In a survival situation, two is one, and one is none. Backups are a big part of being prepared for anything, and firearms are just as important as any other tool in your gear or bug-out bag.

This is an example of such a backup that can be found at a very low price if you’re a good bargain hunter. My H&R Tracker II slug gun was purchased for around $100. Sure, it’s no Remington 870, but it can stand up to tough tasks in the right hands. As it was purchased for home-defense purposes, the barrel length of 24″ makes the shotgun more useful in tight spaces.

Two features of the H&R Tracker II that I really like are the stock iron sights and the 24″ rifled barrel. No need to worry about optics getting knocked out of zero or batteries going dead. With practice, you can put slugs on paper consistently out to 100 yards.

Hornady SST Shotgun Slugs
Hornady SST shotgun slugs

As you’ll notice, my personal H&R slug gun does not look like a stock gun you’d buy off the shelf. The following is what I did to modify the gun to meet my personal preferences. With the gun and accessories I probably have a grand total of around $250 wrapped up in this weapon system.

  • Replaced the stock wood forend with a Choate Store-Arm Forend. This gives me the advantage of having a large takedown knob that doesn’t require any tools to break the gun down. I kept the original wooden stock and recoil pad to help buck the recoil.
  • Painted the gun with a blend of OD green and coyote brown camouflage spray paint.
  • Wrapped the barrel using jute twine. This, over time, will start to fray and offer a natural camouflage, assisting in breaking up the outline of the barrel.
  • Installed a section of heavy-duty Velcro and added a shotgun card to the side to hold additional shells.
  • Installed a small section of Magpul L2 MOE rail in order to mount a Streamlight TLR-3 light. The TLR-3 allows me to positively identify a threat in the dark, whether that’s inside my house or outside. The light will give me a good 40 yards of illumination when outside in the open.
Magpul MOE Rail and Streamlight TLR-3 Light
Magpul MOE rail and Streamlight TLR-3


  • When carrying shotgun shells in the side car for home defense, I load the card up with the same shells. I don’t try to alternate slugs and 00 buck, as some would suggest. In a stressful encounter, you’re not going to remember how you loaded up the shell card, so keep it simple and keep it all the same.
  • When loading the shells into the card on the side of my shotgun, I index my shells so that the base is on the bottom. With a barrel-break shotgun such as mine, the movement is more natural to pull the shell from the bottom to load into the chamber.
Single Shot 12 Gauge Barrel Break Shotgun
Single shot 12 gauge barrel-break shotgun with #6 shells loaded in the carrier.

The operation of the H&R slug gun is pretty straightforward, and does not require any significant amount of time to adapt to. When opening the action, the lever on top must be pressed, allowing the chamber to be exposed. After firing a round, the motion of opening the gun extends the bottom section of the chamber, pushing the shell out.

This shotgun offers tremendous versatility in short- to medium-distance applications at a price that doesn’t break the bank. A wide array of usable ammo is available, as it accepts 12 gauge shells up to 3″. Easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to maintain. When the zombies start shuffling their way down the streets, this gun will be right at home. Or when something goes bump in the night, it will confidently step up to the task.