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Semiautomatic Shotguns for Self-Defense: We Like ‘Utility’

With sound fundamental design, CZUSA’s $458 712 Utility outshoots Mossberg’s $700 feature-laden 930 Tactical in terms of handling, accuracy, and speed to target.

When it comes to defending the home, the shotgun is and probably always will be a popular choice. The favorite design for this purpose has long been the pump-action shotgun. Simplicity, low cost, and reliability are their hallmarks. Cycling a pump shotgun relies directly upon the operator, while semiautos load themselves. Perhaps this is why the pump is more widely trusted. In this test we will find out if two semiautomatic shotguns can earn the same high level of confidence as the shuckers have earned. Furthermore, we'll pit a base-model autoloader against a

Mossberg Special Purpose 930 Tactical
Top: The $700 Mossberg Special Purpose 930 Tactical offered several modifications to the basic 930-series gas-operated action, the most welcome of which was the shorter 18.5-inch barrel and seven-round magazine. We also liked the complete selection of shims that helped adapt it to different-size shooters. But the M16-style front sight got in the way when shooting at close range and didn’t help much when we fired slugs at 50-yard targets from our mount in a Caldwell Lead Sled. Bottom: We preferred the $458 CZ 712 Utility not because it was less expensive but because it was more accurate and softer to shoot. We didn’t miss a single steel plate in our rapidfire tests, and we did quite well with slugs, too. Underrated tactical chores such as unloading the chamber while leaving rounds in the magazine were easier to perform on the CZ, and a complete set of chokes made it more versatile. We think the Mossberg was the right size and capacity, but, in our opinion, some of its upgrades got in the way.
fully dressed tactical model to see just what upgrades help or hinder. Our test shotguns were the…

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