View Full Version : Semi automatic v. Pump Shotgun for home defense
Hey Mas, I read somewhere that you were a fan of semi automatic shotguns for home defense situations. I was wondering if you could break down the pros and cons of semi (including gas v. inertia powered) for me, and how they compare to pump actions in your eyes. Also, what are the pros and cons of 12 gauge v. a 20 gauge? Thanks Mas!
Old shotgun lore notwithstanding, the auto is simply faster to shoot than the pump. You see it in three gun competition, and I see it in every shotgun course I teach. One of our "final exams" is five shots as fast as you can hit (a miss disqualifies the score) at seven yards. Winning auto time will generally be under one second for five hits, first shot to last; winning pump gun time will generally be about twice as long.
Pump is tough and very slow to run one-handed if injured; properly held, auto is a piece of cake for that.
Even if alpha male head of household is a master pump gunner, other members of the household may not have his habituation with this home defense firearm. Less experienced shooters very commonly short-stroke and jam the pump shotgun, or under stress, forget to pump at all after the previous shot.
Design comparisons between autos generally break down into Benelli v. Remington. Gas operated guns like the Remington tend to kick distinctly softer, but tend to need cleaning about twice as often to stay reliable. Neither will have 100% reliability if not held very firmly; not so, of course, with the pump.
Big advantages of 20 gauge are lighter recoil, creating a shorter path to mastery and much more confidence and competence with smaller, lighter shooters, and the fact that the 20 can be built on a smaller, lighter platform.
Thanks for the breakdown Mas, that was really helpful. I was wondering if you had a couple suggestions for quality tactical, 20 gauge semi auto shotguns, and maybe a couple more for 20 gauge pump (I know that the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500 and 590 are really popular on this site but I wanted to see what you thought).
PS...Thanks for all your information and your dedication to educating the rest of us on these issues.
My own inclination is toward the Remington in a 20 gauge auto, and Mossberg in a 20 gauge pump.
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