I’m aware stats suggest that very few shots are usually fired in defensive engagements, but that doesn’t stop me from preparing for a siege-length battle versus multiple attackers. I believe this is why many tactical-minded folks choose handguns or carbines with greater capacity over the superior energy of shotguns—their old 870 holds only five rounds and takes as many seconds to reload. Yet, times are changing. While tactical shotguns with dual magazine tubes, drums and cylindrical magazines are now available, 2017 is the year of the removable-box magazine.
Note, I have not tested many of the tactical shotguns listed below, so I can’t comment on their quality and function, only their features. Due to importation law, all mags hold five rounds unless otherwise noted. Prices are approximate.
Derya MK 12
This Turkish semi-automatic tactical shotgun sports an AR-15-esque lower receiver and controls. It has an 18.5-inch barrel that’s threaded for chokes. Its six-position buttstock folds 180 degrees, but it’s a little too skeletonized and hard for my full endorsement. Love or hate its A2 form, it owns tall peep sights or an optional carry handle. Its monstrous muzzle brake should reduce recoil nicely. MSRP: $700, deryaarms.net
EAA MKA 1919 Match Pro
This shotty was upgraded from its former A2-style to a more defense- and competition-friendly Pro model that has a last-round-locking bolt and full-length rail with another underneath. It retains its A2 stock that’s superior for recoil mitigation than the basic collapsible stocks that pound the hell out of you. Its two-position gas system attends to light and heavy loads. MSRP: $757, eaacorp.com
JTS M12 AK
This 12-gauge tactical shotgun has a four-position, gas-adjustment system, chambers 2¾-inch and 3-inch shells and works with most aftermarket Saiga 12 magazines. It comes with two mags and an 18.7-inch barrel with Remchoke-compatible tubes. Academy sells it for $499, jtsgroup.us
This bullpup measures only 31 inches in overall length with its 19-inch barrel. It resembles the Steyr AUG rifle, and I suspect has a similar weight-back, awkward feel. It is a shame that the government has limited this import’s detachable mag to five rounds, because if you’re looking for a pump, Kel Tec’s KSG and UTAS’ UTS-15 offer more firepower, though once empty those guns can be difficult to reload quickly. MSRP: $899
Molot VEPR 12
This AK-pattern tactical shotgun improved on the original Saiga’s issues, but like all stamped, sheet metal AK-47s, it’s not real comfortable to shoot even the 7.62x39 round, much less buckshot and slug. Now available through Molot USA, it can offer eight-round magazines, which is a huge bonus. MSRP: $1,399, molot-usa.com
This AR-15 pattern gun comes in several configurations—like the A2 and M4—except it’s chambered for .410-bore. Perhaps even better is that Safir offers .410 bore drop-in-uppers for your AR-15. I need one. $720 at budsgunshop.com, upper-only, $400; safirarms.com
TriStar KRX Tactical
This gas-operated 12-gauge tactical shotgun just looks uncomfortable with its stock, receiver and barrel all on the same flat plane, but I won’t judge it until I shoot it. Its A2-style carry handle is certainly inviting, just like its price. MSRP: $595, tristararms.com
The maker of the UTS-15 now offers a semi-auto; its XTR is most comparable to a modern-looking M4 carbine, with an aluminum fore-end, full-length rail, stylishly machined receiver and Magpul-looking collapsible buttstock. It appears more compact than the others and comes in five colors. Sights and muzzle break are extra. MSRP starts at $1,099, utas-usa.com
*While there are higher-capacity aftermarket mags available for some of the tactical shotguns above, using them mandates your compliance with Federal Statute 922(r), so study up before using them.