Finding the Best Shotguns for a Zombie Apocalypse

You may already know what a shotgun is, but I’ll explain it again. Shotguns ( are long guns with unrifled barrel. Instead of single bullets, they fire multiple spherical pellets per shot. In some cases, they also fire slugs (

Types of Shotgun Actions

To date, there are many diversions of shotgun actions (; the popular being the pump action. Other known actions include bolt, lever, semi-automatic, automatic and break-action shotguns; depending on the preferred shotgun by the user and their intended application.

  • Bolt action – Here, the shotguns and bolt rifles work in the same manner. Oftentimes, they come in .410 caliber; however, they are available in 12 and 20 gauge as well. If you’re looking in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, a bolt-action shotgun is a good choice because it’s super easy to operate and use. Though you want to make sure that you have more than 2-3 rounds to make sure your family is guarded throughout the apocalypse. They are also accurate and geared with small magazines. Some states (or countries) do not permit use of semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns ( Bolt-action shotguns make a good alternative in this scenario. The good news is that they come cheaper than other types of shotguns.
  • Lever action – Works the same way as the lever-action rifle, these shotguns work by maneuvering the lever, which also acts as the gun’s trigger guard. Lever-action shotguns are widely popular in Europe and North America. In Australia, they are the main choice for home defense due to restrictions in government laws. Like pump-action counterparts, lever-action shotguns have a tube, which carries the shells. They also have a lever-operated bolt, which can perform multiple tasks at a time.
  • Semi-automatic – Shotguns of this type fire the same way as semi-automatic rifles. They shoot single shelled bullets and then eject the empty cartridge. Afterwards, a new cartridge will be chambered for a fresh new shot. Some semi-auto shotguns have a single barrel and tube-type magazine. Shotguns like these can be operated in either pump or semi-auto action.
  • Automatic – Like the name states, automatic shotguns automatically fire continuous shots and unleash destructive rage of fire. Probably the example of an automatic shotgun is the AA-12. It has a stainless steel body and low maintenance construction. Inside the shotgun are multiple springs, which absorb shocks and lessens recoil for more accurate shots. It may be considered unnecessary, but you may also use the AA-12 ( singlehandedly. When it comes to ammo, auto shotguns tend to be more loaded compared to other types. In fact, it can hold up to 20-32 magazines.
  • Break action – Commonly seen in popular Western movies, these shotguns possess hinged barrels, which when opened can be reloaded or removed of used shells. Break-action guns carry one to two rounds of ammo. At present, they are considered as the simplest modern firearm, which can be acquired given that they are popular among hunters and competitive shooters. However, most of the time they are more expensive than pump action guns due to more intricate craftsmanship. Shotguns of this type are sturdy, durable, and for medium-range shooting.

Types of Gauges

  • 10
  • 12
  • 16
  • 20
  • 28

The rule on shotguns is that the smaller the gauge, the bigger the size of the bore is. Among these, 12 and 20 are the strongest and the most commonly used in United States.  However, at this rate, what you will get is only good for shooting birds; and will only be fatal for zombies if you target them at close range. Nonetheless, this does not apply to other gauge types; though the former is considered less expensive.

Pros and Cons

Probably the main benefit of using a shotgun is its stopping power. Depending on the type of shotgun, a buckshot can go up to 10 to 30 yards of distance. It is naturally reliable and eject ideal shot projectiles. However, shotguns are often denigrated due to the fact that they need to be reloaded often and they perform best when used for short to middle range shots. In addition, some models do not have a large magazine capacity. Few things to keep in mind when buying one for an important matter such as the zombie apocalypse (

In Conclusion

Shotguns are powerful weapons for killing zombies, given that you’re in the right distance and position for a bull’s eye shot. Just a friendly reminder, in events such as the zombie apocalypse, it’s best to avoid close encounter at all costs. If quicker reloads and saving time are your top priority, better settle for semi-automatic or automatic shotguns. And of course, make sure you have enough ammo when the apocalypse strikes.

Ed Hawkins is a long time recreational firearms owner, having owned many different firearms over his lifetime. While his trusty CZ 75B is his favorite, Ed also enjoys frequent trips to the range with his AR-15. Ed is part-owner and managing editor at ArmsBearingCitizen.