The Top 5 Magazine Fed Shotguns

The VRPA 40 pump-action shotgun, lifestyle image with 19-round magazine included.

Magazine fed shotguns were one of my favorite developments in 2018. They existed well before 2018, but really seem to have come into their own when companies like Remington and Mossberg both put out one or more magazine-fed shotgun, and many smaller companies upped their game to compete. Some are traditional manual action weapons with a magazine feed system added, others are designed from the ground up as an AR shotgun or AK shotgun. So what are my top 5 magazine-fed shotguns?

Edit June 2020: As you’ll read below, this article is over a year old now. We’re posting again to get some input on what mag-fed shotguns you’d like to see us cover in the future! 

Note: we’re talking magazine fed ‘gauges here, both manual/pump semi-automatic shotguns. Not belt fed.

Those will have to be the subject of another study.


A belt fed shotgun is a beautiful thing, but not the topic of today’s post.



1. Mossberg 590M Family

The Mossberg 590M family includes a total of three 12 gauge weapons. This includes a base model 590 with a stripped down simple design, to an enhanced 590M with a heat shield and ghost ring sights and finally a Shockwave model. Mossberg’s 590M uses massive double stack magazines that have a capacity from 5 to 20 rounds. When it comes to capacity, the Mossberg 590Ms are hard to beat. Prepared to have som good shooting gloves because 20 rounds of 12 gauge makes a gun hot.

Magazine fed Mossberg 590

That’s a 10 round magazine in this Mossberg 590M pump action shotgun; imagine the 20 rounder!

2. Remington 870DM

The Remington 870DM made the idea of a mag fed, pump action shotgun mainstream. The Remington 870DM uses a 3 or 6 round magazine and comes in close to half a dozen different models. The 870DM comes in hardwood, Magpul, camo finish, and more with varying sight options. Of course, there is a Tac 14 model as well. While the Remington has a lower capacity, it is a lighter option.

Mag fed shotguns from Remington, including various styles of Remington 970.

Remington makes a wide array of magazine fed shotguns, including semi-automatic and AR-style versions.


3. Adaptive Tactical Conversions

Adaptive Tactical doesn’t produce guns, but they are on the forefront of the Mag fed shotgun movement. This is the company that designed and produced Mossberg’s magazines. The Sidewinder system is designed to utilize a Mossberg 500, 590, or Maverick 88 as a base gun and the end-user can convert it to a magazine-fed model. Adaptive Tactical even sells a 10 round drum that’s quite slick.


Adaptive Tactical Sidewinder Venom for the Mossberg

Convert your Mossie to a mag fed model? The Sidewinder Venom system of upgrades are designed to use a Mossberg 500, 590, and Maverick 88 as the foundation for mag-fed “shottie”.

4. Kalashnikov USA KS12

The absence of Saiga magazine fed shotguns has left a gap a ton of manufacturers are vying to fill with AK shotguns. The KS12 seems to be the first potential true replacement for the Saiga 12. This high-end AK shotgun will come in an AK configuration featuring a real pistol grip and stock and take Saiga magazines and accessories. Various models will be released including a tactical model with an AR stock and muzzle brake. Since these are made in the USA, 922 R compliance won’t be an issue and no conversions from a neutered design will be needed.

The Kalashnikov USA KS12 AK style shotgun.

The Kalashnikov USA KS12, which has proven to be one of the most popular of AK style shoguns, is surprisingly light. A weapon like might just tempt even Owen Zastava Pitt away from his beloved “Abomination”.


5. Rock Island VR 60 and VR 80

The VR 60 was an incredibly fun gun, one I rode the lightning on (and reviewed here on The Mag Life!).

A Rock Island VR 60 and Rock Island VR 80.

Rock Island has extended their finish options for 2019, increasing the number of aesthetic options available for this popular AR-style semi-automatic shotgun.

It ran with everything and its low price point makes it the perfect gun if you want to enter the magazine fed shotgun market. The VR 80 will be their newest model at SHOT 2019 and it promises to have the reliability of the VR 60 with a slimmer and sleeker profile. And we’ll soon have a review of RIA’s VR100, too, which is a different beast altogether.

Rock Island VR60 and Rock Island VR80

We’ll soon be reviewing the VR 100 mag fed shotgun here on The Mag Life!


Best Tactical Shotgun

The question, “What is the best tactical shotgun?” can most easily be answered with, “Whichever one you have on hand.” That said, there are many advantages to a magazine-fed shotgun vs traditional manual action (i.e. pump) shotguns. We’ll be delving into that topic in the future. We’ll also be addressing the issue of…

Best Semi-Auto Shotgun

As with many weapons, this will in large part be a question of individual choice, but there are a number of factors that will come into play when trying to answer it.

AR Shotgun

There are more than a few examples out there, including (among others) the VR-60 and the VR-80 mentioned above. We’ve started working through them in the AR Shotgun series.

AK Shotgun

As with the AR-centric platforms, there are more than a few that look and feel Kalashnikov…ish. Such weapons include the Cheetah 12, VEPR 12, and others. Find more in the AK Shotgun lineup.


Are Magazine Fed Shotguns the Future?

Magazine Fed shotguns aid in beating two of the biggest issues with shotguns: low capacity and slow reloads. Magazine fed shotguns are not the be-all-end-all of shotguns, but they are an interesting step forward for the platform. As we see more and more come to be, we will see the tech pushed onward and forwards in making newer, and better magazine fed shotguns. I’m a fan of the concept, are you?


This article is over a year old now…what should we be looking at next? 

MAG LIFE: Travis Pike shooting an AR style semi automatic magazine fed shotgun.

  • Dexter-Bernice Luck

    I’ve had two VR60’s, and now have a VR80. I added the long factory comp. and to be honest, it is absolutely a beast. I have a short video I will try to upload. Fired four double 00 buck at ten yards, and it absolutely stacked one shot on top of the other in .80 seconds. From 60-75 yards and closer, you can make your home impregnable. I also switched the stock out for Hogue, and I always add a “Limb Savor” because they are sooo good and they work. Thanks for your report, you are on target, mag. fed shotguns are top of the line for home defense. can’t up load the video.

    • Wm

      make your home impregnable??..from what? Why are you shooting at 50-75 your life in imminent danger at that range…??

      • PilotHelo

        Wm – I’d say that if someone is shooting at me from 50-75 yds away it is immediate danger rather than imminent, which is an even greater threat level than what you state.

      • MadManRemMag

        Shut the fuck up scary bitch!!! You don’t know what might happen to where he needs that capability. Maybe a bunch of meth heads are storming his house with guns. Maybe someone is trying to escape from his house and is trying to kidnap his child shit happens dumbass!!!!

        • Wm

          Lol,lol,you really do live in fantasy land

        • FesterFoot43

          Well, if the perp has his child I guess a mag fed shotgun is perfect because it will hit the perp and your kid, You dig? Mind your shit.

    • PilotHelo

      Dexter – just curious as to where the bolt release is located on the VR60 and VR80? Everything else looks like AR style ergonomics.

  • fireball1322

    Thanks for that info Dexter-Bernice luck. I’ve been wanting a ‘ar shotgun” and was wondering how well they worked.

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  • Wm

    I frankly think mag fed shotguns are useless. They are ungainly, the balance is ruined, the magazines are huge and you can not carry them easily, the carry point is destroyed by the mag well etc…it is a solution to a problem that only exists for the arm chair wannabe commando. I use a WIlson Tac 14 w brace, one rd extension, dome head safety, wilson spring n follower, Trak SIghts, slicked action, and Estac velro side cards. The pump runs slick n fast, and i can carry loose rds anywhere, and load on the move as fast as any magazine that you need specialize equip to carry! So get real. I can put different ammo in different ‘cards” and change out at will, load a single or whatever, not so with the Mag, it is all or nothing. My firearm balances perfectly, try that with the Mossberg and its huge magazine at the balance carry point…

    • PilotHelo

      Tend to agree in many ways with your statements here. I run a semi-auto (Beretta 1301) but set up the same as regards velcro side saddles. I have at least a dozen set up with buck, slug, and combos of the two. The beauty of the shotgun is the ability to change to different ammo for the circumstances. A box magazine fed shotgun makes this switch much more problematic. Then there’s the cost of additional mags, which is high heading to extremely painful if you’re talking about the Mossbergs.

      In teaching shotgun classes back when we saw a lot of Saigas, the technique was to remove the existing mag, switch to a mag with the desired ammo, and rack to load a round of the new ammo. The problem was getting the mag to seat with the bolt closed. On many Saigas it was an extreme problem, requiring that the chamber be emptied (rack without a mag in the gun), lock the bolt open, then insert a new mag and release the bolt.

  • Steve Plank

    Surprised I don’t see the Akdahl MKA1919 listed.

  • Rexxx01

    Im seriously thinking of plopping down some cash for a Semi-Auto Shotgun with Magazine feed.

    • cuddlypineapple

      I got a Panzer AR12. Great shotgun with 5 and 10 rd mags and man it just look bad ass.

  • CSR Detrimental

    DO NOT buy a Remington 870 DM anything (tactical, tac-14, whatever) unless you’re OK with a detachable magazine gun that you will only ever have ONE magazine for. Remington cannot apparently produce magazines for these except the ONE they include with the whole gun. See for yourself, everybody everywhere is out of stock, and has been since 2019. Matter of fact, make sure you can get magazines for any weapon before you buy, just sayin’.

    • JBump

      Yep, and what’s the point of a magazine if you can’t change the magazine?

    • BND Securities

      Actually I design and build items like you are speaking of. Let me check into thanks for the info.

      Primal Security and Survival Services
      [email protected]

      Send me an email some pics and dimensions if ya could

  • cuddlypineapple

    Got the Remington 870 for my son in law 2 years ago. Havent been able to find a spare mag for it since. Ridiculous. DO NOT BUY AN 870 DM.

    • JBump

      I wish Remington would at least offer an explanation for this. So lame. The whole point is so you can rapidly switch mags. Except in the case of the 870DM, it takes months and months and months to change a mag. Cuz none exist.

      • cuddlypineapple

        I actually emailed Remington a few months ago and all they said was that there was no definite time when they would be available again. But they still sell 870 DMs on their website. Thats super irresponsible. I have a Saiga mag coming Im going to see if we can mod it to fit.