11 Best Pump Action Shotguns – March 2023

Mossberg 590 Custom

Pump-action shotguns are part of American folklore and are still a lot of people’s favorite gun for home defense.

With the right slugs or buckshot, a shotgun is still one of the most effective close range weapons and they are surprisingly cheap.

It has, of course, become a smooth-brained cliche that the best home defense is the sound of a 12 gauge racking. But the greatest stereotypes carry just a kernel of truth and there is something deeply satisfying about the smooth rack and click of good old-fashioned pump action shotguns.

You can also get magazine fed shotguns that we kind of love, but here we’re sticking with the traditional pump action shotguns you know and love.

But which is the best pump action shotgun for sale in 2023?

Remington Model 870 Express Tactical

1. Remington Model 870 Express Tactical

  • Price: $465.99
  • Barrel Length: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 7.5lb
  • Capacity: 4+1

The Remington Model 870 Express has been America’s best-selling shotgun for more than 50 years and continues to patrol lots in the hands of world weary security guards to this day.

It is also one of the established masters for home defense. That 18.5 inch barrel is perfect for swinging round your home, although you can get a longer barrel version if you’re the rural type and range is more important than maneuverability.

But for most of you looking for an all-round starter pump action shotgun and home defense shotgun, then it’s pretty hard to beat America’s favorite shotgun in its shorter form.

The Remington 870 Express pump action shotgun receiver is machined from billet steel and twin action bars ensure a smooth slide. Aside from that this is a fuss free Synthetic Tactical 12 gauge shotgun.

So if you’re not intending to put red dot sights, scopes or weapons lights on your pump shotgun, then you might appreciate this sleek and minimalist form.

Also, you can get a magazine tube extension for an extra two shells and we would thoroughly recommend that version of the Remington 870 Express.

Mossberg 590 7 Shot with extension tube. A great shotgun for round the house and in the fields.

2. Mossberg 590 Tactical

  • Price: $467.99
  • Barrel Length: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 7.25lb
  • Capacity: 6+1 Rounds

The United States military selected the Mossberg 590 over its 500 stablemate thanks to its more rugged, simple design and slightly heavier barrel. That’s good enough for us…

The Mossberg 590 lacks the 500’s dual extractors, but it is a battle proven shotgun with a dead simple design that shouldn’t let you down when it matters. It also has dual lock-up on the magazine and a skeletonized shell carrier that provides better clearance to prevent short cycling.

A simple rubber recoil pad is invaluable protection for your own shoulder and it’s easy to fit a pistol grip if you want to give up the smooth lines. Lots of people keep their pump action shotgun exactly like this, or with an olde world walnut stock.

Want to Go Military Spec?

You can also opt for the Mossberg 590A1, which upgrades to a heavier walled barrel and a stronger metal trigger group, a bayonet lug and most of them come with ghost ring sights.

The Mossberg 590A1 is an even more reliable pump shotgun, by the numbers, and that’s why law enforcement and military teams love it.

There are some wild and crazy limited edition guns, too, natch, and we’ll get to one or two of those pump action shotguns shortly.

But if you’re looking for the closest you can get to the law enforcement and US Marine Corps mil-spec Mossberg shotguns, at a low price point, then the Mossberg 590A1 pump shotgun is a good place to start.

Kel-Tek KSG Pump Action shotgun

3. Kel-Tec KSG

  • Price: $669.99
  • Barrel: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Capacity: 5+1 Rounds

The Kel-Tec KSG is a monster of a tactical pump action shotgun and a movie star in its own right.

The twin magazine tube layout allows for a massive 12 shell capacity up to 3 inch shells, or more with mini shells. And the bullpup layout just seems to work with a 12 gauge pump shotgun.

This Kel-Tec is a high capacity shotgun that should give a competitive advantage in most cases. Its compact layout, pistol grip stock and chunky synthetic layout all scream ‘battle shotgun’.

The Kel-Tec KSG is 26 inches long, 6.9lb and simply devastating in the right hands. Like the hands of John Wick, for instance.

Have a look at some other bullpup shotguns here.

Get a reliable Kel-Tec, and maybe do some feed ramp polishing and a ghost ring sight, you have an extreme home defense shotgun here.,

Benelli Supernova shotgun with a Marine-style telescoping stock. Get yours today.

4. Benelli Supernova

  • Price: $727.99
  • Barrel: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Capacity: 7+1 Rounds

There are tamer versions available for small game hunting, turkey hunting, waterfowl shooting and more. But we love the purity of this close quarters combat shotgun with a telescoping stock.

This Benelli Supernova is one of the best shotguns for defensive duties thanks to its lightweight frame, high capacity tube magazine that holds 7 rounds and compact layout. The adjustable length of pull is nice, too, and it does give the Benelli a tailor-made feel.

Aside from that you get a butter smooth action and a great pump shotgun for home defense.

Mossberg 590 Shockwave with a bird's head grip. A great defensive shotgun.

5. Mossberg 590 Shockwave

  • Price: $429.99
  • Barrel: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 5.5lb
  • Capacity: 7+1 Rounds Price:

The Mossberg 590 Shockwave Raptor bird’s head grip is a legend. Not all States permit this fantastic little shotgun, but if yours does then you should buy one now.

The Mossberg 590 Shockwave is awesome at fitting round tight stairwells and sweeping apartments and that sounds like the best home defense shotgun. It’s also one of those movie guns that you have seen time and again because, frankly, it looks cool.

You could also just about use this as a concealed carry shotgun, if you ever have a need for such a thing. We’re not judging. I mean, a bit…

You can buy a Shockwave with a detachable box magazine these days, too, and that makes reloading the work of a second.

With a 10+1 capacity or 20+1 if you opt for the extended magazine on your 12 gauge shotgun. That turns this awesome little shotgun into a total weapon of war and maybe the best pump shotgun for home defense. Have a look at our box magazine fed shotguns post to see more.

DP-12 double barrel shotgun pump action

6. Standard MFG DP-12 Double Barrel Shotgun

  • Price: $1,099.99
  • Barrel: 18.8 inch
  • Weight: 9.75lb
  • Capacity: 14 Rounds

You might not have known that you need a high capacity double barrel shotgun that loads both barrels at the same time. But now you know it exists, and you kind of do need one. Or, at least, you want one very badly indeed.

Essentially this is two guns linked to one central spine and trigger system. Load once, fire twice. Check your state restrictions, obviously, because not all gun laws are cool with this thing.

If you can own one, it’s an awesome 12 Gauge pump shotgun that fires up to 3 inch shells. It also has a rail for a red dot, although that’s more about fast target acquisition than actual precision work.

That could actually prove useful in big bear country. But also you might just want the best bullpup shotgun and this certainly stakes a left-field claim.

It might be overkill for a home defense shotgun though and it’s a lot of complexity for a small advantage.

Winchester SXP pump action shotgun, a perfect starter shotgun for home defense and basic protection.

7. Winchester SXP

  • Price: $292.99
  • Barrel: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb
  • Capacity: 5+1 Rounds

This inertia driven shotgun comes with a fixed barrel choke that gun owners pretty much all agree makes life easier.

Features include a simple synthetic stock and brass bead sights. This one has a fiber optic front sight for increased clarity and fast target acquisition. You also get a hard chrome finish barrel. The open choke helps with slugs to buckshot. and this is an accurate shotgun if you want to go target shooting with slugs.

It is a home defense legend in this spec. But you can order a longer barrel version for duck hunting, turkey hunting, they got lots of specialists to be honest. We like the Winchester SXP Defender for its sheer utilitarianism.

Winchester SXP Field is an All Purpose Outdoors Gun

People use them for small game hunting and pest control. Duck hunting and waterfowl hunters seem to love the Winchester SXP Field as well.

And the fact it’s one of the best-selling shotguns in America. It just might be the best home defense shotgun, and a massive amount of Americans rely on it. Realistically this is a shotgun for home defense, hunting, just about everything really.

But you might want to look at the various forms and different barrel lengths 12 gauge pump shotguns. Get a long barrel, or a pistol grip stock.

Black Aces Tactical pump action shotgun with a 10-round mag. This cheap shotgun has a big name and a sci fi look.

8. Black Aces Tactical FD12 Bullpup

  • Price: $467.99
  • Barrel : 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 10lb
  • Capacity: 10+1 Rounds

This is a wild looking range of shotguns, pump action and semi-automatic, from Black Aces Tactical. You can get a series of colors, it’s a fun gun and the magazine means it’s seriously high capacity.

You can fit any 1919 mags or drums, so the capacity is really down to you. This black synthetic tactical pump action shotgun cycles reliably and the owner reviews are stellar. You also get a full length picatinny rail for your red dot sights. The external box magazines are a technical leap forward, too.

Also, it’s really cheap. Like really cheap. So you can buy a Star Wars laser gun tribute act that fires 12 gauge shotgun shells with your credit card.

Black Aces sell semi-auto shotguns too that look almost the same as this pump bullpup shotgun and really don’t cost much more. Check out the full range here.

Stevens 320 Security. A cheap shotgun that really works.

9. Stevens 320 Security

  • Price: $248.99
  • Barrel: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.85lb
  • Capacity: 5+1 Rounds

This might look like a cheap Benelli clone, and it sort of is, but Savage Arms is behind the Stevens 320 Security 12 gauge shotgun and that means it’s better than the price tag suggests.

Savage Arms make some of the best budget rifles on the market and the Savage Axis is one of the best cheap rifles for sale today. So this is basically going to be one of those bargain basement pump actions that is a solid shotgun for home defense.

Of course the world needs those.

The Stevens features a proven rotary bolt and dual slide bars together with a simple fixed front sight for aiming in the general vicinity. The pistol grip is solid, although it does look like a cheap shotgun with a 12 gauge cylinder bore. Because, well, it is…

The 12 Gauge Stevens 320 Field is basically the same recipe with a long barrel.

Benelli Nova, a pump action shotgun that's every bit as sexy as the semi-auto Benelli M4, for much less money

10. Benelli Nova

  • Price: $399.99
  • Barrel: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Capacity: 4+1 Rounds

The Benelli M4 semi-auto is way more famous. But if you want the best budget pump action shotgun, then the Benelli Nova is here.

The one-piece buttstock and receiver in steel reinforced polymer is the real ‘difference’. But also it’s a Benelli shotgun for less than $400. That is probably the big news here if we’re honest.

The Benelli name has gravitas, distinction and presence. That’s what will attract most buyers. Well that and the butter smooth action, molded grip that somehow feels better than the opposition. And a reputation for reliability, durability and accuracy that is well deserved.

You can add ghost ring sights, red dot sights, a side saddle and all kinds of Benelli parts & accessories to turn this into the best home defense shotgun. But maybe start with a magazine tube extension for more shells.

We love the ARGO gas operated Benelli M4 semi-auto shotgun, and the M2, but there is definitely a place in this world for this simpler 12 Gauge pump gun. It is certainly a cheaper choice for home defense.

Naturally there’s a longer barrel Super Nova Field pump version for game hunting and blowing turkeys and duck out the sky. If a bird hunting shotgun is your thing, get the longer barrel here.

Mossberg Maverick Security 88 shotgun.

11. Mossberg Maverick 88 Security

  • Price: $256.99
  • Barrel: 18.5 inch
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Capacity: 5+1 Rounds

The Mossberg Maverick Security 88 is a low budget pump action shotgun that protects Third World Banks and American homes alike.

A lot of private security carry Maverick pump actions. Thank the simplicity and reliability of a traditional 12 gauge shotgun.

Ease of use also comes into it, as not all private security is created equal on this planet and the guy with his hand on the trigger doesn’t always have extensive military training. Or any training.

The shorter Mossberg Maverick 88 Cruiser is also a great choice for home defense, a truck gun, just about everything you want or need at this price point.

With a simple pistol grip and no stock, the Mossberg Maverick Cruiser is a lot of people’s favorite for home defense. But there are field pump guns too.

Savae 212 Slug Gun. An unusual shotgun

12. Savage Arms Model 212 Slug Gun

  • Action: Bolt Action Rifle

Bolt action shotguns are an oddity that won’t go away. Hunters like them with slugs and others just like to shoot a bolt action shotgun for the sheer perversion of it.

So yeah, bolt action shotguns do exist, and you might want one. It’s all good.

Lever action shotguns are a thing too, and we like the Chiappa 1887 Bootleg lever action shotgun. You can also find a straight single shot shotgun with a break action, but you might as well buy an old side by side or over/under at that point. A single shot is an abomination.

The Best Shotgun Stores and Gun Stores Online

Palmetto State Armory is our favorite gun store at the moment for many things. We know they got famous with cheap guns and gun deals, but Palmetto State Armory also has the vast majority of big name shotguns for sale.

If you’re looking for the best tactical shotgun that won’t break the bank, a semi-automatic shotgun from Benelli or a Remington 870 Tactical, start with Palmetto State Armory and then work from there.

Black Aces Tactical meanwhile have struck a deal with Palmetto State Armory and you’ll find all their shortguns and ammo on the Palmetto State Armory website. And not many other places.

If you try and fail to find your shotgun at Palmetto State Armory, then head to Guns.com. This site has a multi vendor approach, a lot like Amazon, so you’ll find guns for sale when everybody else is out of stock. Even Palmetto State Armory.

Guns.com is our fallback when gun stocks get weird, and that has happened more times than we care to mention in the last couple of years. When everybody else has run out of the best tactical shotgun and 12 Gauge pump shotguns, pump shotguns etc, try Guns.com.

The prices can get high when stocks get low. But that’s supply & demand and we’re not going to cry about it too much. If stocks are low and you can find the shotgun that saves your life, then it’s cheap at any price.

Where to Buy Shotgun Ammo

We also really like Brownells and Sportsman’s Guide, especially for 12 gauge ammo. Shotgun ammo is getting expensive, but both Sportsman’s Guide and PSA have solid deals. For home defense or hunting gear, they’ve got options.

Both of them are great choices for 9mm ammo, too, including defensive 9mm ammo, rifle ammo and new gun deals.

Where to Buy Shotgun Parts & Accessories

If you have semi-auto shotguns or pump guns, the parts & accessories are largely the same. Red dot sights, ghost ring sights or a fiber optic front sight and a side saddle are popular gun accessories. You might need a new oversize trigger guard or hunting gear.

A pistol grip, choke tube and new trigger guard can change the look and feel of any old-school firearm and turn it into the best tactical shotgun. Bigger mods and gun accessories include upgrades to the synthetic stock, but if you’re going to go that way just spend more on your shotgun now and save on parts kits.

The best red dot sight for a shotgun is a big debate, although we like the Venom Vortex, Aimpoint Micro-T and Bushnell Trophy TRS-25. Of course, the Trijicon RMR is pretty sweet, too. So if you’re shopping for a red dot sight, start with these gun accessories. Check here for all of them.

What About a Semi-Automatic Shotgun Instead?

A pump shotgun is reliable, safe, simple and cheap. But the semi-auto shotgun has got much better and you might want to consider one before you pull the trigger on a pump action.

Thanks to the gas operated system redirecting part of the recoil, a gas system semi-auto offers reduced recoil. A semi-automatic shotgun also get faster cycling time and you don’t have to worry about people with a smaller frame racking the slide.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a magazine and semi-auto action on your best home defense shotgun. It can add a little weight to your best tactical 12 gauge shotgun, but a semi-auto with a 50 rd drum magazine could change your outlook on racking the slide.

As could the form and function of today’s best semi-auto shotgun options. The AK style Kalashnikov KS-12T is a monster, the high price, high spec Tavor TS-12 is hilariously overcomplicated and you can choose from our rifles, shotguns best AR rifle layouts or even a concealed carry shotgun pistol.

Because why the hell not? The semi-automatic shotgun is that flexible a term. Organise the price low to high and you’ll see a massive price difference too.

This post goes into way more depth on semi-automatic shotguns, best AR-style and more.

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