Best Shotguns For Women: A 2021 Round-up

| Last Updated: September 21, 2021

In some circumstances, the recoil of a shotgun can be an intense, and even painful, experience. If you’ve ever fired a shotgun that didn’t fit you well or that you weren’t comfortable with, you know the feeling. It can leave your shoulder-smarting for days and even turn new shooters off from the sport.

This can be especially true for women and shotguns since most shotguns are designed for men. However, that doesn’t mean that they all are. Women shooters should seek out a shotgun designed for them for the most pleasant shooting experience.

Check out the best shotguns for women in the 2021 round-up below. 

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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  • Short 43" LOP suitable for women and young shooters
  • Unique dual valve system for consistent feeding and a drop-out trigger
  • Lightweight and sturdy synthetic stock with matte finish to reduce glare
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  • Claimed to be world's fastest shooting and lightest recoiling shotgun
  • Adjustable and modular design with red bar front sight
  • Optimal length and all-load capability makes it suitable for men and 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
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  • Short overall design with adjustable stock to suit different users
  • Mossy oak shadow grass blade camo over the entire shotgun for effective camouflage
  • Good mag capacity, lightweight design and very easy to maneuver
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What to Watch For When Buying a Shotgun as a Woman

There are a few key things to keep in mind and to watch out for when shopping for a shotgun as a woman. Luckily, there are plenty of great options that cover a variety of shooting styles, purposes, and tasks. Check out the following tips and information before starting to shop for a woman’s shotgun and you will feel more comfortable in your choice.

This Section Written By: Brian Belko

Expert Author

Brian Belko: Gunmann Author

Brian is an experienced freelance writer and technical writer who has previously written for publications such as Wide Open Spaces, Bigfoot Gun Belts, Alien Gear Holsters, and Kampgrounds of America. He brings both a passion for writing and a love of the outdoors to his published content.

Aside from writing and the outdoors, Brian enjoys gardening, being a co-host on The Nostalgia Blast Podcast, and learning to code.

Going Beyond Length

Length is probably one of the first things that come to mind to pay attention to when shopping for a woman’s shotgun. However, other important features make the difference between a comfortable shotgun for a woman to shoulder and fire and an uncomfortable one. You also need to pay attention to all five points where the body contacts the gun.

Those five points are the shoulder against the recoil pad, the cheek against the stock, the trigger hand on the grip, the finger against the trigger, and the off-hand against the forend. When all of those points are correctly dimensioned, the shotgun will be comfortable to shoulder, provide a sight picture with no obstructions, swing freely, and offer limited and controlled recoil.

Remember that even shotguns purported to be designed specifically for women are not one size fits all. It is still vital to actually handle any shotgun you are considering. That is really the only way to be sure you are making a good choice for your personal needs. Make sure to pay special attention to where the recoil pad sits when you shoulder the gun. It should sit in the area between the shoulder and chest to avoid any tender areas.

Shouldering a shotgun that fits you well is a revelatory experience and will be easy to notice. A well-fitting shotgun goes an incredibly long way towards an enjoyable shooting experience.

Considering Use

It is always a good idea to think about what task you plan to use your new shotgun for. This will affect the gauge and action style you go with. A shotgun for home defense use will be different from one for wing-shooting.

Pink in the Past

It used to be that a lot of women’s firearms would be pink in color. Thankfully, gun companies finally realized that women don’t just like pink by default. There is nothing wrong with a pink shotgun, but there are plenty of other options nowadays as well. Classic wood stock is as timeless as they come.

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. 

Best Overall

Beretta A400 Lite Kick-Off 26″

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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.

Pros

Adjustable shim system and reversible safety

Patented micro core buttpad improves handling

Low maintenance design. No tools disassembly

Reliable semi-auto operation with cross tube piston

Lightweight and low-recoil gun with fast acquisition

Cons

Price not suitable for low budget buyers

Runner-up

Weatherby SA-08 Synthetic Compact

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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

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

Best for the Money

Benelli USA Supervinci 26″ 12 Gauge

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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. 

Pros

Very fast rate of fire

Powerful but low recoil shotgun for women

Fast acquisition, good swing, and accuracy

Clean inertia driven action has its own perks

Cons

High price

Heavy (but helps in countering recoil)

Best 12 Gauge Shotgun for Women

Browning Maxus Stalker 12 Gauge

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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

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

Best 20 Gauge Shotgun for Women

Mossberg 500 Youth Super Bantam

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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. 

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

Best Home Defence Shotgun for Women

Remington 870 TAC-14 20ga

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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. 

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 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. 

Photo credit: gatdaily.com

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. 

Photo credit: pheasantsforever.org

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. 

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.

Photo credit: gundogmag.com

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.



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!