If you want low recoil use a low brass (the actual amount that the brass comes up the side of the shell) load. Not a magnum that has high brass. For home defense, you want a double ott 00 buck shot, but if you can't find it in a low brass use a low brass in the lowest number shot size you can find such as #2, not a high number like 7.
A semi-automatic will have enough weight that it will kick less, especially compared something lite weight like a single shot. Most semi-automatics will hold 5 shells.
Years ago a friend of mine bought a single shot 12 gauge 3-inch magnum and a box of three-inch magnum shells for home defense. He went out with us to a shooting range, and that [censored] thing kicked like a mule. Later, he showed his wife how to use that gun for home defense but he never let her fire it. He said if she ever fired that thing once, she would never fire it again. That gun was the exact wrong combination, lite weight, and magnum shells.
If you do go with a 12 Ga. you can fire 2 and 3/4 inch low brass shells out of a 12 Ga. 3-inch gun.
Last edited by JimPghPA; 05/25/16 08:32 PM.