I’m thinking a 20-gauge shotgun for home defense is kind of like Miller Lite. You know, all the great taste, but with half the calories.
If you’ve fired different types of shotguns, it’s obvious that recoil can be all over the map. Some load and gun combinations are relative pussycats, allowing one to fire hundreds of rounds per day with no ill effect. Others make you want to start sticking safety pins to your shirt and run for the nearest safe space. With recoil in mind, I got an itch to check out a 20-gauge pump shotgun for home defense.
Enter the Stevens 320 Pump-action shotgun. It’s simple, functional, and best of all, affordable.
A Quick Tour of the Stevens 320
As you might expect from a defensive shotgun, it looks tactical and very well might scare those who require safe spaces after controversial elections. It’s all black, with a polymer stock, fore-end and pistol grip. The stock and pistol grip are molded as a single unit so that any fit adjustments will move the pistol grip as well. The stock has a soft rubber butt pad that is 5/8 to ¾ of an inch thick, depending on where you measure. While it’s definitely a personal preference issue, I prefer a pistol grip on a defensive shotgun, mainly because I find them easier to handle both while shooting and administratively. If necessary, you can easily let go with the support hand to open doors, access a cell phone, get ammo, or maybe a midnight snack, all while supporting the shotgun in a ready position with your firing hand. The pistol grip also feels more natural to me as I don’t have to crank my wrist into an awkward angle. On the other hand, some people don’t like the feel of recoil when using the more vertical pistol grip style. Again, it’s a personal preference issue. Accordingly, Stevens makes the 320 model with a more traditional shotgun grip, and you can order that in either 12 or 20-gauge.