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 world. The USMC, US Army and the Navy SEALs all utilize the Benelli M4 Shotgun.
Franchi SPAS-12 Shotgun – The SPAS-12 is an Italian manufactured combat shotgun featuring a dual-mode shooting cycle which can easily be switched with its two position selector.
Though initially manufactured for combat (and riot control), the SPAS-12 has become a popular shotgun in the civilian sport world.
Mossberg 590 Shotgun – The Mossberg 590 was first manufactured as a single action shotgun, but since 1970, it has been manufactured as a dual action. The design of the 590 makes it easier to clean and replace parts. The Mossberg 590 is sometimes classified into two categories 1) field – used for sporting and hunting and 2) special purpose – designed for use in self-defense, by police and/or military. The Mossberg 590 is a rugged shotgun capable of enduring some of the harshest environments.
Remington Model 870 Shotgun – The Remington Model 870 is available in a number of different gauges. Its variants can be grouped into six basic categories: Wingmaster, Police, Marine, Express, Super Mag and Modular Combat Shotgun (MCS). From 1951 to 1973, more than two million 870s were manufactured. And by April of 2009, Remington had produced in excess of 10 million shotguns. This made the Model 870 the bestselling shotgun in history and is why many people choose it as the number one shotgun of all time.
Remington Model 1100 Shotgun – Another top Remington shotgun is the Model 1100 – a model which revolutionized the auto-loading shotgun. Because of the 1100s significantly reduced coil and its reliability, it quickly became a favorite choice of firearm among sportsmen. It has become the best-selling, auto-loading shotgun in US history. Though mainly used for hunting and trap/skeet shooting, a few countries utilize the 1100 in their military. Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States use the Remington Model 1100.
Saiga-12 Combat Shotgun – This Russian manufactured combat shotgun has a number of features similar to those found on the AK-47. The Saiga-12 has a number of variants including a standard hunting version as well as a military style, which uses AK-47 hardware. The only Saiga-12s available in the US are the ones manufactured with a fixed “hunting-style” rifle stock and a 5-round magazine.
Winchester Model 1200 Shotgun – This pump-action shotgun has a short history but is still considered by some to be one of the top shotguns in history. The Model 1200 was manufactured in the United States as both a civilian version and a military version. The military 1200 offered the option of fixing a bayonet onto the end of the barrel. This type of feature was beneficial for close quarter combat.
The shotguns listed above are just a few of the many that have been manufactured over the years. Each manufacturer and model has its benefits and its drawbacks. But some firearms, such as the ones listed above, offer a unique feature, are so incredibly dependable or somehow stand out in their field, thus putting them on a list of some of the top shotguns ever manufactured.