There are few sexier weapons than the semi-automatic Tactical shotgun.
Why? Because it’s a weapon of war.
It’s not a hunter, it’s not a gatherer.
The semi-automatic tactical shotgun has lethal intent and is destined for a gunfight, which makes it a great home defense solution if the need ever arises.
They are big, bold and they bring the shock and awe.
Watch the shotgun scene in John Wick 2. Then watch it again. It’s epic and made me start shopping for Benelli M4s. Maybe I am gullible after all…
Of course, shotguns always face that one big problem: capacity.
We wish semi-automatic tactical shotguns held more shells and there are a couple of novel solutions to that dilemma on this list. But even with limited shells, they’re still absolute beasts for home defense.
Modern slugs give you real options to traditional buckshot and we think these are some of the best guns on the open market.
So, here are our favorite semi-automatic tactical shotguns for sale in 2019.
1. Benelli M4 Tactical
- Price: $1,799
- Barrel length: 18.5 inches
- Total length: 40 inches
- Weight: 7.8lb
- Capacity: 5+1/ 7+1 with extension tube.
On a technical level, we don’t think the Benelli M4 actually wins this one anymore. There are simply better, more tactical options.
So if you’re looking for pure performance, keep scrolling down for added capacity and fast reloads.
If you want the benchmark, though, the tried and trusted tech that is also an absolute work of lethal art, then the Benelli M4 is still the daddy. So there’s a certain respect for tradition that has gone into this list, as well as just an objective look at the firepower.
Why is Benelli a Legend?
Prestige, heritage, military connections, engineering prowess and a couple of other things came into the mix to help carry the Benelli M4 over the line. I’m not going to lie, John Wick helps a bit too.
Just don’t think for a second this is an easy win. If anything, we’re throwing Benelli a bone here.
Now, this is a sublime handling shotgun that feels tight as a drum in terms of tolerances and yet butter smooth in terms of the semi-automatic shotgun action. It’s a work of wonder and to shoot a Benelli M4 is to love one.
It is the shotgun that the Navy SEALs take into action and that does count for something.
The military endorsement is cool and the Benelli M4 has been proven to be one of the most reliable shotguns in the known world. Along with cockroaches, these guns will survive the Apocalypse.
That’s why it’s popular. That and the perfect engineering that means a failure to feed is 100% down to your cheap ass buying knockoff shells. Everything, from loading it through to emptying all 8 rounds of heavyweight buckshot into a target, is a chance to play with pure precision engineering. You can feel it in every part.
The self-cleaning, Auto Regulating Gas Operated ARGO piston is just stellar, you can strip it in the field in seconds, thanks to the SOCOM requirements, and it’s up there with the best of them in terms of accuracy. That’s not as big a thing with a shotgun as it is with a 308 sniper rifle, but it still matters.
John Wick’s Benelli had been mildly breathed on by Taran Tactical Innovations, so he got an extended charging handle, better loading access, better grips and a simple Matchwarez clip that held a shell right by the charging handle. Smart…
You will need the mag extension tube, in fact if you’re going tactical then I have assumed you would. But it’s still 7+1 and that makes me nervous. You’d need a sidearm, or an AR pistol as a back-up. Unless you’re super awesome with quad loading, of course…
Either way, get the Taran Tactical Innovations charging handle, Accuguide and bolt release. They won’t quite turn you into John Wick, but they’ll make it easier to reload on the move. There are other options and lots of Benelli parts & accessories here.
Of course, the elephant in the room with the Benelli M4 is always going to be capacity.
I fully expect to see a magazine on the next gen, or a separate shotgun. When we get a mag-fed Benelli with a semi-auto action then I think we’ll have the best home defense shotgun in the world by a comfortable margin.
Until then, the Benelli M4 scrapes it as the best semi automatic tactical shotgun for sale in 2019.
But man it’s close…
2. Kalashnikov KS-12T Tactical Shotgun
3. AA-12 Sledgehammer
- Price: $3,250
- Barrel length: 18.5 inches
- Total length: 38 inches
- Weight: 10.5lb
- Capacity: 20-round drum mag
Purists might be up in arms, but this is a tactical shotgun taken to the next level and believe it or not it has been with us for 45 years. Seriously, we have been waiting that long for the civilian version of military hardware that made its debut in 1972.
It really is an assault shotgun, we guess…
Check out the fully automatic version. It really is a thing of beauty and the lack of recoil really does have to be seen to be believed. It’s softer than an AR-15.
That was a fully automatic shotgun that was a revelation due to the sheer lack of recoil. Essentially, the gas system absorbed 80% of the recoil, a recoil spring accounted for 10% more and the general consensus is that the AA-12 offers about 10% of the recoil of a standard 12 Gauge round.
It has taken forever to get the semi-automatic version that should be a fixture on these lists and a law enforcement favorite by now. Finally, Sol Invictus Arms has done the deal to put the semi-auto version of this icon on sale and we’re waiting for the first units to hit the open market.
It’s a closed-bolt design, unlike the open bolt automatic version that owes much to the basic machine gun architecture.
While the gun hasn’t been available to buy, it has become a video game and movie star, which isn’t too surprising considering the insane firepower on offer here. 20 rounds from the drum mag or 8 from a box mag mean this simple gun offers AR-functionality with 12 gauge stopping power.
Sounds good doesn’t it?
They’re coming on stream slowly. So there isn’t really an easy place to find an AA-12 for sale as yet although the first pre-sale was handled by Armslist.
Keep an eye out for the AA-12 Shotgun for sale and we will do the same…
4. FN SLP Tactical
- Price: $1,179
- Barrel Length: 18 inch
- Total Length: 38.75 inch
- Weight: 7.7lb
- Capacity: 6+1 rounds
The Benelli is the safe option for the best tactical shotgun. It’s the King of shotgun culture and deserves its due respect here. But just a few minor features give the Benelli the edge in technical terms and the FN shotgun is significantly cheaper.
If price is a concern but you still want a premium tactical shortgun, this is the one you should probably buy.
Also, if you want an FN that doesn’t cost the Earth, then it’s this or the very solid FN509 handgun that features on our list of top Glock alternatives.
The forums are alive with the debate and while the general consensus is that the Benelli M4 is a slightly better shotgun in terms of packaging and durability, the FN is every bit as good in every other area. Shotgun fanatics generally have both and still have a hard time choosing between them.
Long story short, if you get the FN and save a butt ton of money then you will probably never regret the decision.
The only time you might is when you’re switching out the pistons for 3 inch Magnum loads, when the Benelli just eats anything and everything. That aside, you will find more similiarities than differences between these two top class firearms.
The FN has an active valve gas system, a two-piece bolt, a bolt release button on the receiver and a high-profile ghost ring rear sight that still leaves space for a red dot.
It’s also prettier than the Benelli, if that counts for anything in your eyes.
5. Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical
- Price: $778.99
- Barrel length: 18.5 inch
- Total Length: 39 inches
- Weight: 7.75lb
- Capacity: 8+1
If you’re on a budget, this is the best traditional semi-auto tactical shotgun. It’s a bargain in this company and is easily the best tactical shotgun out there for $1000 if you don’t include the AK-based options..
Here it comes with a full length synthetic stock, ghost ring sights at the rear and an M16 fiber optic front sight. Aside from that, 8+1 is a solid capacity and actually gives it the edge over far more expensive offerings.
Clearly, the fit and finish isn’t quite a match for the Benelli M4 and that’s why it costs half as much.
Mossberg does have a stellar reputation for reliability and law enforcement officers all round the country rely on a Mossberg 930 SPX as their duty shotgun.
6. MOLOT Vepr 12
- Price: $699.99
- Barrel length: 19 inch
- Total Length: 38.5 inches
- Weight: 8.5lb
On a purely technical level, and this is going to cause me some problems with the purists, this is the winner that you can actually buy right now. It’s really that good and it’s a bargain.
An Executive Order banned the import of Kalashnikov Concern products, but the MOLOT Vepr 12 is still legit.
Seriously, show me what about the Vepr 12 is not ‘tactical’ enough. You might not consider it a traditional tactical shotgun, but give me the one criteria you think really rules it out?
It’s heavier than the streamlined Benelli, sure, and that does count. But it comes with a full AK-style layout, including a folding stock that turns this into an AK shockwave with a longer barrel.
If you can’t handle this weapon, that’s on you.
The lower receiver evolved from the RKG Light Machine Gun receiver and this is military to its core. You can also fit aftermarket furniture to change the look and feel of your gun, right down to a bi-pod.
Load it up with 8-round magazines, switch them out and start firing again in less than half a second. You don’t need crazy reloading skills with this shotgun, just the basic ability to switch a mag. You don’t even really need to do that if you start with a 20-round drum mag.
Yes, you can get them.
That’s the insane tactical advantage that the Vepr 12 will always have over greats like the Benelli M4 and the lesser known FN.
You can’t take it away, it’s a game-changing evolution and I am absolutely sure that box magazine-fed shotguns are the future. Make them semi-auto, too, and shotguns suddenly have a pretty good future.
Vepr 12 Shotgun Isn’t Perfect
Reliability and the nth degree of engineering really aren’t in the Vepr’s wheelhouse. This is basic, potato and vodka engineering. It looks like a traditional Kalashnikov and a typical bystander wouldn’t even know it was a shotgun at all. That’s not really a tactical advantage, but it is sort of fun.
The Vepr 12 comes with an added dimension. If you switch out buckshot for slugs then you can seriously nail targets up to 200 meters, even though the effective range is only listed at half that. This guy did it…
What does that mean? It means you can have a Deadpool-style ammo bag that changes your Vepr 12 completely, depending on the distance. You can light up the local vicinity with a maelstrom of buckshot, or you can take aim at AR-15 distances.
It also means you can hunt with it.
Seriously, what’s not to love about this shotgun?
Put a reflex sight up top and you’ve got an absolute weapon on your hands. In almost every scenario, the Vepr 12 has the Benelli’s number.
It doesn’t have the heritage, the prestige or the premium feel, and there’s a perceived reliability advantage for the Benelli. But if I was going into a warzone and could take only one shotgun, I think it would be this one.
7. SRM Arms M1228
Barrel Length: 18.5
Total Length: 33.75 inch
Capacity: 28+1 rounds
No, seriously, 28+1 rounds. It’s a novel approach to a tactical shotgun, but you have to say it ticks most the boxes.
This gun is built around the Aguila mini-shell, so it doesn’t carry that many 3 inch slugs. That’s a limitation, we’re not going to lie. But the payoff is that you get 28+1 rounds in those four-tubes, seven in each tube in that clever rotary magazine.
Twist the tube and the semi-automatic shotgun loads the next round automatically. That’s remarkably similar to the Tavor TS-12 that may turn out to be the better option in the long run, but this is a mag you can switch out.
Changing the magazine on the SRM Arms M1228 isn’t quite like dropping a mag from a box-magazine fed shotgun and slotting another home. But it isn’t that painful. This video features the 16+1 round version for full-sized shotgun shells.
Watch the video in full for awesome insights into the rate of fire and the sheer destructive capability of this weapon of war.
With 28+1 minishells, this thing is basically beyond AR-15 capacity with fricking shotgun shells, slugs and whatever else you want to throw at this particular situation.
You could turn each tube into a different option, from slugs through to non-lethal options, which makes it an intriguing option for law enforcement officers and people that just like blowing the shit out of stuff.
The rate of fire on this shotgun is pretty amazing
8. Tavor TS-12
- Price: $1539.99
- Barrel length: 18.5 inch
- Total Length: 28.75 inches
- Weight: 8.85lb
- Capacity: 15+1
It’s an evil looking shotgun isn’t it? And while some of you will be seriously questioning my sanity, and maybe my parentage, in its own way this is tactical as f**k.
You get 15 shells, five in each of three tubes. Rotate the tube, the next shell finds its way to the chamber thanks to an impressive semi-auto action and you’re ready to go again. With mini-shells, which might work, you could have up to 25 rounds on tap.
Then you’re basically done, is the only issue. That mag is fixed in place and can’t be switched out for a full one. There is a loading tube at the rear and you can load one and fire. But basically once you’ve let loose with those 25 rounds, you’ve got an issue.
But when was the last time you actually did need more than 25 shells for a self-defense situation? It has never happened to me…
Law Enforcement Officers and military will likely stay away from the Tavor TS-12 because it’s a relative dead weight after the first onslaught and the complexity of the system should make you a little nervous.
it’s probably not the first port of call for a home defense shotgun because there are so many moving parts. Now the actual technology behind this is not rocket science, but every layer of complexity tends to tug at reliability and it seems inevitable that you’re going to have to go at the Tavor TS-12 with the gunsmithing tools..
There are better options here for a defensive shotgun then. But as a fun gun, a piece of engineering to enjoy, it’s spectacular.
The barrel is 18.5 inches long and it comes with a full Picatinny rail for a sight or even a scope. You could load up one tube with buckshot, another with slugs and the third with, well, whatever you like.
We don’t know how accurate it is yet, but IWI make solid gear and there’s no reason to suggest you couldn’t use this as hunting shotgun if you’re that way inclined.
This semi-automatic shotgun is also destined to star in a lot of movies in the years ahead.
9. Benelli SuperNova Tactical
- Price: $499.99
- Barrel length: 18 inch
- Total Length: 40 inches
- Weight: 7.2lb
- Capacity: 4+1
It’s a budget effort from Benelli that obviously is the consumer grade version of the Mil-spec in every way Benelli M4.
10. Beretta 1301 Tactical Marine
- Price: $1,198.99
- Barrel length: 18.5 inch
- Total Length: 37.79 inches
- Weight: 6.3lb
- Capacity: 4+1
This is probably the prettiest shotgun here, but we tend to want a little more from a home defense shotgun especially than a fresh look.
This is the Tactical Marine, which offers a synthetic stock and contrasting stainless steel chassis. That bit is cool, and the profile of the gun just works.
But does the gun work? That’s the real question and I have capacity anxiety just looking at the number of shells you start out with. I won’t carry a revolver because six shots isn’t enough. This is five. That’s one less than six…
It’s too few shells and it drops the Beretta down the order. That’s a shame, because it is a really pretty gun.