What to Look for in a Semi-Automatic Shotgun

August 13, 2018
What to Look for in a Semi-Automatic Shotgun

Emptying a half dozen rounds of 12-gauge in just a couple of seconds can sure sound like fun for many people.
If you agree, then a Semi Automatic Shotgun might be the right weapon for you. But choosing the right model for each individual shooter takes some thought. There are some things you should consider before buying a Semi Automatic Shotgun.


Big companies like Browning, Mossberg, and Remington have been producing semi-automatic shotguns and semi-automatic rifles for a long time in the United States, but they never caught on that well until recent years. Prices have dropped, and quality has improved.
Modern semi-automatic shotguns are very reliable. They can’t be short-stroked under stress as a pump-action gun can.
They’re so dependable that even the Marines use a semi-automatic as their main combat shotgun. What’s more, gas-operated semi-automatic fire shotguns are great for new or recoil-sensitive shooters. Recoil operation is considerably easier than handling a pump-action or even some rifles and pistols.
Semi-automatic shotguns are firearms that are listed under the National Firearms Act alongside machine guns and machine pistols.



Semi-automatic shotguns belong to one of two broad categories: gas and inertia.


When the trigger is pulled a gas-operated action uses expanding gases from the fired shell, which seep out of ports in the barrel underneath the gun’s forearm, to force a piston linked to the bolt backward. This opens the action and ejects the empty shell.
Inertia guns, on the other hand, use the gun’s recoil to cycle the action.


Inertia action was first popularized by the Italian gun manufacturer Benelli but is now made by other companies as well. When the gun recoils backward, the gun is locked tightly by the bolt head remaining in place. Afterward, the bolt is thrown backward by a spring inside the two-piece bolt. This fires cartridges and automatically reloads a new shell as the bolt is pushed forward by the action spring. Bump stocks serve a similar purpose for rifles.

Shooting Characteristics

Inertia guns shoot cleaner and longer. They work well in bad weather conditions. They are usually lighter and thinner than gas guns, and they shoot cleaner and longer. They don’t require much maintenance either, while gas-operated shotguns require additional attention and tend to have more moving parts than other types of shotguns. Inertia operated guns are the ideal choice if you hate cleaning guns.
The advantage of gas action guns is the shooting experience is better. These guns have the ability to reliably fire a wide range of shotgun shells and the benefit of functioning reliably without causing excess recoil or stress on the gun.
Gas guns are the best choice for recoil sensitive or high volume shooters ready to fire away, while hunters and 3-gun competitors who prize reliability most might prefer inertia guns better.

Buy the Best You Can Afford

There is some very good value semi-automatic shotguns starting in the $550-$650 price range, so you should be able to find a decent quality gun no matter what your budget is. No matter the price range, it’s important to always check the gun’s specs and read some reviews before you buy it. Buying a good gun is essential to having a good shooting experience. Always do thorough research and weigh in all your options.
Whether you’re leaning more towards a gas gun or an inertia-operated one, all modern semi-automatic shotguns are reliable and durable weapons. Check out our semi-automatic shotguns for sale online and find the model that best suits your needs and your budget.

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