Best Pump Shotgun: 2019 Buying Guide & Reviews

The Best pump shotgun is a shotgun that ticks all the boxes for a given use case. In this list of mainstream shotguns, we make a case for the following 9 guns (6 specialized use cases and 3 honorable mentions) as the best available pump shotguns on the market.

Generally, this list is caliber/gauge agnostic, as many of the guns come in multiple calibers and can be very effective, regardless of the specific gauge chosen.

We believe the categories have certain built in characteristics needed, and we will explain that as we go through the chosen top performers. For the honorable mentions, we chose guns that we just love, that may or may not fit exclusively into a category as laid out in the list.

Best Pump Shotguns

Remington 870 Express Tactical Pump Shotgun

Best pump shotgun for home defense

Remington 870 Express Tactical

Having a Remington shotgun like the 870 in your home during a moment of self-defense, creates confidence. The long history and good reputation of the Remington line of shotguns, and the 870’s capabilities as a threat stopper are without opposition.

The shotgun range for the 870 is broad and there are plenty of great options. We feel that for a home defense user, this is one of the finest options. The value for money is exceptional, when you compare the reliability to other competitors and the added accessories that come factory standard in the Tactical variant.

Simply put, you aren’t overpaying for gunsmithing or add-on parts and you get what’s “necessary” for most users without overpaying for frivolity. An extended magazine capacity (6+1); a sight rail for using a light or optic, with integrated ghost ring rear sight and a matching front sight for quick target acquisition and potential for co-witnessing iron sights with an optic.

An additional muzzle brake and a small overall footprint with an 18.5” barrel makes this an easy to handle shotgun in a home or apartment environment. You can check out interesting loads for your environment in our [[link]]article about the best 12 gauge loads for self-defense. The robust feeding qualities of the gun allow you to tailor the load type to your specific needs- offering a huge tactical advantage.

Legendary reliability, accuracy and value combine to bring you a shotgun that is both instantly usable, and timelessly classic. High capacity, reliable feeding of any round in existence; duty-proven and simple to operate – these are attributes of what can only be called the “go-to” home defense shotgun. If you do eventually desire to add more accessories to the gun, this is also the most easily customized, with the most aftermarket options. 

Pros

  • Proven reliability and durability
  • Simple design that will feed any type of 12-gauge shotgun shell
  • Good value for money, considering all the add-ons that come from factory

Cons

  • The muzzle brake isn’t great in low light, but it isn’t a deal breaker either

This is best for

Users who want a low maintenance, low-fuss shotgun for multiple load types that will be used in a close quarters area.


MOSSBERG - 590A1 SPEEDFEED

Best pump shotgun for those who are rough on their guns

MOSSBERG - 590A1 SPEEDFEED

Built incredibly strong, this is a simple and proven platform for the 12 gauge, that has even been used by some groups within the US Armed Forces. The known durability is an obvious value add, with the largely steel based build providing plenty of reasons to love the price and the capabilities of the gun. It’s the only pump gun that has passed the MilSpec-3443 testing.

You can bang it around without worrying too much that it will get hurt. Along with this durable build quality, comes a plethora of factory installed options that help make it an excellent tactical choice as well. You get a 9 shot capacity thanks to an 8 round magazine tube that extends well past most competitor’s capacity.

Additionally, the rock-solid ghost ring sights that are included help to acquire the sight picture quickly and offer a perfect option for the wide spread of the shotgun rounds it delivers. The Speedfeed stock gives some additional benefits too: a svelte profile; included sling swivel and extra round carrying capacity.

It’s a little longer overall, with a total length of 41 inches and a barrel length of 20”. This extra barrel length gives a bigger sight radius for better longer-range engagement; it also keeps the mag tube shorter than the barrel bore in length.

You gain a lot of benefit from an accuracy and pattern perspective for a tiny bit of mobility loss (which for most won’t be noticed). You can use the gun in the field or at the range too, thanks to the overall cohesion of barrel length. length of pull and simple operation. The reliability is about on par with the Remington 870 line, which is a huge compliment.

Pros

  • Strong build with good reliability
  • Good overall versatility for a pump shotgun
  • Proven track record in duty environments

Cons

  • Fit and finish is lacking a bit

This is best for

The hunter, range rat or home defense proponent that hates to maintain their guns and needs a tough weapon. (That’s not an excuse for proper maintenance neglect – safety can be compromised if you do not clean the gun regularly).


Browning BPS

Best pump shotgun for Birds

Browning BPS

The mossy Oak finish may not be ideal for birds depending on the scenarios you are hunting in, but it won’t hurt you either – the pattern helps with weather resistance and maintenance. The fact that it has a patterned finish shows on the surface level, the attention to detail on this excellent field gun.

The BPS is a proven entity in the hunting realm and there are many reasons why. Note: for turkey hunters this is one of the very few shotguns that is marketed in 10 gauge configurations. The extra firepower can have a dramatic impact on your turkey hunting success.

Some of the reasons that the BPS makes sense for birds are as follows: A super robust build, which includes two full action bars for cyclic support; along with a steel receiver and bottom loading/ejection. Furthermore, the integrated choke system allows for a lot of versatility for field users; the balance, considering the 28-inch barrel makes this somewhat heavy gun, very manageable.

At about 8 and a quarter pounds all in, this is a particularly brutish gun that works well for those who are rough on their firearms. While it isn’t hard to deal with because of the heavier weight, it does factor for long days and should be considered.    

It is designed to be fully ambidextrous and is the gun of choice for left-handed shooters who want a hunting pump shotgun. The lack of side ejection makes the hunting experience very comfortable to left handed shooters.  The BPS’ history of delivering on bird hunts makes it easily the best bird specific pump shotgun on the market. The Dura-Touch Armor coating and the mossy oak shadow grass pattern are just icing on the cake.

Pros

  • Built to be very strong – not finnicky at all
  • Great integrated choke system
  • Great weather resistance
  • Downward shell ejection – perfect for left-handers.

Cons

  • A bit heavier than most market options

This is best for

The 10 gauge is best for turkey hunters; the 12 gauge 28 inch barrel variant is the best all-around field gun for a variety of birds where the camo pattern makes sense (mostly in watershed and wetlands). The BPS is a shoo-in for left-handed shooters.


FN P-12

Best pump shotgun for range use and sport shooting

FN P-12

Compact, focused and versatile, this is an easy choice for home defense or duty use as well, but the strongest position for the FN P-12 is as a do-it-all pump shotgun that can be fun at the range and on all sorts of targets.

The short cyclic length on the full magnum chamber utilizes a leveraged design to make it fast to next shot. It makes your life a lot easier once you understand how to use it. A trigger pull that is very well designed offers a repeatable, honed feel and yet, doesn’t feel too light for the type of firearm.

The design is made for durability from the chrome lined bore to the hardcore checkering that isn’t dainty. The cantilever rail is helpful for optics mounting and the front sight has a fiber optic insert for fast sight acquisition. There is a flip up mated sight also for iron sight users.

There is a standard installed “improved cylinder” choke on the back of an Invector system. Pre-installed sling swivels makes the shotgun easy to move around with and provides tactical support. The recoil pad and checkering are engineered for legitimate “non-slip” performance.

Again, the P-12 is suitable for tactical and defensive use; and will thrive in the environment, but it shouldn’t be pigeonholed into that role; the 6 shot total capacity from factory and the many features make it a very good multi-purpose shotgun that will easily have the low-maintenance and quick action that sport shooter’s desire.

You can put many thousands of rounds through this shotgun; and count on it for dozens of different tasks without significant maintenance. It’s a great option.

Pros

  • 39 inch overall length makes it easily mobile
  • Excellent trigger
  • Multi-use phenom

Cons

  • It’s well geared to the short barrel uses; and might not be as good as some alternative options with longer barrels for certain uses

This is best for

Users who want a very good all-around gun that requires low maintenance and has some great features like a legitimate choke system and a refined trigger pull.


Mossberg 510 Mini Super Bantam All Purpose Pump-Action Shotguns

Best pump shotgun for youth

Mossberg 510 Mini Super Bantam All Purpose Pump-Action Shotguns

A zero-regrets shotgun that can grow with a young shooter which maintains its approachability throughout many years of use and never becomes irrelevant thanks to good durability and an excellent reputation for reliability.

The 20 gauge or 410 options allow legitimate uses past youth shooting, without overwhelming the shooter with options; and providing excellent attributes for ground birds and other sporting needs.

Super lightweight (5 lbs.); a high degree of adjustability; and relatively small (under 35 inches overall length); the Mossberg 510 Super Bantam has the youth or small framed shooter in mind; but can also be utilized by those seeking out a bit more sporting challenge for certain game and certain sporting events.  

The length of pull will be short for all but the smaller shooters; as it is adjustable readily from 10.5” to 11.5”, but it doesn’t mean it’s unusable for larger shooters in certain conditions. The overall dimensions, however, will be suited best for small female or youth shooters.

It is made to be exceptionally lightweight, but the recoil is not horrible either. The 18.5” vent rib barrel is enough to get the shots where you want them to go and the dual extraction points make the somewhat finicky gauges more reliable for shooters.

The .410 will accommodate magnum length (3”); the 20 gauge will accommodate the 2 ¾” shells. Incidentally, this can make a very good home defense shotgun for all types of shooters thanks to the size, weight and ease of use, not to mention the reliability.

Pros

  • Great adjustability means it doesn’t become irrelevant
  • Very reliable
  • Excellent price point

Cons

  • May be too “youth specific” for some purchasers
  • Not super fit and finish

This is best for

Home defense users who want a smaller gauge shotgun and a more mobile gun. Youth and small framed female shooters who want a very lightweight shotgun. Beginner shooters who can justify the LOP dimensions.


BENELLI U.S.A. - M3 TACTICAL 12GA

Best pump shotgun for duty or tactical uses

Benelli M3 12GA

A different beast in the pump genre; the Benelli M3 is not JUST a pump shotgun. Instead it is a dual action shotgun that can be fired in semi-auto until you need the robust cyclic capabilities of a pump shotgun; or until you prefer to use the manual format.

A simple flick of the switch at the end of the fore end furniture and you can convert a semi-auto of extremely quick shots to a nearly perfect mechanical pump action shotgun.

It’s a favorite of so many users and not at all an “oddity” as the design might imply. The use cases and practicality of the gun outweighs just about every other market alternative.  Benelli, of course doesn’t make subpar shotguns. They are among the best shotguns from a fit and finish perspective. More than that, they are proven reliable, durable and accurate.

The M3, is the true multipurpose champion, though. It’s not just a hunting or bird gun like the Nova/Supernova lines. It’s not just a tactical gun like the M1, M4 and M1014 shotguns. It can do a lot of the same things as any of the other Benelli shotgun lines, but it can also do more, if you need it to.

If you had to have a single gun for everything, and you didn’t have a lot of time to decide, the Benelli M3 makes a compelling argument as the most useful and wide-ranging gun you can have by your side. The pump action is robust, but somewhat lightweight and can digest any shell you can put in it.

The semi auto configuration makes it super-fast and the gun is built for quick sight acquisition and it has all the obvious tactical features you might want (like a large charging handle, ghost ring sights and a pistol grip). As a tactical gun in difficult situations, the Benelli M3 is an easy choice for the best pump shotgun. And yeah, it’s more than that.

Pros

  • Still very innovative
  • Capable of functioning with any ammunition type
  • Built super tight and is surprisingly durable for an aluminum receiver shotgun

Cons

  • No real cons

This is best for

Shooters who need a single shotgun for all things from slug gun hunting to self defense to sporting purposes.


Honorable mentions

Kel-Tec KSG Pump Action 12 Gauge Shotgun

Kel-Tec KSG Pump Action 12 Gauge Shotgun

The Kel-Tec was one of the trend setters in the scattergun world in the past decade. It’s been the most copied and most interesting new shotgun build for several years now. Mostly due to the increase in “standard capacity” for a mag-tube fed pump shotgun, but also because it integrates bullpup features into a huge firepower platform.

Another important point here, is that, despite the fit and finish of the KSG being slightly lackluster, the durability and reliability is impressive.

A tactical masterpiece, this is a very solid choice for close quarters (and therefore home defense) usage. It is a tiny 26 (or so) inches overall in length and the 18.5 inch barrel offers plenty of spread containment for just about any normal use case. The mobility inherent in the KSG makes it a perfect pairing to any tactical scenario.

12 shots of 12 gauge goes a long way too. The capacity of the dual magazine tubes is massive. The fact that you can dedicate a tube to different styles of loads is also more than a novelty, especially if you need this gun for tactical reasons. The bottom loading and ejection design and the ambidextrous controls means the KSG is good for left handers too.

As a tactical choice this is a standout. In a crowded field like this list though, it’s only gets an honorable mention. Of course, for the money it’s earned a spot here. The important add-ons like sling swivels integrated; the top-quality recoil pad and the threaded barrel make it a serious option for many users.

Pros

  • High capacity
  • Built specifically for close quarters battle
  • Proven reliability and durability

Cons

  • Fit and finish is lacking a bit

This is best for

Users who can appreciate the small form factor and aren’t bothered by the slightly elevated learning curve of a bullpup shotgun.


CZ-USA 612 Trap Pump-Action Shotgun

CZ-USA 612 Trap Pump-Action Shotgun

A bargain priced field specific pump shotgun from the famous Czech maker, this is a USA based rendition of the classic European sporting shotgun with a few features that cater directly to the American sports shooter.

Some of these European features (think: Monte Carlo Stock) and the American touches (think: extended choke tubes and high vent-rib) combine to make a fantastic shotgun for hunting and sporting purposes that any discerning shotgun enthusiast would be proud to own.

The long (32”) barrel offers significant improvement on second shot bird performance and gives proper distance capabilities for the competition shooter too, especially since this is a pump gun that will require an extra bit of time to get on target after a first shot. The long sight plane helps to ensure that your second shot finishes what you’ve started.

Three chokes (modified, improved modified and full) gives any shooter, the confidence to reach out to distance and pair loads with the respective task at hand for good results. The finish and fitment of the 612 is fantastic too, especially when you are reminded of the low price point. It is full of nice touches like a satin chromed bore; gold plated trigger; knurling on the choke tubes and a spring assisted ejector.

It is the epitome of a value for money shotgun and fits the sporting scene very well. For shooters who want top quality features without the matching price point, this is a serious contender. Again, since this is a loaded list, the gun only scores an honorable mention, but it is a worthy inclusion on this list.

Pros

  • Great attention to detail
  • Takes the best of Euro and American consumer driven designs
  • Excellent price point

Cons

  • Hard to find a bad thing about this gun

This is best for

Any shooter who hasn’t yet owned a CZ gun. Shotgun users who want something different than the standard market offerings and have a hunting or competition sport shooting slant to their activities.


BENELLI - SUPERNOVA

BENELLI - SUPERNOVA

Benelli’s answer to the sportsman who knows they want the Italian sportscar notoriety but needs the American muscle car reliability. Benelli has crafted a shotgun capable of evoking true Italian heritage but catering to the American sport shooter and hunter in a way that satisfies from the aesthetic, practical and emotional perspectives all at once.

Sleek and refined, but not dainty, the shotgun is not a gun that is made to cater to the TACTICOOL crowd, nor is it a gun that is too far into the niche of competition shooting. It’s an honest to goodness multi-discipline shotgun that will satisfy a deer hunter, a bird hunter and a clay pigeon enthusiast in the same ways.

It’s built with a slightly “modular” concept where the gun can be custom tailored to the shooter. In that way, it is actually a little bit lower on the list of honorable mentions. Not because it doesn’t deliver on the modular build concept, but because it feels like it’s trying to be too many things to too many people. Most people who read this list will pick a factory variant and not be interested a majority of the time in changing that configuration.

That’s a single drawback, however in a gun design that feels inclusive and integrated; refined and capable, and still is priced appropriately for the mainstream market (around $750-850 USD)

Pros

  • Modular done right, even if it will push the price to a number that most won’t be happy with
  • Satisfying ergonomics and aesthetics
  • Proven brand history and a dialed-in engineering team

Cons

  • To make use of the modularity and tailored builds it can get expensive

This is best for

Shooters who already love the design features and are at a position in their shooting career to not care about price or comparative values – they want what they want. It’s the approachable Benelli, for enthusiasts who wouldn’t otherwise be able to justify the purchase of the Italian guns.

Conclusion

Finding the right pump shotgun won’t be hard with a list as stacked as the one put together above. Even the honorable mentions could make a good case as top tier choices. Match your use case to the “this is best for” section or the title of each entry and you are likely to be looking at the best in class pump shotgun across a saturated field of shotguns from around the world. This is a definitive list of the best pump shotguns anywhere.

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