Dr. John Woods 04.20.17
Among the firearms most preppers and survivalists will quickly add to their prepper gun battery is a good shotgun. The majority will chose a utilitarian 12 gauge, but I have some prep friends getting 20 gauges for their spouses and kids. That choice is understandable, but it complicates the ammunition supply chain.
The only other choice is whether to go with a strong pump action shotgun that is virtually trouble free or a good quality semi-auto that is easy to use. Quick follow up shots are or can be important, but most smoothbore shooters get the hang of a pump action fairly quickly. These are preference choices that preppers must decide for themselves.
Now another main consideration is what model of shotgun to buy. Plain Jane models are hard to beat with a simple hardwood stock with recoil pad and a matte blued finish with a standard 26 or 28-in barrel. However, now many shotgun manufacturers are making combat type shotguns with black synthetic stocks and configurations to add multiple accessories, aka, the AR-15 mode.
Here are the pros and cons of wood shotgun stocks as opposed to the black plastic versions. Wood is warm and appealing. It dings, scratches, and can crack or break. Repairs or replacements are generally easy. Dings and bangs can be literally ironed out with a damp cloth and a clothes iron. Wood can be totally refinished, stained, oiled and brought back to life. Wood can be heavy (ier), but low end guns with wood are on the lower tiers of expense.
Synthetic stocks are tough. They do scratch up and appearances are more difficult to abate. They are generally best left alone. They rarely crack or break unless you use the gun as a club. Plastic stocks are slick, more so when wet. Some newer synthetic stocks have a better grainy finish that affords some gripping advantages. The black finish does not reflect light and work well during night ops.
Like so many things from the color of stocks to interior vehicle fabrics and colors, picking a wood stocked shotgun over one with a synthetic stock boils down to a matter of personal preference. The best strategy is to shop both types and test out the feel, grip, handling characteristics, and weight.
An in between option is one of the laminated wood stocks that Remington offers on some 870 models. These are tough, durable, and attractive. Preppers just have to pick their favorite.