Autoloading or semi-automatic shotgun
An autoloading or semi-automatic shotgun extracts, fires, and reloads automatically after each pull of the trigger.
It has an exceptional cycling speed even with continuous shots.
It has very little recoil with every cocking, loading, and unloading mechanism.
Its magazine can be loaded with extra rounds.
The action is kept open in case there is a need for firing more then one round.
It usually requires the manual insertion of the first shell and depression of the carrier release to close the bolt.
Slide or pump action shotgun
A slide or pump action shotgun is designed to be loaded with shells through the slide.
When the slide is moved rearward, the action is opened to extract and eject the shells.
New shotshells are seated into the chamber and the action is closed when the slide is moved forward.
The slide is moved to the rear and pumped forward after every fire.
Hinged or break action shotgun
A hinged or break action shotgun requires the manual insertion of the shells in the chamber.
The shells are extracted and ejected when the action is opened.
Older models have extractors that cannot eject shells automatically. The shells need to be manually removed from the chamber.
It can have a rifle caliber barrel, a side-by-side barrel, or a rifled third barrel.
It is further classified into three subtypes according to barrel configuration: single shot, over-and-under, and side-by-side.
A single shot break action shotgun has one barrel. It can only hold one shell at a time.
An over-and-under shotgun has two barrels, where one is mounted on top of the other.
A side-by-side shotgun has two barrels arranged side by side on a single horizontal plane.
A double-barreled shotgun has two barrels arranged either side by side or one on top of the other.
It can be fired twice using one firing action as long as both shots are taken together and fired at one target only.
A sawn-off shotgun has a custom design. The barrel is usually shortened to conceal the action.
It usually fires only two-thirds of the distance made by a normal shotgun.
It usually weighs three-quarters of an average shotgun.