FIREARMS WEEK: Budget Home Defense and Survival Firearm

So many of us are on a tight budget. Every week visits to the grocery store bring back memories of when food costs so much less. Now I can feel the strain on my wallet to get the food my family needs as well as extra to put back. Although gas prices are way down costs on most everything continues to inch up while wages remain stagnant. The point is there are many people out there concerned with the ability to protect their families but cannot afford to go out and pay $600 or more on a firearm.

So – what do I recommend?

Buy a shotgun.

Sure there are many guns out there to choose from and many that will serve their owners well. In my opinion the shotgun is the #1 choice for those on a budget looking to get a home defense firearm.  A quality shotgun can be had for around $300 give or take new and even less if buying used. Quality models from Mossberg and Remington which have proven track records are readily available most everywhere guns are sold.

The shotgun is an extremely powerful weapon and is extremely versatile. The nature of the 12 gauge shell allows a variety of different loads to be chosen from including bird shot, buck shot, and slugs. Even special “defensive” loads are available. This flexibility provides for the home owner to choose what they want depending on the layout of the home as well as the location of occupants. Myself ? I like bird shot for home defense.


Shotguns such as the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 are extremely reliable, simple to operate, and effective. Aftermarket companies have flooded the market with pretty much any accessory you can think of to customize your shotgun to fit your needs. Need to mount a flashlight? No problem. Rather have a pistol grip stock than traditional? Order it up.  Want a front bead sight that glows in that dark. Yup – you can get it. Want a shotgun that auto-detects sound and will automatically locate target? Well….I guess you can’t get everything.


The shotgun is certainly not perfect. Many models are on the heavy side for some women. Recoil can be intimidating thus training is really required. Though five 12 gauge rounds should be all that is needed limited capacity can be an issue in some models(some hold up to 8 rounds).

By the way – don’t be fooled by what you see on TV. A shotgun must be aimed. Although any type of non-slug loads spread as it travels further away from the shooter, in typical household distances the spread is not much more than 12″ across.

There are certainly lots of choices for a budget home defense firearm. The shotgun is a great one.



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16 thoughts on “FIREARMS WEEK: Budget Home Defense and Survival Firearm”

  1. Rourke,

    I couldn’t agree more about the most bang for the buck being a shotgun. I am partial to the Mossberg 590 A1 line because that is what we used in the Navy. With all of the internals being metal (even the safety and trigger guard), beefed up pump action, thicker barrel, and a parkerized finish, they are really nice. I can’t think of a better gun for defense in a grid down situation than a shotgun. Just don’t fall for the “cycle the pump and the bad guys will run away” thing, but then again I prefer not to give away my position. 🙂

    • Brad M – Thanks for the recommendation and comments. Of note – someone breaking i the house should never here the cycling of placing a shell in the chamber cause it should already be loaded and at the ready.

  2. My favorite for home defense is the Mossberg Mariner with the 8 shot tube, synthetic magazine stock which holds two rounds on each side. Mine has the heat shield too which looks great and is very functional. For fun I ordered a Gamo air shotgun online yesterday. It can shoot .22 pellets with a bushing insert or tiny little shells full of shot. Gonna be my Christmas present under the tree. 😉

  3. I agree -a shotgun is exc. especially for those who may not be a great marksperson.
    I hope you are all being very good and not ending up on Santas naughty list-smile !!!
    Merry Christmas everyone !!! Arlene

    PS Rourke may we do a question for post Christmas – What prepper gifts did you get for Christmas? What prepper gifts did you give?

  4. For years I owned a Moss 500 – then gave it to my oldest daughter. When I replaced it, being short of cash and on a fixed budget I bought a Moss Maverick 88, 12 gage, 8 rounds, for $150 new. Love it – every bit as good as my old 500. I have a TZ75, all metal for $350, 3 10/22s in different configurations, and 3 Rock Island 1911s for $400 each, and a Marlin 60. All budget guns – all work fantastic. You can have a great collection for alot less than you think.

  5. All fine choices, but for short-range confrontations, the much maligned .410 should do nicely, especially for small-framed folk. You should research this in order to learn just what the .410 can do.

  6. If you keep your eyes open, you can probably find a cheap outside-hammer single or double barrel 12-gauge (or smaller). If you do, buy at least one to stash loaded, hammer down, ready for instant response to 2- or 4-legged varmints. If you do get some of these “classics”, you don’t have to worry about springs getting fatigued or “taking a set”, as you do with other designs – the springs are all at rest, even though you are immediately ready to fire if you cock the hammer. With some practice, you’d be surprised at the rate of sustained fire you can maintain, and the full spectrum of special purpose ammo (flares, “bird-scarers”, tear-gas, less-lethal rubber slugs and balls, “dragon’s breath”, etc.) is available.

  7. At TJMO, my best friend used to bring his Coach gun (short barrel side by side) for base camp. He slept with it beside his bed roll pointed at the tent entrance. Good times, plus 5 rounds on the butt stock.

  8. We had to compromise on a single home defense weapon. One my wife and I could handle. After all I didn’t want to be the only one who would have to get up in the middle of the night to shoot some darn fool trying to bother us. She just couldn’t handle the 12 gage and after a couple of shots just didn’t want anything to do with it. So she tried a Mossberg 500 in 20 gage and had no problems. So that’s what we got. We will start saving for a 12 gage after we build up an inventory of 20 gage shells.

  9. Don’t forget the handgun: If you want a budget self-defense gun to get to your shotgun, get yourself a used S&W Model 10
    .38 special police revolver. You can typically find one with holster wear and beat up wooden grips that will have a pristine barrel and tight cylinder lock-up. They go for about $150. Since they’re not rated for +P you’ll want to use Buffalo Bore ammo. Very accurate, easy to handle, always goes “boom”, and a .38 in the belly will ruin anybody’s day.

  10. I don’t have the for the expensive Mossberg’s,I bought a Maverick 88.20-inch,7+1 for $200.00 brand new the extra money I could have spent on a Mossberg(Mariner)full military spec.version or same From only $75.00 bucks got me a Springfield XD pistol in 40 S&W,A Shotgun/handgun for only 75 bucks more(in general)than a marine coated version shotgun seems like a deal to me.P.S.maybe I’m not very bright but I don’t have in(money/interest)in purchasing a semi rifle in former or current military caliber.


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