Best Shotguns of 2024

Best Shotguns of 2024

As we’ve said before, shotguns are the most versatile firearms ever made. You can use them for hunting anything from the smallest upland birds and squirrels to big game. You can shoot a wide variety of different types of shotgun ammunition. You can use them for trap shooting, sporting clays, skeet, and backyard clay shooting. They can be excellent in a home defense role. And they are just plain fun!

Every year, firearms manufacturers come out with shiny new models to tempt the gun buying public. Sometimes these new models amount to little more than new finish options, but sometimes they fill a legitimate void in the market and are exciting enough to grab our attention. Here are some of our picks for the most interesting new shotguns this year and why.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Mod 2

Beretta 1301-tactical-mod2

Whether you’re a fan of shotguns for home defense purposes, or whether you participate in tactical shooting competitions, or whether you just like super-cool guns, you’ll be glad to hear about the new Beretta 1301 Tactical Mod 2 semi-automatic shotgun. It’s certainly not cheap, starting at $1,799 MSRP for the most basic model and moving up to over $2 grand for some variants, but the 1301 has been at the top of every in-the-know tactical shotgunner’s must-have list for a few years now. The 1301 line possesses an almost alchemical mix of lightweight, soft-shooting characteristics, excellent handling, and fit-everyone ergonomics that make it stand out among premium semi-autos.

New for 2024 is the Mod 2 variant, which gets several well-thought-out updates that fans of the model have been wishing for. First, it features an updated, streamlined forend that borrows features from Beretta’s own A300 Ultima Pro shotgun, with improved, grippy texturing and the addition of M-LOK rail slots at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions at the front for adding tactical lights or other gear. A new semi-flat trigger offers an improved feel and a crisp break with minimal reset. A new safety button design lets you swap it easily for left-handed use. The magazine tube now features a removable sleeve that makes it easier to add extensions. This is also made possible since the new Mod 2 is made primarily in Beretta’s Tennessee factory rather than in Italy, so 922(r) import compliance issues are averted.

Video: What is the new Beretta 1301 Mod 2 Shotgun?

This video demonstrates the the new Beretta 1301 Mod 2 Shotgun.

Probably the most exciting update for the Mod 2 1301, however, is the new Pro-Lifter that remains in a detent position once you press on it, staying up and out of the way, allowing for effortless reloading. For those of us who have suffered with semi-auto Berettas’ and Benellis’ factory shell lifters in the past and have bruised and mangled thumbs to show for it, the new Pro-Lifter feature is an absolute godsend. Additionally, the elevated lifter effectively makes a ramp for shells to fly into the magazine tube during twin- or quad-loading. This alone is worth the slight premium compared to the standard 1301.

There are also updates to the 1301 Mod 2’s available buttstocks. In addition to a grippier panel on the standard Mod 2 buttstock, it’s now compatible with the A300’s kick-off system if additional recoil reduction is desired.

The second buttstock option is the same excellent Mesa Tactical pistol grip configuration as before, with an integral, adjustable cheek riser for optimal eye position whether using optics or iron sights.

Chisel Machining skeleton buttstock

New this year are two Chisel Machining skeleton buttstock options, one fixed and one folding. Both feature adjustable length of pull and cheek comb risers, AR-15 compatible pistol grips for user customizability, and come from the factory with a Trijicon RMR-pattern optics riser and mount that allows lower-⅓ co-witness with the factory iron sights. Super cool stuff. The folding-stock model 1301 can be fired with the stock in the folded position.

And, of course, the 1301 Mod 2 retains its predecessor’s enlarged controls, cold hammer-forged back-bored barrel, and Beretta’s ultrafast BLINK gas operating system with a cross-tube gas piston that allows for 36% faster cycling than its competition. The barrel is threaded for Beretta’s OptimaBore HP choke system (or to allow for mounting a suppressor if you desire). Currently available in Black and Flat Dark Earth, the 1301 Mod 2 will also be available in an OD green or sniper gray coating starting in the year's second half.

Browning A5 Hunter 20 gauge

Browning A5 20 gauge

Of all the shotguns new this year, the Browning A5 Hunter 20 gauge might be the one that upland game hunters are most excited about. The original Browning Auto-5 was one of John Moses Browning’s most iconic and best-selling designs, with over 4 million sold between 1903 and 1999. The long-recoil semi-auto action proved so reliable that it completely revolutionized waterfowl and upland game-hunting shotguns. However, it was very expensive to produce, and demand slowed near the end of the 20th century.

With a renewed sense of nostalgia inspiring new generations of hunters in the past couple of decades, Browning brought back, if not the original Auto-5, then at least a tribute to the iconic shotgun, with the completely new A5 starting in 2012 (in 12 gauge) and 2016 (fittingly) for the Sweet Sixteen A5 in 16 gauge. But 20 gauge fans had to wait until this year, as Browning has announced the A5 Hunter in a slim, light, attractive 20 gauge model.

The new A5 is an aesthetic nod to the famous humpback receiver of the old Auto-5, but the new shotguns use an entirely different, short-recoil operating system Browning borrowed from Benelli. Benelli calls it the inertia recoil system, while Browning calls it the recoil-operated Kinematic Drive. Whatever you call it, it’s a proven, gas-free, relatively simple operating system utilizing a spring-loaded, rotating bolt lockup that has demonstrated reliability in hard-use field conditions. The tradeoff is a tad more felt recoil than some gas-operated shotguns in the same class.

Video: Browning A5 20ga Review

This video demonstrates the new Browning A5 20ga.

Like the A5 Sweet Sixteen, the new 20-gauge gets its own compact, caliber-specific receiver. While some shotgun manufacturers use the same receiver for multiple gauges, the A5s are optimized for each one, which is ideal. The slim new 20-gauge A5 Hunter weighs 5 pounds 10 ounces empty in the 28-inch barrel configuration and is an ounce or two lighter in the 26-inch version. That’s light enough to showcase one of the benefits of a 20-gauge field gun: all-day portability. Trigger pull weight is around 5 pounds 10 ounces, which is acceptable for a field gun. There’s a soft rubber recoil pad to remove some of the punch of this light shotgun.

The A-5’s Speedload Plus feature is a carryover from the A-5s of yore, where if the bolt is locked to the rear and the gun is empty, you can insert a cartridge into the magazine tube, and it will be automatically released onto the lifter, and loaded into the chamber as the bolt closes. It can be a little unnerving if you haven’t handled an A-5 (or the new A5) before, but it’s a nice feature that adds a bit of luxury feel to the gun. And it’s got a luxury gun price, with an MSRP of $1,979.99. Still, we’re betting this light, fast-handling, beautiful shotgun will sell really well.

Palmetto State Armory 570 modular shotgun

PSA 570 Shotgun

Palmetto State Armory is one of our favorite firearm companies, partly because they have a sense of humor (in addition to making very affordable, yet good-quality, made-in-the-USA firearms). Their brand-new 570 modular shotgun model is an obvious play on words (er, numbers), as the design is a hybrid of the Mossberg 500 series and the Remington 870 series. These are by far the two most popular, best-selling, and well-known American pump-action shotguns in history.

At its core, the new PSA 570 borrows most heavily from the Mossberg 500/590 series, as the bolt lockup, lifter configuration, tang safety location, and other internal parts share similarities. However, there are some important differences and innovative new features. First, the action release is placed on the right side of the receiver, where your trigger finger would index for a high-ready position. Secondly, the receiver, barrels, magazine tubes, and stocks will be offered by PSA separately, so you can pick and choose the components you want from the get-go rather than being forced into buying a shotgun that’s not exactly what you want and throwing some parts away when you replace them. You can also choose to buy a receiver separately and build it as you go. The 570’s magazine tube is retained at the rear by a castle nut, and a wrench will be included so you can swap magazine tube lengths at will. This is an entirely new approach pioneered by PSA.

This video demonstrates the new PSA 570: A Shotgun Tailored to You.

Additionally, you’re not bound by one barrel length since the 570’s barrel/mag tube clamp (PSA calls it the hanger) near the muzzle is what stabilizes and connects the two together. Previously, if you chose a particular barrel, the magazine tube boss or ring was welded or soldered to the barrel, and this determined how long your magazine tube had to be. If you wanted to change one, you had to change the other. Not anymore! You can change the magazine tube and barrel length to dozens of optional configurations at will. The front clamp/hanger is what houses the front sight, which is Glock-compatible for huge aftermarket support. The buttstock and forearm are from Magpul and are Remington 870 compatible. The loading port is relieved and beveled for easier loading.

PSA has partnered with Vang Comp Systems to offer a pre-modified Vang Comp-optimized barrel option from the factory as well, which is super cool. Vang Comp performs voodoo magic on pump-action shotgun barrels, lengthening the forcing cone, back-boring the barrels for tighter groups and less recoil, and porting them for further recoil reduction. This is an exciting option for more well-heeled 570 shotgun customers (Vang Comp’s stuff is never cheap).

Also, the 570 utilizes a Mossberg-type integrated red-dot optics mounting capability, and the system is configured to accept the nearly universal Trijicon RMR footprint. We’re really looking forward to getting our hands on a 570 later this year. MSRP hasn’t been announced just yet, but PSA is known for providing great value for your money. Keep your eyes peeled for the full launch of the 570!

Mossberg Professional Series shotguns

We mentioned the Mossberg 500/590 series above, as it’s one of, if not THE most well-thought-out and popular pump-action shotgun designs over the past 60 years. Additionally, Mossberg’s 940 semi-automatic shotgun has earned a reputation as being one of the few truly reliable semi-autos around when you’re talking about fighting shotguns. This year, both the 590A1 and the 940 are going to be offered in Mossberg’s new Professional series. Let’s go over what this means.

The most obvious new feature of these new shotguns is a new sighting system. Both the front and rear iron sights are steel for maximum durability and include protective ears to mitigate damage to the ghost ring in the back and the fiber-optic-equipped post in the front. Unlike some other tactical shotguns’ iron sights, Mossberg elected to keep these extremely low to the bore, both to reduce a shotgun getting hung up when placed into or removed from a rack (in a patrol vehicle, for example) but also to keep the shooter’s eye and cheek low to the line of the bore. This helps reduce felt recoil and shooter fatigue.

Crucially, the rear sight is integrated into a plate that can be user-configured and removed. This exposes an integral, receiver-milled, and drilled Shield/RMSC micro red dot optic footprint. Mossberg pioneered this feature last year, and other manufacturers are sure to follow suit (PSA already has, as we mentioned above).

The Professional Series buttstocks are just under 13” in length of pull, so both shorter and taller users can shoulder and shoot them effectively. They are also equipped with soft, recoil-reducing rubber buttpads.

Mossburg Professional Series 940

Another great feature of the Professional Series 590A1 and 940 is their beveled and relieved ejection and loading ports. Cheaper pump shotguns often have very sharp edges around these areas, which can cause cuts and abrasions when loading or clearing malfunctions. This new beveled and relieved design is a vast improvement, and since it’s done at the factory before the guns are finished, it looks great.

Both shotguns are finished in a dark-gray Cerakote finish that Mossberg says they’ve optimized for maximum abrasion and corrosion resistance. Plus, it looks killer. (Unfortunately, these shotguns are so new that manufacturer images aren’t even available yet, but there are some good preview videos out there.)

Video: Mossberg Professional Series 590 and 940 Shotguns

This video demonstrates the Mossberg Professional Series 590 and 940 Shotguns.

The 940 Professional gets QD sling swivel sockets front and rear, as well as left and right. It also gets a wider, more thumb-friendly tang safety. (The 590A1 retains the mil-spec steel safety, but users can install the new safety if desired.)

MSRP has also not yet been confirmed, but with general features similar to Mossberg’s Thunder Ranch models, we’re betting on suggested pricing of around $1,295 for the 940 and $662 for the 590A1 Professional Series.

Store your shotguns (and everything else you value) in a Liberty Safe

Every shotgun deserves to be loved and kept secure, and the best way to make that happen is in a quality, US-made gun safe from Liberty. Storing your guns and valuables in a properly dehumidified Liberty Safe is an ideal way to protect them from corrosion, mold, fire, theft, and unauthorized access. Check out our interactive online catalog, or visit a Liberty Safe showroom near you.

*Made in the U.S.A. from U.S. and Global Parts.


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