There isn’t just one shotgun with different gauges to choose from and different shells to load, there are also different shotgun styles to choose from. Below are the styles that are good to be aware of their qualities when you’re thinking of your home defense supply. This does not cover the full line of shotgun styles but definitely the main ones and it will cover the general knowledge you should have as a gun owner.
Over and Under—has 2 equal length barrels, one on top of the other; can have two triggers to shoot from each barrel or have one trigger that is pulled back farther to fire the second round; excellent choice for skeet shoot; not a good choice for home defense.
Side by side—has two equal length barrels with trigger similar to set up of over and under; aka “coach gun” ; had their glory in the Old West and Civil War but have not been a popular shotgun style for many years and not appropriate as a home defense gun.
Single Shot—common as a long-barreled bird gun; not so helpful when looking to intimidate a threat to your home or loved ones.
Pump Action—single barrel shotgun that is equipped with a tubular magazine under the barrel; the perfect shotgun style for home defense; the pump mechanism is a moveable fore end that’s worked back and forth to place a new round in place and expel the empty one; a superior mix of firepower and fast follow-up; can chamber all sorts of shells like the ones that wouldn’t reliably cycle in autoloaders (less than lethal rounds); fast cycling between rounds—the better skilled the shooter, the quicker the follow-up shot; able to reload with one hand while keeping gun on target thanks to the open feeding port at the bottom of the gun; economical option even for a respectable brand name in comparison to other style.
Autoloader—gas operated semi-automatic; fires one round every time the trigger is pulled until the magazine is empty; has tubular magazines with the few exceptions that have a box type magazine; when shell is fired the gas operation is accomplished, pushing the bolt down and cycling another round in place; one of the more expensive options without much of an increase in firepower or reloading speed than a pump action; although a newer style when compared to the other options explained here, autoloaders are highly reliable and have sound operating systems so you can purchase with confidence if you feel the need for a semi-automatically firing weapon.