At the Range: Pump vs. Semi-Automatic Shotguns

Wondering what the difference between a pump action shotgun and a semi-automatic shotgun is? In this episode of At the Range, Eric Lewis discusses the key differences in these two types of shotguns.

The big difference is obvious. One is semi-automatic meaning it reciprocates by itself and every trigger pull makes the gun fire. Pump action you have to manually eject your shells.

The largest differences will be in your control of the firearm. The semi-automatic shotguns have fantastic gas systems that help manage the recoil much like an AR-15 or any other semi-automatic firearm does which also makes the gun move a little big smoother. Since you do not have to manually pump the gun, you’ll be able to stay on target and follow-up shoot a lot quicker.

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Besides the obvious, there are a few things functionally that will make you a better shooter. Personally, Eric prefers a pump action shotgun and feels more control and less hurried in follow-up shots. The disadvantage is that when you fire, you have to manually adjust it and then reacquire target. With practice you won’t lose target and sight picture as badly as you do if you were to remove the gun from your shoulder to eject the shell but it does take practice. Another disadvantage is that you are going to feel a lot more recoil on your shots.

Pump action versus semi-automatic comes down to personal preference and what works for you as a shooter. Follow along as Eric heads to the range to show firsthand the differences, how they perform and some of these things in a real life scenario.

Be sure to check out all our other At the Range episodes on

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