Although there are other types of shotguns out there which we will discuss at a later date we are going to focus in this installment on Pump vs Semi Auto Tactical Shotguns.

There are pro's and con's to both. Some people preffer pump some preffer Semi Auto, some like me like either one. To me the pro's and con's break even and it becomes just a matter of personal preference or a matter of what you have and can afford.

We are going to discuss the pro's and cons of both so you can make an informed decision. We will discuss the operations of the two actions. The failures that can occur, price diffences, and weight differences. We will give you the information you need when going to buy your tactical shotgun and decide if you want pump or semi auto.

Pumps: Pros: -Racking the slide for intimidation (some view this as a pro,). While it may work, relying on Chnk chnk as an intimidation factor is not a good idea ( Yes i know it works in the movies). Some believe that the Chnk Chnk gives away your position and you loose an advantage. My question is why do you have to go Chnk Chnk. As a defensive gun why do you not have one chambered already with the safety on?

-Reliability with all Ammo, and reliability in general. While the pump is more simplistic, requires less maintenance and has fewer parts. The main reliability issue is the user. If you have a failure to load on a pump it is probably because you short stroked the pump. short stroking means that you brought the pump/slide back but pushed it forward before it had reached the end of it's rearward travel. This means you have an empty chamber. the remedy is to pump it again coming all the way back then all the way forward chambering the shell. Double stroking slows down your ability to fire again.

-Lower Cost, there are many pump shotguns under 200.00. I have a Charles Daily pump 12 ga I paid $150.00 for and it is very similar to the Mossberg 500. You will be hard pressed to find a semi auto for under $300.00 and will be more likely $400 to $500 plus, many of the more well known brands will be between $600 and $1000.00 and more.

-Speed, with training near as fast (with more advanced training just as fast?) as a semi-auto.

-Plenty of aftermarket accessories. There are many accessories for tactical shot guns. Most come with or can be outfited with rails for mounting optics, lights etc.

-Proven track record with LE/Military. Mitary and Law enforcement have been using the pump shotgun since the inception of the 1897 pump shotgun known as the Trench gun/Model 97/M97 designed by John Browning and produced by Winchester. It has a long track record of durability, simpicity and reliability under combat and defensive conditions. Cons: -Potentially slower (the real question I suppose is do you need the extra speed). Even with training you will not match the speed of the semi auto. That is why in competition you see pretty much only semi auto's. However in a defense situation the difference in speed is marginal. In a home defense situation it is unlikely you would have to get off more then one or two rounds during the initial encounter.

-Potential to Short shuck/pump the gun. This reliability issue is real, but not the fault of the shotgun. Short Stroking is a user induced malfunction, not the fault of the gun.

-A small degree more recoil, pump shotguns have a little more felt recoil thean semi autos as the gas operated semi auto uses some of the energy in cycling. However the difference is managable for most. If you cannot manage the recoil of a 12 ga pump, then you should be looking at a 20ga or .410ga. You will not notice a difference in recoil between a pump and Recoil/Inertia operated semi autos.

Semi-auto: Pros: -One handed operation. With some training and practice the pump can be used one handed, however not as quickly or as smoothly as a semi auto, so the semi auto does have a little advantage in this area.

-Simple to operate, without possibility of "short shucking". because loading of a shell is mechanical handled by the gun itself, it is simpler. You only pull the trigger for each round, nothing else needs to be done.

-Some models can be ghost loaded (not sure if I would do this for home defense as I hear ghost loading has a potential for causing a hang up). Ghost loading is where you have a round in the chamber a full tube and one more round on the carrier (it is a technique that needs to be practiced) It's purpose is to increase capacity by one more round.

-Shoots as fast as you can pull the trigger. Semi autos are called that because each time the gun is fired the ejection and loading mechanisim operates without the shooter needin to do anything. Each time the trigger is pulled the gun automaticaly cycles itself.

-Reduced recoil (gas operation semis only). With gas operated semi autos there is less felt recoil making them more comfortable to shoot multiple rounds. However in a home defese situation you are not likely to fire more then a couple of rounds at a time. A militery style combat situation will be different. Cons: -Only recent and developing history in LE/Military use. It has really only been the last 10 years or so that has seen an increase in semi auto shotguns in Military and Law Enforcement use, so the jury is still out as to whether there is a significant advantage in the Military and LE use.

-More expensive, there is definitely a price point difference between Semi Auto and Pump. A simple comparriso is the Mossberg 930 semi auto at $879.00 and the Mosberg 500 pump at $399.00. both are 12 gauge.

-Requires more maintenance for reliable functioning, and much more complex. There are more parts and a more complex mechanical set up that can be more easily fouled.

-Less reliable with low recoil loads, and arguably less reliable overall. There is a potential of Failure to Eject and or a failure to feed. Espescially if you are using the wrong load.

Semi Auto and Pump also known as slide action more or less break even in the pros and con's, so it isup to you to decide what is more important marginally faster speed of a semi auto, a bit more reliable usage of the pump barring user error (Short stroking), price differential) It comes down to personal preference and what you can afford.

Here are simple views of how a Pump action and a Semi Auto operate.

Here is the operation of a Gas Operated Semi Automatic Shotgun

Here is the operation of a recoil operated Semi Automatic Shotgun

Whether you choose semi auto or pump both are viable home defense guns. The choice is yours.

If you take the plunge and buy a tactical shotgun or have one, spend the money on training, then practice, practice and practice some more.

That is it for this installment, if you liked the content give it a like and or a comment.

Next installment will be on types of shells available for the tactical shotgun, there advantages and disadvantages in Home Defense and Combat.

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