The selection of double barrel shotguns for tactical use is somewhat limited. Here also is one area where, if the double is your weapon of choice, you have to purchase one that was made overseas, since there are no American makers that are making side-by-side guns.
Stoeger Double Defense Review
Of tactical shotguns for home defense, the Stoeger (an importer, not a manufacturer) Double Defense shotgun is my top pick for several reasons. The Double Defense comes about as ready to set up tactically as you can for a double gun, with picatinny rails and Hi-Viz front sight installed, making it ready for lights and optics if you want them. The barrel is also ported to control recoil.
Since I wouldn’t be shooting slugs out of a double, I would probably dispense with an optical sight since the Hi-Viz pipe is very “vizible” as it is, and for what you want to use this gun for it is about ideal. As I said earlier, the Double Defense is so very popular that I could not get my hands on one for testing for this book, so obviously I’m not the only one out there who thinks that the old double still has merit as a defensive weapon.
What’s nice is that if you can’t get your hands on a real live Double Defense, and you want a side by side double usable for home defense, there are still other options available, one right in the Stoeger lineup itself, and it’s the same gun as the Double Defense, without the tactical upgrades and black paint job.
Stoeger Single Trigger Coach
The Brazilian-made Stoeger hammerless Single Trigger Coach Gun is my next choice, and one I actually got to test. It is listed as a specialty side-by-side on the Stoeger website, since the original Coach gun is a more historically accurate double trigger model. While the double trigger configuration may be more historically accurate for Cowboy Action Shooting where the steel targets are not attacking the shooter, double triggers are too complicated and slow for real live defensive use without a lot of practice.
The single trigger Coach Gun is available in 12 or 20 gauges with a 20-inch, un-ported barrel, in blue or nickel finishes. The nickel finish is stocked in black, and if you think a single barrel chromed 12 gauge is intimidating, imagine the effect of a side-by-side with moonlight glinting off that shiny finish.
On the standard Coach model, the barrels have fixed chokes, set up as Improved Cylinder and Modified, the first shot, right, being the Improved Cylinder-and the second shot the left Modified. This setup is designed for hunting. If I was going to build it from the ground up for defensive use, I would set it up with Improved Cylinder or Cylinder Bore chokes on both barrels. If you pay a few bucks more, you can get interchangeable screw-in chokes on the Supreme Coach Model, but for defensive use, I wouldn’t bother.
The gun, which has an MSRP of $399, is nicely blued with an American Walnut stock with what can be charitably described as checkering on the grip and forend. The wood itself is actually nicely figured, and they would have been better off just skipping the checkering. I purchased mine for $349.
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About the Author: Scott Wagner is a 32-year law enforcement veteran. Currently a police sergeant in Baltimore, Ohio, he spent 20 years with the Union County Ohio Sheriff's Office as a Reserve Deputy where he worked patrol, training and SWAT, and was the assistant SWAT team leader and a team sniper. Wagner has been a state-certified police firearms, fitness and defensive tactics instructor for 26 years, and has been a criminal justice professor and police academy commander for 20 years at a community college in the Midwest.He is the author of the Gun Digest books, "Tactical Shotguns,", "Own the Night—A Guide to Tactical Lights and Laser Sights," and Survival Guns.
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