Shotguns are always an interesting collection of arms to examine when attending SHOT Show, and this year is no exception. For the most part, shotguns haven't changed much in decades, but manufacturers continue to develop innovative ways to give consumers the most cutting-edge platforms possible while retaining the tried-and-true systems that make shotguns so reliable and durable. Not only do we have enhanced platforms this year, we also have homages to classic scatterguns of yesteryear. Here are five must-see shotguns that are new for 2023.
Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol
Beretta's A300 isn't a new design, but it's a proven design, having emerged in 2012. The gun was built with a gas-driven operating system that was a hit in the company's earlier 391 platform, and since then, many A300 sporting shotguns using this innovative self-cleaning gas system have hit the market. In 2023, Beretta's repackaging the core components of the semi-automatic A300 system into its A300 Ultima Patrol, which is a compact, duty-ready, defensive shotgun that's aimed squarely at the tactical market. The 12-ga. shotgun is equipped with a 19" barrel topped by a modified cylinder choke and has a magazine-tube capacity of seven rounds. Other standout features include enlarged controls, an improved loading port, thinner fore-end and multiple QD sling points and M-Lok accessory attachment points. The suggested retail price on the A300 Ultima Patrol is $1,099.
Browning Citori Composite
This year, Browning celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Citori over-under shotgun design, a classic that took the best features of Browning's legendary Superposed well into the 21st century. While Browning is celebrating with a 50th anniversary version of its Citori, the company is still focusing on the future, and one such model that exemplifies that focus is the Citori Composite. While the gun still retains classic, proven features, the composite pairs the ruggedness of the action with a furniture set to match. The composite buttstock and fore-end are designed to be weather- and impact-resistant, and another great feature is that composite materials can be modified in ways that wood can't. Browning's taken advantage of this key feature to thin out the dimensions of the grip and fore-end, making this an attractive option for shooters with smaller hands. Rubber overmolding aids in control. Of course, the 12-ga. shotgun features the transverse mounted locking bolt, full-width hinge pin, inertia trigger, hammer ejectors and chromed chambers. The suggested retail price on the Citori Composite is $2,200.
Franchi Instinct Sideplate
Franchi launched its Instinct Sideplate design in 2022, bringing a different level of presentation to its double-barrel shotgun lineup. Initially, the guns were available only in 12- and 20-gauge, but the look of these guns, complete with inlaid game scenes, AA-grade walnut stocks, streamlined look and blued barrels, captured hunters in a way that demanded more. This year, Franchi is expanding its Instinct Sideplate lineup with two more options, one in 16-gauge and another in 28-gauge. The guns are available with 3" chambers, and each model features 28" barrels. The design includes automatic ejectors, a barrel selector and an automatic safety. Each shotgun also ships with five extended choke tubes, as well as a custom-fitted hard case. Suggested retail pricing on both models is $2,399.
Stoeger Industries M3K
Stoeger's been known for its affordable lineup of shotguns for years, but most of the company's models have been geared toward field or security use. In 2023, the company's jumping into the competition realm with its M3K 3-Gun model. The stand-out features of this latest offering include the blue-anodized bolt release, oversized safety and blue bolt handle. All the controls are oversized for easy access during a competition stage, and the Inertia Driven system ensures fast operation to cut down on time. Stoeger also took the opportunity to incorporate a custom shell carrier, which has been elongated to correspond with the enlarged, beveled loading port that provides plenty of room for speedy reloads. The shotgun is available in 12-gauge with a 3" chamber, and it features a 24" barrel with a four-round tube-magazine capacity. The suggested retail price on the Stoeger M3K is $669.
TriStar Arms Viper G2 Professional
There's nothing that TriStar can improve in the way of the Viper G2's performance, but what the company did for 2023 was to improve how well shotgunners can control their platform. The TriStar Viper G2 Professional incorporates oversized hardware, including an enlarged bolt release, safety and charging handle. Additionally, the loading port on the underside of the receiver has also been enlarged to ease the process of getting more shells into the magazine tube. Another control-enhancing element of the design are the overmolded rubber panels located on the grip and fore-end. Camouflage, bronze and silver receivers are available, with the bronze receiver having the most gauge options, encompassing 28-, 20-, 16- and 12-gauge, as well as .410 Bore. Consumers can also get every gauge except for 16-gauge in the silver line, and the camouflage guns are available in 12- and 20-gauge only. Suggested retail pricing starts at $855 for camouflage models and tops out at $1,050 for bronze-finished guns.
While all of the offerings on this list have been built on proven designs, there's no question that there are always new ways to innovate, and these new shotguns prove that, ultimately, consumers continue to benefit from companies constantly looking to improve handling, capabilities, aesthetics and more. Stay tuned to American Rifleman as we continue to highlight more new guns rolling out in 2023.