For a defensive shotgun, simplicity and reliability are paramount. That said, there are several shotgun accessories which can provide the law abiding citizen with an advantage in a home defense situation, without adversely effecting the simplicity and reliability of the shotgun.
Ghost Right Sights
Ghost ring sights make it easier to quickly acquire a target, which can be a matter of life or death when facing an armed criminal in the home. They consist of a post near the front of the shotgun, and a hollow ring near the rear of the gun. The human eye will naturally want to center the post in the ring, which makes aiming easier and more accurate than the typical shotgun’s front bead sight.
An Adjustable Stock
An adjustable stock can allow multiple people in the home to effectively use the same home defense shotgun, be it at the range for practice or during an emergency. The adjustable stocks will telescope back and forth to reach the correct length for each user, and, when fully collapsed, can also allow for storage in smaller areas. This is important, since having a shotgun fit the user properly is vital for accurate aiming, and so that the user can handle the recoil generated when the shotgun is fired.
A Magazine Extension
A magazine extension provides additional magazine capacity, which can mean the difference between life and death, should an armed criminal invade one’s home. Since virtually every shotgun has an 18″ or longer barrel, the magazine extension will not make the shotgun any longer, but will provide up to twice as many shells. I am unable to think of any reason not to have a magazine extension on a home defense gun.
A Laser Sight
A laser sight can make target acquisition even faster, and allows the shotgun to be accurately aimed even when fired from the hip. Unlike hand held laser pointer, the laser assembly in shotgun laser sights are designed to be durable enough to handle the recoil from a shotgun. The downsides of laser sights are that they require batteries that could go dead, and that the target can see the source of the laser. The risk of dead batteries can at least be virtually eliminated by changing them regularly, and ensuring that the user knows how to effectively use the shotgun without the laser sights.
A Tactical Light
A tactical light can help the user be sure of his or her target, since it is *never* acceptable to fire until the target has been identified. This is especially true in the home defense scenario, since that bump in the night could be many other things than a home invading criminal. These tactical lights attach to the shotgun and are durable enough to withstand the recoil. They produce a bright light, which can help identify and disorient a criminal in the home at night. On the down side, the light will give away your location, so it is a matter of personal choice as to whether a shotgun light is used.
A Side Saddle
A side saddle attaches to the shotgun’s receiver and conveniently stores additional shotgun shells. The shells can quickly be pulled from the side saddle and loaded into the shotgun in a “tactical reload.” Additionally, the extra weight from the side saddle will slightly reduce the recoil of the shotgun, so adding a side saddle is a win-win situation for home defense.
It is also good to remember that the single most important thing is practice. Take your shotgun to the shooting range, and fire it regularly. Get comfortable using your shotgun, and become accustomed to the recoil and noise it produces. The above accessories are helpful, but are not a substitute for skill, which only comes through practice.
Note: If you are unsure which type of gun (shotgun/handgun/rifle) to select for home defense, this article may be helpful. Similarly, this article addresses the proper ammunition for home defense. Home defense handgun accessories are addressed here.