Remington 870: The Ultimate Home-Defense Shotgun

May 16, 2020 Topic: Technology Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: GunsShotgunsWeaponsDefense

Remington 870: The Ultimate Home-Defense Shotgun

Worried about protecting your home and property? This might be for you.

The Remington 870 shotgun has been a staple in gun owners’ collections since the 1950’s, with over 11 million produced. Recently, Remington aimed to revolutionize the shotgun world yet again. Remington redesigned the Remington 870 shotgun to accommodate the inclusion of a box magazine. Let’s break down the specifics of the 870 DM Magpul. 


The Remington 870 DM Magpul comes with the XS Ghost-ring rear sight and base with a white bead upfront. These sights perform better in low-light conditions than the traditional bead sight. If you want to use slugs to hit long-range targets, consider the Burris AR-536 sight. The 870 comes with a tactical choke, which can be modified by the owner. A choke changes how certain types of ammunition leave the barrel of the gun. Some chokes keep the small metal balls fired from the shotgun closer together, while others spread them farther apart. Each has advantages for different kinds of tasks and ranges. This means the 870 DM is customizable for your short and long-range needs. When firing slugs, the 870 DM was accurate at 30 yards. At 50 yards, the gun was hitting approximately two-inch groups. At 75 yards, the groupings widened more, but remained tight enough to kill a deer. The 870 DM boasts credible accuracy for hunting and home defense. 


The Remington 870 is legendary for its reliability. But how does the DM stack up? Time only will tell, but, surprisingly, the DM seems to be even MORE reliable than the traditional 870. Remington’s testing involved shooting two thousand shells each through over one hundred new shotguns. The legacy 870 had less than 1 percent failure rate, while the DM’s failure rate was even lower. That’s reliability. My testing, conducted with a wide variety of ammunition, showed no feeding or firing issues. The DM proved itself to be sturdy. I dropped it to the ground, buried it in snow and then immediately fired it, with no issues. The 870 DM, thus far, has demonstrated solid reliability.


The 870 DM Magpul was quick and easy to handle. The 18.5-inch barrel made moving the shotgun easy. The Magpul MOE forend gave a solid grip to the front of the gun, while the Magpul SGA stock sat comfortably against my shoulder. The length of the stock can be adjusted by adding or removing spacers to the stock. The pump itself was average—standard smoothness, but nothing special. My only gripe with the 870’s handling was that the magazine sometimes got in the way when maneuvering through brush.


The trigger on the 870 DM was functional. Nothing too impressive, but not bad by any stretch of the imagination either.

Magazine & Reloading 

The big new feature of the DM is its magazine. The magazine release is a large paddle-type release located in front of the mag well. When depressed, the magazine must be pulled from the gun and it won’t just drop to the floor. Magazine insertion was “straight up” (compared to guns for which the magazine must “rocked” forward and backward to insert). The magazine is plastic on the bottom to absorb impact when dropped. The top is metal to protect the gun (and mag) from repeated banging when loaded. The 870 DM comes with a 6+1 capacity. I found reloading with the magazine a definite advantage. Reloading is much faster with a magazine. Even better, you can have different ammo loaded in magazines for different threats. For instance, a rancher can load shells in one magazine for coyotes while another magazine is loaded for human threats. Some shooters may find they still prefer tubular reloading. I found the magazine to be a big plus for self-defense. If pump-action shotguns aren’t your thing, check out the impressive break-action CZ Redhead Premier

Length & Weight 

The 870 DM comes with a relatively short 18.5-inch barrel with a total length of 38.5 pounds. Weighing in at 7.5 pounds empty, this isn’t the lightest gun on the market, but it wasn’t that heavy either. The weapon’s length and weight was average, with the barrel being on the short side. 

Recoil Management 

The recoil management of the 870 was equal to the legacy 870. With the Supercell pad, the recoil was very manageable. 


The 870 DM Magpul sells between $530 and $800 (depending on the variant). This price point is high for a pump-action shotgun. Comparatively, the legacy 870 sells for around $440. You will be getting good value out of the attachments and stocks on some of the variants, but the price will be a tough selling point for many. If you prefer the advantages offered by the magazine, you may want to invest. If you’re as happy with the tube, you’re better off getting a legacy 870 for cheaper. 

My Verdict 

Your preference is going to play a heavy role in whether this weapon is right for you. The detachable magazine offers versatility and definite advantages for home defense. Here’s some features that make this gun stand out.

  • Ultra-reliable 
  • Versatile 
  • Fast reload 
  • Accurate 

In short: If you’re looking for a reliable home defense shotgun, the Remington 870 is the perfect gun for you! 

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared in large publications like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.

Image: Remington.