If you’re a shotgun or firearm enthusiast or a collector looking to expand your arsenal, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will delve into the world of trench shotguns and unveil the top 10 options available.

Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of classic firearms, or simply looking for a reliable self-defense weapon, trench shotguns offer a unique combination of power and functionality.

Understanding Trench Shotguns

Trench shotguns, also known as combat or riot shotguns, are specially designed firearms that excel in close-quarters combat situations. They are characterized by their short barrels, typically measuring around 18 inches, which allows for better maneuverability in tight spaces.

Trench shotguns typically have a high-capacity magazine and are chambered to fire either 12-gauge or 20-gauge shotgun shells.

Factors to Consider

Before diving into the specific models, it’s essential to consider a few factors when choosing a trench shotgun. These factors include:

  • Intended Use: Determine whether you need a trench shotgun for home defense, law enforcement, military applications, hunting, or sporting events.
  • Action Type: Decide between pump-action, semi-automatic, or break-action designs based on your preferences and requirements.
  • Ammunition Capacity: Consider the magazine capacity and the ability to use extended magazines if needed.
  • Accessories and Modifications: Evaluate the availability of tactical accessories and the ease of customization.
  • Reputation and Reliability: Research the reputation and reliability of the manufacturer and the specific model you are considering.

Pump-Action Powerhouses

Pump-action trench shotguns have long been favored for their reliability and versatility. These shotguns require the user to manually operate a sliding pump mechanism to chamber a new round and eject the spent shell. Here are three outstanding pump-action trench shotguns:

Mossberg 500 Tactical

The Mossberg 500 Tactical is a legendary shotgun known for its ruggedness and dependability. It features a 6-round capacity, a durable synthetic stock, and a ventilated recoil pad for enhanced comfort during extended shooting sessions.

The tang-mounted safety allows for ambidextrous operation, making it suitable for both left- and right-handed shooters.

Remington 870 Express Tactical

The Remington 870 Express Tactical is a time-tested pump-action shotgun that has earned its place among the best. With a capacity of up to 7 rounds, it offers substantial firepower.

Remington 870 Express

The synthetic stock provides a solid grip, while the adjustable sight ensures quick and accurate target acquisition. Its robust construction ensures durability in challenging conditions.

Winchester SXP Defender

The Winchester SXP Defender is a modern and reliable pump-action shotgun. It features a rotary bolt system that provides smooth and reliable cycling. With a 5-round capacity, it offers ample firepower for defensive situations.

Winchester Rifle - Winchester SX4

The Inflex Technology recoil pad reduces felt recoil, allowing for more comfortable shooting.

Semi-Automatic Versatility

Semi-automatic trench shotguns offer rapid firepower and reduced recoil, making them popular among law enforcement and military personnel. These shotguns use gas or recoil-operated mechanisms to automatically chamber a new round after each shot. Here are three exceptional semi-automatic trench shotguns

Benelli M4

The Benelli M4 is a renowned semi-automatic shotgun known for its reliability and durability. It utilizes a unique inertia-driven system, which ensures smooth and consistent cycling under various conditions.

benelli supersport

With a 5-round capacity, it offers fast follow-up shots. The adjustable ghost-ring sights and picatinny rail allow easy customization and mounting optics.


The FN SLP MK I is a highly regarded semi-automatic shotgun with impressive performance capabilities. It features a gas-operated action that provides reliable cycling and reduced recoil.

fn slp

The extended magazine tube allows for an 8+1 capacity, ensuring ample firepower. The adjustable stock and interchangeable recoil pads make it adaptable to different shooters and shooting styles.

Beretta 1301 Tactical

The Beretta 1301 Tactical is a sleek, reliable, semi-automatic shotgun designed for tactical applications. Its gas-operated system ensures fast and smooth cycling, while the oversized charging handle allows quick and easy operation.


My Beretta 1301 is a competition model, but the best choice for hunting I have…plus it came with a hard case for travel

With a 6+1 capacity, it offers excellent firepower. The Optima-Bore HP choke system ensures tight and consistent patterns.

Classic Break-Action Designs

While pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns dominate the trench shotgun market, classic break-action designs have charm and benefits. These shotguns feature a hinge that allows the barrel to pivot away from the receiver for reloading. Here are two notable break-action trench shotguns:

Stoeger Coach Gun

The Stoeger Coach Gun is a reliable and affordable break-action shotgun that captures the essence of classic firearms. Its traditional double trigger and exposed hammers offer a nostalgic shooting experience.

stoeger coach

It is available in both side-by-side and over-and-under configurations, allowing you to choose the style that suits you best.

CZ Hammer Classic

The CZ Hammer Classic is a beautifully crafted break-action shotgun that combines elegance with functionality. With its side-by-side configuration and external hammers, it exudes a timeless appeal.

CZ Hammer Classic

The selectable ejectors and chrome-lined barrels enhance reliability and ease of maintenance. It offers the perfect balance of tradition and modern engineering.

Tactical Accessories and Modifications

Trench shotguns can be enhanced with various tactical accessories and modifications to meet individual preferences and requirements. Some popular accessories include:

  • Red Dot or Reflex Sights: These sights provide rapid target acquisition and improved accuracy in close-quarters engagements.
  • Extended Magazines: Increase your shotgun’s ammunition capacity for extended shooting sessions or high-threat situations.
  • Forend Grips: Improve handling and control by adding a vertical or angled grip to the forend of your shotgun.
  • Flashlights and Lasers: Enhance low-light visibility and target identification with mounted flashlights and lasers.
  • Stock Upgrades: Customize your shotgun’s stock for a better fit, improved recoil management, and increased ergonomics.

Trench Shotguns for Home Defense

Trench shotguns are an excellent choice for home defense due to their effectiveness in close-quarters engagements. Here are some key considerations when selecting a trench shotgun for home defense:

  • Barrel Length: Opt for a shotgun with a shorter barrel length for enhanced maneuverability in tight spaces.
  • Ammunition Selection: Choose appropriate ammunition, such as buckshot or slugs, for maximum stopping power.
  • Reliability and Ease of Use: Prioritize shotguns that are reliable, easy to operate, and have user-friendly controls.
  • Accessory Compatibility: Ensure your shotgun can accommodate essential accessories like lights or optics for home defense scenarios.

Law Enforcement and Military Applications

Trench shotguns play a vital role in law enforcement and military operations. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a trench shotgun for these applications:

  • Durability and Reliability: Choose shotguns known for their ruggedness and ability to withstand demanding conditions.
  • Capacity and Quick Reloads: Consider shotguns with high-capacity magazines or quick and efficient reloading systems.
  • Accessory Compatibility: Look for shotguns with accessory rails or mounting options to attach specialized equipment.
  • Shorter Overall Length: Opt for shotguns with a shorter overall length to enhance maneuverability in confined spaces.

Top Trench Shotgun Brands

When it comes to trench shotguns, certain brands have established themselves as industry leaders. Here are some top trench shotgun brands known for their quality and performance:

  • Mossberg: Renowned for their reliable pump-action shotguns, Mossberg offers various models suitable for various applications.
  • Remington: With a rich history in firearms manufacturing, Remington produces reliable, durable shotguns trusted by professionals.
  • Benelli: Known for their innovative designs and superior craftsmanship, Benelli shotguns are highly regarded for their reliability and performance.
  • Winchester: Winchester shotguns are known for their quality and versatility, making them popular among shooters.
  • Beretta: With a reputation for excellence, Beretta shotguns are favored by law enforcement, military, and sports shooting enthusiasts worldwide.

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care are essential to ensure the longevity and reliability of your trench shotgun. Here are some general tips to keep your shotgun in optimal condition:

  • Cleaning and Lubrication: Regularly clean the barrel, action, and other components to remove fouling and prevent corrosion. Use appropriate lubricants to ensure smooth operation.
  • Storage: Store your shotgun in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture damage. Consider using a gun safe or secure storage solution to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Inspection: Inspect your shotgun for signs of wear, damage, or loose parts. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage or malfunction.
  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific maintenance procedures and recommended cleaning products.
  • Seek Professional Assistance: If you’re unsure about any aspect of shotgun maintenance, consult a qualified gunsmith for guidance and assistance.

Trench Shotguns for Hunting

While trench shotguns are primarily associated with defense and tactical applications, they can also be used for hunting certain game species. When selecting a trench shotgun for hunting, consider the following factors:

  • Chamber Size: Ensure the shotgun’s chamber can accommodate the appropriate ammunition for the game you intend to hunt.
  • Barrel Length and Choke: Choose a barrel length and choke configuration suitable for the hunting environment and game species.
  • Weight and Maneuverability: Balance the shotgun’s weight with the need for maneuverability in the hunting terrain.
  • Camouflage Options: Look for trench shotguns available in camouflage finishes to enhance concealment while hunting.

Trench Shotguns for Sporting Events

Trench shotguns can also be used for various sporting events, such as clay shooting or practical shooting competitions. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a trench shotgun for sporting events:

  • Action Type: Choose a shotgun action type (pump-action, semi-automatic, or break-action) that suits the specific competition rules and your shooting style.
  • Barrel Length and Choke: Opt for the barrel length and choke configurations that offer versatility and adaptability to different shooting disciplines.
  • Ergonomics and Adjustability: Select a shotgun with adjustable stocks or interchangeable components to achieve a comfortable and personalized fit.
  • Recoil Management: Consider features like recoil pads, gas-operated systems, or weighted magazine extensions to help manage recoil during extended shooting sessions.

Trench shotguns provide a powerful and reliable option for various applications, including home defense, law enforcement, military operations, hunting, and sporting events. The 12 best trench shotguns discussed in this article offer a range of options to cater to different needs and preferences.

Remember to thoroughly evaluate your requirements, consider the factors mentioned, and choose a trench shotgun that suits your intended use. Whether looking for close-quarters combat capabilities or a reliable hunting companion, the right trench shotgun can be valuable.

Got more ideas about shotguns? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

trench shotgun

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