Today we will be looking at the Stoeger Double Defense Side-by-Side and the Double Defense Over-Under. The Stoeger company has brought to market a modern twist to the old, reliable coach gun. They installed a couple (or three) Picatinny rails in various places then black the whole thing out in non-reflective coatings and keep it short with just 20” of overall length. These, my friends, are very serious home defense tools. These are offered in both 12 and 20 gauge and over/under or side-by-side. They both have fixed improved chokes for a nice, tight pattern at in-close range. The Side-by-Side even has the barrels ported! Both operate with a single trigger for both barrels. Both are also equipped with a high visibility green fiber-optic front sight. Both are also chambered for 2 ¾” shells or 3”.
I’m just going to come out with it. Spoiler alert, I love these guns. I probably love the Side-by-Side more than the Over-Under, but, not by much. I dragged these guns out to the desert test range I’ve been using, along with a couple of volunteers to abuse these street sweepers. We grabbed a few boxes of Estate target loads and let the fun begin. Placing paper targets out at about 10 yards, we started with the Side-by-Side. I was pretty skeptical of the ported barrels. However, take a look at the video. There is virtually no muzzle rise whatsoever!
The other thing to notice there is that the ports do not “flash”. There is no visible venting into the shooters line of sight. Both guns were shot straight out of the box without the aid of any optics. I wanted to know how they would perform with only what was built into them. At 10 yards, both guns patterned very well. Both patterned between 12 and 15 inches at that distance. Both also shot noticeably high. Each one of us experienced the same thing, so it wasn’t my terrible aim to blame this time around. The image to the right shows the initial pattern, and as you can see, most of the pellets landed above the center line. All of us were putting the fiber optic sight dead-center for the first couple of rounds. After checking the targets, we started adjusting our aim point. All of us found that we needed to aim about 4 inches low to primarily hit center mass at 10 yards. Now, these are home defense weapons, not precision, gnats-ass, needle threaders. A sniper rifle, this is not. However, if you aim center mass at the guy making off with your TV and I’m quite certain you’ll knock him down with either one of these guns. The one interesting thing to note here is that even though the Side-by-Side has ported barrels, the O/U shot the same way. In fact the recoil and muzzle rise is right in line with what we experienced with the Side-by-Side. So, I’m not too sure how much the barrel porting contributes to the overall handling of the gun, but I like it, anyway. Here’s a quick video of the Over-Under.
Once we got the targeting situation worked out with aiming points with these, we just took turns sending lead downrange. We ran through 3 boxes of the target loads and we were all grinning ear-to-ear after each turn no matter which gun we used. The images below shows nearly perfect patterning/spread once we got our aim points worked out. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Since these are primarily meant as home defense guns, we thought it prudent to work with some home defense ammunition to see how the guns would react to a little more power. For that, I turned to Winchester’s PDX1 12ammunition. Three ‘00’ buck plated pellets followed by a 1 ounce slug. This is serious stuff. I sent the first shot downrange and was very impressed by the results. The pattern was very tight. The slug cut a perfect hole in the paper target and then the 1” pallet wood behind it. While the cartoonish results were impressive, the devastating effect these would have was not lost on me. These rounds have more of a kick, you know you’re not shooting target loads, but they aren’t so strong as to be uncontrollable. In fact, they exhibited very little muzzle rise at all. That said, these rounds in these guns are all business. If you intend to use these, you’d better make sure you know what’s beyond what you’re shooting at. These slugs will penetrate a couple of walls. We stayed at the 10 yard mark for these tests as well. Nothing says, “Get out of my house”, like a slug bearing down on you from a shotgun.
One thing to note is that the two barrels can be shot very rapidly if desired due to the single trigger system. I was able to consistently crank off both rounds in very short order and keep my shot placement on the targets.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with either of these two shotguns. Mounting a light, maybe a laser and an optic (maybe a nice red-dot reflex sight?) and these become even more impressive. The fact that the rails are already mounted makes it even easier for you to outfit the gun the way you find it best for your use. For the price, I can’t think of much that I’d be able to compare to these two. If you’re in the market for a home defense shotgun, may I humbly suggest that you take a good look at one of these. They’ll do the job and make it easy for you to make the gun your own. They are accurate, devastating and very useful for indoor work. The best part is that they’re priced very reasonably. Go have a look for yourself, I think you’ll come to the same conclusions I did.