Guide to Shotguns

Shotgun : What is it?


A shotgun is a firearm designed to fire several small spherical pellets. It can have a smooth bore barrel that fires multiple shots or a slug barrel that fires single projectiles one at a time. It has a higher stopping power over short ranges compared to a handgun and a rifle. Because of its widespread shots, it is very easy to aim, making it ideal for beginner marksmen.

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Types of Shotguns


Kinds of Shotguns include the following:

Action types

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.

Feature types

Double-barreled shotgun

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.

Sawn-off shotgun

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.

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Choosing Shotguns (Buying tips)

Gauge: Choose a 12-gauge shotgun for more power and versatility. It can be used in various shooting activities such as recreational shooting and upland bird hunting.

Choke: If you intend to use your shotgun in wet weather conditions, choose a shotgun with a synthetic choke or a stock anodized with metal for extra durability and water resistance. For aesthetic appeal, choose a shotgun with a nicely finished wood choke.

Safety information

Keep your shotgun in a safe and secure place at home, preferably in a cabinet with a lockable door.
Keep the cartridges, shells, and ammunitions in a separate cabinet that can also be locked and secured.

Unload your gun before storing it.
Do not allow children and unauthorized persons to access and use your shotgun.
When transporting your shotgun, keep it in a secured case or cover. Unload it before storing.

If you have to leave your shotgun with another person or in the car, take a small but important part of it with you, so you can be assured it will not be activated.

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