Shotguns are often seen as one of the best do-it-all firearms. Whether you’re hunting out in the field or defending the homestead, a solid shotgun is a good companion. However, all shotguns are not created equal, and there are some features that are more desirable for self-defense than others. Here are some of the best combat shotguns available today!
The soft recoil and reliability of a gas-operated, auto-loading action. These combat shotguns also have the exclusive speed-loading feature made popular by John M. Browning’s famous Auto 5. With the bolt opened, just thumb a round into the magazine and that round is automatically loaded into the chamber. The feature makes mid-combat reloading as quick as possible.
This shotgun also features a shorter stock to facilitate shooting while wearing body armor. The ghost-type sights with tritium insert allow a better and quicker acquisition of the target. They are mounted on a picatinny rail, allowing the installation of other types of sights should the mission require it.
Whether you are carrying it on a military assignment, in the squad car, or simply pulling nightstand duty, the FN Self-Loading Police Shotgun is a perfect mix of functionality and reliability.
What if an AK could fire 12-gauge shotgun rounds? Oh wait, it can. The Legion Saiga 12 is a Kalashnikov-pattern 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun.
Like the Kalashnikov rifle variants, it is a rotating bolt, gas-operated gun that feeds from a box magazine. This means you can carry a lot more ammunition with you, in easy to transport and store box magazines. Reloading is a snap as well, since there is no need to feed rounds into a tube individually.
Of all the high-dollar shotguns out there, this one will put the maximum amount of firepower downrange in the least amount of time. Standard features include a rotating bolt, gas-operated, magazine-fed, hammer-forged, chrome-lined barrel. A machined steel bolt, AK side scope rail, external screw chokes, and five-round capacity polymer magazine are included.
Designers made the iron sights perfect for quick target acquisition, and the smooth-bore barrel has a three-inch chamber, which accepts 2.75-inch and three-inch ammunition. The safety is a large lever-safety on the right side of the receiver, just like a standard AK.
If you want one of the most dependable semi-auto combat shotguns, buy a Saiga and you will see why experts consider the AK action one of the most dependable actions in the world.
Ah, our old friend the Mossberg 500. This old warhorse has been in service since 1961, and shows no signs of slowing down. Perfect for any shotgun application, the 500 has changed little since its early days on the drawing board.
Police, military, hunters, home defense enthusiasts, and zombie hunters alike have all carried the 500, and with good reason. What makes this little shotgun so great? Price initially comes to my mind. How else can you get a gun with this much firepower for $250 bucks?
Another huge advantage to the 500 is the ability to add all the extras. There are thousands of ways to customize your shotgun. New stocks with adjustable lengths, pistol grips, rail systems, optics, ghost rings, flashlights, slings, you name it, someone has stuck it on a Mossberg.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the 500 is a pump-action gun, so you can literally fire any type of 12-gauge ammunition you can get your hands on. I have two barrels for my Mossberg. One is an 18.5-inch barrel for home defense; the other is a 26-inch bird barrel I use for hunting. I have always said that if I could only have one gun, it would be a 12-gauge pump shotgun.
Police squad cars all across the country have carried the Remington 870 for decades now. This Express Synthetic model holds seven rounds of 12-gauge ammo and its twin action bars help ensure that smooth pump action that made the 870 famous. A simple bead sight tops the 18-inch cylinder bore barrel.
Remington milled the receiver from solid billet steel, and the finish is a weather-resistant coating. The 870 can shoot three-inch magnum shells as well as 2.75-inch standard shells.
The Remington 870 is legendary, and a great shotgun for just about any purpose. In combat, the cross-bolt safety is easy to disengage without having to move our hand.
Endless arrays of aftermarket parts are available for the 870 as well. Pistol grips, Picatinny rails, red dot sights, ghost rings optics, you name it, you can stick it on an 870. Since it is a 12-gauge shotgun, it is one of the best home defense weapons imaginable.
Being hit with 00 buck is like being hit with eight to ten .38 Special projectiles simultaneously. This weapon can literally stop an intruder in his tracks, immediately. A shooter can feel comfortable knowing that taking an 870 into combat means the gun will cycle perfectly, every time.
Remington tactical shotguns are rugged, ultra-dependable, and continually evolve as they’re called to serve in new, increasingly demanding environments. Remington built these combat shotguns on a time-tested and extremely reliable legendary standard of quality and a level of flexibility that only comes with experience in the field.
The Model 1100 Tactical shotgun comes with a standard stock and a 22-inch barrel. It is chambered for 2.75-inch 12-gauge. Reliability is at the forefront when talking about an automatic shotgun. The 1100 has a stellar reputation both on and off the battlefield. Police, military, and private contractors around the globe rely on the 1100 for their combat needs.
The speed at which you can fire an 1100 is very impressive. Since it is a semi-automatic, the shooter will still be able to operate the weapon with one hand, should a would be sustained in the other. A pump-action shotgun is far more difficult to operate this way, which gives the semi-automatic a leg up in the combat competition. The 1100 series from Remington is a perfect shotgun for nearly all applications, both on and off the battlefield.
What are your favorite combat shotguns? Let us know in the comment section.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published in December 2011. It has been updated and revamped for accuracy and clarity.