Semi-auto shotguns used to be just for hunting, but not anymore. Tactical semi-autos have revolutionized the military, law enforcement and personal defense world by providing a higher capacity than the traditional four-shot sporting models. While wing shooting is still the primary purpose for semi-autos, now that tactical models have been developed, they can also serve double duty with sportsmen and home-defenders.

The semi-auto shotgun offers a faster firing capability than a pump shotgun, greater ease of handling and reduced recoil. The only trade-off is increased weight with most models. The tactical semi-auto shotgun is a relatively new design, but the semi-auto itself is relatively old, dating back to the early 20th century when bird hunting was regarded as a “gentleman’s sport” (notably quail and pheasant). Winchester, Remington and Browning were among the first to offer semi-autos, and over the years they have remained among the standard brands with sportsmen. Meanwhile, international makes such as FN and Benelli have led the way with tactical designs. In fact, the Benelli M4 (also offered in a civilian version) is used by the U.S. Army and Marines.

Tactical models generally feature shorter barrels than hunting versions, use synthetic stocks, pistol grips, and many have standard Picatinny rails to support either ghost ring sights or optical sighting systems, as well as tactical flashlights and laser targeting devices. Many of these same features make most tactical semi-autos more than suitable for hunting as well. Scroll through the gallery above to learn about seven semi-auto shotguns for sportsmen and home defenders.










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