Whether you’re a long-time shooter or a newbie looking to buy her first shotgun, you’re in luck—these days, manufacturers are designing shotguns built specifically for women, and you have options you couldn’t have dreamed of only a decade ago. Over-under (O/U) shotguns are a little more common, but there are also several female-specific semi-auto options on the market, plus a few choices that aren’t specifically marketed toward women but might suit your needs well.
Why buy a shotgun built for women? In a word: Fit. A shotgun must fit the shooter well in order for her to shoot it effectively, and off-the-shelf shotguns are not made to fit a woman’s typically smaller frame, higher cheekbones and proportionately longer neck. You’ll still likely need a gun fitting even if you purchase a woman’s gun, but these shotguns will let you start out closer to the finish line.
Syren XLR5 Waterfowler
Syren is arguably the leader in women’s guns—they are literally all the company makes. You’ll find a variety of O/U and semi-auto models built for competition and hunting, but the XLR5 Waterfowler stands out because it’s one of very few waterfowl models on the women’s market.
The XLR5 Waterfowler is a gas-operated, semi-automatic, 12-gauge gun with a 3” chamber, 28” barrel and RealTree Max-5 camo finish. It weighs just over 7 lbs., and the stock is specifically designed to fit a female form and face, with a 13.9” length of pull (LOP), a Monte Carlo comb and a surprising 7 degrees of pitch for shooting comfort. Plus, a left-handed model is available! MSRP starts at $1,925.
Franchi Affinity Catalyst
Franchi’s Affinity Catalyst is an inertia-driven semi-automatic gun that comes in 12- and 20-gauge, with a stock specifically designed for women. The LOP is 13 7/8”. Pitch, comb height and cast have all been adjusted to better fit a woman’s face. The 12-gauge weighs just 6.6 lbs. (with a 28” barrel), and a shim kit is included to help you better fit the gun to your exact specs. One of the best features of the Affinity Catalyst is the price—MSRP is $969 for both gauges.
Fausti is known for beautiful O/U shotguns, and the Aphrodite model is no exception. It was built from the ground up as a woman’s gun—not merely a man’s gun that was modified to fit women. The drop, cast, LOP and Monte Carlo comb are all specific to a woman’s form, and—huge bonus—it’s available in 12-, 20- and 28-gauge as well as .410 bore, in either traditional hunting or sporting configurations. Different barrel lengths are available as well, some with fixed chokes and some with interchangeable.
This is a beautiful gun, with laser engraving and a portrait of Aphrodite herself—goddess of love and beauty—engraved on the bottom of the receiver. MSRP varies, but you’re generally looking at a price over $4,000.
Beretta 693 Vittoria
Beretta’s 693 Vittoria comes in both competition and hunting configurations, based on Beretta’s classic 690 platform. This O/U comes in your choice of 12- or 20-gauge, with a 14” LOP and what Beretta calls a “semi Monte Carlo” stock. It weighs 7 lbs., 6 oz., with an option of 26”, 28” and 30” barrels. Beretta developed the Vittoria in conjunction with its champion female pro staffers to get the fit and feel right, and it shows.
Beretta also has a Vittoria version of its popular A400 semi-auto shotgun as well. MSRP on the Vittoria was not immediately available, but you can find it online for around $2,400.
Browning Citori CX Micro
Browning’s Citori is one of the more popular O/Us on the market, and though the CX Micro version isn’t specifically made for women, it does have a shorter LOP of 13 1/8” which makes it the shortest gun on this list thus far. It comes in 12-gauge with 28” or 30” barrels, with an overall weight just over 8 lbs. Drop at comb is about the same as on the standard Cynergy, but the superstar part of this gun is the Graco buttpad that allows you to adjust the LOP, toe in/out and height. This is one of the more adjustable shotguns on the market for small-statured shooters because of the extreme modifications offered by the buttpad. MSRP on the Citori CX Micro is $2,470.
FabArm Elos N2 All Sport
FabArm and Syren are sister companies, and although the Elos N2 All Sport isn’t specifically marketed to women, it’s designed with a slightly reduced pistol grip, a slightly shorter LOP (14”), and a Micro Metric adjustable stock with a 2” Monte Carlo comb. This O/U is marketed to high school and collegiate shooters, and is intended to be a do-it-all gun for all shotgun sports—interchangeable ribs let it go from skeet to trap to sporting clays effortlessly.
The Elos N2 All Sport is a 12-gauge gun with 3” chambers and your choice of 30” or 32” barrels, and it weighs 7 lbs. 11 oz. A left-hand stock option is available. MSRP starts at $3,125.
BONUS: Mossberg 500
And now for something completely different: a pump-action shotgun. If a pump gun is more your style, you can’t get much more classic than the Mossberg 500. This gun comes in just about any size and configuration you can think of, but perhaps the most useful one for women who are struggling to find the right fit is the Flex model. Mossberg’s Flex system allows you to change out the stock, recoil pad, barrel and forearms without tools, giving you the opportunity to pick the configuration that fits you best. Some models include a changeable comb, too.
This system is designed to give you a one-gun-for-everything option—it can go from home defense to turkey hunting to waterfowl hunting with a few easy swaps. Get it in 12- or 20-gauge. The All-Purpose model (pictured) retails for $519, with additional parts sold separately.