2018 Shotgun(s) of the Year

2018 Shotgun(s) of the Year
Photo: Michael Anschuetz

Guns & Ammo editors, contributors and staff present 2018’s pre-eminent firearms, optic, ammunition, suppressor and innovation awards. Only products made commercially available this last year qualify for nomination. Candidates that were introduced in 2018, but have yet to be shipped to retailers were excluded from our voting process.

During our roundtable discussions, products developed from the ground up and those that possessed the greatest potential impact to the greatest number of readers were given additional value when scored. When having to decide between two otherwise equally important new products, the more affordable choice typically broke the tie in our voting. This year, we have made our first exception to this rule with the shotgun category.

G&A acquired several samples of each nominee throughout 2018 for a comprehensive evaluation. Products that caused doubt in their reliability and manufacturing methods were eliminated from the list of candidates.

The winner for each category resulted from a point system once three criteria were met: First, the product must have been new and available for purchase in 2018. A line extension of an existing product didn’t earn the points as one possessing innovative features and engineering. Second, it must have demonstrated quality and reliability to a degree that met or exceeded its design objective. Lastly, the winner must offer the greatest appeal to the masses. G&A’s staff awarded points in this third principle following a survey of in-store availability and retail pricing to ensure the product exists and offers great value.

To protect the credibility of the Guns & Ammo of the Year awards, no manufacturers, advertisers or sales representatives were informed of our selection. What follows is a summary list of 2018’s best new products now offered by the firearm industry.


It’s a tie! The voting results were split between the Mossberg 590M and Remington 870 DM. Both shotguns have their differences, but the underlying similarity that earned each this award was the integration of a detachable, box magazine. As the 590 versus 870 debate continues, G&A found both brands were deserving.

Mossberg 590M Photo: Mark Fingar

Mossberg’s 590M is based on the same pump-­action 500 platform that’s been in production since 1960. The 590 primarily differed from the 500 with its removable cap that threaded on the magazine tube and secured the barrel, which fit around the magazine tube.

The feature that most fans of the Mossberg 500-­series point to as justification for praising it over a Remington 870 is the tang-­mounted sliding safety. It is very natural to take the thumb that is wrapping around the grip and use it to push the safety forward and off.

Pump-­action shotguns including the 590 have served the military and law enforcement in various configurations. Only in the last 15 years has the AR-­type carbine replaced many shotguns once carried in a law enforcement officer’s cruiser. There is no question that a shotgun offers effectiveness in that line of work, but just as many shotgun owners have depended on the 500 for personal defense and sporting use. However, for defensive purposes, competitive 3-­Gun competitions or for those that wear a uniform, interest in a pump waned for its low capacity and slow reloads. Problem solved.

With Mossberg’s 590M, we benefit with options. Unlike the Remington 870 DM, Mossberg offers five-, 10-, 15- and 20-­round capacities. Shoot more and reload less.

Mossberg 590M
Type: Pump action
Gauge: 12
Chamber: 2¾ in. and 3 in.
Capacity: 5, 10, 15 or 20 rds.
Chokes: Cylinder
Barrel: 18.5 in.
Overall Length: 39.5 in.
Sights: Brass bead (front)
Length of Pull: 13.8 in.
Weight: 7 lbs., 12 oz.
Stock: Synthetic, black (tested)
Finish: Matte blue (steel)
MSRP: $720
Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg and Sons,
800-363-3555, mossberg.com

Remington 870 DM Photo: Mark Fingar

Remington 870 DM shotguns are already available in five configurations. There is a base model configured like the Mossberg 590M that retails for $530, a camouflage Predator model with thumbhole stock for hunting, an 870 DM with classic hardwood furniture, and a Tactical model with a pistol grip. Our most recent test sample was the 870 DM Magpul featuring Magpul’s new MGA stock and forend. To add, the 870 DM Magpul shotgun features XS Ghost Ring sights, a Picatinny rail for mounting optics and a tactical choke that functions as a standoff device familiar to the military and law enforcement for breaching.

Of course, fans of the Remington 870 prefer the crossbolt safety positioned behind the trigger, which is similarly located as many other rifles and shotguns. Whereas the 590M is available with four choices in magazines, the 870 DM is only supported with three-­ or six-­round magazines. (A 10-­round magazine is in the works.) However, Remington’s mags only cost $34 each. Spare Mossberg 590M magazines start at $101 each. So, if you’re a 3-­Gunner on a budget, it’s more affordable to feed the 870 DM and reload more often.

That said, reloading the 870 DM is fast. One member of G&A’s staff won a contest while shooting three rounds, reloading and shooting two more in just 4.76 seconds.

Remington 870 DM
Type: Pump action
Gauge: 12
Chamber: 2¾ in. and 3 in.
Capacity: 3 or 6 rds.
Chokes: Cylinder, tactical
Barrel: 18.5 in.
Overall Length: 38.5 in.
Sights: XS Ghost Ring, rail (rear); post, drift adjustable (front)
Length of Pull: 14 in.
Weight: 7 lbs., 8 oz.
Stock: Magpul SGA (tested)
Finish: Matte blue (steel)
MSRP: $800
Manufacturer: Remington,
800-243-9700, remington.com

Mossberg and Remington deserve this award. The detachable-­mag pump is now mainstream.


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