View Full Version : PUMP VS SEMI-AUTO

November 5, 1998, 03:37 AM
While I have been a dedicated "plinker" since
I was young I am new to shotguns. I am now
interested in purchasing a shotgun for home
This may be a silly question but what are
the pros and cons of pump and semi-auto shotguns for home defense? Also there has been much written on this forum about remington and mossberg but what about benelli, are they worth the extra cash? Thanks to all

November 5, 1998, 10:29 AM
Many semi-autos are ammo sensitive. Go with a recoil operated if you go semi-auto. Then you can fill the mag tube with anything including mixed rounds without worrying about your gas tube settings. Also beware of the spray and pray philosophy. You may just start pulling the trigger again and again until maybe you run out at a critical time whereas with a pump there is a physical action required before each shot giving time to think or react to circumstances. For aimed shooting a semi may be better as you don't have to rack a round each time and possibly lose your sight picture. A disadvantage is that autos usually cost more than pumps. You can pick up 2 or 3 Mossberg 590's for the price of a Benelli at most gunshows.
As for myself I have both, several Mossbergs (one dedicated social gun) and a Benelli M121. I tend to favor the Benelli though. But I do practice with both. Actually I'm better at busting clay birds with my Benelli than with any of my other 6 or 8 shotguns that I own.
The Benelli is an excellent weapon. You may also want to examine the Beretta. It's a couple hundred cheaper than the Benelli. It's also the lightest auto I've handled.

Rob Pincus
November 5, 1998, 11:01 AM
As most everyone aroun dher knows I swear my the Benelli (M1). When it gets really dirty it hiccups with super light ammo (skeet loads), but I have never had trouble with full loads. Great with slugs too!

In my heart, I am sure that modern pumps are more reliable in long term tactical situations. But I think that the tactical world's aversion to semis (which is starting to fade) is a product of older semis which may not have been as reliable as the moderne ones.

The Beretta tactical semi is more sensitive to light loads, in fact, although Nashville metro officers can carry their own sem i shotguns in their PCs, they have to use issue ammo, and the issue buckshot is too light to cycle the Beretta.

With a PG stock (not just a PG..) you also get the advantage of one handed use. I have shot quite a few clays one handed with the Benelli, it is really easier than one would think, though your strong hand gets tired pretty quick.

Some day I will upgrade to a Benelli M3 and have the best of both worlds (semi/pump in emergencies).

November 5, 1998, 10:27 PM
Semi's surely have advantages: faster follow-up shots, less to remember, and lighter recoil.

Pumps surely have advantages: less expense, widespread part availability, often lighter weight, and dependability. As SOF said long ago, many of us would prefer to risk an operator error (such as short-stroking) than a failure by a system that is inherently less reliable.
(I am rather prejudiced, since I used an auto years ago that malfunctioned every time I used it...)

November 9, 1998, 12:21 AM
Thanks for the information, it is very much appreciated!

4V50 Gary
November 10, 1998, 01:29 AM
There's something to be said about old pump guns and I mean OLD. Specifically, the Win M97, Win M12 and Ithaca M37.

Fan fired. That is, you depress the trigger once and while keeping it depressed, mere pumping of the action will cause the firearm to discharge. Depending on your dexterity, it's possible to empty the magazine in a matter of seconds. Fast? Yes. Loud? You betcha.

New is nice, but don't discount the old. Anybody, did I miss any other old guns?


November 10, 1998, 10:38 AM
The Stevens 520. Many pre-WWI designs did not possess a disconnector.

November 10, 1998, 05:38 PM
There is a new 12 based on the tried and true AK action. This shotgun- the Saiga- would be the only semi-auto I would purchase. In ComBlock I trust...

November 16, 1998, 11:33 PM
If you are new to shotguns and want one for home defense, please don't overlook the side by side double barrel. It can be left loaded and not take a spring set, if it has exsosed hammers you can tell when it is cocked, asfor dependability, it is like two different shotguns. You can load one barrel with buck and one with bird or slug, and it can be chamber checked by putting your fingers in the two barrels. let me know what you think>>>
snoman....... P.S. A double does not even know what ammo sensitivity or short stroking means.

[This message has been edited by snoman (edited 11-16-98).]

November 17, 1998, 09:37 AM
The problem I see with a SxS is the reload. It is slow to reload. You have to remember if it has ejectors or not. (Many don't, esp. cowboy action shotguns). You've only got two rounds to use, initially. How to carry your spare rounds. On hammerless guns when the action is closed it is automatically in condition three, making it inherently more dangerous for the uninitiated (such as most children). If you have different loads in each barrel do you remember which barrel has which load? Which trigger, assuming double triggers, fires which barrel? If single trigger, which barrel fires first? Will recoil be a factor? Most SxS are lighter than repeating weapons but still use the same loads resulting in more perceived recoil.

Rob Pincus
November 17, 1998, 10:09 AM
IMHO, unless you are headed to your daughter's wedding or hunting with charter memebrs of your local Quail Unlimited or Pheasants Forever chapter, leave the SxS at in the closet, Uncle Jesse. ;)

As to the pumps being as fast as semis... I can't believe it. I used to be a Die-Hard pump gun guy. Even used them when I first started shooting sporting clays and 5-stand. I got a lot of compliments for the range officers and pullers, but there were some stations (particularly station 5 at Ozark Shooter's course in Branson Missouri)that just "could not" be shot effectively with a pump. Two clays shot full speed about 10 feet apart flying down a gorge and away from you. Two fast moving targets at different points of aim that need to be shot in under 2 seconds starting with the gun unmounted. That type of station convinced me to find a reliable semi. I could nail it 75% of the time with a semi or a O/U.

The fanning is great fun, but not of much use for accurate fire. Nothing like a class II M37 featherweight with the trigger held down and the pump slammin' from the hip. Clean a room, alley, vehicle pretty damn fast and effectively.


November 18, 1998, 12:11 AM
OK ya'll, I just gotta say that I think you are cutting the SxS a short stick. I have been using shotguns quite a long time now and love my 870s 1187s and my 14' Bennelli. Until I started using a SxS, I thought they were fossils. But if olazul is new to shotguns, and wants it for home defense, In the case that a non-shooting spouse has to use it, it is very easy to use, and with a little practice, that should be done anyway, the SxS can be quite fast. And I was refering to an exposed hammer, auto eject double.

November 20, 1998, 10:12 PM
First, thank you to everyone who took the time to answer this thread. I decided on the mossberg 590. I liked that it held 9 rounds and had ghost ring sites. I did very seriously consider SxS but felt that with my familiarity with rifles and pistols that with a little practice I would feel comfortable with a pump. thanks again