During a video question and answer session hosted by Parents Magazine in 2013, then-Vice President Joe Biden famously told Americans that they didn’t need an AR-15, and questioned the utility of semi-automatic rifles as a home defense weapon. He suggested a shotgun would be far more appropriate.
Biden’s advice to “fire two blasts” as a warning was criticized by both gun control advocates as well as supporters of the Second Amendment, and thus united Americans in a way that he has failed to do as president. Yet, he has a point that a shotgun could be a good home defense weapon. It depends on the shotgun. A fine double-barrel Holland & Holland may be ideal for bird hunting, but it could be lacking in home defense.
Perhaps the fine engineers at Smith & Wesson took Biden’s words to heart – because last month the Springfield, Mass.-based firearms manufacturer introduced its new bullpup-style pump-action shotgun, the M&P 12. Designed with home protection in mind, the new shotgun is packed with features in a compact, maneuverable package.
“Smith & Wesson has a long, storied history of making handguns for self-defense, yet no conversation around personal protection can be complete without mentioning the 12 gauge shotgun,” explained Kyle Tengwell, vice president of marketing at Smith & Wesson.
“With the introduction of the new M&P 12, Smith & Wesson is able to offer our consumers a personal protection product in a variety of categories: pistol, revolver, rifle, and shotgun,” added Tengwell. We’re excited to unveil the M&P 12 – a new category introduction for Smith & Wesson, and a firearm that’s purpose-built for protection and a blast to shoot at the range.”
The M&P 12 is chambered for 12 gauge 3-inch shells but is also able to accept a combination of standard 2 3/4-inch, 3-inch magnum, and mini-shell loads, offering the user a variety of load options to best suit their needs. The M&P 12 also features complete ambidextrous controls, an M&P grip, Picatinny-style rail, and more. The shotgun is built on a reliable, pump-action platform with two independent magazine tubes that feature load-assist buttons to simplify loading and unloading. Each tube of the M&P 12 can hold up to seven rounds of standard 2-3/4-inch shells, or up to six rounds of 3-inch magnum shells. Mini-shells can also be utilized for maximum ammo adaptability. Magazine tubes can be easily selected using a simple, push button selector, providing the operator with a visual cue of which magazine tube is feeding the barrel.
Smith & Wesson’s M&P12 features fully ambidextrous controls, utilizing an oversized action release that can be engaged from either side of the firearm as well as the familiar AR-style ambidextrous safety selector. Other hallmark M&P features can be found throughout the shotgun, including the new M&P grip with four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts to customize fit for the user.
According to Smith & Wesson, the M&P 12’s bullpup design, which places the magazine tubes in the stock rear of the pistol grip, delivers maximum maneuverability with an overall length of 27.8-inch, as well as M-LOK slots on the barrel shroud to easily accessorize with lights, lasers, and more. The M&P12 shotgun ships with both modified and cylinder choke tubes, four palmswell grip inserts, a 15-inch cable lock, choke tube wrench, & hard plastic, foam-lined case.
The Smith & Wesson M&P 12 shotgun is available now at select retailers. The MSRP is $1,165.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.