If you’re considering investing in a new gun, it's challenging to decide what’s best for you. Semi-automatic shotguns have become increasingly popular. Gone are the days when the John Waynes of the world would fire a single action army revolver at anyone that looked at them sideways. Of course, old-fashioned revolver’s downside was the slow action of turning the cylinder after each shot. Of course, the classic old western movie stars made the action look smooth and slick, but the reality was more limiting.
The problematic nature of the revolver means that it’s challenging to shoot accurately. When the semi-automatic shotgun was invented, they shot off the shelves like wildfire (double pun intended). So what are good and bad bits of the SASG?
The most obvious benefit is speed. Although less able to fire rapidly as with a machine gun, SA guns are fast, because they automatically reload. SA guns are usually pistols, shotguns or rifles. They are the best option for home defense because of the recoil energy that cycles the action. They are also much easier to handle than other, more heavyweight guns.
If you’re not used to firing a gun, an alternative to SASG is to use a pump shotgun; it’s the best option as it requires little skill and can be utilized by the most inexperienced user. To use a pump-action gun you pull a pump handle towards yourself and then push it back into position.
If you’ve used a gun before and are reasonably proficient, then the semi-automatic is the best choice. An essential aspect of owning an SASG is maintenance. Guns are susceptible to rust and if rust sets in, your gun could be rendered unusable quite quickly. Cleaning prevents moisture buildup and coats your firearm in oil, protecting all the metal parts from corrosion and damage. Guns must be kept lubricated for optimal function.
They are machines with several moving parts that cause friction, and proper greasing to ensure parts don’t wear out too quickly is vital. Having said that, owning an inertia driven gun reduces the need for cleaning as there are very few moving parts; this gun works with a spring that holds the bolt in place, when you pull the trigger the power from the shotshell (or cartridge) forces the bolt backwards, getting rid of the used shell. It then collects the next load when it moves forward. Another advantage of the inertia gun is that it's lighter, so more comfortable to handle.
If you want a gun for shooting clays and games, using a gas-powered gun is a better option. Gas semi autos are great at consistently cycling lighter ammo, which is crucial if shooting on a skeet field. They also operate better when it’s cold as they don’t rely on recoil, which is hampered when wearing big bulky coats.
The semi-automatic gun certainly has many advanced features compared to its historical counterparts. But there are some negative characteristics. Firstly, reliability isn’t its finest quality. They perform excellently and are made well, but are susceptible to malfunction. As mentioned above, cleaning should be a priority to reduce reliability problems. If you are using it primarily for home defence purposes, then you must be confident to put your life in the hands of this little machine. So taking care of it should be a priority.
Another problem that can occur is jamming. If a semi-auto gets jammed and you don’t know how to unjam it quickly, it could be the difference between life and death in a defense situation. To address this issue ensure that anyone in the family that will be accessing the gun understands its functions and how to use it, should a dangerous situation arise. Specifically learning how to load and unload a semi-auto should be understood before use, as it can be a bit complex and will need practice.
Because of the progressive nature of a semi-auto, another con of purchasing one is affordability. Semi-autos require design and more intricate building than manuals so they come at a higher price, however, you may not see this as a downside as you are getting a unique piece of mechanical engineering.
Whether you choose an old type revolver or semi-automatic gun, make sure you do your research and talk to a professional. If you live in the UK, you will have to consider licensing issues. Make the right choice for you and your family, and always remember the importance of gun safety.