So you fine folks might not know this about me, but I love shotguns. There, I’ve said it. I don’t disavow the AR or anything crazy, but I just love shotguns. When I hit SHOT Show, my eyes are wide open looking for the latest and greatest shotguns. This year I have plenty of choices, but I’ve limited myself to just five shotguns.
I also limited myself to new guns. Not guns that were released and just made their way back to SHOT. Hell, to be fair, two of them aren’t even really shotguns legally, but it’s my list, so deal with it. So without further ado, here are the top shotguns of SHOT.
5. Rock Island Armory VRF14
See, what did I say? Two of them aren’t legally shotguns. The Rock Island Armory is a magazine-fed, semi-automatic, 12 gauge firearm. Since it doesn’t have a stock, and never had a stock, it’s not a shotgun. As such, it’s a firearm that’s a lot like a shotgun. The Rock Island Armory VRF14 gives you the Armscor VR series in a very compact and crazy package.
It’s more or less a stock-free VR60 with a 14-inch barrel in a pistol grip-only configuration. The overall length is 26 inches making it legally a firearm and not an AOW. It comes with a five-round magazine, but as any fan of the VR series will tell you, you have options. Including a 9 and 19 round magazine as well as a newly created 20 round drum.
At Range Day, this beast was hard to handle! It jumps, bucks and kicks. In fact, it might be the toughest of these firearms I’ve ever handled. But damn, do I love this goofy bastard. My own love puts it on the top shotguns of SHOT list, not because it’s practical.
4. SDS Imports Retro Riot Guns
I love shotguns, and I really love riot guns. Mix that with affordability, and you get something like the new SDS Imports Retro Riot Guns. These 12 gauge shotguns give you old-school appeal, complete with wood furniture. You can go Marine coated or a dark black finish for whatever look you’re chasing. Atop the barrels sit a ventilated metal heat shield that gives you those Winchester 1897 vibes.
Speaking of, an optional bayonet attachment gives you true 1897 vibes. The guns aren’t all retro, and they feature ghost ring sights with an optic’s rail so you can run and gun with all the fancy red dots you want. It’s a cool blend of old and new school, and that’s why it makes my list of the top five shotguns of SHOT.
At the range, the actions were surprisingly slick and smooth. I was impressed at how easy the guns handled. They shot true, and the retro stylings are going to make them a must-have for me. The price isn’t announced but will be budget-friendly.
3. Kalashnikov USA Chaos
Oh, here is my other not-a-shotgun on my list of top five shotguns of SHOT. The Chaos is a firearm with a 14 or so inch barrel and a Shockwave type raptor grip. Since it comes from Kalashnikov, you’re right in assuming that the gun is a Saiga-style weapon. It’s semi-automatic, magazine-fed, and all AK.
The weird, pirate-like grip works and makes the weapon odd but enjoyable. The handguard is this crazy ventilated thing with M-LOK slots to attach all your favorite goodies. It’s truly a goofy-looking gun that looks like it crawled out of a post-apocalypse world.
2. Mossberg 940 Pro-Turkey
Man, I don’t hunt Turkeys by any means, but I want a Mossberg 940 Pro-Turkey. The Mossberg 940 solved a lot of the problems the (30 had, but it’s only really been available in hunting, sports, and 3-gun configurations. The 940 Pro-Turkey shrinks the barrel to 18.5 inches and shortens things up a bit.
Additionally, the gun comes cut to accept optics, much like a handgun. The rear of the receivers cut to accommodate a micro red dot in the vein of the Shield RMSc and the Holosun 507K. This sits the optic super low and makes it co-witness with the fiber optic front sight.
Much like the original 940, we get an oversized charging handle and oversized bolt release. A little birdie told me a dedicated tactical black version would be available sooner than later too, but honestly, I’m digging the camo. The Mossberg 940 Pro-Turkey is probably one of the more practical shotguns of SHOT.
1. Savage Renegauge Security
Finally, my favorite of all the shotguns of SHOT is the Savage Renegauge Security model. It’s a featured filled firearm that deserves its own write-up. The Savage Renegauge Security model might be the shotgun to beat for tactical applications. It comes ready with ghost ring sights, an adjustable LOP, a fluted barrel, an M-LOK rail, oversized control, and so much more.
The Savage Renegauge Security model trims the barrel to 18.5 inches, pops capacity up to 6 + 1, and gives you a very competent gas-operated shotgun. It cycles quickly and cleanly and throws lead rapidly. Plus, it’s a real darling in the recoil department. I went four for five on clay pigeons with ghost ring sights.
Of all the guns on this list, I will be tracking down a Renegauge Security first. It’s a sweet shooter, and I think it will compete with the big Italian stallions that currently rule the market.
Bonus — Remington Building Blocks Shotgun
Okay, I know I said this was a top-five Shotguns of SHOT list, but I wanted to include one final bonus to the readers who made it this far down. This officially licensed toy allows you to assemble your own 870 Lego style. It’s a pistol grip-only model that has a realistic pump-action design that actually fires a projectile.
Heck, it even comes with a faux red dot that acts as actual sights. It’s pretty neat, and a quick googlin’ says it’s on Amazon now for about 70 bucks or so. Oh, and no FFL required.