i have a mossberg 500a and got it new for about $250 a few years back. great over all shotgun and simple to use. all i had to do was take the wooden rod out of the mag (where the shotgun shells sit inside the tube under the barrel) and i was good to go. after taking the rod out i can get 3 more rounds in it so over all i have 7+1. would love to add a ghost ring kit and a surefire light and bolt a shell carrier on the side. to me thats the best home kit i can get for ME. shop around and maybe even look into used shotguns.. u can find some real gems for cheap (if u can find them)
I have a Mossberg 500 in 410 bore. It is real easy to rapid fire and the recoil is light. There is a suprising number factory self- defence loads available in 410 bore including 000 buckshot, 00 buckshot, slugs, and more. Winchester makes a shell they call "Stop The Threat" which has 3 projectiles and 12 BBs in each shell. The muzzle energy of a slug can be 700 or more foot pounds which puts a standard 410 slugs muzzle energy the same or greater than a 357 magnum. A 410 has another advantage in that if you miss there is less chance your round will go through multiple walls(think apartments) and hurt or kill an innocent person. Oh and I reload my own shells to save money and to have fun.
Remington 870 is great and pretty cheap new at around $300. Pardner protector is fine and cheap. Go look at some local gun stores and pawnshops to see if you can find a good used Remington 870 or even a Mossberg. If you need to, bring a friend who knows shotguns.
Some folks have mentioned using a smaller bore like a .410 or 20 gauge in order to "not send projectiles zinging through walls" - but the reality is that if the round has enough punch to get 12 inches of penetration (minimum recommended for a lethal shot)...then IT WILL go through drywall. The only remedy for this is SHOT CONTROL. You still have to aim (or technically get a bead with) a shotgun; it doesn't let fly a massive cloud of knockdown power and death like you see in the movies. At close range, the spread of shot is only a few inches. If you're doubtful...go to a range, set up a human-size target at 10ft to 25ft and look at the patterns.
Last year for HD I bought a Baikal (Russian) 12 ga. Double barrel Coach Shotgun for $220. Main reason I got this was the price and I just like doubles, especially Coach guns w/20" barrels. I added a 5 shot buttstock shell holder, refinished the stock, and it now looks totally COOL! Loaded with 00 Buckshot, it rests by my headboard ready for use. On the nightstand is either my 9 MM or LCP 380. On the wife's nightstand is a SP101 .357. At the foot of the bed is our 90 lb. pitbull. What am I afraid of? Not much.
Now, I agree, the majority likes pump shotguns for Home Defense, and the 870 or Mossberg 500 would be good choices. Some like single shots. Some like semi-autos.
Point is, get what YOU LIKE in either 12 or 20 ga. and it should serve you well. A shotgun is the best weapon going for HD, but anything is better than nothing. Go to your LGS and check out the eye candy. If one gets your attention, handle it, ask questions about it, and I guarantee you will find one that grabs you.
Got my wife a Charles Daly 20 ga. pump with a youth stock. This is basically a spin-off of the Remington 870. I love this gun with the short stock and barrel. It's easy to carry and handle and a very reasonable price tag. Also, cleaned up my 30+ year old Rem 1100, removed the plug, added a 5 shot shell holder and now I just need to find a shorter barrel and add a tube extension. This gun has only jammed 1 time in 35 yrs and thousands of rounds (a cheap #9 field load after several weeks in the woods without cleaning). The 1100 stays beside the bed stuffed with #4 buck.