SHOTGUNS: Pump action vs. Semi-automatic

by Erik  

The age old debate among shotguns has always been the decision to buy a pump action or semi-automatic. There are several things to consider when choosing between them. Both types work just fine but depending on the application you may want to sway towards one side over the other. Here we go...

What is the primary use for the shotgun? Are you bird hunting, skeet/trap shooting, or buying for home defense? Pump action shotguns are generally cheaper than the semi-autos and they also make a great home defense gun. They come in various barrel lengths, some with shoulder stocks, some with pistol grips. The infamous "click click" from a pump action shotgun is recognizable by nearly every human and often times that sound alone is enough to scare off any would be intruders.

Semi-autos are popular among hunters because follow up shots are generally faster because you don't have to operate the pump action. The same concept applies to skeet/trap shooting. However, some experienced shotgunners can fire a pump action shotgun just as fast as semi-auto. See this video (start at 10:10):

How much are you willing to spend? The age old question, there are many options out there ranging from around $200-$1800+. Like most other guns, if you aren't an experienced shotgunner you probably won't benefit from a $1600 Benelli over a $700 Remington.

Do you need all the bells and whistles? If you want things like side saddles, slings, and lights some shotgun models will be better suited for such add-ons. Some models are sold as "tactical" which include things like a pistol grip stock, integrated light, and upgraded sights. If you are using a shotgun for home defense I strongly recommend a weapon light. Every year many people are shot in their own homes by their loved ones because they were mistaken identified as an intruder.

What gauge should I buy? There are many different gauges (sizes) of shotgun ammo. The gauges are numbered with smallest numbers being the biggest. The most common gauges are listed below (smallest gauges first):
  • 410
  • 28
  • 20
  • 16
  • 12

12 gauge is the most common and the easiest shotgun ammo to find. 20 gauge and 410 gauge are also common and many different companies produce several lines in those calibers.

My Favorite Shotgun List(ranked by price - cheapest first)
  1. Mossberg 500
  2. Remington 870 Express
  3. Saiga 12
  4. Remington 1100
  5. Benelli M4

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