Common as stars in the night sky, powerful as a runaway freight train, with usefulness only surpassed by duct tape, the pump-action shotgun is truly a mythical beast. The mere click-clack of its slide racking has been known to scare home-intruding dunderheads so severely as to pipeline them straight from crime into missionary work. Truly, this gun can turn water into wine.

Not quite.

As far as firearms go, few surpass the versatility of the iconic pump-action shotgun. From birds on the wing to deer in the field, perhaps no other gun boasts such wide-reaching hunting applications. As a defensive arm, well, racking it won’t guarantee squat when it comes to neutralizing a threat, but competently handling it is a whole other matter. Suffice to say, in practiced hands, few firearms are as devastating as a pump-action in close quarters.

Even if you’re a dedicated handgunner or an absolutely religious rifleman, it’s sound practice to have a scattergun at hand. And with its utility, reliability and relatively simple manual of arms, it’s natural to gravitate to the pump-action shotgun. If you’ve yet to arm yourself as such, we’re here to help.