Best Shotguns For Women: A 2020 Round-up

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"Best Shotguns for Women” - Why should this even be a topic? Well, not because women are feeble. But because they have a different taste than men. They are more deliberate when buying anything, and that calls for a specialized list. Here we will review the best shotguns for women while looking upon the factors that qualify them to be so. 

Comparison of the Best Shotguns For Women

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Lightweight and low-recoil shotgun with kick-off stock and compact plus extendable length
  • Cross tube piston for flawless cycling plus adjustable shims and reversible safety
  • Low maintenance and durable all purpose semi-auto shotgun for women
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  • Non-reflective matte black finish with dura-touch armor coating
  • Very accurate weapon with lighting trigger and speed lock forearm
  • Fiber optic front sight and invector-plus flush choke system
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

What Makes a Shotgun Great For Women

Compact Design

Women generally are shorter than men in physique and body proportions. This means that shotguns which work fine for men aren’t very suitable for women in terms of comfort and handling. While individual physiques still matter, you should look for a shotgun with a compact overall design. 

Comfort

Women are often more recoil sensitive, and when the weapon in question is a shotgun. One with comfortable recoil matters. This depends upon several other factors which have been elaborated further in detail. 

Ergonomics

While a shorter size is more preferable for women. Shotguns with a slim profile, especially at the grip prove very ergonomic for women shooters. That’s because women have a smaller palm-size than men, and may experience problems handling a swollen grip or thick stock

What Should I Look For When Buying a Shotgun For a Woman

Apart from the aforementioned basic characteristics. There are certain detailed factors that should be keenly observed when buying a shotgun for a woman. These are:

Gauge

The common notion is to opt for a 20 gauge shotgun for women. Since it has a lesser recoil compared to 12 gauge and is very easy to handle. While women with a sturdier physique or different individual taste might opt for the bigger gauge. 20 gauge is the more common fit. 

LOP (and Overall Length)

The body size of an average woman requires a shotgun with a short length of pull (distance from the trigger to butt end). Generally around 12 - 13 inches. Which is commonly an indigenous characteristic of youth shotguns. Try using a size chart to find the best fit for yourself. 

Action

While semi-auto shotguns are easier and faster to operate with low recoil, pump actions are more reliable and inexpensive. Whereas over/under and side by side models are mostly used for sports and hunting. 

Weight

Find the right weight that you can handle comfortably. Especially if you plan to use your shotgun for long hunting trips. Heavier guns counterbalance recoil to some extent but can be very tiresome to carry. A good bargain will be to choose a lightweight shotgun in 20 gauge. 

After Sales Support (Warranty and Service)

This factor is ubiquitous regardless of purchasing shotguns for men or women. Go for brands that have a known reputation for good customer support. All shotguns reviewed below are sold by reputed and reliable manufacturers vouched by buyers for their good support. 

Quick Take - The Best Shotguns For Women

These are our recommendations for the best shotguns for women:

  1. Beretta A400 Lite Kick-Off 26"
  2. Browning Maxus Stalker 12 Gauge

Review of the Best Shotguns For Women

Some shotguns on this list have been specifically designed for women or young shooters. Whereas others feature a more general size and can be used by men and women alike. Look out for features like adjustability, customizability, and ergonomics while finding a good pick for yourself. 

Pros

  • Adjustable shim system and reversible safety
  • Low maintenance design. No tools disassembly
  • Patented micro core buttpad improves handling
  • Lightweight and low-recoil gun with fast acquisition
  • Reliable semi-auto operation with cross tube piston 

Cons

  • Price not suitable for low budget buyers

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers like and appreciate the A400 lite as a versatile all-purpose shotgun that is equally useful for hunting and sports. The shotgun is very easy to disassemble and maintain. The cycling of action is absolutely flawless and the recoil is almost negligent. The gun itself is very lightweight and grows with the shooter. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The A400 is a masterpiece created by the very renowned manufacturer of firearms - Beretta. The A400 lite KO features a unique recoil pad and mechanism which almost eliminates the recoil. The blink gas system cycles everything that's fed to the gun, and the optima chokes along with the vent rib barrel deliver exceptional pointability and accuracy. 

The gun is very durable, thanks to the metal alloys and synthetic stock. Additionally, the stock features adjustable shims to change the LOP when needed. The 4+1 capacity is optimal and the 20 gauge is perfect for almost all women shooters.

Bottom Line

The Beretta A400 is one of the lightest recoiling shotguns available on the market today. It is a reliable workhorse that can deliver accuracy and a fast rate of fire simultaneously. The adjustable shims and reversible safety are good adjustable features for shooters of all sizes. Overall, the best shotgun for women.

Best 12 Gauge Shotgun for Women:
Browning Maxus Stalker 12 Gauge

Pros

  • LOP adjustable with stock spacers
  • Very light, crisp and smooth trigger
  • Durable non-reflective matte black finish
  • Fiber optic front and ivory mid-bead sight
  • SpeedLock forearm helps with quick adjustments
  • Power drive gas system promotes reliable feeding

Cons

  • Limited customization options

What Recent Buyers Report

The shotgun is packed with features and is one of the most technically advanced semi-auto’s you’ll find. The acquisition, accuracy, and timing of follow up shots is just perfect. Making adjustments to this shotgun is a breeze and the action is utterly reliable in all shooting conditions. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Browning Maxus is the highest tech shotgun on our list. The gas system cycles a lot of different loads and helps with mitigating recoil. The SpeedLock forearm offers quick access to change the mag capacity, clean the shotgun or add/remove a sling. The trigger is crisp, unique and the best in its class. Along with the quick load and unload feature. 

The balance of this shotgun is perfect and the fiber optic front sight coupled with a mid-bead improves acquisition and accuracy to amazing levels. It swings well and shoots very fast, making it perfect for brush hunting and sporting clays. 

Bottom Line

The Browning Maxus Stalker is a high tech shotgun loaded with features. It has a seamlessly low recoil despite its heavy gauge. The shotgun performs exceptionally if cared well and is backed by the prompt warranty and customer support from Browning. 

Pros

  • Perfect for young shooters and women
  • Very inexpensive for its quality and value
  • Simple push-button safety and drop-out trigger
  • Dual valve gas system handles all loads flawlessly
  • Short LOP and lightweight design with a durable stock

Cons

  • Gas valve needs adjustment for specific loads

What Recent Buyers Report

Users appreciate the easy handling, low recoil, and accuracy of this shotgun. There are users who’ve had this shotgun for years and shot without a single jam. The shotgun works for everything from upland bird hunting to clay shooting sports. The gun is light enough to carry all day and is a very affordable pick. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The Weatherby SA-08 20 gauge is an ideal women’s shotgun in every respect. It has a short LOP of 12.5 inches along with a compact 24-inch barrel to improve handling. The gas system is utterly reliable and people have reported shooting thousands of rounds through it without a single jam. The action has been chambered for 3” shells and also accepts 2-¾” shells and the 5+1 capacity is optimal for almost every situation. 

One very concerning matter for many buyers is the price. But the SA-08 completely eliminates any budget issues with its apt price tag. 

Bottom Line

Weatherby SA-08 has been a reliable and appreciated shotgun for almost a decade now. This shotgun has been specifically designed for youth shooters and women. Plus the low recoil, compact size, magnum shell capacity, and lightweight makes it ideal for every possible use for a 20-gauge shotgun

Pros

  • Very fast rate of fire
  • Fast acquisition, good swing, and accuracy
  • Powerful but low recoil shotgun for women
  • Clean inertia driven action has its own perks

Cons

  • High price
  • Heavy (but helps in countering recoil)

What Recent Buyers Report

Perhaps this gun is very rare to find in the hands of people, those using it have extremely positive opinions about it. This gun has a very short break-in period and starts shooting perfectly after that. The low recoil, good accuracy, and perfect balance makes the gun very ergonomic and reliable in different situations. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Benelli Super Vinci is a powerful 12 gauge shotgun but with a recoil almost 22 percent less than its counterparts. The inertial action is very reliable and eliminates issues with gas system adjustments and cycling different loads. It has an amazing rate of fire and can be used for different applications. 

The powerful 12 gauge chambering makes the gun suitable for applications requiring more hitting power. The ergonomics are very balanced and the acquisition and accuracy are up to the mark. Due to its dimensions and caliber, using the shotgun is not limited only to women shooters. 

Bottom Line

The Super Vinci has a very positive review rate from its users. It is a powerful shotgun with good balance, optimal capacity, low recoil, and reliable inertia backed action. While the price tag may seem exorbitant to some, this gun is a worthwhile investment in the long run. 

Best 20 Gauge Shotgun for Women:
Mossberg 500 Youth Super Bantam

Pros

  • 5+1 capacity and chambered for 3” shells
  • Mossy Oak camo finish for better adaptation
  • Pump action with dual extractors for reliable cycling
  • Fiber optic front sight and an ambidextrous tang safety
  • Very compact and lightweight design with adjustable LOP

Cons

  • None for its class and price

What Recent Buyers Report

The Mossberg 500 is a super affordable, lightweight, and compact shotgun designed for young shooters. The pump action is very reliable and the gun performs very well, especially when hunting turkey. This is a versatile shotgun that works for more than hunting and is unbeatable at its price. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Mossberg 500 Super Bantam is the simplest, most affordable, and lightweight gun on this list. The shotgun features a jam-free pump mechanism and is chambered for magnum loads to use the gun to its maximum potential. The mossy oak camo finish is an amazing feature when hunting upland birds, and the lightweight design helps with handling the gun on such trips. 

The compact size of this shotgun makes it suitable for home defense as well. There are minimal parts in the action which ensure hassle-free operation and easy maintenance. The stock can also be adjusted for LOP using the spacers included in the package. 

Bottom Line

The Mossberg 500 Super Bantam is the ideal gun for young shooters, women, and recoil sensitive users. It has a compact, lightweight, and camo finish design that is perfect for taking down birds and other game. It can fire magnum loads ranging from birdshots to slugs. 

Best Home Defence Shotgun for Women:
Remington 870 TAC-14 20ga

Pros

  • Great gun for its price. Fun to shoot
  • Holds ample ammunition (4+1 capacity)
  • Very compact and maneuverable design
  • Ergonomic Raptor grip and Magpul forend
  • Avoids legal implications (Slightly over 26 inches) 

Cons

  • Limited application due to size
  • Some legalities in several conditions and states

What Recent Buyers Report

The Remington 870 Tac-14 is an amazing weapon and very fun to shoot. The short dimensions offer better handling and its feeds and shoot very fine. Since it is a 20 gauge shotgun, recoil is definitely not going to be a problem. However, some users did suggest adding a sling and side-saddle for convenience. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This shotgun has been classified as the best home defense option for women because of its size and maneuverability. It can shoot accurately up to a distance of 30 feet, making it perfect for home defense encounters. The raptor grip is a bit horizontal which brings out the overall length to about 26.3 inches and keeps it a valid firearm according to law. 

The recoil is minimal due to the gauge, and it can shoot magnum shells for delivering maximum impact. This shotgun is very easy to conceal even in cramped spaces and can be accessed instantly when needed. 

Bottom Line

The Tac-14 is a sassy firearm that is amazingly fun to shoot. Its compact size and capacity make it a good home defense weapon for women. The shotgun has limited applications and range, but it does best what’s expected. 

Aspects to Consider Before Buying 

Shell Length

Make sure to check the kind of shells a shotgun will accept. Shotguns are mostly chambered for 3” shells, which also allows you to chamber smaller sized shells into the firearm. Larger shells pack more punch and have a higher amount of recoil.

Chokes (Included or Not)

Having a few different types of chokes makes your shotgun more versatile and adaptive according to changing conditions. Shotguns that come with a set of chokes should always be preferred.

Customizability

The availability of aftermarket parts is an important factor for keeping your shotgun upgraded. Some models are more customizable and have a lot of aftermarket accessories available for them. Which is a very good factor. 

Maintenance

A shotgun should be easy to maintain and disassemble/assemble. Semi-autos and pump actions differ in their design and require different levels of effort to clean. Similarly, gas-operated shotguns require more maintenance as compared to inertia or pump operated shotguns. 

Intended Application

If your intentions about using a shotgun are clear, you should choose an appropriately relevant model. Or you can choose a more versatile shotgun if you want a general-purpose firearm. 

Conclusion 

A shotgun for women should feature dimensions designed to suit their average physical size. These shotguns should be more compact, lightweight, and have lesser recoil. However, that does not restrict women from choosing other models, as it is completely a matter of personal taste. 

People Also Ask

Let’s find answers to some general questions about women using shotguns. While some queries are related to retrograde beliefs. Others are more technical and just common knowledge. 

Can a Woman Shoot a 12 Gauge Shotgun?

Yes. But that depends entirely upon the strength and recoil sensitivity of a person. Women generally don’t use the 12 gauge because of its heavy recoil and power which can be difficult to handle for many people. 

Is a 12 or 20 Gauge More Powerful?

A 12 gauge shell is more powerful than a 20 gauge. Since it is bigger and packs more gunpowder and pellets. 12 gauge shotguns are designed for heavy-duty applications like killing big game and combat. Whereas 20 gauge is more of a bird hunting gauge with limited penetration. 

What is the Smallest Shotgun Gauge?

The smallest shotgun gauge commonly available is .410 ga. However, it is technically not a gauge but a bore (it will translate to 67 gauge). But since it is used with shotguns as shotshells, it is called a 410 gauge. The next smallest gauge is the 28 gauge. 

Why Do Shotguns Kick so Hard?

The heavy kick of a shotgun is a result of its large shell size. The larger a bullet, the more gunpowder it holds. Which translates to a bigger explosion and hence a heavier kick. For example, a 12 gauge magnum shell can hold about 40 grains of powder, whereas a .223 bullet holds around 25 grains.

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!