A break-open, single-shot, 12-gauge shotgun is the least expensive, most handy, versatile firearm that anyone can own. A subsistence farmer in the Third World or outdoorsman doesn’t want a heavy tactical shotgun. When on foot out doing chores you aren’t going to carry more than a pound or so of ammo.
12-gauge shells weigh 9 rounds to the pound. A box of 25 shells weigh about 3 pounds. This limits how much ammunition you will carry, because playing Rambo with your shotgun gets in the way of carrying mission-essential kit like shelter, water, fire making, food, first aid, navigation, communication,..survival! So, you take what you need for camp meat opportunities which may occur during the day and a few for two- or four-leggged predator deterrent on the walk home. If backpacking, you will carefully make that three pound box of 25 shells last as long a time as possible, especially if re-supply is a great distance away.
This is a simple meat producer, predator deterrent and personal defense gun. Low cost, safety, simplicity, ruggedness, durability, ease of carry, fast handling and versatility are its attributes. What other firearm can you get for about $100 used or less than $200 new which does so much?
The break-open shotgun “always works,” is simplicity itself and is legal most places which don't permit people to carry a handgun or military rifle. Minimal training is needed. You can’t “short-shuck” one, as often happens to novice “pump gun” owners. It keeps going like the Energizer Bunny with minimal care, despite rain, sand, snow, ice, mud, dust or saltwater exposure AND it takes apart to fit in your pack. Nothing much breaks on them unless you are stupid enough to dry-fire one with the action open and slam the action closed, breaking the firing pin.
I've been seeing a lot more interest in the single-barrel shotgun lately, which is a nice alternative to the tacticool stuff. Certainly a Remington 870 or other repeater is a better gun for defense, but single-shots can be picked up cheaper, are simpler to run, and work just fine as game getters.
*Since he posted under his call sign I won't name him here. If you know where to look it's easy to find, though. Let's just say that he's very knowledgeable about firearms.