Gun Review: Stoeger Double Defense Shotgun 12 Gauge Home Protection

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A large number of us have a love of old cowboy guns. The short double barrel shotgun is right up there in popularity. Now why is that? A lot of us grew up in the baby boom generation when the western was king of the screen and black and white TV sets 🙂

The Stoeger Double Defense isn’t exactly like the shotguns of old but they do fit into our use for this day and age. The Stoeger DD is made in Brazil. This one is a 12 gauge with twenty inch barrels with both barrels having improved cylinder chokes. A 20 gauge is also available. It will handle a three-inch shell. The wood is painted black with the barrels parkerized. Each barrel also has eight vents to cut down on recoil. Standard Picatinny rails are mounted on the top center of the receiver as well as under the barrel from the front of the foregrip to the end of the barrel.

The picture above is from Stoeger. I wouldn’t mount the light that far forward without pad activation mounted on the front stock. The other option is move it back so the index finger of the left hand would activate the button.

The DD has a single trigger setup that I like on a double barrel made for defense. Just pull the trigger twice and reload. When the shooter reloads and closes the action the safety is automatically activated which is good feature. The front sight is fiber optic that is standard. If I put a red dot on mine I would most likely choose a smaller holographic with a wider field of view.

Yes, the sight is going to cost as much as the shotgun so this is certainly a point to consider. If the DD were for home defense only a laser would save some money and work well indoors or out. The laser shown below is a K-15 from LaserLyte. The beam is green that is much more powerful than a red laser not to mention having enough light to identify a target on it’s own. The controls are constant on and selective with the provided adhesive activation pad. I have one on my AR. A very impressive tool!

This gives the reader a number of options for sighting. Manipulating a light and a laser both could be problematic depending on which options are used for mounting and activating. Both the light and laser could be activated at the same time with pads mounted side by side. The laser is bright enough to be easily seen through the flashlight beam. Contrary to Internet myths the beam can’t be traced back to the shotgun. The only part of the beam that is visible is the dot itself.

Many who read this will probably say why a double barrel when I can have more ammunition with a semi-auto or pump? Those are valid considerations of course. My response would be the double barrel is only 36 inches in overall length. That’s about the same as an AR15 carbine. It’s also very easy to maneuver in tight spaces. That makes this DD much shorter than a semi- auto or pump. Double barrels are gaining in popularity. Whether this is a fad or trend only time will tell.

What ammunition should be used for home defense with a shotgun like this? There will be many opinions of course. One round I would put in the no way list are rifled slugs. Those will go through most walls in a home and exit outside into the home next door. My personal choice would be “Remington Duplex Home Defense”. It packs plenty of punch but is less likely to over penetrate. The following is from Remington’s website.

> Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense shotgun ammunition features the same pellet material as the popular Wingmaster HD™ tungsten-bronze hunting ammunition and is offered in two loadings. Consumers can choose from a load of BBs for the highest terminal energy or a duplex mixture of #2 and #4 pellets for excellent pattern density and outstanding stopping power with a reduced chance of over-penetration.

> Both loads are 12 gauge, 2 ¾-inch with 1 1/4 ounces of shot at 1250 feet per second. At the most commonly encountered home defense distances, Remington HD Ultimate Home Defense produces very tight patterns for one-shot confidence.

I’m fairly certain most readers will agree this is fine choice. There are other home defense loads but this is the most appealing to me.

Caliber 12 Gauge or 20 Gauge
Capacity 2 rounds (double barrel)
Finish Black
Barrel 20″ ported
Chokes IC/IC Fixed
Overall Length 36.5″
Weight 6.5 lbs
Sights Fiber optic
MSRP (Price) $479

Range Time

It was an awfully hot day to be on the range but I wanted to get this out to our loyal readers 🙂 I did purchase two boxes of the Remington ammunition mentioned above. My choice was the duplex load with #2 and #4 pellets. This load clocks 1250 FPS. The price of this load is roughly $10 per 10 round boxes.

I started at ten yards back to twenty yards. Twenty yards is pushing the distance for home defense but I wanted to see what the pattern spread would be that far back. Let me begin by saying that this load is not abusive at all. The Stoeger has a fairly thick butt pad. Also with the eight-barrel vents on each barrel muzzle rise was kept in check.

From the ten yard line the first group was right at 5 inches. The second group was right at 5 1/2 inches. The average for five loads came out to 4 7/8th inches with a very tight pattern. The green fiber optic front sight showed up very well in daylight. I also tried it at dusk and it was still bright enough to be very useable.

Moving back to twenty yards the average group was just a hair over 8 inches a pattern you would expect at that distance. With the permanently installed IC chokes and this ammunition I don’t think you could find a better combination for home defense.

I tried a couple of optics at twenty yards with the DD. The first was a Vortex Strikefire with the second my EoTech 516. The Strikefire worked well with its two MOA dot. The field of view was a bit smaller than I would prefer on a shotgun. The EoTech was much better, at least for my preferences, having a considerably wider field of view. This allowed me to get on target faster and still see a good sized area to either side of the shotgun should a second suspect appear.


The best home defense plan is one the entire family understands and sometimes practices. If possible all family members should be in one room with Dad or Mom covering the door with the shotgun. An older child or other designated person can dial 911 and provide information on where the family is and any other information the dispatcher asks for. It’s never a great idea to go looking for the suspect or suspects. Stand your ground and wait for the Police to arrive.

With that said the Stoeger Double Defense would make a very good choice for home protection. During the time I spent with it I not only fired the Remington ammo but assorted birdshot with a few 00 buck thrown in for good measure. For those who are of smaller stature the 20 gauge may be the better choice. Still the recoil with Remington home defense ammo wasn’t bad at all especially with the ported barrels. Most people with any experience with firearms and shotguns in particular should have no problems handling it.

At 6.5 pounds and 20” barrels it handles well and allows the shooter to move to another target quickly or fire that second round getting back on target fast. I’d have no trouble relying on this shotgun to defend my home. The price is also very good for those on a budget.

Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


  • Big Jay

    I had one of these for all of 3 hours and only put 7 rounds through:

    Loaded and fired *BAM!* *BAM!*

    Reloaded and fired *BAM!* *BAM!*

    Reloaded and fired *BOOM!!!* which about knocked me on my butt.

    Reloaded and *BAM!* *CLICK*

    On the thind time firing, the gun doubled on me and set off both barrels at once. Which, with 2 3/4″ 00 buckshot, hurts.

    After that, only one barrel would fire, the sear on the on the other firing pin broke and jamed the pin reward.

    For a gun that I am suposed to use for defense and bet my life on, it failed and failed miserably and dangerously. Maybe the double trigger Stoegers are better, but I will never trust a single trigger Stoeger shotgun again.

    • Phil White


      I’m glad you posted this information. Please let us know when it’s repaired. I’d like to know how it performs then. I have to admit this is the first problem with these I’ve heard of.

  • Matt In AZ

    I just right clicked and deleted thefirearmblog from my favorites. Dude, really, the shtuff your selling doesn’t equal the shtuff I’m buying. No stuoop for you. It’s not me, it is thefirerarmblog. Used to love it, now it feels like a cold shower in winter. Look at the above post and tell me I’m wrong.

    • Phil White


      Geez Matt no need for that. I try to cover as many varied subjets as possible. I admit to leaning toward 1911 articles but I try to write some for all. There are several of us writing now. I think I speak for Steve when I say we are still working on the new setup and subjects.
      If you don’t mind post a list of guns you want to see reviewed. I’m always open to suggestion in order to please and help readers.

  • Bob

    Double barreled shotguns are also v. popular in countries with very restrictive gun laws (eg: Australia).

    • Phil White


      Very true–it’s much easier to buy than any other weapon over there. In fact an excellent choice in Australia and other restrictive countries.

      • Indoman

        True, but in my understanding, a lever action shotguns such as the M1887 is allowed in Australia as the law does not state anything about a lever action, only semis and pump.
        Given the choice, I think in home defense and hunting I would rather choose the M1887 over the Stoeger DD due to it’s larger magazine and reliability.

        That is of course, if I can find the darned thing.

  • SpudGun

    I thought this thing was ridiculous when it was first announced and find it even more silly now. Obviously, if you can afford to buy EoTechs, lights, lasers, etc., then you can afford to buy a more practical boomstick for HD.

    Don’t get me wrong, cowboy guns are a lot of fun and I think the nostalgia has a great appeal, but for home defense, I wouldn’t choose a Turkish double barrel over a Mossy 590, Rem 870 Police, FN SLP, Saiga 12, etc.

    • SpudGun, I don’t think its silly at all. A lot more can go wrong with a pump action and especially a semi-automatic (they just about all jam eventually, the Saiga cannot even store rounds in the magazine for an extended period of time because the plastic cartridge cases get deformed).

  • Griffin

    Only two shots, a safety which turns on each time you load it, an improved cylinder on a shotgun designed for close quarters combat, and porting on a shotgun designed for indoor use?

    This strikes me as a terrible choice for home defense.

    I’ll compare this to the cheaper Remington 870 model 5077 which has an extended magazine, open cylinder choke, a simple bead sight, and is also in black:
    1) The 870 holds 6+1 compared to two shots. Using a pump to reload does mean your second shot will be slightly delayed, but your third, fourth, fifth, and sixth shout would be exponentially faster.

    2) Remembering to have to turn off a safety every two shots would require a huge amount of practice and muscle memory. Compare this to leaving the safety off with no round in the chamber in an 870, which requires only that you pump the shotgun (making a nice scary noise while you stand your ground). Each and every shot with the 870 requires the exact same set of actions – pump then pull the trigger. Not turn off safety, pull trigger, pull trigger, reload, turn off safety, pull trigger pull trigger – that is an inconsistent pattern.

    3) A wider dispersion is important for close quarters combat. When shooting in the dark in my home at a moving target the widest dispersion pattern possible (within reason) is almost universally accepted as ideal.

    4) Porting greatly increases the noise in a shotgun. This is a bad thing for indoors combat. Plus it causes flames to shoot out the top (visible in the dark) which further blinds night vision.

    5) The 870 doesn’t come with a scope mount or a picatinny rail but light mount adapters and scope mounts for the already tapped receiver are widely available and cheap.

  • drewogatory

    Ok, I’ll give you the light, I keep one on my pump so I only need to grab one thing instead of two but an optic or a laser? On a 20″ double barrel? You barely need sights at all. Spend that money on practice ammo and have some fun instead of pissing it away on an optic that you don’t need. Are you regularly engaging varmint like targets at 250+ meters? Using night vision? Are you active duty military in a combat zone and got it free from Uncle? No? Than you don’t need an optic more than a bunch of practice ammo, especially on a coach gun.

    • Phil White


      Just options but speaking for myself that front sight with a light would do it for me.

  • IMO, a double-barrel is completely inappropriate for defensive use because of its limited ammunition capacity. I mean, if it’s what you’ve got, then use it, and more power to you, but if you’re purchasing, there are MUCH better options out there.

    You speak to this and say that the weapon’s short overall length makes it a good choice, but my Mossberg 535 with the “turkey” barrel on it has an OAL of 42″, just 6″ more than this double-barrel, and it gives me a capacity of 5+1. With a magazine tube extension, capacity could be even higher. A Mossberg 500 with shoulder stock and 20″ barrel comes in at only 39″ OAL. Price-wise, you’ll probably end up paying a little bit more for the Mossy with a light and a scope, compared to the Stoeger, but in the end, I think it’s worth it. If you’re going to spend $500 on a gun, you can probably afford to spend $550 or $600 for the right gun.

  • Hrachya Hayrapetyan

    Woow … This shotgun needs a M203 underbarrel grenade launcher… :):):)

    • Phil White


      That would be intimidating huh:-)

  • Scott

    I have a single trigger Stoeger coach gun and I love it. No issues. If this had a polymer stock and interchangable chokes, I’d pick one up in a heartbeat for my atv and horseback riding.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to use my coach gun for home defense. I do admit I’m getting a little tired of rails on everything though.

    The other nice thing about doubles for home defense is you can put 2 shots in your bedside safe and store the gun empty under the bed.

    Seriously, I think some of y’all think you’re living in Bogata or Ciudad Juarez.

  • xstang

    I honestly thought this was a photoshop/joke when I saw a picture of this gun a couple of months ago. Knowing that it’s real now kinda scares me.

    This whole “tacti-cool” trend is now officially out of hand. All black, rails everywhere, red dots, weapon lights, the “call of duty” style is what it should be called, because that’s what seems to be influencing this.

    The setup pictured at the top is probably going to run someone $900, give or take. For that, I can think of quite a few other setups (not just shotguns) that I would rather have.

  • Sid

    In my fantasy arsenal, I have every conceivable weapon known to man, special effects tech, or science fiction writer.

    But in reality (which I think is the perspective of the writer for this article), a double barrel shotgun is a good weapon for home defense. Personally, I think the optics and lasers are over-doing it. But that is a flavor argument.

    If you don’t accomplish protection of your home in two blasts from a double-barrel, you may want to consider negotiating with the intruder because shooting is not working. After two blasts, he should be dead, bleeding to death, or running valiantly towards his fresh underwear change.

    My personal choice for home protection is a Glock G21. And no, I don’t keep a spare magazine next to it. Middle of the night, dark house, my wife and kids sleeping, 13 f’ing rounds had better be enough. But if I had a double barrel (which is on my short list of acquistions) I would be just as comfortable with it.

  • Martin (M)

    What? No side rails? No folding stock? No movement detector? The only way I’d consider taking this joke seriously is if you went full ninja on it.

    You wanna know why they didn’t used to put sights on a short double-barrel shotgun? Because it was a short, double-barrel shotgun.

    Is Australia really that restrictive? I suppose I won’t be moving there. I’ve seen pictures of the spiders. Spiders so big they require the use of a shotgun!

  • subase

    Gotta agree that the safety and the porting is really stupid. Home defense my bum. Pretty much the only good thing a double barrel has going for it is it’s simplicity, reliability, one handed operation and it being shorter than a semi auto shotgun. This gun fails on all counts, the safety makes it unreliable and not simple, it has no option for a pistol grip and it’s longer than it needs to be.

    A shell holder as standard would be great. Sights should be tritium as standard. Also for obvious reasons a home defense double barrel should be over and under not side by side.

    They put zero thought into this gun.

    Also I don’t know why they have the rails on there if they aren’t going to provide a basic optic/laser/flashlight/VFG setup as an option. Who buys a double barrel for home defense and is then expected and trusted to put stuff on the rails?

  • This was one of my favorite new weapons at SHOT Show 2010.

  • William

    I have a coach gun with external hammers, two triggers, and a safety that doesn’t engage every time I reload. It fits a specific role in HD for my home. If we decide the best option for the situation requires holing the whole family in the master bedroom (or if I decide the wife and kids should be there while I clear the house for some reason) – then this shotgun comes into play.

    The idea is to take cover on the far side of the room with the coach gun aimed across the bed to cover the only entrance. A BUG is set beside it (or sometimes two.) The BUG is either one of my .45s (1911 or S&W 25-2) or a Colt .38 special. I prefer 00 buck, but then I don’t have to worry about over penetration – at that point we would be firing across a hallway, into an empty bathroom with 18-20 inch logs forming the outer wall.

    A coach gun may not be the preferred weapon for everyone in every situation – but that doesn’t mean that it has no place as an HD firearm.

  • @Sid: “If you don’t accomplish protection of your home in two blasts from a double-barrel, you may want to consider negotiating with the intruder because shooting is not working. After two blasts, he should be dead, bleeding to death, or running valiantly towards his fresh underwear change.”

    This is, of course, a best-case scenario. I mean, really, you should be able to stop any intruder with just one shot from a 12-gauge, so why not only load one round? Because best-case scenarios don’t always happen. You may miss. The round may misfire. You may have fired the gun at the range and left the casing in the chamber. Nobody ever finished a gunfight thinking, “Whew, I had too many rounds of ammo in my gun!”

    What if, after you discharge the first round, the object of your defense decides to return fire instead of running?

    What if, instead of a human, you’re “defending” your home and livestock against predators like coyotes or foxes? Might more than two shots be justified there?

    I just think this is short-sighted thinking.

    @Steve: “SpudGun, I don’t think its silly at all. A lot more can go wrong with a pump action”

    I think this is debatable. A pump-action shotgun is about as dog-shit simple a gun as they come, except maybe compared to a break-open single-shot. I mean, I would argue that the left-right firing mechanism on this gun is more prone to breakage than the loading mechanism on a pump-action. Well, I haven’t seen it and you have, but I think you get my point: pump-actions may not be quite as mechanically simple and reliable as single-shots, revolvers, and break-opens, but they’re damn close, and the benefit of the extra ammunition more than makes up for it, IMO.

  • Scott


    Which do you like better, this one or the Maverick O/U version? If you test that one, please make sure you note if the chokes are fixed.

    • Scott, I have seen both. The O/U is designed as a bird gun and does not have mounting options for a light or fiber sights.

  • abprosper

    As mentioned before its a solid choice for restrictive countries.

    Maybe I am eccentric but I think its a decent all around choice (subject to weapon quality of course) for many people. It is after all much easier to master than a pump gun or even an auto, easier to make safe and immune to user malfunctions like short stroking.

    And yeah sure it only carries two rounds but I doubt mostly folks will need more than that.

    Anyway there are speedloaders.

  • MibZ

    I’d love to get an over-under 12ga. some day for trap shooting, but for home defense I personally would much rather have a handgun. Much smaller for maneuverability, larger ammo capacity, reloading a magazine requires less dexterity than reloading two shells; especially under stress from a defense situation. And if you’re really worried about the action failing, why not a revolver?

    Shotguns are fun, but I wouldn’t want to use one to defend my home from the inside. Not to mention just as everyone has said the only attachment that would actually be useful on a shotgun would be a light, and you could just as easily mount a light on a handgun without having to spend a boatload extra for rails on a design that doesn’t need them.

  • JT

    Why a 20″ barrel? even if it was 18″ that would still leave 8 inches to make legal 26″ length

    That’s the advantage a side-by-side has over a pump. You save all that length between the firing pin and the chamber, because a Side-by-side has it all compacted together. So why couldn’t they maximize it’s short length?

    Even better would be the option of having one or both barrels rifled. That way a shooter could get a radical spread pattern if they wanted using smaller buckshot and still have the option getting more accuracy using low-powered slugs

  • SpudGun

    @Steve – you know that I love you, but seriously, a dodgy Turkish 12 gauge would be at the bottom of my list when it comes to home defense.

    My personal fave is split, I love the slide action of a 590 but the super fast action of a Saiga 12 is hard to beat. Argh, they’re both great shotguns and I would recommend both. Thank Jebus I don’t have to make a final decision.

  • Sid


    I have been in fire fights. I have had to reload in some awkward positions. But what the hell do you think is going to happen in the hallway of my home? Return fire? Do you really think an armed crackhead zombie is going to attack my home?

    In reality, if you will look at any record or reports of home owners using the second amendment rights as needed, the number of rounds fired is low. Late at night, sleepy eyes, dark lighting. Let off two 12 gauge shotgun blasts inside a building. I hope you had the forethought to slip on hearing protection because if not you and the home invader will both be deaf.

    Guys, think about it. A burglar, whether armed or not, is going to have a bowel movement when you shatter the china cabinet with the first round. That is, if you miss. If you hit him, then he is still going to have a bowel movement. Returns fire? He is going return to his car like his ass is on fire. He may forget he has a gun in his hand. The only thing this gun doesn’t have is the ka-chook of a pump gun but I have never believed in the value of warning the perp he is about to die.

    It may not be your choice. But I think it is a gun that can serve in the home protection role very well.

    And coyotes and foxes are smarter than anyone dumb enough to break into my home. One shot near them and they have the sense to leave.

    • Phil White


      Thank you Sid well said. Are you by chance a brother officer?

  • @abprosper: “It is after all much easier to master than a pump gun or even an auto, easier to make safe and immune to user malfunctions like short stroking.”

    I agree with all these points, I just question whether the tradeoff of only having two rounds is worth it. I guess it’s a judgment call.

    “And yeah sure it only carries two rounds but I doubt mostly folks will need more than that.”

    Like I said, I think this is wishful thinking. If I was defending myself with a double-barrel and I fired the first round and missed, the only thought in my mind would be, “I got one more shot, and then I’m screwed.” If I was defending myself with a double-barrel and there was more than one bad guy, I would be seriously worried. And, yeah, those situations are rare, but when we’re talking about using guns for home defense, we are, by definition, already talking about a rare and extraordinary situation. I’m just not comforted by the fact that most situations will be settled in under two rounds. By the time I’m firing a gun, I need every advantage that I can get.

    “Anyway there are speedloaders.”

    If we’re going to argue that double-barrels are good for people who can’t be trained to use a pump, then we can’t really bring speedloaders into the equation, can we? It’d be easier to teach someone to operate a pump than to teach them to use a speedloader under stress, I think.

    Let’s not forget the REAL reason that double-barrels are inferior to pumps: there’s no slide to rack, which as we all know, is all it really takes to end any confrontation. 😉

    • Phil White


      Racking an 870 has ended several one on situations I’ve been in without having to shoot the suspect.

  • Scott


    Wrong Maverick- the HS12 is what I’m talking about. It’s got an 18inch barrel and rails. But, I haven’t seen a real review of it yet.

  • pipeboy

    People are annoyed at this review because this firearm is one of the worst firearms one can have for home defense, it’s really a niche firearm. But more importantly, it’s niche and advantages/faults over semi auto shotguns/rifles/pistols or even a pump action shotgun weren’t mentioned in the review. It would be better if reviews just stuck to the technical aspects of the gun and not on it’s tactical use or related accessories. Or at least reviews should be sent to someone more knowledgeable to edit.

    • Phil White


      After 28 years as a police officer and firearms instructor for much of that time I do have a pretty good base of experience. I also taught officer survival and worked our SRU Team for 7 years. I by no means am bragging it was just my job. I don’t claim to be an expert since we all learn something new everyday. As far as editing Steve and Richard proof each one I do believe and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • Laenhart

    More shots in a home defense situation could be more of a liability than an asset depending on the home defense situation. People tend to shoot more erratically and more frequently under stress, which could be problematic if you live in close proximity to neighbors (i.e. an apartment or duplex.) You need to do everything you can to keep all of your projectiles inside your attackers body, and continuing to fire 3 or 4 shots even after the badguy is toast will just endanger those near you. A gun with a maximum of 2 shots could be enough firepower (for someone who can hit the first time, every time at the range) without the risk of panicking.
    For myself, I would prefer a pump with magazine extension. I like the potential of a doublegun for home defense, but maybe not this specimen . Perhaps an 18″ barrel with 13″ stock (making the OAL 31″, the shortest stocked gun I can think of) with simple light and ghost rings.

  • Big Jay


    I never got it fixed. I returned it to the shop and had them give me my money back. I would not trust a gun that failed that badly on me, new out of the box like that, especially one that is sold as a self defense weapon.

    Actually it makes me kind of sad. I wanted a coach gun. Ever since Ash held his S-Mart special up and said “This is my BOOMSTICK!!!” I knew I had to have a short barrel double gun.

    I know this is tacticool (not my style) but it had two features I really liked: the fiber optic front sight is a lot easier to see than a brass bead and it was cheaper than the cowboy action grade coach gun. I never put the top rail on it (it comes in a plastic bag and you can attach it if you like) nor had I any intention of putting a red dot on it.

    But I will make this point about it and it’s usefulness as a home defense gun. There is one up and one down to its design. The up: it’s short. I mean very short. A solid 6 inches shorter than my 870 tactical.

    The down: that F$#*!!! safety that comes on every time you open it up. That’s terrible. You can’t do a qucik reload. You try (I did) and you get hung up forgetting to flip the safety off.

    What I would like to see, and would probably buy: A version of this gun with a double trigger set up, so I can have buck in one barrel and a slug in the other. And disengage that auto-safety so I can do a quck reload.

    • Phil White


      Jay I don’t blame you for getting your money back. My personal choice in a double is the same as yours. No auto safety, a fiber optic sight and two triggers. There are certainly shotguns like this out there. I have a soft spot for the Cowboy double since I shoot local Cowboy matches.

    • Dhatch

      Then learn how to switch the safety while reloading quickly. After practice u should know how to close the gun and time ur safety release b4 uve even shouldered it. At least that’s how i learned.

  • J.T.

    Wow. I think this is the most worthless review I have ever read on here. This is on par with some of the worst stuff I have read in the gun rags. For nearly $100 less, you could get a Mossberg 500 with a 18″ bbl which is only 3″ longer and it is just as reliable and made in the USA instead of Brazil. Also, in my opinion, BB or bird shot is a poor choice for home defense unless as a last resort. Neither can penetrate deep enough reliably stop the vital functions of an attacker (damage heart/lungs). At a minimum, I would personally use nothing smaller than #4 buckshot.

    • Phil White


      I’m sorry you feel that way but I present weapons for a wide variety of shooters. Those who like the double barrel of which several have posted here. The double barrel is also available in two trigger, wood stocks and pretty plain if that’s you’re cup of tea. I certainly don’t write an article on any gun without pointing out any flaws I find. For instance I said I would not use a laser or scope but did mention it because some will want these items—that’s a choice they make. I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with anyone over a home defense weapon choice.
      Don’t shoot the messenger so to speak:-) Also, you might want to check some of the other offerings Remington has in that line of defense ammo. These aren’t birdshot loads.

  • @Sid: It looks like both our comments were in moderation at the same time, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much. The bottom line, for me, is: “I’m just not comforted by the fact that most situations will be settled in under two rounds. By the time I’m firing a gun, I need every advantage that I can get.”

    As for coyotes and foxes, you’re right, but if there are three predators harassing my livestock, I don’t want to just chase them off, I want them dead, because they’ll be back tomorrow, and I need my beauty sleep.

    I have, once in my life, fired a shotgun with the intent of scaring off a stray dog that was on my property. The stupid thing just looked at me–he had no idea he was about to get killed. I guess he was probably tame and just allowed to run wild during the day (all too common where I live) which is why he wasn’t scared of me. He turned and ran off with his buddies, and I didn’t pursue because I wasn’t interested in explaining to a neighbor why I shot his dog(s), but there were three of them, and if they had actually been harassing my animals instead of just passing through, I would be glad for the 5 rounds in my Mossberg, instead of two rounds in a side-by-side.

    For every situation you can come up with where two shots is more than enough, I can come up with one where two shots isn’t near enough. The main reason to use this gun, IMO, is if you’ve got somebody who you don’t think can handle the training to learn to use a pump. Just like you might give someone a revolver instead of a semiauto because you don’t want the chance that they’ll forget to clear the chamber and just drop the magazine. That being said, I think that’s near the only case where the decrease in ammunition capacity for this gun relative to a pump is justified. Assuming the user is capable of learning to operate a pump (and most people are, if they want to), I can’t imagine recommending a double-barrel instead.

    I don’t want to go back and forth just repeating ourselves, so I’ll respectfully bow out now.

    • Phil White


      Thanks for your comment sir!

  • Cymond

    semi-related note: Mossberg *does* offer a tacticool over-under shotgun, complete with rails. It has extractors, not ejectors. Also, it supposedly will not function turned sideways or upside-down, only right-side-up. Sadly, I actually saw one in a gun shop back home. Here’s a video review:

  • robert

    Wow you guys are uptight. this is a nice gun. Your hysterical over black paint and rails? I thought that was california ban thinking? lol

    If you hate this gun, you should hate all break barrell side by sides right? oh no, this one can have a flashlight. wow what a difference

    BTW, using a shotgun for home defense is outdated farmer thinking, for the majority of us, in cities and small houses. Everyone always spreads the ignorant tale about needing a shotgun for home defense and its silly. most of us dont own just one gun and need it to do double duty and pacify wildlife in a several acre farm. People in apartments and modern (i.e. small) three-four bedroom city houses with almost no yard thinking they need a shotgun its ridiculous, handed down outdated wisdom. You are going to shoot through the drywall with no spread anyway and maybe end up wrestling the baddy for that broomstick of a gun. how you gonna go through your doorways and narrow hallway in your home with that sticking out a few feet in front of you? If i had to face a guy armed and i wasnt, id hope to be in a cramped dark house and him have a big rifle like that on his shoulder. Id take it from him.

    My trick- unloaded pistol/airsoft at arms length,weak arm , and loaded on at side strong hand close to body waist high. Move through house, clearing it/getting my family collected, sticking fake gun out far. Let assh0le grab the empty one while i shoot him with the close one.

  • Matt G.

    A maverick 88 is 200$. This is retarded.

    I love double barrels. I would love them even more if our country pulled it head out of it’s ass and got rid of the ATF. But I only love them because they are cool. Not because they are good at killing things.

    • Panda

      Not good at killing things? May I shoot you with mine?

  • Premek

    The myth about absolute reliability of revolvers comes from old single action revolvers – those were simple, double action revolver have many small parts and springs, that can (and do) break, come loose and so on. Not to mention (in some cases) fouling causing the cylinder to stop rotating, some bullets coming loose and potentially jamming the action and so on.

    As for semi-auto shotguns for self defense, I don’t think it is particularly good idea. No matter how good you are or how trained you are, in the middle of the night you need something really idiot-proof, because two minutes after waking up to a noise in your house, you really are an idiot. After that, the adrenalin will wake your brain and you will start to function (at least a little), but we are not talking about best case scenarios when you have the luxury of time to wake up fully. Home defense and personal defense weapons are weapons for the worst of worst-case scenarios.

    If I had a shotgun near my bed, it would be Remington 870 (shortened barrel, 14″ with big tritium dot) with SureFire forend with a high output flashlight (pressure pad operated), with red filter on it. safety off, chamber empty, dry fired so I can only rack the slide and not operate the slide release (never with hammer cocked and slide only released via the slide release, it can lock again and then you have to think not about the threat but about what to do), full magazine.
    Optionally with side saddle and folding stock, but neither is necessary. As it is now, this gun is in my safe and on my nightstand is a Glock17 with light on it and tritium front sight, with absolutely no other modifications.

    I would not have a mossberg, because I have had five (500, 2×590, 590A1, mariner) and after about 5000 rounds, the chamber always got damaged (bulged) and the case would get stuck and the extractors would slip from the rim. (It really was not a dirt). Also, the claws holding rounds in the magazine sometimes breaks. I know most people do not fire this much rounds from shotguns, but it is showing material quality…

    Other problem I had with Mossbergs is that under recoil the magazine spring is not strong enough and I cycle the gun faster than the spring is able to give me fresh round, so I would too often end with empty chamber. But this is specific to me and other shooters might not encounter this problem. I am 6’8″ and have split times (between shots) of about 0.23 second (in other words, as fast as semiauto shotgun or pistol).

  • Sid


    Somewhat. I was a military policeman from 1991-7 and again from 2006-last month. I just transferred branches to the engineers.

  • How are you supposed to store one of these for HD? Loaded with the safety on, and the hammer springs constantly compressed? Doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea.

    I wouldn’t want to try and get one loaded, while some dude was kicking the door open, or crawling in through a broken window. Hand feeding a blunt-nosed shotshell into a barrel can be tricky. I’d imagine it’s a lot more tricky if your hands are shaking.

    I’ve thought of getting an 18″ barrel double with exposed hammers for Mom, but the only ones I’ve seen are pricy jobs worked over by a gunsmith. The factories only want to make 20″ barrel guns for some reason, unless that’s changed in the last few years. Those Taurus cylinder guns seem to be simple enough, but Taurus reliability is questionable, even with revolvers.

  • JT

    hmmm. there’s another JT? I didn’t think the review was bad.

    Maverick-HS12 is a good find. Combining it with a Whipit style stock would make it perfect for maneuvering around indoors.

  • Bandito762

    i have a folding stock AK with flashlight and foregrip for home defense. 30 rounds is better than 2.

  • Griffin

    @robert – That’s a pretty complicated home defense strategy. Aiming a pistol under extreme duress is hard enough; juggling a fake/unloaded pistol and a loaded sounds unbelievably difficult.

    It seems that if this was a good idea law enforcement and military special forces would be using a similar tactic for CQB.

    Have you practiced this with a couple thousand rounds at the range?

  • pipeboy

    Due to it’s versatility and concealability, a pistol should be the first weapon for home defense a person should have. Ideally a high capacity reliable semi auto pistol like a Glock in a caliber no less than 9mm. After this for more stopping power when barricading oneself in a room, a long arm is needed. Ideally a semi auto shotgun or rifle. Clearing a house and having a long arm optimized for that should only be done if the person has been trained to do just that. Shooting someone accidentally is a real danger here, so the idea of getting a double barrel to clear the house is nonsensical and dangerous, it’s a barricade gun to keep people out of a house or room, not to hunt people down in a house.

    The idea that one has to resort to a double barrel gun, as it’s the only gun simple enough to reliably operate for a newbie is extreme. The guns mechanism is still susceptible to rust, the automatic safety is a real problem and it’s minuscule realistic two round capacity can’t be ignored. It would be better to give someone a semi auto rifle or shotgun, that has been tested and prepared to not rust and not need re-lubrication for years.. Nowadays this is even easier to do with polymer and ceramic based coatings which make a weapon almost impossible to rust and in cases makes them lube free in operation for a time. Failzero and NP3 for example.

    The idea is this gun will only be called into action in a life or death situation and not regularly practiced with. Properly setup it should be point and shoot, which means disabled/removed safety, taped over/filed down magazine release and round chambered. Lightening the trigger and/or gun for people with low strength might be necessary too. It must not be able to rust easily and not require oiling even after decades in storage. Nowadays one can also make a DIY crash course in gun safety and weapon use video and send it by email or CD.

    If safety is a concern then why mess around? Only a good quality gunsafe offers the security needed to keep kids away from a firearm.

    Also a Glock fits all the above requirements straight from the box. It can’t rust, comes prelubed and has no manual safety. It just needs to be loaded, chambered and preferably tested. The same applies to most modern revolvers.

    • Phil White


      One thing the average person or professional for that matter should never try to clear the house. Pick a room and keep the family there. Keep the door covered and wait for help. Be sure and tell the police which room you’ll be in and you are armed.

  • Eric S

    But..where do you put the bayonet? How can you have a home defense weapon without a bayonet?

    • Phil White


      Well for that you need a replica model 97 pump. It has a bayonet:-)

  • Scott

    Somehow, I never though you’d get this much controversy over a simple SxS shotgun. Who knew? /shrug.

  • Griffin

    Phil White,

    I completely agree that clearing your own house when you know someone has broken is not something the average person should do. Barricading and calling the police is the way to go.

    However, I know I’m not calling the police every time I wake up in the middle of the night thinking I might have heard something. If the house is ghost quiet and I’m reasonably certain what I heard was just typical “old house” noise or maybe someone slamming a car door in the street I’m going to clear the house myself.

    • Phil White


      Certainly and agreed. It’s an only a door kick, glass break or voices within the house.

  • WeaponBuilder

    While a double-barrel shotgun CAN be used as an effective defensive weapon, it is not IDEAL.

    While this is an interesting defensive double-barrel shotgun new on the market, it is not IDEAL.

    ALL ‘ADVANTAGES’ of using a double-barrel shotgun for defensive purposes are COMPLETELY NEGATED in this design.

    SINGLE-TRIGGER – Most people that DO want a double-shotty for home defense want DOUBLE triggers so you can load ONE barrel with 00 Buck, and ONE barrel with a slug. Giving you the option to shoot Buckshot for close-quarters defense, and giving you the option to shoot a SLUG if your potential threat has taken a hostage, or if you need to engage a threat armed with a firearm at longer distances over 25 yards! OR, if you’re massochistic and want to try ‘for fun’ or if you have a bear practically on top of you, you can fire BOTH shells at once. Not possible with a single-trigger double-shotty.

    SAFETY – When you need a shotgun for defensive purposes, you might need more than 1 or 2 shots, and a SAFETY that automatically engages after reloading is a liability in a defensive weapon.

    INTERNAL STRIKERS – I’d much rather have external hammers for added reliability. In the event that your trigger’s sear engagement is broken, you can still fire your weapon by pulling the hammer back, holding the trigger down, and releasing the hammer. It will go bang every time.

    I have an old break-action Continental Arms shotgun from 1886 that will keep shooting reliably for ANOTHER 125 YEARS. If it weren’t for the barrel being pitted from poor maintenance and corrosive primers over the years, I’d still use that old shotgun for hunting.

  • pipeboy

    Barricade is too strong a word too, few people have a safe room or even a strong locked door inside their house. And their front door isn’t much better. A couple of kicks that’s it. So we are talking seconds in getting a weapon powerful enough to drive away a group.

    A worry is that the temptation to store a double barrel unloaded, with the ammo located in a separate place will make it too slow to bring into action. In a home invasion we are talking at least 2 people, probably with guns. Realistically noone with a double barrel will have the time to reload so a shootout will end real quick. Andue to the length of a long arm and lack of training, most people will resort to shooting from the hip, they will likely miss and so more than two rounds here would be useful.

  • Griffin

    Wow, did this post become so controversial it was pulled from the site?

    I can no longer find it from accessing the main page, only through the links in comment updates via e-mail.

    • Phil White


      It’s still there if you click on shotguns. Also it’s the first article on main page two:-)

  • twylightsync

    “That’s a pretty complicated home defense strategy. Aiming a pistol under extreme duress is hard enough; juggling a fake/unloaded pistol and a loaded sounds unbelievably difficult.

    It seems that if this was a good idea law enforcement and military special forces would be using a similar tactic for CQB.”

    Its not any more complicated than holding a flashlight in your weak hand.

    And no offense to LE, but they seem you enter rooms pointing the gun into the room in the most reckless way possible. a quarter of them (that get shot
    ) get shot with their own gun and I always wondered if it is often simply because the guy around the corner reached out and grabbed it from him, as the cops often have it out arms length sticking into the next room like its a magic wand.

    And military special forces go in in massive teams, different thing.

    Isnt there a less popular stance where you hold the gun close to your chest with both hands and shoot from there, just pointing it?

  • RSR

    All the debate between pump/double, tacticool, etc, misses the point.

    The primary problem with this gun is the top vent ports — as noted by Griffin.

    The top vents will compromise night vision in any low light situation significantly more than no vents…

    • Phil White


      I should have shot it at night to see what the effects would be. I have to clear night shooting since our police range has some houses close enough to freak them out with night firing. You may be right though.

  • Daniel

    I appreciate the review, especially since I’m in the market for an HD weapon. Regardless of what some of you think, there are shoppers out there interested in most weapons, so why not get off the “beaten” path once in a while?

    I played with this Double Defense at the local gun shop and really liked it, but now since one poster had a problem I’m having second thoughts.

    I like the Coach Guns, love that nostalgia thing, but now I’m reconsidering one of the 18″ MOSSBERGS!

    Great article, keep it up!

  • Sid

    She fired twice.

    My point being, home defense is about accomplishing “home defense”. It is not about channeling your inner USCMC Private Vasquez and yelling “let’s rock” as you begin firing bursts from your M56 Smart Gun. When you are shooting intruders, a double-barrel 12 gauge is not a bad choice.

    In this case, she used a pump .410 (may be semi-auto, can’t tell in photo). Amazingly, it worked. I am fairly confident that a .22 LR would have accomplished the same thing. I prefer something that does more immediate damage (.45ACP is my personal choice), but I don’t think that we should get wrapped up in knots about a defensive gun.

    My personal belief is that the author made a competent reccomendation. I would love to have a 12 gauge double barrel in my hands should I have to defend my home.

  • Scott

    It’s old, so noone may care, but I just picked one of these up. The top rail doesn’t come attached, it comes in the box so it’s your choice.

    Frankly, it’s fun as hell.

    I got a Cabela’s deal where I ended up getting it for <$300. At night in the desert the porting didn't mess up my vision. They're tiny little ports and I'm not sure they did anything but add to the marketing. We ran through 100 shells of walmart special 7 and 1/2s.

    The way I've decided to use this is: In my bedside gun safe I keep a loaded .45 and 2 shells for this. I'll grab the .45 first and load up the shotgun if time permits. I won't keep a loaded gun in my house that isn't in a safe, period- so this is the best way for me to have a long gun and a pistol.

    I can also hand it off to my wife who doesn't really enjoy practicing as much as I do.

  • DocDevil

    New to this site.I think a double is quite sufficient for HD.I live in a modest size ranch home,can’t imagine a fire fight in a 10 foot hallway,one shot maybe two,it is over,bad guy dead or more than likley fled the scene.There is nothing in my home for an intruder to die for,me however,my family is worth it to me to make a last stand.Yes you have only two shots,but if the gun is in calm hands,could you not fire once,and disappear behind a wall and reload?Even in my most absolute positive state,I would not rush a double barrled shotgun,on the assumption the gun was empty.Do you think a criminal would risk taking a blast from a 12 gauge close up for a few dollars.One more thing,in my state a double with 18 inch barrels is legal to hunt most anything,a pump or semi with more than three shots is not.To have a nine shot shotgun that I could not hunt with,would actually be a waste of money.But I have really enjoyed the input.

    • Phil White


      All good points Doc!

  • SR

    A light should be mounted on every defensive long arm. It gives the ability to identify the target, temporarly blind them, and to see if they are armed.

    I use an AK 47 for home defense. With home invasions involving many people, easy access to body armor which will stop slugs and 000 buck shot; the ak is small, hits hard, and will tare through soft armor.

    I dont rely on blunt trauma to stop a bad guy.

    • Phil White


      More and more lights also have the strobe feature with is devastating to an intruders vision.

  • Wulf

    I don’t personally have a shotgun (yet). I prefer higher capacity weapons. I would match rather have that capacity and not need it than to need it and not have it. There are several gangs that run around my neighborhood so if someone was stupid enough to break in then there would more than likely be more than just one person. Being a retired Marine I was taught to double-tap with my pistol just to make sure. If someone breaks in I have numerous blades at hand to defend myself. If time permits I have a loaded Glock waiting to draw blood. Use what you are comfortable with to defend yourself. Most of these morons won’t expect you to put up a fight so even a knife is good if you know how to use it.

  • “Dr.”Dave

    What if there are three badguys? Then, in all probability, you and your family are dead.

    • Sid

      And what if they are wearing body armor? What if they break up into separate elements and come from different directions? What if your wife is an accomplice to the crime and you have been set up?

      Not being mean, Dr. Dave, but we could what if this forever. If 3 men are in my hallway and I fire 00 buckshot down it, I doubt anyone who is left standing is going to ask if I am holding a double barrel or a pump or a semiautomatic or an M41A1 pulse rifle. They are going to have a bowel movement while jumping back down the hallway and out the same way they came in. If they are humans. Ninjas…. I don’t think it matters….

      Yes, having more rounds to shoot would be great if there are multiple attackers. But a double barrel shotgun pointed in the general direction means something to human beings that a handgun does not to intended shootees.

      • Jagman

        I have a SDD and I have one side loaded with #6 and the other #3 Buck for backup if the #6 doesn’t discourage the intruder. My .357 Taurus will finish the job if needed.
        Just between you and me, I have never heard of the meth head burglars in our city wearing “bulletproof” vests. Are you kidding or just living in fear?

  • Griffin

    I think several people in this thread are giving crack heads, meth heads, guy’s on PCP, and other drug users a bit more credit than is appropriate.

    These people are not normal. Their behavior cannot be easily predicted. An addict under stress will do truly bizarre things.

    Personally I would not bet my life nor the safety of my family on the concept that shooting two rounds at a couple of crack heads will scare them off. If I was going to be that blasé about the concept of home defense I would forgo the gun entirely and just count on the alarm and dogs scaring them off.

  • Chase

    To me, a side by side seems most at home for home defense when it’s your hunting gun and that’s just what you have. I cannot imagine ever trading roughly 8 rounds for 2 if I were buying a scattergun as a primary home defense platform, even if there are some positives vs. a pump or auto.

  • glen

    I currently use a Remington 870 Express Mag for my home defense. 18 1/2″ barrel, extended tube, holds seven 2 3/4″ or six 3″, but I’d still like to have one of these Stoeger SxS double defense in a 12 ga. Just can’t seem to find anybody who has one for sale.

    • Dhatch

      I purchased mine at Gander Mountain, for 425.

  • Dhatch

    I have a question and feel free to laugh or judge as you please, its just a random thought. Has anyone invented/ made a way to hold shells above the breach when its open? The “lock” it would make could be released from a certain amount of closing pressure, although that runs the risk of it being dropped or knock over and you end up picking up a loaded weapon ( possibly a good thing haha) and the auto safety on this weapon would be ideal for this “invention.” Or even something that just slides the shells in and comes back out when you open the breach. It wouldn’t necessarily assist (or damage if made right) ones reload speed. Simply a way of keeping a ready for use weapon with a little extra safety. Figured this would bring up some decent convos. I await responses haha.

  • mike

    To those complaining about the two shot capacity, I have to wonder… if you need more than two rounds, from a shotgun, inside, aren’t you already in over your head?

  • Mike
  • Torn

    Am still using The Rossi Dbb. I got new for the princely sum of $97, Dbbl. triggers and 20 in. Bbbls. 36&1/2″ length. 20 ga. Usual load is #4 buck in Both bbls. Old enough that it was bored Mod, and full at that time. Don’t feel handicapped in any way by only 2 shots as I always have 1 of several different handguns with me, either 9mm or .45.