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Best Semi-Automatic Shotgun [Buyer’s Guide]

Want to pick the best semi-auto shotgun for yourself? Learn how they work, various recoil systems, and pros/cons of the most popular ones out there.

 Have you ever wanted to empty a half dozen rounds of 12-gauge in just a couple of seconds?

If you’ve been involved with firearms for any length of time, you’ve probably shot break-action or pump-action shotguns, but what about semi-automatic shotguns?

Benelli M4 Thunder Ranch
Benelli M4

For many of us, shotguns are some of the first firearms we were introduced to.

Indeed they make excellent guns for everything from training beginners to providing the ultimate home defense protection.

12ga Shotgun Shells, Opened (L to R: Bird, Buck, Slug)
12ga Shotgun Shells, Opened (L to R: Bird, Buck, Slug)

They even see a good bit of use in modern militaries (and games).

Doom shotgun versus demon
Doom!

We’re going to dig into just why you would want a semi-automatic shotgun, the pitfalls, and how to choose the best one for your needs.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Editor's Pick

    Benelli M4

    A do-it-all shotgun: can be used for home defense, competition, and hunting.

  2. Best for Home Defense

    Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical

    8+1 capacity, shoots great, looks good too.

  3. Best Value

    Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe

    Looks great, feels great, and a good option for those that want a Turkish style gun

  4. OG Style

    Browning A5

    Classic look, great for those that want a traditional shotgun

  5. Best Combat Shotgun

    Beretta 1301 Tactical Semi-Auto Shotgun

    Great for tactical or home defense applications, dependable and good ergonomics

  6. Most Modern Semi-Auto

    Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical

    Modern features like M-LOK and red dot compatibility

  7. Best for 3-Gun

    Benelli M2 Tactical

    Great in competition, lightweight

Table of Contents

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The Birth of the Semi-Auto Shotty

Before we go into modern semi-automatic shotguns, let’s have a look at the prototype, the grandpappy, the Godfather of all modern semi-automatic shotguns: the Browning Auto-5.

Browning Auto 5
Browning Auto 5

While it would eventually go on to revolutionize the shooting world, it was about as reliable as a broken clock when it was first released, and no one really trusted it.

Eventually, though, Browning ironed out the kinks, and soon the public fell in love with it. And for good reason.

It turns out that having several rounds of 12-gauge buckshot on tap can be a really useful thing.

Federal FliteControl shell, dissected
Buckshot

The Auto-5 is a recoil-operated shotgun, just like many you’ll see on our recommendation list.

This means that the gun uses energy from the recoil to eject the used shell and cycle a new one into the chamber.

Modern Semi-Autos Shotguns

It wasn’t that long ago that there was only a handful of reputable semi-auto shotguns on the market.

Big companies like Browning, Mossberg, and Remington produced them, but they never caught on…until now.

Demand rose, quality improved, and prices dropped. Action-shooting athletes in competitions like 3-Gun benefit greatly from the high fire rate of a semi-auto.

You can even catch these semi-auto bad guy dispatchers in movies like the recently released John Wick 2.

Keanu Reeves in John Wick 2
Both John Wick and Keanu Reeves know a thing or two about guns.

How Does a Semi-Auto Shotgun Work?

The pump-action shotgun you’re probably more familiar with works by having the user manually slide the forend — where you cock the gun.

This uses a spring-operated mechanism to simultaneously eject a spent cartridge and load a fresh one.

Pump-action shotgun cutaway
Pump-action in action.

A semi-automatic shotgun, on the other hand, does the same thing automatically and can cycle through cartridges in one of two ways:

  1. Through a gas system…think something similar to the AR-15.
  2. Through inertia – aka, recoil-operated.

While both gas and recoil-powered systems use energy for the same function — reloading the shotgun — they go about it in different ways.

Gas-powered shotguns take high-pressure gas released after firing and use it to cycle ammo, while recoil-operated shotguns utilize kinetic energy instead.

Semi-automatic shotgun slow-mo
Semi-automatics are more fun anyway.

Even though gas-operated reloading systems have been widely used for various automatic and semiautomatic weapons over the years, recoil operation was historically favored in shotguns. 

Pros/Cons of Semi-Autos

Now that we’ve covered the basics of recoil and gas-operated shotguns, let’s look at how semi-automatic shotguns measure up to more traditional shotguns.

Pump-Action Shotgun Advantages

  • Typically cheaper retail price.
  • A simple design that’s easier to clean, assemble, and disassemble.
  • As a rule, they’re less likely to fail.
  • Not picky about ammo.

Pump Action Shotgun Disadvantages

  • They have a significantly slower rate of fire in inexperienced hands.
  • Can be difficult to shoot with an injured hand.
  • More recoil.
  • Can be short-stroked, especially in a high-stress scenario, which causes a malfunction that can be difficult to clear.
Shotgun malfunction
Guns.com simulating a shotgun malfunction

Semi-Automatic Shotgun Advantages

Semi-automatic shotguns are great for competitions and tactical situations, especially for beginners who might struggle to keep their target engaged while cycling rounds with a pump.

  • While one-hand shooting is not recommended, it’s at least fairly possible with a semi-automatic shotgun. With that said, I wouldn’t advise doing it unless you were in an emergency situation.
  • Generally speaking, the kick of a semi-automatic isn’t as strong, especially with those that use a gas system.
  • Semi-automatic shotguns have a much faster rate of fire than their manual counterparts, given similar operator ability

To get an idea of how fast one can shoot with a semi-automatic shotgun, check out this video:

Semi-Automatic Shotgun Disadvantages

  • A more complex design makes them heavier and difficult to clean, especially for beginners.
  • Semi-automatic shotguns have a higher likelihood of jamming than pump and break-action shotguns.
  • Many can’t reliably cycle low-powered ammo, like some low-brass birdshot.
12ga Birdshot, Opened
12ga Birdshot, Opened

Pump-Action vs. Semi-Auto

It really all depends on what you’re looking for.

Do you want something that’s more affordable and less likely to fail, or do you want a shotgun that can cycle through shells faster and put more rounds on target?

Remington 870 (17)
Remington 870 shotguns

In general, we recommend semi-autos for sport shooting, such as 3-Gun or trap shooting, and pump-actions for those looking for a more affordable shooting experience or those who want the guaranteed reliability that a pump-action brings.

Benelli M4 (bottom) and Mossberg 500 (top)
Mossberg 500 (top), Benelli M4 (bottom)

With that said, shotgun technology over the years has improved. This means that semi-automatic shotguns are becoming more reliable, making them great for self-defense situations.

For more on this debate, check out our article dedicated to the drama that is Pump vs Semi.

Are Semi-Automatic Shotguns Good for New Gun Owners?

The operation of a semi-auto shotgun is simpler than any manually operated shotgun.

All a shooter is required to do is to initially charge the weapon via a charging handle. After that, the gun will run itself until it’s empty.

Benelli M4 Loading
Benelli M4

Once it’s empty, the majority of semi-auto shotgun bolts will lock to the rear, giving even the most novice of shooters a clear visual, auditory, and tactile sign that their gun is empty.

When a pump-action shotgun is empty, there is no immediate tactile or audible feedback to let you know.

Shotgun Tactics Pump Action
With a pump, you gotta do the hard work.

The only way to know is to count your rounds, or when it goes click on an empty chamber.

All of this combines to make semi-autos an excellent choice for new gun owners.

Just make sure you read the manual to understand proper cleaning and lubrication, as well as your gun’s recommended ammo and malfunction-clearing procedures.

Reading
Me reading the manual.

Best Semi-Automatic Shotguns

Of course, any time you use the word “best” to describe anything, someone somewhere is going to disagree with you, and that’s to be expected here.

That said, these are the guns we’ve tested and used ourselves. So, we feel confident recommending them to you.

Multiple Shotguns with Optics
We enjoy giving you the recs!

Note: Many, if not most, of these shotguns can easily fill multiple roles, so be sure to give all of them a look before you decide on buying.

Semi-automatic shotguns are perfect for hunting and are commonly used to take all varieties of game birds, as well as hogs, deer, and other medium to large game.

1. Benelli M4 

The Rolls Royce of shotguns, the Benelli M4 is also the armored Humvee, fire truck, and Ferrari of shotguns.

Benelli M4
Benelli M4

It can do anything, anytime, anywhere, and has seen success in home defense, competition, and hunting scenarios.

It should come as no surprise that the M4 is the U.S. Marines M1014 Joint Service shotgun and has been on combat missions on six continents. Not to mention it’s a favorite in countless video games.

While Benelli is known for inertia-based guns, the Benelli M4 uses an auto-regulating gas operating system.

The ARGO system is cleaner and more reliable over long periods of shooting.

The Benelli M4 is a proper combat shotgun with ghost ring adjustable sights and an optics mount.

Benelli M4 (7)

Oh, and it works phenomenally in a hunting environment.

The worst thing about this shotgun is the MSRP of $2,000.

Best High-End Semi-Auto
1999
at Gunprime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Want to learn more? See our full hands-on review here.

With our YouTube review below:

Got one already and want to fully upgrade your M4? Check out our Best Benelli M4 Upgrades article.

2. Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical

The Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical is an excellent choice for home defense, holding 8+1 shells.

It features a cylinder choke bore and an 18.5-inch barrel length.

Mossberg 930 Tactical
There’s a whole lot of sexy wrapped up in a package like this.

This shotgun is an extremely functional shotgun with a very reliable gas system.

One note: it can have problems cycling low-brass shells, so make sure you’re using high-brass self-defense loads like these awesome Winchester Super-X or these Federal Power Shok.

We have a whole hands-on review of the 930 SPX Tactical that you should take a look at. But it boils down to simply…it’s awesome.

It will serve you and your family very well. Plus, it looks sleek as hell.

Best for Home Defense
909
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. Stoeger m3500

The Stoeger m3500 inertia-driven shotgun that’s an all-around solid hunting system.

Stoeger m3500

Designed more for waterfowl, upland game birds, and turkey, with the right choke, it’s also an excellent deer slayer.

The gun has interchangeable chokes, three different barrel lengths, and a ribbed barrel.

It can handle shells from 2 3/4- to 3 1/2-inch magnums reliably and is fitted with fiber optic sights and a shim kit to make the stock a little longer.

A Stoeger M3500 has an MSRP of $679 and can be found cheaper if you shop around.

Best Budget Semi-Auto (Hunting)
629
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe

A Turkish-manufactured, gas-operated shotgun, the Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe comes available in 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge.

If you’re looking for a great mid-range autoloader that’s dependable and fun to shoot, the SA-08 Deluxe is the right shotgun for you.

Aside from the price, the biggest selling points of this shotgun are its appearance and its featherlight weight.

Weatherby SA-08
Weatherby SA-08

The SA-08 Deluxe, depending on the gauge, weighs between 5 ½ and 6 pounds. This makes the SA-08 Deluxe a favorite among waterfowl hunters and clay pigeon enthusiasts.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a shotgun under $1,000 that looks as nice as this one.

Forget any hang-ups that you may have about Turkish guns…the Weatherby SA-08 is a beautiful and affordable shotgun that’s not only dependable but also a pleasure to shoot.

Best Value
769
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. Browning A5

Starting its legendary life as the creation of John Browning, the A5 was the first semi-auto shotgun to make it to the mass market.

It’s also a thing of beauty.

Editor David's Browning Auto 5, made by FN in 1953
Browning Auto 5, made by FN in 1953

The new and improved A5 comes with modern technology and the same vintage look

The A5 has the same vintage look and style that made the old Auto-5 models popular but is significantly lighter and is built with a recoil system called Kinematic Drive. This removes the need to manually choose between light or heavy loads.

The modern A5 is a smooth shooting and looking shotty.

Overall, the Browning A5 is an excellent reboot of a classic shotgun and is great for hunters and competitive shooters alike.

OG Style
1599
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What do you think of the Browning A5? Give it a rating below!

Readers' Ratings

4.98/5 (1600)

Your Rating?

6. Beretta 1301 Tactical

In a word…sleek. The Beretta 1301 Tactical 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun is capable of firing full-power and reduced-power loads.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Shooting
Beretta 1301 Tactical

When it comes to making shotguns that are dependable and ergonomically designed, few manufacturers can compete with Beretta.

This innovative feature sets this series apart from other autoloading shotguns and makes this gun perfect for tactical situations, including home defense and crowd control.

Beretta 1301 Tactical
Beretta 1301 Tactical

It has an 18.5-inch barrel that’s perfect for tactical-style shooting.

With that said, if you’re in the market for a shotgun that’s dependable and perfect for home defense, the the 1301 Tactical is a strong contender.

Best Combat Shotgun
1499
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Check out our full video review below or head to our Beretta 1301 Tactical article to learn more!

7. Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical

Effectively a more refined 930, the Mossberg 940 Pro Tactical is an evolution stemming from feedback from pro shooters like Jerry Miculek as well as shooters like us who buy and modify guns.

All the improvements make sense, and the gun’s performance is outstanding. It features a capacity of 7+1 with improvements over the 930 platform.

The buttstock pad feels much improved, providing good grip on the shoulder as well as cushion for recoil. Mossberg added an extended elevator and removed the notch that always seems to catch our digits when loading.

In the same area, Mossberg enlarged the loading port by beveling the edges. The improved gas system softens recoil and is supposed to run cleaner than previous versions. And we love that the barrel clamp now has an M-LOK slot for accessories.

Oh, and did we mention it’s also compatible with the Shield RMSc footprint?

All in all, the 940 Pro Tactical is a great option for those looking for a modern semi-auto.

Most Modern Semi-Auto
1120
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Check out the video review below or catch up on the deets in the written review.

8. Benelli M2

When it comes to tactical shotguns, you know that Benelli is a name you can trust. Benelli’s M2 is no exception.

This excellent semi-automatic shotgun comes in three stock configurations: Pistol Grip, Standard, and Benelli’s fabulous ComforTech stock that dramatically reduces felt recoil.

Benelli M2 (3)
Benelli M2

Like with all Benelli models, the M2 is praised for being a dependable semi-automatic shotgun.

When fitted with ComforTech technology, shooters will experience nearly 50% less recoil, which can make competition shooting much more comfortable.

Benelli M2 (4)

Check it out in action in our editor’s 3-Gun M2 setup:

It is also relatively lightweight and comes in a Benelli’s special wet/dry finish to ensure comfortable, safe handling in all conditions, making it ideal for rigorous competition or home defense.

Best for 3-Gun
1199
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

9. Remington Versa Max Competition Sportsman

The Remington Versa Max Competition Sportsman is a 12-gauge, autoloading shotgun designed specifically for the shotgun phase of 3-gun competitions.

It’s a gas-operated shotgun that uses Remington’s Versaport technology, a system that regulates gas pressure depending on the length of the shotgun shell (2 ¾” to 3”).

Remington Versa Max Competition Sportsman

The benefit of this technology is that it allows the shooter to experience consistent recoil regardless of load.

Remington’s Versa Max Competition is a brilliantly designed competition-grade shotgun that’s reliable and comfortable to use.

If you want a well-rounded automatic shotgun that’s quick to load and easy to operate, then this is the one for you.

Best Overall
1009
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

10. IWI TS12

Want something a little out of the box? Then the IWI TS12 is the gun that certainly fills that niche.

A combination of bullpup meets semi-auto shotgun, this semi-auto, gas-powered shotgun kinda looks like it’s straight out of a sci-fi flick.

Tavor Shotgun whole shotty

It sports an 18.5-inch barrel and uses Beretta/Benelli chokes, plus it brings plenty of M-LOK space to mount accessories.

Downside…it doesn’t run reliably all the time. We saw failures to eject and failures to load — in short, it’s very picky about ammo.

Tavor Shotgun shooting!

That said, it’s a really fun gun to run, and if you prefer style over functionality or just want something fun to shoot at the range, the IWI TS12 fits that bill.

1288
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Read more about this space-age shotgun in our review!

Final Thoughts

When you consider that semi-autos don’t usually kick as hard as pump-action shotguns, it’s not difficult to see why they’re a great choice for beginner shooters, and the extra rounds and boost to fire rate make them a great choice for veteran shooters as well.

Benelli M4 Thunder Ranch

The most important thing to remember when owning a semi-automatic shotgun is maintenance.

A well-maintained autoloader will be much less likely to fail, especially if it’s a gas-operated version.

So the real question is, what type of semi-automatic shotgun do you plan on getting? Let us know in the comments below! How about feeding the beast? We cover that in Best Shotgun Ammo.

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84 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve

    The Beretta A400 xplor is a fantastic gun for clays or fowl shooting. Outstanding quality and no recoil with the gas and kickoff system! You can soot four times in one second!

    August 1, 2022 7:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jim in Texas

    Do you plan to do a review on magazine/drum-fed shotguns such as the Panzer AR12, Rock River Arms VR80, etc.?

    August 1, 2022 7:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Val

    Really surprised not to see RIA VR60/VR8x and CZ1012 on this list. I understand it's practically impossible to test every single manufacturer, but these two should have made the list, IMHO.

    July 31, 2022 7:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dave

    A "best budget shotgun" would be nice.
    I will never be able to afford ANY of these shotguns.

    July 31, 2022 6:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rick

      I agree.

      August 5, 2022 9:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Gary Dowd

    If the 930 was a quality shotgun mossberg would’ve have needed to fix its issues with the 940. Had one that wouldn’t run. No thanks. Inertia guns work much better and operate way cleaner.

    July 31, 2022 5:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    MeeesterPaul

    RIA VR80
    and Panzer 2nd Gen Bullpup

    July 31, 2022 5:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Wilma J Strong

    Thank you so much for doing this article on shotguns. I like them. I have a Charles Daly AR 12. The shoulder stock helps a lot to cut down on the impact on the shoulder. I have learned a lot from this article on shotguns....thanks again!!

    July 31, 2022 4:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sua Sponte

    Good article, good read. Though not listed, I recently acquired the RIA VR80 and have been having a great time with it. Very smooth cycling and minimal felt recoil. Might add on the pump action side, the DP12?

    July 30, 2022 6:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    kjeltec

    Kel Tec began as a CNC machine shop making firearm components for Grendel Inc., in 1991. Based in Cocoa, Florida, this firearms manufacturer is now one of the top five handgun makers in the United States, and one of the largest worldwide. Kel-Tec firearms innovated the industry in 1995 with the first 9mm polymer pistol for concealed carry and are now a primary provider of rifles, shotguns, and pistols for law enforcement personnel and law-abiding civilians. Every firearm is backed by best-in-class customer service and the KelTec lifetime warranty. Omaha Outdoors is your online Kel Tec dealer, where you will find some of the most state-of-the-art weaponry on the planet.

    May 21, 2022 1:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tymyddeus Owen

    Though it didn't make the list, I gotta say that I absolutely love my Remington 1187 Sportsman. Mine's sporting a 10 round tube, that actually seems to improve the balance and accuracy. I can dump eleven rounds through one hole REALLY fast. It even handles target loads fairly well. As long as it's cleaned as often as reasonably expected, it really doesn't have a problem cycling through light loads just as well as it cycles through slugs.

    April 22, 2022 4:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    gun center

    This is a fantastic article! I just love the way you articulate everything and present it to us. I have been going places for the best stuff and guess what, I finally landed on the right page. I am so happy to be here. I was thinking if you could check and tell us about usguncenter

    April 22, 2022 1:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Vulcan

    Good article, well written, but for me, I'll stick with my mag fed semi-auto 12ga. In a zombie attack, when you empty your 5-7 rounds out of the tube, you're done. No way on earth you can take the time to reload it. Mag fed has 10 rds and can just slap in a fresh mag and go. Also allows for having different loads, ie 00 buck vs #1 buck, rifled slug or #4 for up close yet won't take out your neighbors. Far superior firepower with the mag fed, and the Turks have gotten this down pretty good these days for a VG price 1/5th the cost of the Benelli M4.

    October 6, 2021 9:42 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jerry

    Where Vepr12?

    October 6, 2021 4:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jose Fernandez

    Great article. Homerun on your #1 rating on the M4. Shot that sweety in the Corps. Wish I could afford one now. Gonna check out that Mossberg 930 now. Sounds like the crowd wants more Auto Shotty reviews. Looking forward to them.

    October 5, 2021 8:08 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tad Ordoyne

      Check out the 940 JM PRO.

      October 5, 2021 8:59 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        rhino

        yeah boyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

        October 18, 2021 10:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bobzilla

    You omitted the new kid on the block. It’s hard to beat the Tavor TS-12 with its bull pup design and 15 + 1 capacity for defense.

    October 5, 2021 4:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    travelbug007

    whats the best one for a lefty hunter?

    September 29, 2021 8:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tim Miller

    Where's the Remington 1100?

    February 1, 2021 2:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Harry

    Is the TX4 Storm and the 1301T the same gun?

    October 22, 2020 3:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Doc

    How about Panzer, made in Turkey, Bull Pup and Match long gun in 12 ga . Both magazine fed with 5 or 10 round magazines

    August 19, 2020 8:17 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tim Bell

      I just got my Panzer AR-12 last month and would like to see what y'all think about this shotgun

      April 21, 2021 12:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    mike

    I am very interested in owning a semi-automatic 12ga, but was wondering if you know of any semi-automatic shotguns that can use a 2-3/4" load.

    June 22, 2020 3:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jtrosse

      I have a Beretta 1301 Tac, gen 1 and shoot 5 stand sporting clay with #8 shot all the time for defensive practice and have not had a hiccup!

      October 5, 2021 4:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Anthony Jackson

    I’m just looking for something simple to protect my family. Two many things to look at. I don’t know everything about guns.

    April 14, 2020 5:49 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mathew Mangrum

      Maveric 88 pump.(or something similar) Inexpensive and absolutely bulletproof. I think when it comes to protection reliability should be your number one concern.

      October 15, 2020 11:02 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jihn

      Mossberg 500 or a Remington 870 both are pump shotguns. I think the mossberg Is a better choice especially if your left handed. The safety's right on the top of the gun where you can see it and use it real easy even lefties. Both work great the mossberg may be a better value on price. The mossberg pump release is where you grip the gun and is more convenient the the Remington that is in front of the trigger guard. I hope this helps. I own both and like the Mossberg's controls better.

      December 21, 2020 6:23 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jonathan Simmons

    The new A5 is a terrible shotgun! It’s light weight and it feels good in the hands. But if you are looking for an expensive single shot Jam-o-matic the new A5 is for you. Customer service is terrible and said it would be months before I could have have them service the shotgun. Then I had a gunsmith inspect the shotgun and he could not find any problems with the gun. He suggested I shoot a box of 3.5 thru it and see if that solves my problems. Didn’t work!!! Sold it and browning owes me $500 I lost on the trade!

    April 7, 2020 7:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin Dubose

    I have a question, I own a s&w performance center at-15 for about ten years that was able to hit 1/2” MOA with handloads at on time but now I believe the barrel is shot out would like to have the barrel replaced with one equal or better what brand and who can I send it to so the work can be done about $700.00 budget.

    January 24, 2020 10:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kenneth Wilson

    Call it a cop out or whatever you like, but I consider the absolute best 12 gauge shotgun to be made by Benelli and not on your list. That is the M3. Take an M2 and add the ability to convert it to pump action. Presto, Benelli M3. This offers 2 major advantages: you can switch from semi to pump for light loads or adverse conditions. I’m partial to 20” shotguns with an 8-shot capacity and consider them to be the absolutely most versatile shotguns out there. So, if you take the “one-shotgun-to-rule-them-all” approach, the Benelli M3 is my ultimate recommendation. For me, NO strictly semi-auto can do this. The M4 probably comes closest, but I would still rather have an M3.

    December 30, 2019 12:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Daniel Rodriguez

      do you know of a good site to get aftermarket parts for the m3?

      March 28, 2020 11:23 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jeff Sheldon

      I agree, the Benelli M3 Super 90, is a hell of a gun. I used one professionally and still have it. That said, my go to retirement gun is the Beretta Tx4 Storm, lighter in weight, holds the same number of rounds and I believe is about and inch or so shorter. Both good guns.

      June 21, 2020 8:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis Hemner

    Two words. Typhoon Mag.

    December 27, 2019 10:17 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark Wynn

    When I was growing up the 50s and playing birddog for the pheasant-hunting clans on both my paternal and maternal side, here in Nebraska, the shotgun of choice was the Browning A5 "Sweet 16." All the men and the women carried them. My mother was a crack shot, and frequently downed birds that the men claimed were theirs. Is 16 guage still even made ... and why did it fall out of favor?

    December 22, 2019 7:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      The long slow death of the 16ga is a long story, but IMO it mostly comes down to three major things: Habitat loss, cost-cutting, and competitive shooting. 16ga is an amazing upland game gun, but a lot of those wetlands are gone. Grouse and pheasant numbers are way lower almost across the entire USA. Cost-cutting, the easy way to make a 16ga shotgun is to put a 16ga barrel on a 12ga action. This makes for a shotgun that just kind of sucks so no one wants it, but since the demand for 16ga isn't very high to start with manufacturers aren't willing to make a dedicated 16ga action... so it kind of shoots itself in the foot. Finally, competition. 12ga is better than 16ga in competition in every way possible, so that is what people use. Since there is no demand competitively for 16ga, it makes ammo cost more and guns cost more since the market normally gravitates to what is good in competitions.

      You can still get 16ga ammo, but it's not easy these days.

      December 22, 2019 8:19 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin L

    Well written commentary. Thank you .

    December 21, 2019 12:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    George Holt

    Excellent display, except you left out several different model shotguns. From the looks of things the Weatherby made in Turkey made the list, but the Country of Turkey has 200 arms manufacturers companies there. You could have added the Escort line into your mix too. Not everyone can afford a $1000 Dollars or more for a start up shotgun. For home defense if you need to use the gun, the arriving police or sheriff will take the gun out of the house as you go to jail to be booked into the system.
    If you reside in a sizable criminal element then it’s best to have insurance in the case you have to defend yourself. Then perhaps using that top end shotgun is alright.

    December 17, 2019 11:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    chris donnellan

    i just like the original 12 gauge pump you all want the fancy shotguns just get a mossberg with a wooden pump and stock

    December 12, 2019 11:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Matthew Bruegge

    Black aces bull pup

    November 17, 2019 12:42 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Marc Bresee

    Meh. Missed my fav... the Saiga 12 - kushnapup variety.

    October 30, 2019 2:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brad

    What about the Fostech Origin 12?

    October 29, 2019 12:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Leonid I Suvorov

    Where is Panzer Arms AR12?

    October 21, 2019 1:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John

    Where’s the Benelli super black eagle?

    October 7, 2019 9:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jesus

    Which cheap birdshot is the most reliable in semi auto shotguns?

    March 26, 2019 12:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    1AB

    Just picked up a Beretta 1301 tactical, wo hoo! Mesa tactical Telescoping hyd pistol grip kit, Nordic tube extension.

    February 24, 2019 7:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ryan M Staebler

    Was at my LGS the other week, and a couple of the employees were talking about how an older woman had recently came in asking for a 12 g shotgun with the lowest recoil possible. The man walked over, and walked back with a KSG. She bought it on the spot!

    December 20, 2018 12:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andy

    EH THE VERSA MAX IS BASED ON BENELLIS BLUE PRINTS BUD!

    September 30, 2018 11:09 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brad Cobb

    Not every affordable bang-for-the-buck semi-automatic shotgun made it into the lineup. I would like to see a review of these more affordable arms ranked against the best in this list. I suspect RIA VR60 ("good-enough") would be a contender & maybe "Rock" them all  :-)

    Armscor Rock Island arms VR60 can be found through gun.deals (user submitted gun deals) for about $365. If you wanted to go with something cheaper (uglier too!) $343 for GIJAR1512, $399 for AR12, MKA1919 $420, Tristar 25125 $449, and there are many other of these AR-style semi-automatic magazine-fed shotguns. Like everything else, the nicer the nice the higher the price, like the old Russian proverb says: "perfect is the enemy of good enough"  ;-)

    August 9, 2018 6:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Nohn beder

      FN SLP I hot used on GB fot $600 and it rocks. There are deals out there and i rather have.a used FN thsn armscor. Not even in the same leagie

      September 15, 2019 12:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    JJF

    How does the Beretta 1301 LE 2018 compare to Benelli M4?
    What are the differences in recoil management (inertia, ARGO)?

    August 3, 2018 9:44 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jr Arevalo

      Check out whisper tactical comparison video of both m4 and 1301. Its the only one that shows both running the same ammo.
      For a detailed review the best out there is by James Reeves TFB TV for the 1301. Im biased towards the 1301 coz i got one, my marine version has not had any single malfunction on any load i put in it, i mean really cheap loads.

      October 17, 2021 7:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    jj02

    Thoughts on the Beretta 1301 Tactical LE?

    May 31, 2018 7:45 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David

      Good to go, great shoty, solid company, safe buy.

      June 1, 2018 8:58 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Donna

    What’s best for a woman? In 12 gauge. And in the budget category. Thanks.

    April 15, 2018 12:57 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      1st choice would be the Weatherby SA-08, and 2nd pick would be the Remington 1187. Both are gas operated, meaning they have softer recoil. At $550, the SA is $80 cheaper than the 1187 ($630). It is also 1.5 lbs lighter. Another option would be finding a good used Remington 1100. They are more expensive if bought new, but have the same gas operated soft recoil.

      April 22, 2018 1:54 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Razi

      Single Barrel shotgun best for girls. Girls can handle easily. Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe

      November 24, 2018 6:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Edward

    Everyone keeps telling me I am crazy, but I swear that in the late 50s early 60s, my father had a semiauto shotgun that you would rack like a pump to chamber the first round and then it would work semiauto. Have you ever heard of this?

    April 8, 2018 7:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David

      I'm not aware of one made during that time frame, but they do exist. The Franchi SPAS-12 is one example, but it wasn't made until the late 1970s.

      April 9, 2018 6:09 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Edward

        I know the time frame is correct because I was married in the 70's and my dad died in 67.

        April 21, 2018 6:01 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          David

          I'm sure your time frame is correct, I just don't know what shotgun it is. My history in that area is very weak, sorry. Don't happen to have any pictures of it do you?

          April 21, 2018 11:40 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            Edward

            Unfortunately, no pics. I am 90% sure it was a Remington because that is what most everyone in the family owned. The furniture looked like it might have been walnut. All the metal was blued. It had a ladder rail that ran the whole length of the barrel. If that is of any help.

            April 22, 2018 6:42 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            DxCx

            I don't know the model but I was told by a truck driver of a pump shotgun that was hard to find because if you kept the trigger pulled, as you pumped, it would fire.

            July 3, 2018 9:21 am
          • Commenter Avatar
            Matte

            Ithaca 37 older models

            July 25, 2018 12:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jay

      This gun was probably a winchester 1911 that used a knurled barrel as a charging system.. It was nicknamed the widow maker due to many unintentional discharges.

      April 13, 2018 11:37 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Edward

        Jay, I looked up a picture and it is definitely not a 1911.

        April 21, 2018 6:14 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          jordan

          https://www.fieldandstream.com/worst-shotgun-ever-1911-winchester

          August 21, 2018 9:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Craig

    Sorry stopped reading at the word "Shotty", everything after that is irrelevant.

    February 12, 2018 2:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James

      Lighten up, Francis.

      June 8, 2019 2:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Nick Fountain

    Am considering the Stoeger M3500, but am glad I read this, because I'll take a look at the Weatherby SA 08 before making a purchase. But the Stoeger in my hands today, and it's fairly light. Would like to see how the Weatherby feels weight wise before making a purchase now. Thanks

    October 16, 2017 4:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Glad we could help out!

      October 17, 2017 3:37 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Frankie

    Their no way any of these come close To a MOLOT VEPR 12ga Semi Automatic Shotgun.
    First of all this gun will Chamber Anything you put in it, No matter how Rough with this gun you are their no way to Break anything on this solid piece of metal.
    Competition 3 way hand down out shoot any listed gun you have their. Plus you can buy a 14 round magazines from Phoenix. (BIG PLUS)
    Plus their Extra selection is by far will make this gun the ENVY of all your Friends,SNOW, RAIN, MUD, COLD, DIRT. If you going Hunting and out there for 2-4 days this is the gun.
    IT WONT FAIL YOU.
    Bonus Folding Stock. Plus the Best Silencer on the Market.

    September 3, 2017 11:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    DAVID L PITTMAN

    I don't see the Browning Silver listed. I've used mine for 10 years since my Gold was stolen and I'll put it against anything out there.
    Sincerely,
    Niteowl1

    August 29, 2017 6:14 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      JDN

      Got a 20 Silver. Good gun but upon ejecting spent cartridge it would catch spent round and jam. Not complaining but this IS a new gun. Maybe needs some breaking in but that would get ya killed in Nam. Glad my M16 never did this.

      September 28, 2019 12:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Grigor Stavri

    I did not see Beretta 1301 Comp 12 gauge in your list.
    In my opinion it is the shotgun to beat in the competition category. You must test it to love it.

    July 13, 2017 3:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Rick

    Bought a Beretta a400 xtreme smoothest shooting 12 gauge I ever shot
    Wherected does this gun rate on yr list

    June 28, 2017 4:02 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Oscar

    I have a Mossberg 930 spx and I love it!

    June 3, 2017 5:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sebastian Solo

    What about the Remington V3? It is a smooth shooter for a 12 ga. It is my 3rd Rem and I'm more than happy with them. The oldest one is my 1100 from 1970 and still shooting like a champ.

    May 24, 2017 8:04 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin

    I took a defensive shotgun class at the county range. There was a guy who brought a KSG, which I was considering at the time. He had nothing but problems with it - jamming, hard to load. It was a nightmare, especially when putting that in a home invasion scenario. Put me off considering one, for sure.

    April 11, 2017 5:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Viet Luu

    What do think about the KSG? Thinking about picking one up.

    April 11, 2017 12:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      There was one guy in a shotgun class with it...was not impressed!

      June 5, 2017 12:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jeremy

    What do you think about the Stoeger m3000 m3k as a budget competition semi auto?

    April 8, 2017 1:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark

    Where's the DDI 12? Where's the Circuit Judge? Where's the Catamount Fury II?

    April 7, 2017 6:57 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Oswaldo Ruiz

    The Benelli M2 was not mentioned, which is the workhorse of the 3 gun circuit. Any serious competitor owns or has had a long thought of owning one of these shotguns.

    April 6, 2017 8:10 pm
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