Russia’s Saiga-12 Combat Shotgun

An excellent combat shotgun, and possibly one of the top ten, is Russia’s Saiga-12.  The original Saiga-12 was designed in the 1990s (reflecting a number of similarities to the Kalashnikov assault rifles) but a number of variants soon followed.  The Saiga-12 has a rotating bolt, is gas-operated feeding from a box magazine.  This combat shotgun has a number of features not found on the AK-47 and other similar firearms.   Specifications of the Saiga-12 Combat Shotgun Caliber:  12 gauge, 20 gauge, .410 Weight:  7 lbs. 15 oz. Length:  3 feet, 9.1 inches Barrel Length:  1 foot, 11 inches Height:  7.5 inches Action:  Gas-operated, rotating bolt   Manufacturing Configurations Various configurations of the Saiga-12 were manufactured, including a more standard hunting version and a more military style using AK-47 hardware – all can be easily purchased by Russian civilians as it only requires a ‘smoothbore-gun license’.  The smoothbore-gun license - along with a hunting permit – is required for five years before a ‘rifle license’ can be obtained. Saiga shotguns constructed with the fixed ‘hunting-style’ rifle stock and 5-round magazine are the only ones imported into the United States.   Additional Variants of the Saiga-12 Saiga-12S – (skladnaya/folding) Saiga-12K – (korotkaya/short) Saiga-12S EXP-01 – (Military/Law Enforcement Version) Saiga-12K-030 – (Swat Model) Saiga-12K-040 Taktika (23” or 17” barrels/handguards, folding and non-folding stocks) Russia’s Saiga-12 combat shotgun is manufactured by Izhmash, the same producer of the AK-47....

Top Shotguns Manufactured

A number of combinations are possible when compiling a list of top shotguns manufactured.  A list could be compiled based on those used in the military or shotguns used exclusively in sport and competitive shooting.  While it is difficult at best to compile a single list that would be agreed upon by all, certainly any combination of the shotguns below would appear on anyone’s list of top shotguns manufactured.  The list below is based on all shotguns and is presented in alphabetical order.   Armsel Striker – This 12-gauge shotgun is predominantly used for combat and riot control.  One of its unique features is its rotating magazine – similar to that of a revolver.  This shotgun is not readily available in the United States as it is categorized as a destructive firearm.   Atchisson Assault Combat Shotgun – Manufactured in the United States, this shotgun has selective firing, which allows the operator to choose between semi and fully-automatic.  The Atchisson Assualt (AA-12) is a lighter weapon that features a pistol grip.  The AA-12 is known for its ruggedness, capable of withstanding all types of environments.  It is considered both durable and dependable.   Benelli M4 Shotgun – The Benelli M4 was designed in response to the US Army’s request for a new 12-gauge shotgun.  Known as the M4, this shotgun featured a newly designed system known as ARGO (or) auto regulating gas operated.  This particular shotgun allows the operator to choose from a variety of power levels and shell sizes (in any combination) with no adjustments necessary.  This shotgun has been used in over a dozen countries throughout the...

South Africa’s Armsel Striker

South Africa’s Armsel Striker is a 12-gauge shotgun that was mainly designed for both riot control and combat.  This model, considered by some to be one of the top shotguns in history, was designed by Hilton Walker back in 1983.  Once production began, the shotgun gained notoriety and became a huge success.  The Armsel Striker was not without its flaws.  The magazine for Armsel Striker was bulky and the shotgun was noted for its slow reload time.  As a result, Walker redesigned the Striker in the late 1980s.  He removed the cylinder rotation mechanism and added an auto cartridge ejection system.  The newly redesigned model was known as the ‘Protecta’.   Features of the Armsel Striker The action of the Armsel Striker is very similar to a revolver, using a magazine that rotates.  The redesign features a cocking leaver (which is located on the right side of the barrel).  The redesign also corrected the slow and cumbersome firing mechanism by removing the clockwork winding mechanism and replacing the ejector rod with an automatic ejection system.  The cocking lever replaces the rod and winds the drum automatically.   History and Specifications on the Armsel Striker Place of Origin:  South Africa Type:  Combat shotgun; riot control weapon Weight:  Just over 9.25 lbs. empty Length:  31.18 inches (or) 20 inches with 12 inch barrel (stock folded) Cartridge:  12 gauge Action:  Rotating Cylinder   Variants of the Initial Armsel Striker Armsel Protecta Armsel Protecta Bulldog Sentinel Arms Striker-12 Cobray/SWD Streetsweeper Cobray/SWD Ladies Home Companion   Those in the United States seeking a Striker may find it difficult to attain as this weapon is considered a destructive...

Remington’s Model 1100 Shotgun

Brief Overview of the Remington Model 1100 Shotgun Remington’s Model 1100 Shotgun is a classic that changed the American shooter’s perspective of auto-loading shotguns.  This cutting edge model was designed by both Wayne Leek and Robert Kelley.  The Remington 1100 is a semi-automatic, gas-operated shotgun that became a quick favorite among sportsmen due in part to the significantly reduced coil and the model’s reliability.   Introduced in 1963, the Remington Model 1100 maintains an impressive record for firing the most shells (from an auto-loading shotgun) without any malfunctions or any parts requiring cleaning or replacing.  The shotguns record – an impressive 24,000 rounds.   The Remington Model 1100 Shotgun, considered by many to be one of the top shotguns in history, is the best-selling (auto-loading) shotgun in United States’ history.   History and Specifications for the Remington Model 1100 Manufacturer:  Remington Arms Production Run:  1963 to Present Day Total Produced to Date:  Over 4 million Action:  Semi-automatic Weight:  8 pounds with 28” barrel Overall Length:  Varies Barrel Length:  18 – 30 inches Cartridge:  12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge, .410 bore   Remington Model 1100 Series Competition Synthetic Classic Trap Competition Premier Sporting Series Sporting Series TAC 4   A common feature on semi-automatic shotguns (including the Model 1100) is a shell catcher.  Using this is especially beneficial when shooting Trap as it prevents close promiximity members of the squad from being hit with spent shells.   Though the Remington Model 1100 is quite often used for water fowl hunting and trap and skeet shooting, a couple of countries have used it in their militaries.  The shotgun is...

Winchester Model 1200 Shotgun

The Winchester Model 1200 is a pump-action shotgun and – despite its short history – is considered by some to be one of the top shotguns in history.  Manufactured in the United States, the Model 1200 was first designed in 1964.  While also available as a civilian purchase, the military version of this shotgun provides the option of fixing a bayonet onto the end of the barrel – a feature generally utilized in close quarter combat.  The bayonet often chosen was the M1917.  The military version of the Winchester Model 1200 also included a ventilated hand guard and sling swivels.   The Winchester Model 1200 was designed to a cost efficient replacement for the well-respected Model 12.  From 1968 to 1969, the US Army obtained a few Model 1200s.  Though their military service was short-lived, Commanders in the US Army were given strict instructions on what to do should there be a threat of this shotgun falling into enemy hands.    The Model 1200 was to be dismantled and smaller parts salvaged, but all major components of the weapon were to be destroyed.   History and Specifications of the Winchester Model 1200 Style:  Pump-action shotgun Operation:  Manual Originated:  United States Service History:  1968 to 1969 Combat History:  Vietnam War Weight:  6.5 lbs. Calibers:  12, 16 and 20-gauge Feed System:  One – Six shot-shell, tubular magazine   The Model 1200 can be easily disassembled for easier storage and transporting.  This shotgun design was the first to use a rotary bolt, which was secured within the barrel by four locking lugs.  The 1200 was also the first to utilize the Winchester Company’s...

Italy’s Franchi SPAS-12 Combat Shotgun

Italy’s Franchi SPAS-12 is a semi-automatic combat shotgun produced from 1979 to 2000.  This combat shotgun has a dual-mode shooting cycle:  gas-operated, semi-automatic (self-loading) firing up to four rounds per second and a manually-operated, pump/slide-action system.  The switch is easily made via the two-position selector switch located close to the fore-grip.  The SPAS-12 was initially marketed as a combat shotgun or for anti-riot use.  The shotgun eventually found its way into the civilian sporting world.   The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL has an incredible collection of Firearms and Ordnance in the museum.  The room houses a wide range of history dating back to the Revolutionary War.  This gallery awes visitors as they realize the history and the power encased within.   Specifications for the SPAS 12 Weight:  8.75 lbs. Overall Length:  41 inches (with stock extended) Barrel Length:  22 inches Cartridge:  12-gauge, but 2 ¾” shells only Effective Range:  Varies depending on the ammunition   Design Designed as a semi-automatic firearm, the pump-action mode allows the shotgun to fire low-pressure ammo – including tear gas rounds and less-lethal bean bags.  The pump-action on the SPAS-12 is slower compared to the traditional pump-action shotgun.  This is attributed to the intricacy of the changeover device coupled with the friction of the fore-grip.   Unique Features:  Magazine cut-off feature – internal magazine cannot load a new round if gun is cycled Hook on Folding Stock Variants – Can be rotated in 90 degree increments to allow it to fit under the arm of the user when the stock is extended.  This features theoretically allows the shooter to fire the...