If you’re worried about becoming a home-invasion victim, the best deterrent by far is a 12 gauge shotgun designed specifically to repel late-night intruders. At across-the-room distances, an open-choked scattergun loaded with 00 buckshot is ideal in my opinion. Even loaded with lighter birdshot, these guns remain highly effective, and the pellets aren’t as likely to penetrate walls and shouldn’t endanger those in the next room.

While you have several action choices, my money is on the slide-action pump. Pump guns designed for tactical use typically have tubular magazines containing six (sometimes more) shells. It takes only a little practice to fire these shells in rapid succession. Another point to consider is the deterrent effect the distinctive “shuck-shuck” sound a pump gun makes when chambering a shell. It would take a determined (or drugged-out) assailant to ignore that chilling noise and keep on coming. Unfortunately, many home-invasion robberies are carried out under the influence of meth or other intoxicants. If you’re a potential victim in these circumstances, shooting is often the only answer to avoid personal injury or even death. That’s when you want a tactical shotgun in your hands and to be willing and ready to use it.

Pump guns are noted for their reliability. You can depend on a manually operated pump, which is comforting when lives are on the line. In the unlikely event of a misfire, cycling the slide will quickly have you back in business. Slide-action shotguns have been the weapon of choice in countless military actions over the years. While their usefulness is limited to short-range encounters, there’s nothing better for close combat.

Shotguns were famously used as “trench guns” in World War I, where fighting was often done in the confined quarters of a sandbagged trench or bunker. Shotguns were highly prized for their fast-handling deadliness. Shotguns also saw service against Japanese forces in the Pacific Islands during WWII, where hand-to-hand combat was often the deciding factor. More recently, tactical shotguns have been employed in Iraq and Afghanistan. No other type of weapon has a longer record of proven battlefield success.

Tactical shotguns have long been part of the arsenal police cruisers regularly carried in the trunks or slotted alongside the front seat. As close-range weapons, shotguns have no equal. They’ve proven themselves time and time again for well over a century, and their effectiveness has never been challenged. In the 19th century, stagecoach guards were typically armed with double-barreled shotguns, which were favored over rifles for keeping bandits at bay. These twin-tubed scatterguns could be considered the first “tactical” firearms.

Gun Details

Over the past several years, Mossberg has developed a series of modern slide-action and autoloading shotguns intended specifically for tactical use. I’ve recently put two of these purpose-built scatterguns through their paces and was highly impressed with their capabilities. The two guns feature the same, time-proven Model 500 actions that have been a Mossberg mainstay for many years.

The Mossberg 500 Persuader sports a conventional buttstock with a recoil pad. The pump-action forend on the test gun has an integral tactical light that throws a bright, high-intensity beam when the rubber insert on either side of the forend is squeezed. This L3 light from Insight Technology (866-509-2040; produces a tungsten-halogen beam rated at 125 peak lumens, with a battery life of 90 minutes of continuous operation. The L3 features a “temporarily on,” a “temporarily off” and a “strobe” setting, and is operated by an ambidextrous pressure pad on either side of the slide handle. The unit operates on a single CR123 battery and can be turned off when not in use.

The integral Insight light gives you a real advantage when confronting an intruder across a dark room. The light is bright enough to temporarily blind your assailant, while giving you a clear picture of who’s facing you and where to aim. If you feel you’re in imminent danger and must shoot, the shotgun eliminates the need to “double-tap,” or fire a pair of closely spaced shells, as you would with a handgun. The Persuader’s 2¾-inch 12 gauge standard load contains nine pellets of 00 buck. Each pellet is 0.33 inches in diameter, roughly equivalent to the same number of .32 ACP bullets striking your target simultaneously. That is a massive shock to your opponent’s system and should put him or her down for the count.

The Persuader’s 18.5-inch barrel gives the gun an overall length of just 38.5 inches, making it easy to swing in the confines of any room in your house. If you want something even more compact, the Cruiser, which comes with a pistol grip, measures just 31 inches overall. This length comes in handy for carrying the gun in your car or a truck and is ideal when there’s little room to deploy a full-length shotgun.

Shooting Impressions

When I tested the Persuader, at the close-combat range of 10 yards, a 00 buckshot load punched a tight pattern just 2.75 inches in diameter. At that distance, there’s not much “scatter” from a scattergun—even one with a straight cylinder bore. But hit an intruder with that 9-pellet load and he’ll be in a world of hurt. Want even more firepower? Simply switch to 3-inch magnum loads, which throw a dozen pellets each time you pull the trigger. Loaded with buckshot, Mossberg’s tactical shotguns are the most effective manstoppers on the planet.

Thanks to the rubber recoil pad and good stock design, the Persuader wasn’t uncomfortable to fire with 00 loads. Lacking a buttstock, the Cruiser was a little livelier in my hands but recoil was easily manageable. The trigger on each gun consistently broke at under six pounds of pressure. The sliding safety is located on the tang, where it falls handily under your thumb. A tab on the left side of the receiver and to the rear of the trigger allows you to cycle the action to remove a loaded shell from the chamber. This tab also serves as a loaded chamber indicator—if the full-length of the tab is visible, the action is loaded, cocked and ready to fire. If the tab is retracted into the action, the chamber is empty.

Like all Mossberg Model 500 shotguns, the Persuader accepts a full range of 12 gauge barrels, including those designed for turkey, waterfowl, deer and upland game. Barrels for sporting applications feature interchangeable Accu-Choke tubes, giving this gun the potential to be incredibly versatile. No tools are needed to change barrels. A variety of stocks are also available. The receiver is drilled and tapped to allow mounting a scope or adding a Picatinny rail. A variety of sighting options are available, including ghost-ring aperture sights, laser sights and virtually any optic that fits a Picatinny rail. Both the Persuader and Cruiser shotguns come standard with a white-dot front bead.

Final Notes

Mossberg has been in the tactical shotgun business for many years now. The guns are manufactured to tight military specifications and have been thoroughly proven in the field. I’ve used a number of autoloading and slide-action Mossberg shotguns to hunt pheasants, quail, waterfowl and other flying game, and they have proven entirely dependable. While not as finely finished as more-expensive sporting shotguns, Mossberg’s tactical shotguns are ruggedly made and function well. Their dead-black parkerized finish advertises them as what they are: no-nonsense weapons for in-your-face encounters. To find out more, call 800-363-3555 or visit

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