Best Shotguns of SHOT Show 2023

My favorite genre of firearm is shotguns. They are fun to shoot, versatile, and powerful. Shotguns might not be as popular as those fancy black rifles and polymer frame pistols, but they still have a place in the modern world. Here are the five shotguns that captured my attention at SHOT Show 2023.

1. Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol

The best new shotgun is most certainly the Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol. The Beretta 1301 is largely considered to be the best tactical shotgun on the market. The problem is that this Italian-made shotgun is expensive. It often costs north of a grand. Beretta designed the American-made A300 Ultima series into a tactical model they are calling the Patrol and it made its premier at SHOT Show 2023.

A300 patrol
The A300 Patrol was a breakout star in the shotgun world.

This is a semi-automatic, gas-operated shotgun. The barrel is trimmed to 19.1 inches, and the magazine tube holds seven rounds of 2.75-inch shells. Across the top is a set of ghost ring iron sights and an optic rail for red dot usage. The handguard features M-LOK cuts, and clamps from the barrel to the magazine tube feature an M-Lok slot and QD sling mounts.

The gun also sports oversized controls and a degree of loop material on the side to make attaching side saddles easy. The length of pull is 13 inches, which is nice and short, but it is nonadjustable. Sadly I didn’t get any range time with the gun, but I’m excited to see Beretta bringing something to the market that will cost less than a grand.

2. Tristar LR94

I like lever actions, and I like shotguns, so when you combine the two, I reserve the right to become excited. The Tristar LR94 is a lever action shotgun built on the Winchester 1894 action. This features a top ejection design that is just right for shotguns. You can easily top the gun off with an extra shot by doing a quick port load.

Tristar LR94 rifles
The gun comes in three different finishes.

The LR94 series are .410 shotguns, and the guns hold five rounds of 2.5-inch .410 shells. Sadly the gun is not compatible with three-inch shells, which is a real shame. Although, I guess I’ll have to get by. They feature a set of open-style sights that are robust for a shotgun. With a .410, you are throwing a very small amount of shot, so good sights help make it count.

The guns come in either a matte black, a stainless, or a case-hardened finish with walnut furniture. The guns are gorgeous. The LR94 shotguns seem to be well-made, and their actions are slick and smooth. They are surprisingly nice for Turkish shotguns.

3. JTS M12AKT2

The AK’s long-stroke gas operation system works exceptionally well for a variety of calibers. While AKs are mostly rifles, it’s tough to deny the popularity of the AK shotgun. The Saiga series haven’t been imported for years now, and several companies have stepped up to fill those gaps. One is a company called JTS. The JTS M12AKT2 is their latest AK shotgun and is easily their best.

JTS MK12AKT2 Shotgun at rnage
The shotgun comes with a red dot, M-Lok rail, can use AR stocks and it’s less than $500.

This new magazine-fed shotgun uses five or ten-round magazines, a long-stroke gas operation system, and has all the standard operating components of the AK series of rifles. The M12AKT2 features a few fancy features. First, the gun comes with an optic that is mounted and included. The gun has an M-LOK rail system, and the rear comes with an AR-like stock that can utilize standard AR-15 carbine tubes and stocks.

The JTS M12AKT2 uses an auto-adjusting gas regulator that makes it easy to use the cheapest birdshot on the market and up to the heavier-duty slugs. This auto-regulating system uses just enough gas for the gun to cycle without it being over gasses and hitting you with tons of extra recoil for no reason. It’s a soft shooting, rapid cycling gun that chewed through tons of ammo during range day. It’s even budget-friendly at around only 500 dollars with the red dot.

4. Armscor VRPF-14

Okay, this isn’t a shotgun. It’s a firearm due to legal definitions. but it’s shotgun-adjacent enough for me to add it to the list. This is a firearm with a short barrel but an overall length greater than 26 inches. The Armscor VRPF-14 is a 12 gauge, pump action firearm that is also magazine fed! It can hold anywhere from five to 19 rounds of ammunition.

VPRF 40 in hand
Who doesn’t want an affordable mag-fed firearm?

I’m almost positive that the 19-round magazine is just as long as the gun itself! The VRPF-14 is a shorter option than the VRPA-40. It includes all the goodies of the VRPA-40, including the high visibility front sight and rear peep sight. An optics rail sits in front of the rear sight, which is a nice touch. These guns really benefit from a red dot.

These firearms are largely considered to be fun guns by most owners. The VRPF-14 certainly sits in that fun gun category, and with a 19-round magazine, you have plenty of ammo to have plenty of fun! These guns are always affordable, but the VRPF-14’s price hasn’t been revealed yet.

5. Mossberg’s Optics Ready Shotguns

The Mossberg 500 needs no introduction. It’s a legendary pump action scattergun that’s served far and wide for decades with hunters, home defenders, police officers, and soldiers. Mossberg has recently been integrating optic mounts directly to the receiver of their guns. Last year it started with the 940 Pro-Turkey model. This year Mossberg gave the same treatment to the Mossberg 500 and the 835 Turkey models.

Mossberg 500 optics ready
The Mossberg 500 Optics Ready design comes in the turkey form first.

They cut the rear of the receiver to fit the Holosun 507 K-style optics. They attach them directly to the receiver, which allows them to sit lower on the gun and align with the high-visibility iron sights. This allows them to align perfectly with the stock for a cheek weld and good sight alignment. Red dots on shotguns make a ton of sense and offer a ton of benefits.

Additionally, Mossberg has partnered with Holosun to provide shotgun and optic packages with the new 940 Pro Tactical model. This gives users an HS407K with their 940 Pro Tactical that’s already mounted and ready to rock and roll. Mossberg is leaning towards the future with their shotguns, and red dot integration is a brilliant idea.

The Scatter Gun World

Shotguns, scatter guns, repeating claymores, or whatever else you call them, they are my favorite guns. The recoil, the close-range power, and the versatility have always kept me interested. Shotguns were certainly not a star of this year’s show, but if you crept through the corridors of SHOT Show 2023 and explored the miles of aisles, you could find a few hidden scatterguns worth the squeeze.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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