A 12-gauge shotgun is an iconic firearm in America. Many people in America use them for hunting. Still other people use them for personal protection. And Joe Biden likes to recommend shooting them into the air to scare off intruders in your home (and, then, get promptly arrested for public endangerment or negligent discharge of a firearm).
And with the majority of the uses above, most people are thinking of the traditional look and design for a 12-gauge shotgun: wood stock, wood trim on other parts of the firearm. Basically, it looks like a variation on a hunting rifle.
Smith & Wesson, though, is challenging those traditional design notions with their M&P 12 shotgun. Travis Pike gives us details on this bullpup tactical shotgun:
Let’s start from the front and work our way back. The M&P 12 wears a 19-inch barrel that’s threaded for (Remchoke) chokes. Modified and cylinder bore choke tubes come with the gun.
The pump part of the pump-action is M-LOK compatible and heavily textured. S&W wisely includes a heavy-duty forward grip that’s also heavily textured. It’s tough for your hand to slip when working the action with a vertical foregrip that is best described as anchored. It’s not just attached to one M-LOK slot, but seemingly several.
The shotgun’s pump extends rearward a fair bit and houses a set of buttons. These allow you to swap from one magazine tube to the other with a press of the button. It’s quick and easy to switch tubes and can be done on the fly. According to the manual, you shouldn’t switch tubes with the pump to the rear.
Above the barrel sits an M-LOK slotted barrel shroud and an optics rail runs across the top. This makes it easy to add lights, lasers, and obviously optics. The shotgun doesn’t come with any kind of iron sights. For red dots, you’ll need an AR height optic because it’s an inline design much like a AR-15.
Pike notes that the loading this shotgun “isn’t easy or fast,” so, there is that to keep in mind as one of the reasons for the capacity that it has. Pike also notes:
The S&W M&P 12 isn’t too bad in the recoil department. It doesn’t feel a whole helluva lot different than any other pump-action shotgun. The M&P 12 weighs 8.3 pounds unloaded, so it’s no featherweight. Along with that mass, the big foregrip and rear pistol grip really help you engage in a good push/pull technique to mitigate recoil.
You’ll feel the bump with each pull of the trigger, but it won’t beat you up. What surprised with was that trigger.
For one, it’s a shotgun. Two, it’s a bullpup (which have never been known for good triggers). As a result, I didn’t expect much. It’s honestly not that bad. The M&P 12 trigger won’t win any awards, but it’s definitely better than expected. It’s got a fair bit of take-up, but it’s light and breaks cleanly. Reset is fairly long.
Needless to say, this shotgun is a big departure from traditional shotgun norms. But if you’re looking for a tactical shotgun or just something a bit out of the ordinary, the M&P 12 may be one worth taking a look at.