The Mossberg Maverick HS12 shotgun, pictured above, is built with a double-barrel over/under design popular with sporting guns. Mossberg outfitted this model for home defense.
There have been many loudly voiced and furiously typed opinions regarding the ideal home-defense shotgun, either extolling or calling into question the merits of the pump or semi-auto. Some have appeared on these pages. While both sides of the argument have valid points, each completely ignores another class of shotgun that has served well for centuries. The double-barrel scattergun may evoke images of whirring quail, but a load of 00 buck is a load of 00 buck, regardless of what type of shotgun delivers the news.
Reliability is most often the crux of the pump vs. semi-auto argument, but whether a malfunction is the fault of the firearm or its operator isn’t going to matter if the gun chokes during a home invasion. Here’s where the double-barrel scattergun shines; it’s hard to screw up a side-by-side or over-under. When that over-under includes a few features that address the complications presented in a home-defense scenario, it makes a pretty good case for embracing the stack-barrel platform, especially with shaking hands that lack fine motor skills or practice with defensive gun-handling techniques.