Customers looking for a little peace of mind and a lot of firepower will surely find what they want in purpose-built home defense shotguns. But that doesn’t mean that the good old hunting gun in the back of the cabinet can’t fill the role of home defender.

Tactical home defense guns usually don’t have 24-inch or 28-inch barrels, but even waterfowl guns will be effective. Just having it ready and accessible makes it a home defense gun, but many gun owners will be considering upgrading that old gun into a modern-day tactical defense weapon.

One of the first things that a home defense conversion will call for is a magazine tube extension. Running out of shots when the geese are on the wing can be frustrating, but running out when intruders are bearing down can be lethal. The extra shots that a mag extension brings can make all the difference when faced with a number of opponents, or when they’re behind cover. Most guns have mag extensions available, either from the manufacturer or from trusted third-party suppliers.

Tactical rails might be in order, as well. Mounted on the receiver, they can be used for optics and sights. Mounted on the forend, they can be used to easily add lights and lasers — both are accessories customers might want on a home defense gun. Also, some shooters will want to add a forward vertical grip.

Serious sights and optics aren’t really called for on a home defense shotgun. At most home defense ranges, something simple and reliable is all that’s needed. Tactical guns usually come with sights, but many other shotguns will need them added. The XS Ghost Ring is a popular rear sight that is easy to use and can make a big difference with only a small investment.

It might be useful to offer stock upgrades as well. The Magpul SGA Stock is a replacement stock with models for the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 590 series. It adds a number of adjustability options, including a spacer system to customize length of pull and optional cheek risers. It incorporates a recoil-reducing butt-pad and features improved ergonomics for a better grip in tight and stressful situations.

Other accessories that conversions might call for include shell holders for extra ammo, pistol grips and tactical slings. The tactical rifle market has taught shooters the value of modularity, and a lot of those same features and accessories are being carried over into the shotgun world.