The proliferation of self-defense loads in .410 has started me thinking down a road that I normally wouldn’t go down, namely that of pistol grip shotguns. See, normally pistol grip shotguns are fail upon fail when chambered in “serious” calibers. The whole point of putting a stock on a shotgun is so that you can mount the gun to your shoulder and use your whole body to absorb recoil, thus making follow up shots faster. So when you take that shoulder stock off the platform, you’re left with an unwieldy super-pistol that’s difficult to accurately aim and challenging to manage the recoil on.
With that in mind though, I recently happened on a Mossberg 500 in .410, that actually had a pistol grip on it. Initially I looked at it like you’d look at something “created” by a cat, but then I got to thinking about the little shotgun. Hefting it, it was light and pretty easy to swing around. With the addition of a sling so you could shoot it SAS-style (the British Special Air Service used a technique of pressing their MP5s against all the slack in their sling) this could actually be a reasonable HD gun.
In .410, the pistol grip shotgun actually makes a lot more sense. Then you get all the benefits of a short overall length, and with the light recoil of even the stoutest .410 loads it would be much easier to aim and manage recoil when firing without the benefit of a shoulder stock. I do feel like the sling is a must have though, if for no other reason than it allows the shoot a way to retain the weapon if you’re in a CQB situation in your house, as well as providing a more stable firing platform when the shotgun is pressed out against the sling.
While a .410 is certainly not the “optimum” platform for home defense (the optimum platform being a 12 Megawatt pulse rifle that vaporizes badguys) I certainly wouldn’t volunteer to stand downrange and catch five or so rounds of Winchester’s new buck and ball load.