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Tactical Shotguns

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What Shotguns We DO NOT ALLOW

  • Any shotgun with pistol grip-only stocks - you must be able to mount the shotgun to your shoulder
  • Shotguns that do not have an operating Safety
  • Shotguns with no trigger guard
  • Shotguns that have been modified so they are unsafe
  • Any pump action shotgun that does not have a disconnect so that the shotgun will fire when the action is run and the finger is still pressing the trigger (e.g. older Ithica Model 37s, Winchester Models 12 and 97, including some of the newer reproductions made in China, etc.)
  • Very small or very large gauges (.410, 28, 16, 10)
    • .410 and 28 gauges are too small for home defense
    • 16 gauge ammunition is difficult to find
    • 10 gauge can cause pain after a couple of times firing it

No stock = NOT ALLOWED:

Not Allowed

Acceptable types of stocks:


What We DO NOT Recommend for Shotguns

  • Very long barrels such as “goose guns”
  • Side-by-side or over/under shotguns
    • Although they will work for home defense in a pinch, they are not recomended for tactical use


Tactical Shotgun Recommendations

  • If you don’t own a weapon and are going to rent one of ours, then there is really no decision.  We will equip you with an appropriate, mainstream weapon which we know is a proper choice for your course.
  • If you only own one weapon that meets our minimum standards and want to train with it, bring it!  Throughout your course, you will learn all the strengths and weaknesses of that particular weapon.  In the end, that weapon may be perfect for you or you may want to go shopping.  Either way, the place to learn about your weapon is at PraireFire NV, not on the street in a time of need.
  • If you have been issued a weapon by your department, bring it.  We will train you to exceedingly high levels with whatever you have been issued.
  • If you are trying to decide from the dozens of weapons you already own or you are going to purchase a new weapon, then the following discussion is for you.

While it is true that “any gun will do if you will do”, there are definitely some choices which are more appropriate than others.  Below are a few things to consider when selecting a weapon.


There are several, high-quality shotguns which are properly equipped for tactical use right from the factory.  For home defense, we recommend either 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotguns.  For 12 gauges, we recommend 00 Buckshot (Reduced Recoil/Tactical Loads are fine); for 20 gauges, #2 or #3 Buckshot.  Below are the frontrunners:


Benelli M1, M2 and M4 are very high-quality, semi-auto shotguns.  These shotguns are legendary for their performance but they are expensive.  They come from the factory well equipped for tactical use.


Remington 1100 and 1187 are very popular semi-automatic shotguns.  Again the tactical models come well equipped from the factory.  The only thing you may have to add is an over-sized bolt handle if it doesn’t come with one installed.


Mossberg 500, 590 and 590A1 are quality pump-action shotguns.  They are ergonomic for both right and left handed shooters.  The Mossberg 590A1 is used by law enforcement and the military and is a very robust shotgun.  The Mossberg 590 is the slightly simpler, civilian version of the 590A1.


Remington 870 is an extremely popular pump-action shotgun.  The “tactical” or “police” models are well equipped with short barrels, long magazine tubes, good sights, and sling studs.


Benelli Nova and Super Nova are also popular pump-action shotguns that are reasonably priced along with different configurations to choose from.


Regardless of which shotgun you select, it will need a sling.  A simple carry strap will suffice, as will the more elaborate “tactical slings”.


  • Shotguns must be pump-action or auto-loading in 12 or 20 gauge with trigger guard intact and have an attached sling.
    • Mossberg 500 or 590, Remington 870, Benelli M1, M2 or M4, Remington 1100, 1187 or similar.
  • All shotguns must have a full stock, not merely a pistol grip stock. 
  • An ammunition carrier or pouch is recommended.  Large vest pockets or trouser cargo pockets will suffice.
  • Knee and elbow pads are recommended.
  • Attached (dedicated) flashlights are mandatory for the summer night courses and the specialized advanced-level courses.


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