Unconventional Shotguns For Defensive Use

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There’s more to shotguns than pump actions and tube magazines. Check out these two unconventional shotguns perfect for defense, or fun at the range.

Different takes on the shotgun:

  • The Kalashnikov variant Saiga is a popular semi-auto, box magazine shotgun option.
  • The TriStar KRX is based off the AR and is as familiar as the beloved rifle.
  • While both are solid options, a good ol’ pump will still do the job with the right training.

While Remington and Mossberg have recently come out with detachable magazine versions of their revered 870 and 590 shotguns, there are plenty of other unconventional shotguns on the market that are magazine fed. Some have been available for a while, whereas others are more recent developments. Here, I'll highlight two specific shotguns: the Saiga 12 and the TriStar KRX.

The Russian-made Saiga 12 is one of the most popular box magazine semi-auto shotguns currently on the market. Named for the Saiga antelope of the Russian Steppes, it’s a variant of the Kalashnikov rifle series, maybe one reason for its popularity. The Saiga is known for eating ammo whether the gun is clean or dirty (like the AK-47 rifle) and has a following in the 3-Gun world. My own two cents on the Saiga is that it’s ugly as hell but goes bang when you need it to. A buddy of mine who works with Alaska DNR carries a Saiga 12 for bear defense. He’s a Marine (there are no former Marines) and knows his firearms, so he must have confidence in this shotgun.

Unconventional shotguns -Lead
TriStar KRX

The TriStar KRX Tactical Shotgun is a semi-auto shotgun with a detachable magazine in an AR platform. The TriStar people knew what they were doing; those familiar with the AR rifle will automatically know where the safety selector and magazine release are, and it will “feel” like your AR rifle when you pick it up. For a defensive shotgun, this might be the pick for those who want to stay with the AR configuration.

In the end, the choice between a conventional tube-fed shotgun and a detachable-magazine variant lands on the individual shooter. Back in the day, motor heads loved to argue the Ford versus Chevy debate, and box magazines opposed to tubes is much the same. What’s important is finding the shotgun that fits you and that you shoot best. After that, you spend your hard-earned money on the best training you can find and then shoot as much as possible. Now you have done all you can to be prepared when the feces hits the fan. You might not believe in the Easter Bunny, but you have to believe in your shotgun.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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