun variety. They require any shooter to manually operate the weapon's action by pulling its forearm back toward themselves. This motion eventually releases a shell from the tube magazine and loads another shell into the chamber for firing. 

Pump-action shotguns are incredibly simple, and these firearms usually last for quite a long time since they have fewer moving parts. This also means that pump-action shotguns are often quite lightweight, usually hovering between 5 ½ and 7 pounds in total. Naturally, such shotguns are also a little cheaper. 

There’s also something to be said for the intimidation factor of pump-action shotguns. The sound of the action being readied may be enough to make any home intruder run for the hills without a shot being fired!  

However, pump-action shotguns take a little more practice to learn to operate correctly, and they produce more recoil on average.

Which Should You Use?

Ultimately, both semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns are great home defense weapons since they fire spreads of pellets. It’s hard to miss a home intruder with a shotgun if you have acceptable aim. 

They’re also quite deadly at close range, possessing enough stopping power to make short work of any intruder if necessary. 

However, both types of shotguns are better for different individuals. To summarize:

    Semi-Automatic Shotguns may suit you best if:

  • You can’t handle heavy recoil 
  • You've never used a pump-action shotgun before 
  • You have the cash to spare for the purchase 
  • You don’t mind performing more regular maintenance

    Pump-Action Shotguns may be a better choice if: 

  • You have prior experience with pump-action models
  • You can handle the increased recoil 
  • You need an affordable shotgun 
  • You want to offer fair warning before firing

Both choices, in our opinion, are excellent options.

We’d recommend going with a semi-automatic shotgun if you don't lean either way, as the benefits of these shotguns are arguably a little more well-rounded than those of pump-action shotguns.

That being said, But it’s ultimately your call, so go with what you feel will serve you best in your situation.

Thank you for reading, stay strong patriots.  

Justin | Right Wing Gear
Maine, USA

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