Teaching responsible firearm ownership is more important than ever today, and it all starts with early exposure to firearms as a youth. You can teach the basic principals of firearm safety and function on a full-sized firearm, but when it comes to learning how to properly handle a firearm, purchasing a youth model is best for the job. While there are plenty of youth model rifles on the market, arguably the best firearm to start a young sportsman or woman is a youth model shotgun. We’ve picked out several youth model shotguns at various price points that will be perfect for young or smaller framed hunters and clay shooters.
Remington 870 Express Compact 20 Gauge
The Remington 870 Express is a popular choice for a a full-sized shotgun, and it only follows that it’s a prudent choice for a first youth shotgun as well. The 870 Express Compact has a shorter barrel and shorter stock to fit youth shooters, and it accommodates normal Remington Chokes so if you already own other 870 Choke tubes, you can use them on the compact version. The shotgun comes with a modified choke to start. The 870 Compact, like other Express models shoots both 2 3/4″ and 3″ shells. It is available with either a hardwood or synthetic stock, and if you choose the synthetic stock version, an additional length of pull system is included that can add up to another 1″ as the shooter grows.
This popular shotgun is also available in the 870 Express Jr. with a shorter barrel and lighter stock.
Specs: Barrel Length: 20″, Length Of Pull: 13″, Total Shotgun Length: 40 1/2″, Total Weight: 6 1/2 lbs.
Price: $349 MSRP
Mossberg 500 Bantam Youth 12 Gauge Shotgun
The Mossberg 500 is right alongside the Remington 870 as the go-to first shotgun for shooters of all kinds, and the Mossberg 500 Bantam Youth is a perfect option for young hunters. Unlike most other shotguns listed here in either 20 gauge or .410, the Mossberg 500 Bantam Youth is chambered in 12 gauge, which has both its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to youth model options. There is much more of an opportunity to grow into a 12 gauge shotgun and use it long temr, but the additional recoil can be intimidating for some young shooters. This shotgun is a little heavier and has a slightly longer barrel than the 870 Compact, but it’s length of pull is the same at 13″. This model shotgun won’t fire 3 1/2″ shells like most youth model shotguns, but it does come with more choke tube options like improved, modified and full. It too accommodates standard Mossberg chokes, but the three included chokes should take care of most situations. The Bantam Youth is available in both hardwood and synthetic stocks, and the choice of the synthetic stock adds an additional length of pull system.
Specs: Barrel Length: 24″, Length Of Pull: 13″, Total Shotgun Length: 42.625″, Total Weight: 7.25 lbs.
Price: $427.75 At 1800GunsAndAmmo right now.
Mossberg 505 Youth 20 Gauge Shotgun
If the larger Mossberg 500 Bantam Youth 12 Gauge is a little too intimidating for your young shooter, Mossberg also offers a smaller Mossberg 505 Youth 20 Gauge. This shotgun has a shorter barrel and an inch smaller length of pull at 12″. This shotgun also weighs less than most youth models at only 5.25 lbs. The Mossberg 505 is a great option for young shooters who prefer the 20 gauge round.
You can also get an even smaller version of the 20 gauge in the Mossberg 510 Mini.
Specs: Barrel Length: 20″, Length Of Pull: 12″, Total Shotgun Length: 37.5″, Total Weight: 5.25 lbs.
Price: $335 At 1800GunsAndAmmo right now.
Stoeger Condor Youth 20 Gauge Over/Under Shotgun
Up until now, we’ve only looked at pump shotgun models, but there are over/under options for youth as well. The Stoeger Condor Youth 20 Gauge Over/Under is a great example of a classic youth model shotgun, and it comes in comparable dimensions to the pump action models outlined above. This shotgun is an excellent choice for those who prefer or commonly use over/under shotguns in hunting and clay scenarios, and it’s always great for the youth shotgun to match the parent’s preferred model.
The Stoeger Condor is also available in a Condor .410 Over/Under Youth Model.
Specs: Barrel Length: 22″, Length Of Pull: 13″, Total Shotgun Length: 36.5″, Total Weight: 5.5 lbs.
Price: $449 At 1800GunsAndAmmo right now.
Stoeger Uplander Youth 20 Gauge Side By Side Shotgun
Stoeger makes the classic English side by side shotgun an option for youth shooters as well with the Stoeger Uplander Youth 20 Gauge Sid By Side Shotgun. This Stoeger side by side has identical specs when compared to the over/under version, but it is over a pound heavier at 6.8lbs.
You can also get this side by side model in the Stoeger Uplander Youth .410 Side By Side Shotgun.
Specs: Barrel Length: 22″, Length Of Pull: 13″, Total Shotgun Length: 36.5″, Total Weight: 6.8 lbs.
Price: $449 At 1800GunsAndAmmo right now.
Beretta AL391 Urika 2 20 Gauge Youth Shotgun
One final option for our profile on youth shotguns comes in the more advanced Beretta AL391 20 Gauge Youth Shotgun. This semi-auto shotgun is quite the step up for a youth shooter in both operation and price, but it does carry some unique advantages that are well-worth the investment. Beretta’s improved gas system reduces felt recoil and makes this shotgun by far the least intimidating to shoot. While it’s wise to think that most youth shooters should start with a pump or break action shotgun, don’t overlook the advantages of a semi-auto when it comes to the best fit for your young hunter.
Specs: Barrel Length: 24″, Length Of Pull: 12″, Total Shotgun Length: Not Listed, Total Weight: 5.8 lbs.
Price: $1300 MSRP.