Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>

[Ultimate Guide] Best Magazine Fed Shotguns

The worldwide web of shotguns is growing…both in popularity and options.

Let’s be real, shotguns are great!

Multiple Shotguns with Optics
Multiple Shotguns with optics.

I adore them. Shotguns present me with the most bang for my buck and are a ton of fun.

Not only that, but they are very capable defensive firearms, often legal in states with assault weapons bans, and widely available.

One particular category of shotguns of great interest to me is mag fed variants.

Rock Island Armory VR60, VR80, and VRBP-100 Shotguns (2)
Rock Island Armory VR60, VR80, and VRBP-100 Shotguns

Mag fed shotguns aren’t new but boomed in popularity as of late.

While I still stick to my tube magazine shotguns, I am exploring mag fed variants.

Along the way, I’ve gotten my hands on a good number of mag fed shotguns.

So, today I’m going to share my knowledge. We’ll evaluate the pros/cons, why you might want a mag fed shotgun, and help you figure out which model is right for you.

The More You Know

I’m going to explore past my personal favorites and give you guns that stand out for their specific traits, magazines, and overall designs.

Also, I chose shotguns that are actually available and not discontinued. You’re welcome.

With that, let’s jump on in!

Table of Contents

Loading...

Why a Mag Fed Shotgun?

What advantages do magazine-fed shotguns offer shooters?

Well, the most immediate advantage is the ability to quickly reload the weapon.

If you run the gun dry, you can immediately slam a new magazine home and just keep on going. With a traditional tube-fed tactical shotgun, you have to do one or two rounds at a time.

Shotgun Battle Belt 2
Do I look cool? Yes. Is this set-up slower to reload than mag fed shotguns? Also yes.

If you are primarily a rifle shooter, you’ll have an easier time moving to a magazine-fed shotgun than a tube-fed shotgun.

Although with a tube-fed, you can always top off your shotgun as you run and gun.

A mag fed shotgun offers a greater level of capacity than a standard tube-fed model without a 4-foot tube sticking out.

Your average tactical shotguns offer around 8-rounds, but some mag fed variants can squeeze up to 20-rounds in a magazine.

Seth Meyers A Lot

A magazine fed, semi-auto shotgun can be a real beast of a weapon.

What Are the Downsides?

Weight is the most imminent downside. Packing in 20-rounds of 12-gauge gives a lot of heft to a gun.

Another issue is magazines. These shotguns all hinge on a reliable magazine.

Rock Island Armory VR Magazines
Magazines can make or break reliability.

But we aren’t at a point where a common magazine type has been chosen. (The models listed here are all outfitted with reliable magazines.)

Another downside – you can’t instantly swap ammo types.

It’s tough to pull off a slug transition drill with a mag fed shotgun.

Also, forget about continuously loading your shotgun like a tube-fed model. But you can always do a tactical reload with retention.

The Best Mag-Fed Shotguns

Before we jump into the models I think you should try, note that these aren’t haphazardly thrown together based on some Google research.

I’ve had hands-on time with every one of them and even own a few of them.

Without further ado, here are my favorite mag fed shotguns.

1. Mossberg 590M Series

The Mossberg 590M series is the brainchild of both Mossberg and Adaptive Tactical.

Adaptive Tactical created the original Sidewinder kit, so it’s safe to say they know how mag fed shotguns work.

The two companies worked together to produce the M series of Mossberg shotguns.

If you fall into the “classic shotgunner” category, the Mossberg 590 is the model for you.

Shockwave 590M (12)

The designs are almost entirely identical to a classic shottie, so the controls feel the same. Obviously, you’re going to see the addition of a magazine and mag release, though.

Its magazine release introduces a clever ambidextrous design into the platform, while the magazine rock is similar to an AK — but less of a pronounced rock.

The magazines are what’s unique — big, bulbous beasts with capacities ranging from 5- to 20-rounds…without being ridiculously long.

Shockwave 590M (2)
That magazine is thicc

Using a double-stack magazine design, the Mossberg is the only example I know of that uses double-stack mags for shotguns.

Hence, why it packs a whopping 20 rounds without looking silly like a certain VR series 19-rounder.

Mags feed brilliantly and, bonus, are reliable.

They can be taken apart easily and cleaned when necessary. Not to mention, they lock into the gun nice and tight — no shaking, stuttering, or movement.

Shockwave 590M (10)

Mossberg’s 590 is already an excellent combat shotgun, and that doesn’t change with the addition of a magazine.

In total, there are three models to choose from — two standard shotguns and one Shockwave variant.

My favorite? The 590M variant with ghost ring sights, a choked barrel, and a heat shield.

The biggest complaint I have comes down to the price of mags.

Shockwave 590M (5)
Sooo those mags are a little pricey…but at least they look cool.

Are you sitting down? Mags are priced around $113.

Some may not like the fact that the gun only uses 2.75-inch shells, but these aren’t hunting shotguns. A 3-inch shell isn’t necessary.

Best New Range Toy
600
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

To go in-depth with the 590M check out our full review here. Also, see what upgrades I tossed on in my Ultimate Build.

2. Iron Horse Firearms Sentry 12

The Iron Horse Firearms Sentry 12 is the first American-made, pump-action, magazine-fed shotgun built from the ground up.

And there are some serious benefits to the Sentry 12’s design.

The ergonomics are brilliant with AR-like controls that feel…well, like an AR.

same same different

Controls are completely ambidextrous and easy to manipulate. Even better, the Sentry 12 is lightweight with a length of pull much shorter than most shotguns.

A short LOP feels more rifle-like, and if you are coming off of a rifle to a shotgun, it’s a natural extension.
It’s also friendlier for smaller shooters, allowing the use of a modern squared-up shooting stance.

Blackwater Sentry 12
Sentry 12

Another advantage to the Sentry is maintenance. It’s easy to take apart and clean.

Downside? The gun only comes with two 5-round, single-stack magazines. But the upside is mags are priced well at around $20 a pop.

Blackwater Sentry 12

Hopefully, we’ll get some extended capacity magazines soon. I think 7 to 9-rounds would be the sweet spot for this type of shotgun and magazine combination.

The Sentry 12 is a well-made shotgun with an ultra-smooth action, making it fast and easy to cycle.

Meprolight Foresight on a Blackwater Firearms Sentry 12
Meprolight Foresight on a Sentry 12

That sweet 17-inch of Picatinny rail offers plenty of room for optics and 12 o’clock lights.

Oh, and the gun can eat both 2.75-inch and 3-inch shells, so you could hunt with it should you so choose.

(It’s worth noting that Blackwater, former distributors of the Sentry 12, and Iron Horse mutually parted ways earlier this year with Iron House retaining the Sentry 12.)

3. Rock Island Armory VR80

I’ve handled every one of the VR series shotguns, and this is, by far, my favorite.

The VR80 is another AR-like shotgun with AR carbine stock and pistol grip capability. Controls also mimic that of an AR.

It features an excellent aluminum handguard with M-LOK slots and a flat-top optic ready upper.

Rock Island Armory VR80
Rock Island Armory VR80

Add to that the ability to incorporate a collapsing AR-style stock out of the box, and you’ve got an excellent design. This fits the shooter much better than a fixed stock.

The only control that does not resemble an AR is the charging handle. But it is reversible for left or right-handed shooters.

Rock Island Armory VR80 Right Side
Rock Island Armory VR80 Right Side

Let’s talk about the magazine release and trigger. The mag release is massive and easy to engage, while the trigger is surprisingly nice.

Of the three semi-auto VR series guns, this is the smoothest shooting.

The gun cycles reliably and fast. You’re going to love to mag dump.

Rock Island Armory VR80 Fire
Ohhh fire

Recoil is very soft for a shotgun and possibly the softest shooting semi-auto shotgun at this price point.

RIA’s VR80 feeds from a magazine with a capacity ranging up to 19 rounds. Though you can choose among 5-, 9-, or 19-round mags, 9-rounders are the sweet spot for both size and capacity.

These are single stack magazines, so the 19-round mag seems a bit ridiculous (and aimed more at 3-Gun than defensive use).

Rock Island Armory VR80 Barrel
Rock Island Armory VR80 Barrel

What could the VR80 be used for? It makes for an excellent home defense shotgun.

The ability to bolt on a collapsing stock for an adjustable LOP, M-LOK for an easy light attachment, and various magazine capacities make it a winner.

Go more in depth with the VR80 (as well as the VR60 and VRBP-100) in our full review here!

4. Citadel RSS1

Since Saigas and Veprs are all but dried up, it’s nice to see other AK-style shotguns popping up on the market.

The Citadel RSS1 is one such style.

Packing a ton of features that aren’t stock with most other AK shotguns, its extra features include a massive extended safety. This safety offers a way more ergonomic feel than most AK safeties.

RS S1 laid out and looking good
RSS1 laid out and looking good

Citadel brings a ledge for your thumb that’s easy to reach while also allowing you to defeat the safety…all without breaking your firing grip.

The magazines do not rock-in like an AK, though. They insert straight in – more or less like an AR-15.

This method makes reloads faster and more ergonomic.

RS S1 Close up

With a normal AK, this isn’t a huge issue, but with a massive 12-gauge magazine, it can feel clumsy.

The magazine release also gives off an AK vibe using a paddle release style. It’s also absolutely massive, which makes it easy to engage.

Up top, the dust cover comes with a Picatinny rail. The dust cover itself is hinged for easy cleaning.

It feels stable and works perfectly with a zeroed red dot.

RS S1 flaming ejection
RSS1 flaming ejection

The Citadel RSS1 does do one very smart thing – adopting Vepr magazines.

While Veprs are drying up, the magazines are quite common and come in a variety of capacities. Of course, you should also follow 922R.

Vepr magazines are robust, reliable, single-stacks, and the RSS1 comes with two five rounders.

The downside? Vepr mags are somewhat pricey.

More RS S1 ADS
Mags are pricey…bummer

Though the gun is very reliable and easy to handle, the other major downside is its recoil.

The gun is over-gassed, so you can feel the recoil with every shot.

Other than that, this is a well-made Saiga alternative.

730
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Check out our full review on the Citadel RSS1 here.

5. Standard Mfg. SKO Mini

The SKO Mini offers up a semi-auto 12-gauge…but it’s not a shotgun.

It’s a firearm, like the Shockwave series.

Technically, it’s this list’s wildcard, and, boy, is it a ton of fun.

SKO Mini
SKO Mini

The SKO Mini is a variant of the SKO-12 — a semi-auto tactical shotgun.

Using a 14.75-inch barrel, the SKO Mini measures 27-inches in total length.

As a firearm, it must have an overall length of at least 26-inches to avoid being an “Any Other Weapon.” (An AOW requires a tax stamp from the ATF and more paperwork.)

As a firearm, the SKO Mini lacks a stock but features a rear pistol grip and a forward pistol grip for easier control.

SKO Mini Drum Mag
We prefer it with a drum mag, because why not.

The gun can be easily equipped with a stabilizing brace to increase control, and it uses a standard AR-type receiver extension.

This semi-auto’s action brings a soft shooting experience, at least somewhat soft for a non-stocked semi-auto shotgun.

It’s never painful, and the forward grip allows for a great push/pull technique for recoil reduction.

May sound silly, but it’s a fun gun to fire from the hip. These “firearms” are best suited as fun guns.

Let's Have Fun

Magazines are solid. Expect to see metal, single-stack mags that feed reliably.

Alright, let’s talk downsides…

No surprise, like many others on this list, it’s all about price — $1,200, to be precise.

The SKO Mini only comes with a 2-round magazine. Yeah, you read that right…2-rounds.

But 5- and 9-round magazines are available, as is a $250 24-round drum.

I’m all about the drum, but the gun/drum combo is a pricey one.

699
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. Fostech Origin 12

The Fostech Origin 12 is one of my grail guns, right behind the AA-12.

Since the AA-12 ran into some machine gun issues with the ATF, I couldn’t put it on the list.
So, we’re rolling with the Fostech.

Fostech’s Origin 12 is without a doubt the softest shooting shotgun I’ve ever handled.

Not only is it a soft shooting gun, but it’s a fast-cycling weapon.

Fostech Origin 12

With the Origin 12, Fostech provides the most capable semi-auto shotgun out there.

My time with the Origin 12 was limited to a media event, and I kept getting back in line over and over to dump magazine after magazine through it. I wish I had more time with this gun.

The Fostech Origin 12 proved super reliable. Dozens of different shooters firing thousands of rounds, and the gun never stopped chugging along.

As you’d imagine, the Origin 12 is unlike any other shotgun on the market.

It’s built and laid out like a modern rifle but scaled up for a shotgun.

Fostech Origin 12

The ergonomics are outstanding, stock folds, and the gun even comes suppressor-ready for the Salvo.

Using proprietary magazines, this build is rock solid.

Magazines come in varying capacities that include a basic 5-round mag, 8- and 10-rounders…all the way up to a 30-round drum.

You guessed it; the Fostech Origin 12 comes with a high price tag (as do the magazines), but boy, oh boy, it’s a brilliant weapon.

3400
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

Mag fed shotguns might not ever replace tube-fed guns, but they are becoming more and more popular for a reason. Offering faster reloads and greater capacity, it’s no surprise these are taking off among shooters.

Shockwave 590M

I’m not rushing out to replace my other Benelli or Mossbergs anytime soon, but I can’t help find myself drawn to mag fed shotguns and a need to experiment with them.

What’s your take on mag fed shotguns? Love ‘em or leave ‘em? Let us know below. Need even more shotguns in your life? Check out all the reviews in our dedicated Shotgun Section.

The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

13 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    James Wesley Sparkman

    Great research.Thanks

    June 13, 2021 7:16 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    D

    What about the kalashnikov ks-12 and komrad-12?

    March 16, 2021 5:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    E. Wilson

    Don’t forget to check out the Genesis Arms Gen-12. The best money I ever spent

    March 16, 2021 4:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dean

    Was kinda hoping that the Black Aces Firearm would've made this list......

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike D

    Dissident Arms should've been number 1 by miles.

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike D

    I know they aren't easy to find, but the Vepr-12 is 1 bad ass mag fed semi-auto shotgun. Based on the AK system. Super reliable(just use high velocity shells). Vepr mags are the best. The 10 rd banana mag looks awesome and is reliable. One bad mamma jamma!

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Meeester

    Thousands of rounds through VR80. Sold 19 round silly mags and use drums and 9s in 3Gun. Been running like tank. Satisfying gun. Pulled the springs from hold open 'lever' on the mags and swapped them with springs from BiC Velocity pens. Now the mags still hold open and will drop out also. Panzer Bullpup is remarkable. I think the second generation one has removable chokes.

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Benjamin Kenner

      Where do you get your magazines from?

      June 21, 2021 1:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Verne Kendall

    Dude perfect timing on saddling up on mag fed shotguns. I've spent the last week deciphering the u-tubers for "professionals" and "look at me I'm bout to blow my camera mans face off. Just trying to get the best dependable semi-auto on a blue collar budget. Kinda was wondering about Panzer. It's pretty and goes bang bang. You're the greatest, we the people appreciate you and your crew.

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Vulcan

    AKDAL MKA 1919 Match Pro, 5 rd mags, after market 10 rd. Is actually a Turkish Army issue option for some units with special needs. Wiki has that article. Mine is the Gen 2 with the rails. The Gen 1 had a hiccup or two so you don't want one of those used. MUST break in with high brass, about 50 rounds. Comes with 2 gas rings, one for heavy, 5 chokes and tools. Got mine at Buds. Paid under $500 and mags were just $30. After market 10 rd mags but that's getting heavy to manuever and not bang on something and knock your mag out. I'd stick with 5 unless you are just breaking it in using the EX mag or you are under a full zombie attack. Save the $$$ and get two 5 rd mags is my advice. Nice thing about mags is ya run out, just slap another one in. Need a little more range, use 00 buck, or a tad closer, my preferance is #1 BUCK. For in the house use against someone already in, grab the mag with the #4 shot to not hurt any neighbors next door yet neutralize the threat. If actually under zombie attack a pump tube fed shotgun is a paper weight after you empty it once. You would never have time to reload. Not true with a mag fed given having some extra loaded, ready, close. Pop in a go. Some know Hornady makes a 1,600 FPS 00 Buck defense round!!! FAST!! Remington makes a rifled 1 oz slug that comes at ya at 1,600 FPS as well and flat out to the other goalpost!!

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Doc

    Many magazine fed shotguns jam constantly. Search the videos on YouTube. The vinyl rounds warp after time in mag.

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike

    Another plus you didn't mention.. In a jurisdiction where you're prohibited from storing a weapon loaded (eg. anywhere in Canada), a mag fed shotgun is easier to load in an emergency, (home defence type situation.) Store the shotgun with a loaded mag next to it and you're in compliance with the law, but you can snap it in in a second.

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John T Turner

    I have an ATI Bulldog 26” overall AR style. 2 3/4” and 3” 5 and 10 rd mags. STD iron sights but integral picatinny rail for optics. I’ve yet to have a FTE, FTF or double feed after 500 rds. Handles birdshot, OO buck and slugs. Comes with 3 removable chokes Best features for me? It’s compact. 26” overall. 10 rd mags reload easily. Kinda neat too is that the 5 rd mag has a slot in the forend to allow it to become a vertical grip I think I paid $499 earlier in 2020 Turkish made. Turkey is turning out some excellent firearms.

    March 16, 2021 5:54 am
pew pew tactical logo

new here?

Personalize your experience.
Select what level shooter you are!

pew pew tactical logo

level up your gun knowledge

Thanks! We'll send you the latest guides and training tips geared towards your level.

pew pew tactical logo

welcome!

You'll now receive newsletters of our best articles on techniques, guns & gear.

$47 value

yours free!

targets targets
free

practice targets

printer icon printable

our 9 favorite targets and drills

free

practice targets

printer icon printable

enter your email to download

We'll only use the information provided according to our privacy policy.

success icon

Ready to Download

Click below to begin your download

download pdf