The People’s Shotgun

Since everyone is talking about the absolute gun rights fiasco that could occur after this election, I thought I’d talk for a minute about what I’m calling “The People’s Shotgun” –  a cost effective, practically tool that should be in every household to provide food, and should the need arise, defense from predation by animals and bad people.

There are a lot of good scatterguns out there, and if you can afford to get a Benelli or a Beretta, by all means do so.  But the price tag on those guns, along with even the price tag associated with your run of the mill Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 prevents it from truly being “a shotgun for the people”.  What need is in an affordable, serviceable shotgun that will last from generation to generation with little to not maintenance and with the possibility of taking lots and lots of abuse.  And in a perfect world, the People should be able to purchase this shotgun without over-extending your budget in the current economy.

Of course, people who know me have probably now figured out that I’m talking about the humble single-shot break action shotgun, the best examples of which are produced by Marlin under the trade name H&R 1871.  As simple as simple can be, the single shot shotgun often retails for around $100 or less, and can be had in every important caliber from .410 all the way to 10 gauge.  Simple, rugged, and 100% reliable, the single shot shotgun will last you a lifetime, and will certainly last the next four years of our whomever gets elected.  Truly a gun “for the People”.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you throw you current guns out and buy a bunch of Topper shotguns.  No, my advice is aimed squarely at people who are concerned about the potential for “rough times” ahead, and shopping on a budget for a shotgun that will perform yeoman’s duties in a variety or roles and fashions.  Single shot break open shotguns have been on our farms and in our homes for literally hundreds of years in the United States, and with economic times being what they are, it’s a lot easier to justify $100 for a 20 gauge that will last forever than $500 for anything else.  Again, I’m not knocking Remingtons or Mossbergs or Berettas, but I am pointing out that a lot of people (myself included) are extremely budget conscious, and there’s a lot of appeal in these simple, rugged guns.


  1. The Handi has an almost religious following. It can be had in a wide array of rifle and handgun calibers, and the accuracy isn’t too shabby. Some folks like to buy them and have a gunsmith ream out the bore to that of a favorite wildcat cartridge.

    It’s just my bad luck that no one sells them in my area of the country.

  2. Absolutely! I think everyone should have a good single shot, even if they can also afford a great pump or semi-auto.

  3. I’m partial to double-barreled coach guns, myself.

    My dad has a nice break-action over-under, .22 LR on top, 20 ga shotgun barrel on bottom. We’ve had this gun forever, and one day I’ll inherit it, most likely, though if Dad goes before Mom, I want Mom to keep it for herself.

    Incidentally, my Mossy 500 was cheaper than ANY of my sidearms.

    $$-streched folks should also consider an inexpensive SKS, if they don’t already own one.
    Designed for Russian and Chinese peasants, but works well in the hands of American peasants as well.

  4. I have a few rifles that could rise to ‘battle status’, if need be (God stay the day), and I keep a little ammunition back for them, just in case.
    But recently I realized that I almost never had shells on hand for the shotgun…I always bought a box or two just before shooting them. What good is that?
    I have been thinking (inspired by recent reading) that a shotgun makes one hell of an all-around ‘utility gun’, and have begun to regard mine in a new light—more as a first choice than a last resort. Everyone should have at least one, and it probably ought to be the first gun they buy, if they are currently without one.

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