Best Fighting Shotguns (Modified or unmodified)


Chris Plitt
September 14, 2008, 11:34 AM
I submit this post for the review of all the members of

What model do you feel is the best all-around combat shotgun in both the auto and pump arenas, with respect to the following areas:

a - Price
b - Reliability
c - Availability
d - Customization

On my personal choices:

Auto - Remington 1100
It doesnt matter if you go tactical model or the standard model, its a great auto that works, and when it doesnt, parts are easy to come by. The price is not bad at all, the reliability isn't quite top notch but pretty good, availability is great, and the custom arena is alright. Its not the best by any means, but it doesn't have a bad balance of features.

Price = 7
Reliability = 7
Availability = 10
Custom = 5

Pump - Mossberg 500
I think this is one that won't get many arguements for THR crowd. This is easily to the most available shotgun, the most customized, one of THE most reliable and as far as cost... one of the lowest. One of the best balance of features on a pump, and when you get down to comparison, the only shotgun that I feel comes close is the Remington 870, although it loses out in price.

Price = 9
Reliability = 9
Availability = 10
Custom = 10

So now its your turn, give me your picks... it doesnt have to be in that format, I just want everyone to know what I look at. Just give me who you like and why... and if you don't like mine... then let me know!


If you enjoyed reading about "Best Fighting Shotguns (Modified or unmodified)" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 14, 2008, 11:42 AM
I'd say it was the one that is reliable, fits well, the controls are second nature, and you have with you when you need it.

September 14, 2008, 01:32 PM
Don't overlook the Mossburg 590. I love mine.

Chris Plitt
September 14, 2008, 02:26 PM

I completely agree with you on the 590, but thats kinda true with all Mossberg shotguns, I wouldn't hesitate to throw the Mavericks into there as well, they are about the only thing that beats a Mossberg on price, even though its pretty much the same thing.


I agree with you as well, any shotgun that fits your criteria is what you should look at, but IMHO, a Mossberg seems to fit all of those, I can't stand the trigger guard push button safety... I know the 1100 has one, but it just doesn't feel natural.

September 14, 2008, 02:34 PM
I'd say it was the one that is reliable, fits well, the controls are second nature, and you have with you when you need it.

For me, that would be an unmodified 870 with a 18.5" barrel and the plug removed. :)

September 14, 2008, 03:49 PM
Wrong order of priorities.

1) Reliability -- if it doesn't work and you can't work it then the rest doesn't matter.
2) Availability -- if you can't get it then the rest doesn't matter.
3) Price -- if you sacrifice #1 for #3 then you don't value your life
4) Custom options -- the least important because it better have what you need out of the box.

Auto -- Benelli M2 Tactical with ghost rights. Reliable, durable, dependable, easy to operate and good to go right away. I've had too many 1100 failures to ever trust my life to one. Yes it's expensive but see #3 above.

Pump -- Remington 870P with 18.5" barrel, ghost rings and magazine extension. It's only slightly better than the Mossberg but still better.

September 14, 2008, 04:30 PM
tang safety, lighter weight than 870, no she's not a prom queen h&k or benelli but she's earned her bones in war zones all over the world she's a tough biker chick who won't fold under pressure.

Chris Plitt
September 14, 2008, 06:33 PM

I completely agree with you, I just threw those together as they came about in my head. I should have structured it like you said, but I didnt. I have had an 870 or two and as far as the action I seem to lean to it more, its not that I don't trust a Mossberg, because I obviously picked it, but theres just something sloppy about a Mossberg action, not sloppy in a bad way, its just that the 870s feel like an AR to me, tolerance wise, and the Mossberg like an AK. You know what they say, some people feel that the rattle of an AK (Mossberg) is the most comforting sound in the world.

And I'd like to revise my 1100 statement. I was looking around at Benelli Novas today and have found that they are FAR MORE AFFORDABLE than I remember. True its not an M_, but neither is an 1100.

September 14, 2008, 06:51 PM

Reliability is extremely important, but: let's say that a SPAS-12 was considered to be the ultimate in reliability. How many people could reasonably afford it (assuming they could find it)? If any firearm is priced out of range, it doesn't matter how reliable it is, because few will ever be able to afford it.

Most modern quality shotguns are reliable enough for defensive duty, and Remington and Mossberg especially are easy to find accessories for.

Welcome to THR, Mr. Plitt.


September 14, 2008, 08:35 PM
Mossberg 930 special purpose

drop-dead reliable
easy (ish) to customize

September 14, 2008, 10:17 PM
1. Pump, 870 21" choke tube barrel. Full Mag entension.
2.Auto, Benelli or Beretta 21" or 24" choke tubes full mag extensions.

Dave McCracken
September 14, 2008, 10:24 PM
Best fighting shotgun?

Whatever reliable, reasonably durable shotgun you've pushed 1000 rounds through since St Crispin's day and know the way your tongue knows your teeth.

September 15, 2008, 05:53 AM
We had a few 500s in Iraq and those things stood up to a ton of abuse. Great shotgun.

But I think I like the 870 better. mainly because of ergonomics concerning modified stocks. I really like a pistol grip with the stock and the 870's safety is easier to use in that respect.

Chris Plitt
September 15, 2008, 12:33 PM

I do appreciate your service to this fine country! Like I mentioned in a previous post, that safety is one of the features I dont like about the 870s. However, I have had issues with the tang safety on 500s getting lose.

September 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
I would agree PJRs rankings. If it is not reliable then I wouldn't even bother looking at the other things. I dont care how cheap or expensive, how common or how rare a weapon is if it is not reliable it makes no difference to me.

Price is tricky because it is so subjective. For some people the difference between a $300 shotgun and $600 one is negligable. For others it might be the difference between eating that month or not.

I also agree with Dave McCracken's assement of best. Best for one person is not forcedly best for another.

That said my picks are the following (given equal familiarity and profeciency with all possible choices)

Pump: Remington 870

Auto: Saiga 12

September 15, 2008, 04:56 PM
Mossberg 590 nothing needed out of the box and mine has so far been damn neer indestructable itll eat any ammo i throw in it it accepts 9 2 3/4 shells or 8 3 inchers the heat shield is nice the safty is stupid proof its comfortable (i dont like pistol grip AR style buttstocks) and when i pull the trigger it goes BOOM!!!!
i love it so much im thinking of getting another mossberg or 10 lol ive shot remingtons and agree there very nice as well but ergonomics come into play with the slide release and thats the only reason i denied it as a combat/protection shotgun

if you cant get the 590 the 500 pursuader is pretty nice too it holds 8 shells (9 if you buy a 590 follower or file the stock one) the ammo tube runs the whole barrel leangth giving it a nice clean apearance without add on extentions

as for semi autos i personaly dont like the idea of using one in a defencive role but... if i had to i think id take the mossberg 930SPX as mentioned earlier its as reliable as any other semi auto out there either that or the Saiga 12 (that rattle of an ak lol) if price wasnt a concern id go for a benelli M3 super 90 or a spas 12 IMHO pump and auto is a good idea helps with the jamming issues of semi autos i mean honestly theres a huge reason our military has used pumps for this long

oh and for SNGs either a winchester M97 (or the norinco copy) or a good solid Browning BPS with a 20 inch barrel in 10 gauge lol

and in imagination land the 8 gauge hippo from Halo lol

ok im done being silly now

Chris Plitt
September 15, 2008, 05:27 PM

Thats very interesting, I've never thought of the Saiga 12 as a defensive gun, I mean, theres no reason it can't be. I remember an article awhile back in one of the gun magazines talking about using old duck guns as home defense (even with 28" barrels). I've got nothing against the Saiga 12 in any way, I've just never thought of that!

(BTW: In a follow up to that article, someone said that the most frightening sound in the world is the cycling of a pump action in the dark - if you're not holding it - but he continued saying, why reveal your hand? Why not just lay down some 00 Buck in their chest, that will be scary enough ;) )

I will say I kinda agree with you on the pump vs auto side, If I had the option of both, I'd take both, but if I could only choose one, it would be a pump. One thing I have noticed recently is the decline in price on the plain jane BPS models. They are pretty comparable in price, but I haven't ventured much into the searching for custom options, nor have I ever owned one to attest to its reliability. I assume it is pretty reliable, it sells pretty well here in the south, but like I said, I cant attest to it - so I won't knock it or promote it, the true NO SPIN ZONE... other than the spin from the barrel.

September 15, 2008, 05:37 PM
just a responce on articles in one of my gun mags the reviewer was discussing the 590 and stated that the oposing side didnt fear the M4s nearly as much as the boomstick 12 gauge lol

September 15, 2008, 06:26 PM
BTW the sound of a Saiga-12 bolt slamming a round home is louder than the sound of a pump. But the loudest sound of all is the sound of buckshot headed down a hallway.

September 15, 2008, 08:03 PM
Dimis...I can tell you that in 03 when we were in Baghdad, all the Iraqis were in awe of the shotgun. I was standing with my buddy who had a Mossberg 500 and I had my SAW. All the people were pointing at the shotgun and called it "the pump action" in their best Van Dam impression. They get all knowledge of it from the movies so it is feared by all. Next to him I might as well been carrying a broom.

September 15, 2008, 08:05 PM
I think in a defensive situtation the person useing the wepon shotgun pistol whatever is more important then the wepon it self

I 'll but money on my old algebra II teacher mr. farernt , how is in his 50's, to kick all our a**'s with a spoon.

He was a black beret witch is higher than a ranger nowadays

Chris Plitt
September 15, 2008, 10:40 PM

I've heard pretty much the same thing from anyone coming out of the sandbox, the local people are in awe of the shotgun - point and say "pump akshun." Or so I've heard. You were a brave soul, I hear that the SAW gunners are the target of choice for insurgency snipers these days. I've talked with a few of the LE guys around here and they all seem to be big supporters of the shotgun, with regards to the situation. My wifes uncle is a state trooper and said he would prefer the shotgun until the other guy has a rifle - then he'd like to have an HK91 or G3, anything that throws a 7.62mm round... but thats for a different discussion!

September 15, 2008, 11:48 PM
I like my 870 SBS. :)

Ben Shepherd
September 15, 2008, 11:50 PM
Fighting shotgun?

In the auto category I really lean hard towards the saiga 12. Been getting to know these quite well over the last few years. I know of one personally that's over 6,000 rounds, power ranges from #8bird to OO buck. Runs wonderfully. Always has.

One of my personal ones is over 500 now with no hiccups.

The drawback/advatage(depending on specific situation) is the detatchable magazines. Fastest full capacity reload you've ever seen. But you can't select a load for a specfic need without removing the mag. With a pump, as long as you're one down, you just stuff it in the magazine and pump once.

Chris Plitt
September 16, 2008, 01:15 PM

Yeah, yeah, Don't rub it in. That is the one thing that is a no go in Alabama. There is a way around it though. If you purchase a shotgun/rifle that was made/designated as a pistol grip from the factory, then you can have it converted and listed as an AOW. Im contemplating having it done on a Mossberg persuader!

September 16, 2008, 01:38 PM
Mine is the HK/Benelli M1 Super 90 that I purchased new in 1993 :evil:

September 16, 2008, 02:06 PM

September 16, 2008, 02:12 PM
My Remington 11-87 done up by Scattergun Tech. Not that cheap but feeds 00 buck and slugs and is really easy to use.

Chris Plitt
September 16, 2008, 04:46 PM
@H20 MAN

An awesome gun... that I'm sure you paid through the nose for back then!

September 16, 2008, 06:04 PM
Chris Plitt @H20 MAN

An awesome gun... that I'm sure you paid through the nose for back then!


I think the retail was $700-ish back then.

September 16, 2008, 10:40 PM
i do have to give credit to the saiga i have one in .410 (couldnt find a 12) and its operation is pretty close to flawless as long as i feed it the 3 inch shells (needs a special mag for the 2.5s) but if the fecal matter hits the rapidly rotating cooling device im going for the mossberg everytime

Brian Williams
September 17, 2008, 10:16 AM
Mine is a WIN 1300, But I would prefer an Ithaca 37 in US GI trench-gun form.

September 17, 2008, 12:38 PM
Saiga 12 is all you'll ever need ok maybe the 20 drum to go with it.

September 17, 2008, 02:33 PM
In a HD scenario, you've got to consider a few things:

--It's likely to be dark
--You need to ID the target and determine if it's a threat
--You might get shot yourself (especially in the leading off-hand) and need to operate the gun with one hand--semi-autos and pistol grips (WITH a full stock, not instead of one) are easier and quicker than pumps to operate with one hand.
--Probably don't want a sling if your going to be sneaking around door knobs with the thing.

Beyond that, I don't have a preference. Happen myself to have a Benelli M1 Super 90 with Surefire light attached, but that's just my solution. If you can fit a flashlight for a 20 gauge Rem 11-87, that might do even better (even without the pistol grip).

If you go semi-auto, check it for function with your preferred defense load, about 100 times before you depend on it.

Good luck.

September 17, 2008, 05:47 PM
He was a black beret witch is higher than a ranger nowadays

What actually do you mean by this? Do you mean standards have declined, or something else? I'm really not sure...

September 17, 2008, 06:52 PM
I am a big fan of both the 870, and the 500. I have no combat knowledge of any SemiAuto SS, but i've heard good things about the AA-12

He was a black beret witch is higher than a ranger nowadays

What actually do you mean by this? Do you mean standards have declined, or something else? I'm really not sure...

I'm really hoping that this is a reference to the fact that until 2000, I think, the Rangers wore black berets. When in it's infinite wisdom the DotArmy decided that in the interests of "esprit de Corps" that everyone in the Army should wear French women's hats. Shortly after that the Rangers went to the Tan. I somewhere have the black one I got handed after Ranger school, but I have no idea where.

Chris Plitt
September 17, 2008, 08:46 PM

I had a Winchester 1300 for quite awhile and in my memory, I would put it up there with any other pump. I believe it rattled around my trunk for about 9 months, until I replaced it with an AK pistol (hold your comments please!) and I seemed to have sold/traded it. I want one back now, If anyone has a WIN 1300 that they would like to donate to my cause, then please let me know!

Mat, not doormat
October 5, 2008, 07:21 PM
Winchester Model '97 takes pump honors.

Browning A-5 takes the Auto slot.

Jeff F
October 5, 2008, 07:26 PM
pretty hard to beat an 870 of any flavor.

October 8, 2008, 02:44 PM
870. I like it; I'm used to it. What more can I say?

October 8, 2008, 04:44 PM
It is astounding how many questions can be answered, "870."

October 8, 2008, 06:38 PM
I wouldn't want an autoloader unless it was that benelli super 90. Of course I've got no 'fighting' experience but that is just my preference, I prefer the pump for reliability and I cannot afford a benelli autoloader.

I would take either a 590A1 or an 870 tactical model. I would want rifle sights, synthetic stock(non-folding), side saddle and that lasermax laser/light combo. And if it was the 590A1 i'd get a bayonet on the front, just in case :neener:.

October 8, 2008, 06:51 PM
I'm an 870 diehard but I'd want a Tromix Saiga if I spent a lot of time shotgunning on a two way shooting range.

October 9, 2008, 12:39 PM
My vote is for my mossberg 590

October 13, 2008, 11:34 PM
If I had to pick a shotgun that I had to train folks to use(and I have), it would be a Mossberg of some variety. Meets requirements for everything including cost. Going up it would be a Browning BPS, 870, in that order. If they still made them Ithaca would be in the mix.
Best means many things to many folks. I never liked Glock pistols till I had to train people to use them and did not speak the language, simple, simple, simple. And simple is good. Same with shotguns, if a Mossberg had downward ejection, it might be perfect-no wait-that is a BPS.
Now the above is based on the ease of training/use for everyman. For myself, I would probably stick to the 1100 substantially modified with extended mag, trigger job, rifle sights, and a ported barrel. Softest shooting auto going IMHO. An unmodified Benelli M2 or Beretta 1201 would fill the bill while kicking my butt somewhat more.

October 14, 2008, 01:27 AM
I just got a 870HD for $336 tax and background check. Your not going to get a better shotgun for the money and has the options I wanted for cheaper than going out and buying a used 870 and adding the options.

October 14, 2008, 09:17 PM
The one I train with.

October 14, 2008, 09:33 PM
I have Remington 11-87P's, Saiga 12, Mossy 500 and a Maverick and any of these will work just fine for HD or combat provided IMHO that they are under 20'' in barrel length. I prefer semi-auto but have absolutely no problem with the pump.


October 14, 2008, 11:40 PM
Ehh... lets just replace that Moss with a Rem

October 17, 2008, 10:00 AM
The SAIGA 12 will do it all box fed 12Ga 10 round mag as well as 20 round drum

If you enjoyed reading about "Best Fighting Shotguns (Modified or unmodified)" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!