Stoeger Double Defense: 21st Century Tactical Coach Gun

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

The Coach Gun is the name given to the relatively short double barreled shotguns which were popular for self defense in the Wild West where they were issued to the drivers and security personal of stage coaches. If you have ever seen a Western movie you have probably seen a coach gun.

They were effective and simple to operate self defense tools back in the mid 1800’s and still they are today, although they are almost never mentioned in self defense literature. Hollywood movies reinforcement the perception that autoloader pistols are the only effective self defense option.

Maybe today this attitude will change. Stoeger, a Benelli brand, have unveiled their new tactical shotgun which drags the coach gun, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century 🙂

Double Defense 12 gauge. Click to expand image.

Double Defense 20 gauge. Click to expand image.

The Double Defense has a picatinny rail on top for red dot sights, and under the barrel for lights, lasers or pistol grips. Another unique feature for a coach gun is a fiber optic front bead. The photos above show red dot type sights and flashlights – these are not included.

The barrels on both the 20 gauge and 12 gauge models are 20″ long and have a fixed improved choke and can chamber 2.75 and 3″ shells.

It has single trigger which is more convenient than a double trigger in a self defense situation and a tang-mounted safety that is automatically applied when the action is closed. The hardwood stock and metalwork is matte black in color.

I think this gun is a winner for those who are not “gun” people and who are not likely practice at the range. The only problem will be convincing people that it is a better option than a pistol. James, a self defense expert and trainer who blogs at Hell in a Handbasket, often laments that he cannot convince his clients that a shotgun is better than a pistol. A few days ago Jay emailed me a link to this news article where a woman could not shoot a home invader because she did not know how to operate the safety on her semi-automatic pistol. Chances are that a round was not even chambered. From

“He had that gun pointed and he was hollering ‘sit down, sit down,’ ” Graves told WVLT.

Next came a struggle. Billy went for a gun in the bedroom. That’s when Vickie heard gunfire.

She says she had nothing to lose at that point, so she reached for another gun kept in the living room.

“I kept pulling the trigger and just pulling, pulling, pulling. I couldn’t get the safety. I don’t know. I hate guns.”

If your spouse, grown-up child, parent, girl or boyfriend “hates guns” or simply has no intend to practice but needs one for self defense consider getting them the Double Defense, it is simple, reliable and effective.

There a a couple of things I would change if I had designed the shotgun. I would have preferred a synthetic stock, a 18″ barrel and a butt stock shell carrier for quick reloading. A shell carrier is an essential accessory for a double barreled shotgun that will be used for home defense.

Thanks to Joe from Benelli for emailing me the photos.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

More by Steve Johnson

Join the conversation
2 of 81 comments
  • Anthony DiGiovanni Anthony DiGiovanni on Jan 12, 2012

    I have seen an over and under at gander mountian with20inch tubes ,,do not recall the brand. Does anyone know about this shotgun?

  • Pa-pa-k Pa-pa-k on Nov 05, 2014

    Simple double barrel shotguns never jam..Ammo at any walmart in the