The Five Best Shotguns for People Who Hate Shotguns

Shotguns get a lot of hate, and I understand why. They aren’t for everyone and they have a niche use for most of the Special Forces, Delta, Range SEAL, spaceship door gun owners out there who believe if it’s not an AR, you’ll be kilt in the streets. I jest, but shotguns do have lots of weaknesses. However, even if you hate shotguns, I can’t help but love them. I think everyone needs a good shotgun in their collection, and as such, I’ve gathered the top five shotguns for people who hate shotguns.

1. SRM 1216

My new favorite shotgun is the SRM 1216, and it happens to be a great shotgun whether you love or hate shotguns. This 12 gauge blaster utilizes a unique rotary tube design that incorporates four separate four-round tubes for a total of 16 rounds in the gun. Users manually rotate the tubes when one runs dry and have another four rounds on tap.

If all 16 rounds are dispensed and the Alien Queen isn’t dead, then I’ve got good news! That four-tube magazine can be detached and another instantly loaded for your bug-hunting pleasure.

Best shotguns SRM 1216
16 rounds oughta be enough to kill the bugs.

This combination of shotgun and revolver works wonderfully and is superbly reliable. It packs a punch and gives those who hate shotguns both a relatively high capacity and detachable magazines. Did I mention it also uses a roller delayed system? A roller-delayed shotgun oughta be a first.

SRM 1216
The SRM 1216 is compact and capable, roughly the same size as an M4 with the stock extended.

On top of that, it’s a bullpup-like space gun that can be set up for righties or lefties. It eats any standard round, including reduced recoil tactical loads. It’s tough to hate the SRM 1216, especially after you consider the ingenuity that went into the gun. It’s a blast to shoot and skirts around ten-round magazine limits via being four separate magazines that are simply connected together.

2. Sentry 12

Pump shotguns give you the most versatility possible, and versatility is one of the hallmarks of a shotgun. It makes sense that even if you hate shotguns, you want the most versatility possible from a shotgun. As such, I present to you the Sentry 12, the perfect pump-action shotgun if you hate shotguns.

Sentry 12
The Sentry 12 is AR-tastic.

Iron Horse Firearms developed the Sentry 12 to mimic the AR 15 in numerous ways, and as such, it features an in-line layout and very AR-like design. It mimics the AR-15 controls in an uncanny valley way. Lots of ambidexterity, lots of optic’s rail, and it feeds from box magazines. You can choose between 5 and 8 round magazines, and the action is super sweet with a great trigger and robust American-made design.

The length of pull is a mere 12 inches putting it inside the rifle realm of length and use. Oftentimes shotgun LOPs are way too long, but Iron Horse did a fantastic job of making this weapon ergonomic and easy to wield for most non-shotgunners.

Reload Blackwater Sentry 12 magazine fed pump-action shotgun
Quick reloads are easy.

At the same time, you don’t have to hate shotguns to appreciate the Sentry 12. If you love shotguns, you’ll appreciate the little things, like the ability to port load. Plus, the mags are affordable, and more mag is always more better.

3. RIA VR-80

Rock Island Armory imports a VR series that got their starts with the functional but horrid-looking VR 60. The VR 80, however, broke new ground as a from the factory race gun that chambers 12 gauge. While it comes with a fixed stock and pistol grip, users can switch these for an M4 style stock and AR pistol grip. The gun feeds from a box magazine that utilizes 5, 9, and 19 round options.

Rock Island Armory VR60 and VR80
One is a monstrosity, the other is the VR 80.

The VR-80 also comes with a very reliable semi-auto action, a reversible charging handle, and plenty of room for optics. It’s very AR-like but makes distinctions where necessary to produce an ergonomic shotgun. I dare you to say you hate shotguns after dumping 19 rounds of 12 gauge into a berm!

The semi-auto action makes cooking off a multitude of rounds in short order quite easy. No actions to manually cycle, and the semi-auto action takes some bite out of recoil. The VR-80 makes an awesome competitive shotgun for those open divisions, but I don’t think you’d do well at the trap range.

Travis Pike shooting the Rock Island Armory VR-80
It’s a ton of fun to shoot as well.

The VR-80 does offer a relatively low price point, even if you just want a fun shotgun for anything but serious use. In 2021 the ammo drought has taken everything, but I can often still find birdshot at most gun stores, and Academy’s so you scratch your recreational itch with the VR-80.

4. Citadel RSS1

I’ve given two options for AR-like shotguns, but nothing in the AK realm, so let’s cover that. Ever since the Saiga ban went into effect, companies from China and Turkey gladly filled the gap with various AK shotguns. The CItadel RSS1 is my personal favorite. Sadly it gets imported with the silly thumbhole stock and five-round magazines, but that’s quickly fixed.

Citadel RSS1
Even comes with a sweet case.

By using Vepr magazines, you can source high-quality options of various capacities. Also, you lose the rock and roll aspect of AK mags for an easier slam straight home option. Hate shotguns all you want. You know you love AKs, and AK shotguns are just fat AKs. Fat AK mags kinda suck for those rock and roll reloads AKs are known for.

This is a smoother, faster option that’s much more ergonomic. Additionally, the magazine release is ambidextrous and makes reloads quick. On top of that, the bolt locks back the rear when the last round is fired.

Citadel RSS1
It handles pretty much any load.

A nice shelf on the safety provides plenty of space for a quick defeat and easy into action design. The Citadel RSS1 provides that AK option for those who hate shotguns and is also a worthy successor to the famed Saiga series.

5. Stoeger Coach Gun

If you actually like shotguns, I know what you’re thinking; a coach gun seems out of place among so many awesome, mag-fed designs. It’s a traditional shotgun, and if people hate shotguns, why would they like a coach gun? Well, it’s the same reason why guys who hate revolvers will get down with a Colt SAA clone.

Who doesn’t love an SxS shotgun?

Western guns are fun and transcend the traditional arguments those have about tactical firearms. You can approach it without any expectations of tactical performance and just have fun with it. Stoeger produces a ton of different shotguns, and their coach guns provide an affordable and enjoyable experience.

Stainless looks nice too!

It’s the defining scattergun and is one that we can all unite around. No rails, no lights, lasers, or doo-dads. Just two smooth-bore tubes, two triggers, and nothing but pure bliss as you blast away. With the basic model carrying an MSRP of $449, it’s tough not to have one lying around.

Do You Hate Shotguns?

If you hate shotguns, I get it. Not everyone likes the song Mossberg plays. However, if you hate shotguns and still find yourself needing one, any of the above will scratch that itch and give you a close-to non-shotgun-like experience. Beyond that, the above are also all just great shotguns, and I enjoy my time with every one of them.

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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