Originally Posted by dwilliams131
I know there is no 'right' answer, but I am trying to decide between a 20" with 8-shell capacity or a 18.5" with a 5-shell capacity. Which is more important - an extra 3-shells or 1.5" shorter barrel. (btw- both are 12ga - the 18.5" is a Remington 870 and the other is a Mossberg 500) - they are within $20 of each other. This is for a home-defense weapon. I am not looking to go hunting or target shooting
Check the mfgs data for muzzle rating. It should be cylinder and no constriction designations like skeet, modified or full. You want no sizing change from cylinder for HD.
Research the pattern of both guns at <20 feet. (A typical indoors HD shot distance.)
My guess is, in that short distance, the pattern has little time to form (with a 1.5" barrel length delta) and would be a wash. If you find data, please post it so this barrel issue, with regards to HD can be put to bed. If no statistically significance pattern delta, I would go with capacity.