Many things in our personal and home protection planning are strategic choices that are basically identical and work for all three of us (me and the gals). Our firearm choices for protection include options in .223, 9mm, and 12 gauge. When my daughter became capable of effectively using a 12 gauge shotgun a couple of years ago, I decided to seek a solution that worked for all of us and also fixed a few other concerns which resulted in the Practical Home Makeover: Mossberg 500 Edition.
With our own shooting range behind the barn, we practice in daylight, at night, in the rain, in the snow, and even with freezing rain and sleet causing steam to rise off the barrels while ice freezes on the actions. I wanted shotguns that were basically the same and workable for all three of us, short for easy maneuverability in the house; easy to grip in the rain, snow, and cold; reliable; held extra cartridges on the gun; and had a sling for easy shouldering that didn't get in the way.
After several months of looking at and trying friends' shotguns in various configurations, researching new tactical shotguns, looking over accessories at gun dealers and Cabela's, and surfing the internet... we decided on what we wanted.
You can't go wrong with Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 pump-action shotguns for a project like this as both are reliable and have an endless array of accessories and parts available from many different sources. As we had several Mossberg 500 shotguns on hand, that is what I used, although you could get the same parts for a Remington 870. A quick online order to MidwayUSA for various parts and accessories that I didn't have on hand and we were on our way.
First, we added Hogue OverMolded 12" stocks with sling swivels. These shorter stocks reduce the overall length of the gun, have a terrific gripping surface, and utilize a softer rubber recoil pad. The shorter length of pull works well with body armor, heavy winter clothing, backpack straps, and any other items that thickly pad your shoulder.
Next, I installed Hogue OverMolded Forends. The black rubber and texturing make for reliable gripping and shell-shucking in cold and wet weather or hot and sweaty weather. Since our shotguns had the 6-3/4" forend tubes, we also had to purchase the Hogue Forend Adapter Nuts. This is probably a good time to remind folks that if you have never disassembled your shotgun's magazine tube, you should do that occasionally for cleaning and lubrication. I've seen a number of 500s and 870s over the years that look great on the outside, but have rusty magazine tubes and springs from never being serviced.
We already had a couple of blued Mossberg 18" Cylinder Bore barrels with bead sights and a blued Mossberg Heat Shield, so I picked up another barrel and two more heat shields via MidwayUSA, Armslist, and Gunlistings. The 12" Hogue OverMolded stocks and the Mossberg 18" barrels add up to an overall length of just 35-3/4" in a fairly light package.
Attaching TacStar 6-Shot Side Saddles to hold additional shells provides for up to twelve rounds on the guns (five in the magazine, one in the chamber, and six in the side saddle). I'd recommend using a little Loctite to hold the screws in place when you attach the mounting plate to the gun. Our shells are pointed down as we tend to load over the top of the guns from the side saddles.
Finally we added magazine cap swivels and Outdoor Connection Super Slings. A few minor tweaks inside the actions included some minor buffing and polishing for smooth, reliable cycling. We've had a couple of years experience with these shotguns in this configuration in all sorts of weather with 00 buckshot, #4 buckshot and slugs without any problems.
If you're looking for a short, handy shotgun without resorting to a pistol grip to add a "tool" to your personal or home protection "toolbelt", consider the Practical Home Makover: Mossberg 500 Edition on your Mossberg 500 or Remington 870.