Best Tactical Shotguns of 2023 – Complete Review

| Last Updated:
October 13, 2023

Unique problems need unique solutions. That’s the basic principle behind the technical definition of the word ‘tactical’. With almost every weapon made today having a tactical variant, how could the good ‘ol shotguns be left behind.

This discussion will take into account the concept of tactical shotguns. While also reviewing the best models available on the market today. 

Comparison of the Best Tactical Shotguns

  • Reliable and famous Remingto 870 in a compact and maneuverable design
  • Magpul M-lok forend for accessorization and rapor grip for better handling
  • Lightweight gun suitable for users of all ages and gender
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  • Shotgun designed on the AK platform with top rail for adding optics
  • 4 position adjustable gas system for load based adjustment
  • Compatible with aftermarket mags and includes two 5 round mags
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  • Semi-auto tactical shotgun with a pistol grip and synthetic stock
  • 7+1 rounds capacity and ghost ring sights for better target acquisition
  • Soft recoil pad and receiver tapped and drilled for mounting rail
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  • Unique and advanced tactical design for quick handling
  • High capacity with rotating magazines for quick feeding
  • Highly customizable and lightweight. Feels like an AR
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  • Compact design non-NFA shotgun for easy movement
  • Pistol grip with forend strap for better handling and shooting comfort
  • Pre-drilled and tapped receiver to mount rails.
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  • Combo with a 26" vent rib barrel and 18.5" cylinder barrel
  • Sturdy, reliable and tested weapon with a 5 round capacity
  • Lightweight synthetic stock with a comfortable recoil pad and ergonomic grip
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  • Side-by-side all purpose shotgun with a traditional design
  • Short barrel length for easy maneuverability and double triggers
  • Classic wooden stock and chambers all 2.75 and 3 inch shells
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What is a Tactical Shotgun?

A shotgun with a short barrel, compact size for easy maneuverability, fast reloading, 5+ shell capacity, and the ability to add optics/accessories is called a tactical shotgun. The exact definition may vary from person to person based upon individual requirements. But the essence of the matter always remains the same. 

Tactical shotguns are intended to be used for home defense and law enforcement/military operations. Since such situations require a weapon that is easy to move/handle and can perform at par with assault rifles and handguns in terms of application. 

Can You Really Find a Quality Tactical Shotgun That’s Affordable?

Most quality tactical shotguns are indeed very affordable. While some shotguns with advanced and extra features can cost more, they definitely justify their price tag. For example, the Remington 870 mentioned on our list is a very inexpensive shotgun, whereas the IWI TS12 features an array of advanced and patented features and bears a respective price tag. Pump-action shotguns are the most affordable shotguns, followed by semi-autos.

Tactical versions are basically normal shotguns with a shortened barrel, drilled and tapped receiver for optics and rail space for mounting extra accessories. You’ll rarely find a tactical shotgun with a wooden stock since it is less durable than a synthetic one. Which also helps reduce the overall price to some extent.  

Why Did These Tactical Shotguns Make Our List?

Our list has been compiled after extensive research over online and offline platforms. These shotguns have been shortlisted based upon a lot of different factors. But the major ones include:


The shotguns mentioned on our list are extremely popular tactical shotgun models. These guns are used by millions of people as preferred home defense shotguns. Plus, these shotguns are sold by reputed companies with good warranty schemes and reliable customer support. 

Affordable and Reliable

All these shotguns are very affordable. You won’t have to shed the entire weight of your wallet to purchase them. Additionally, if any model does have a price tag upwards of $1000, it’s features will justify your purchase. All these guns have been tested over time and are extremely reliable. Which in fact is a prerequisite for tactical shotguns. 


These shotguns are highly customizable and allow you to add almost every accessory you can find for a shotgun. Some of these guns also feature reversible safety and other features to add value to your purchase. Plus, shotguns like the M12AK and IWI TS12 feature a myriad of unique features. 

Review of the Best Tactical Shotguns

Let's take a look at this year's top picks.

Best Overall:
Remington 870 TAC-14


  • 4+1 capacity and quick to reload
  • Compact, lightweight and very maneuverable
  • Completely legal in most states (check local laws)
  • Chambered in 20 gauge for low recoil and good control
  • Suitable for indoors. Won’t over-penetrate with suitable ammo


  • Legal implications in some states
  • No stock (but a brace can be added)

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love the compact size and smooth action of this gun. The patterning and accuracy are impeccable and the recoil is very manageable due to the 20 gauge chambering. The gun feels good to handle and can be customized as needed. Plus, the price is perfect.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The size and gauge of this shotgun make it a perfect weapon for home defense and varmint hunting. The shotgun can be concealed in the most cramped of spaces and will be ready to fire instantly. The grip is very ergonomic, and you may add a brace for extra support. The gun has a capacity of 4+1 and allows you to add a side-saddle if needed.

It is chambered for 3” 20 gauge shells so the recoil is very manageable. It shoots every kind of ammo, except for sabot slugs. The pump cover is very comfortable to hold and rack. Plus, the dual rod action is very reliable and easy to maintain. The short size allows it to be concealed easily and it can also be used as a truck gun.

Bottom Line

The Remington 870 Tac-14 is a low-recoil, compact shotgun perfect for home defense without worrying about overpenetration. The gun is very affordable and with some practice, you’ll be blowing up running targets at 30 yards.



  • Fits Remington choke tubes
  • Crafted especially for AK lovers
  • Adjustable 4 position gas system
  • Picatinny rail and AK style adjustable sight
  • Pistol grip and trigger assembly are AK compatible
  • 5 round detachable magazine. Compatible with Saiga and SGM mags as well


  • Needs adjustment for different loads

What Recent Buyers Report

Users seemed extremely happy owning this firearm. The gun is very well built and cycles flawlessly thorough everything you feed (remember to set the gas system). The recoil is pretty smooth and the gun is the best for what it is. Absolutely no complaints from any buyer.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The M12AK has been modeled after the famous AK-47. To the extent that the sights, grip, trigger, and stock are exactly the same. The gun has a 4 position adjustable gas system so you can be sure of flawless cycling, rather than wishing for a jam-free session. The gun fits and feels very well. It’s sure a tad heavy, but that smoothens the recoil amazingly.

The quick-changing box magazines can be replaced with high capacity versions for more firepower. The gun is very tough, just like an AK. It is perfect for hunting, defense, and even clay sports with proper practice. The gun also has an AR version which costs 100 dollars more. So AR lovers can also have their share.

Bottom Line

The JTS M12AK is an utterly reliable shotgun modeled after the legendary AK-47. The gas system and sights are fully adjustable, and the gun feels more like an assault rifle while holding. Use a 10 round magazine and it will work like one, but with more power.

Best for the Money:
Benelli M2 12GA Semi-Auto


  • Ideal 7+1 magazine capacity
  • Pre-installed ghost ring open sights
  • Ergonomic pistol grip for better control
  • Shoots as fast as you can pull the trigger
  • Reliable inertia driven system also absorbs recoil


  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

The Benelli M2 offers great value for money and runs flawlessly even if you miss cleaning once or twice. It shoots everything you feed through without a hiccup. The gun shoots very fast and accurately. Plus, the ghost ring sights are a great addition eliminating reliance over electronic optics.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For people who have seen Keanu Reeves in John Wick:3. They might have an idea of what a Benelli M2 can do in the right hands. The gun has a maximum capacity of 8 rounds, which is enough to stand your ground in a firefight. The ghost ring sights are reliable and effective. Plus the receiver has been drilled and tapped to accept a rail or mount.

The pistol grip helps with handling the shotgun, and the gun has sling swivels so you can attach a tactical sling for better operation. The loading chamber is perfect in size and allows quick reloading for shooters with the right skills.

Bottom Line

The Benelli M2 is a great multi-purpose 12 gauge shotgun that excels in function due to the reliable inertia driven gas system. This is probably one of the best and fastest shooting semi-autos you can own.

Best Semi-Auto Tactical Shotgun:
IWI Tavor TS12


  • Compatible with Benelli/Beretta choke tubes
  • Back heavy bullpup design balances perfectly
  • M-Lok compatible rails and full top Picatinny rail
  • Ambidextrous feed and unloading using a push button
  • 3 rotating tubular mags totaling the capacity to 15+1 shells


  • A tad heavy

What Recent Buyers Report

The gun handles well and shoots great. It looks like a space-age gun and has been designed the same way. Cycling and feeding are flawless, especially when switching tubes. The bullpup design is very ergonomic and the gun looks badass. It also costs close to a good o/u or semi-auto, but the investment is well worth it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The TS12 has been modeled after the famous Tavor assault rifle used by Israeli defense forces. The gun is a bullpup design that has a rear-leaning weight which reduces fatigue while handling. It has ample space for customization and allows you to accessorize it like an AR. The four rotating mag tubes allow quick switching and automatically feed a round into the chamber upon switching.

The gun is totally ambidextrous (requires factory modifications) and allows you to empty the tubes using a push button. It is a shotgun deliberately designed for the battlefield, so there’s nothing that can go wrong.

Bottom Line

The IWI TS12 is the most tactical and advanced a shotgun can get. The gun is very ergonomic to hold and offers immense firepower to stand a fight even against full capacity assault rifles. The gun is amazingly fun to shoot and a good investment.

Best Mossberg Tactical Shotgun:
Mossberg 590 Shockwave


  • Can be concealed with ease
  • Compact and easy to maneuver
  • Forend has a strap for better grip
  • 5+1 capacity for 3” 12 gauge shells
  • Very reliable action with anti-jam elevators


  • Requires practice to control

What Recent Buyers Report

The gun is very fun to shoot and is pretty good for the price. Most buyers use it as a fun gun or rely upon it as a primary weapon for home defense. It does kick a bit and shoots high, but that can be resolved with practice. Overall, the users seemed very excited and satisfied with this gun.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Mossberg 590 shockwave is the compact version of the 590. Or in other words, without a stock. However, you may add a stabilizing brace if you want some extra support. This shotgun can shoot all loads up to 3”, including Aguila mini shells with a dedicated adapter. The best part of handling it is the forend strap which ensures you have proper control over the gun at all times.

The receiver is drilled and tapped, in case you want to add a rail. The gun can be customized to suit your tactical needs. But the best application for this shotgun is home defense and hunting varmints.

Bottom Line

The Mossberg 590 shockwave is a reliable, affordable, and compact weapon that can be used as a home defense weapon or truck gun. Despite being a 12 gauge, the control you get on this thing is amazing. It is also very open to customization.

Best Remington Tactical Shotgun:
Remington 870 Express Combo


  • 21” vent rib shotshell barrel
  • Stock cast and cut for extra comfort
  • 20” rifled slug barrel with rifle sights
  • Short LOP is suitable for young shooters
  • Chambered for 3” 20 gauge, so recoil isn’t an issue


  • Comes with only one choke in the package

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers have been using this combo successfully for almost every purpose imaginable for a shotgun. The most impressive is the accuracy of the rifled barrel shooting 2” groups at 100 yards. The combo offers great value for money, and the gun is the reliable Remington 870.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The 870 express is in fact a 870 but with synthetic cosmetics. The best value this package offers is the inclusion of two barrels. While the rifled barrel is great for hunting deer, the shorter barrel can be used for tactical applications and clay sports. Being a pump-action shotgun, this gun shoots reliably and is quite easy to disassemble and clean.

The rifled barrel has an attached rail to its base which can be used to mount optics. The synthetic stock is impervious to weather conditions and very durable to last for years to come. Another impressive factor of this combo is its super affordable pricing. So you basically get two shotguns at the price of one.

Bottom Line

The Remington 870 has been used for decades for home defense. The express version is a more durable shotgun that can be customized easily. Additionally, the gun works with all Remington 870 barrel lengths. So it’s a total win-win

Best Double Barrel Tactical Shotgun:
STOEGER Coach Gun 12 Gauge 20"


  • Classic and tested sxs scattergun design
  • Double trigger for quick switch and reliability
  • Beautiful wooden furniture with a good finish


  • Limited application and customization

What Recent Buyers Report

The Stoeger Coach is a classic side by side shotgun. The fit and finish is fine, plus the gun shoots accurately at reasonable ranges. It is a well-built gun and can withstand rough handling. It is short and easy to handle and will make a good home defense or turkey shotgun.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Stoeger coach is a classic double trigger side by side shotgun design which has been used to defend coaches in the wild west for decades. The gun does limit itself in customization compared to its brother Stoeger Double Defense. But it still makes a reliable and simple option that requires little to no maintenance.

There are double barrel sxs shotguns that feature a top rail and rail beneath the muzzle. But in our opinion, that doesn’t seem necessary for a side by side. Since adding accessories will only make the break-open barrel heavy. Meddling with balance.

Bottom Line

The Stoeger Coach is a reliable and simple side by side shotgun that shoots perfectly fine to a distance of about 40 yards. It is a great gun for home defense if you respect its capacity limitations. While also being a good turkey shotgun.

Types of Tactical Shotguns

Tactical shotguns can be classified into different categories based upon their design and applications. While the basic classification segrates them based upon their use and classifies them as combat shotguns, riot shotguns, and sawed-off shotguns. Let’s consider other factors as well:


The most common actions for these guns are pump and semi-auto. While pumps give more control on ammo expenditure, the semi has a faster rate of fire. Pumps are good for defensive situations whereas semi’s are perfective for offensive operations. Double barrel coach guns are also a good option for defense.


The general rule of thumbs says to have at least 4 shells in your mag tube. While that’s considered a bare minimum, having some extra shells doesn’t hurt. Some tactical shotguns can hold 8, 9 or even 16 rounds. 

Barrel Length

18 inches is the least barrel length you can legally own, without worrying about FFL stamps and legal implications. Tactical shotguns commonly have a barrel length between 18 to 22 inches. Some can even have less and will be called sawed-off shotguns.

Mossberg vs. Remington Tactical Shotguns - Comparison Overview


The following are some similarities:


Both Mossberg 590 and Remington 870 use the pump action with twin bars for flawless cycling. Their actions are manually operated and both these guns are fed by a magtube. Additionally, both these guns have similar disassembly procedures and support interchangeable barrels. The bolt of both these shotguns locks on the barrel and not the receiver.

Size and Design

Both the Remington and Mossberg reviewed on our list are similar in size and design with a raptor style grip. Both these guns have been designed for home defense and eradication of varmints. Although they differ in gauge, the intended use is still the same. 


However, it comes with some differences, including:


The safety of the Mossberg 590 is located on the tang, which also makes it ambidextrous. Whereas safety of the 870 is located behind the trigger guard and favors right-hand shooters. 

Gauge and Capacity

The Mossberg holds 5+1 shells and is chambered in 12 gauge. Whereas the Remington holds 4+1 and is chambered in 20 gauge. 


Remington uses a thick American steel receiver whereas the Mossberg has a lightweight aluminum receiver. The same type used for making AR’s. 

Mossberg 590 vs.Remington 870 (Source)


A tactical shotgun features a compact size, short barrel and an easy to maneuver design, with ample space for customizations to suit different situations. You can choose between 12 and 20 gauge depending upon your recoil sensitivity. Additionally, these guns also prove to be good for hunting varmints and birds like turkey.

People Also Ask

Let’s take a look at some common questions and learn about some fun facts in the FAQ section. 

Is There a Double Barrel Tactical Shotgun?

Yes. The DP-12 from Standard Manufacturing is a pump-action shotgun with extreme customizability and good capacity. Alternatively, you can also check out the Double Defense Shotgun from Stoeger Industries.

What Gauge Shotgun is the Most Powerful?

The largest and most powerful gauge legally allowed to be owned in the U.S is the 10 gauge. While gauges can go as big as 4, they aren’t used often. Speaking in common terms, the 12 gauge 3.5” shells are the most powerful commonly used gauge 

Are Pump Shotguns Obsolete?

Absolutely not. Plus there’s little chance of them being obsolete anytime soon. Pump-action shotguns are the most affordable, reliable, and very simple to maintain. With a wide variety of ammo available for them, these shotguns can be used to bring down anything from a possum to a bear. 

Why Are Shotguns Not Used in War?

Shotguns are used in war when suitable and necessary. Each weapon used in war has its own effectiveness and limitations based upon the situation. Shotguns have been effectively used in urban warfare for clearing buildings and bunkers due to their decimating power at close range. Also, contrary to a common misbelief, shotguns are also NOT banned for use in war.


Ankit Kumar is an engineer turned writer who specializes in topics related to firearms, gun safety and weapon tech. His passion towards enrolling in the Army drifted his interest towards light and heavy firearms. He’s a qualified competitive air rifle shooter and an avid nature lover. His other areas of expertise include survival, prepping and firearms/ammo storage. When he’s not writing, he’s either learning a new skill, trekking or enjoying a long drive.