New to shotguns? Which one should I get?
From what I’ve read and my own experience on how the guns operate; I would recommend a pump action shotgun for home defense, especially for a first shotgun. A semi-auto would certainly work, but the draw back is, in my opinion, they are harder to chamber the first round. Most semi-autos have a relatively small operating handle, whereas a pump gun has the entire foregrip to hold while chambering the first round. You could have a round chambered in semi-auto, but would want to practice retrieval and operating the safety. Practicing with either can be done dryfire. My pump shotguns are kept with 4 rounds in the magazine. They are stored with the chamber empty. The sound that they make chambering the first round is very distinct. Many patrol officers complained when their pump shotguns were replaced with ARs, simply because when they racked the shotgun, bad guys would give up, because they understood what that sound meant. The sound of an AR chambering didn’t sound as menacing.
For reliability, you can get a fairly inexpensive pump, be it Remington , Mossberg, or even Savage and it will cycle reliably. I have a 5 round AR12 semi-auto 12ga shotgun that will present feeding issues from time to time. Higher quality Semi-autos can get pricey.
Ammunition is a consideration. There is a greater variety of defense ammo with a 12 gauge. I did see 20 gauge slugs at a local store today, and I should have grabbed a couple. Hind sight is always 20/20.
Whichever shotgun you get, beit Pump, semiauto, or the double barrel; Practice is imperative.
One can never practice enough.