Hey Shorty!! Good Things in Small 12 Gauge PackagesThe Firearm Blog

Welcome back to another edition of TFB’s Round Table sponsored by Ammunition To Go! For those who are first joining us, this is a multi-part series where TFB will discuss the characteristics of great ammunition for specific applications. This could vary from big game hunting, plinking, precision rifle matches, small game hunting, or even pistol competitions. Chances are there is someone here at TFB who can offer you advice on buying the right round for your task at hand. This week I will offer up some suggestions and shed some light on the world of shorty 12 Gauge shotgun shells! There are many popular compact shotguns on the market as of late creating an entirely new category for themselves which opens a Pandora’s box of new ammunition to go with them. So with that being said, let’s dive into the rabbit hole of shorty 12 Gauge shotgun shells!

TFB ROUND TABLE: shorty shotguns like none before

A trend that was first started by Mossberg roughly 3 years ago with their 590 Shockwave has garnered such a strong following that now multiple companies have copied them, and ammunition manufacturers are tailoring ammo specific to the platform. While this new wave of firearms can shoot traditional 2 ¾” and 3” shotgun shells, what is the fun in that? Especially when you could cram more rounds into these little guns with smaller shotgun shells!

There are currently 4 main players in this category of Shockwaves and their clones: Mossberg, Remington, Black Aces Tactical, and Charles Daly. Firearms like the Remington 870 TAC-14 and Mossberg Shockwave are not Short-Barreled Shotguns (NFA item: SBS) and they are not an AOW (any other weapon). They are flatly a ‘firearm’ by their unique configuration and classification. What that means for shooters is in most states you can buy them with no additional permit or licensing necessary; similar to a boring, traditional long gun. The way these firearms get away with this is their specific barrel lengths, overall length, and most importantly their grip.

The grip on these firearms has many names like bird’s head, Raptor, or something similar. The take-home message though is that they are not a “pistol grip” by definition. This allows them their unique status of ‘firearm.’ This is fantastic for firearms owners because it gives us access to a fresh, new category of firearms without a colonoscopy-style background check. Examples of those different firearms can be read below.

Small in size but huge on home defense capability, the Model 870 TAC-14 delivers devastating, threat-stopping power to protect your home and family. Featuring legendary Model 870 reliability, a Raptor pistol grip and Magpul M-Lock forend, its powerful personal protection at its absolute shortest– and finest.

Legendary Mossberg Pump-Action Reliability in a Compact 14” Barreled Package. The Shockwave Raptor bird’s head pistol grip is uniquely shaped to minimize felt recoil. Includes all the features that have made Mossberg pump-actions the choice for millions worldwide: ambidextrous safety, dual extractors, positive steel-to-steel lockup, twin action bars, and a smooth operating anti-jam elevator.

The incredible Mossberg Shockwave fitted with the equally incredible Black Aces Tactical Shockwave T6 6061 Quad Rail Type 2 Anodizing, 5-Shot Side Shell Holder, and T6 6061 Magazine Spike Type 2 Black Anodizing. All installed from the factory so you know it’s quality!  An incredible weapon!

In the world of home defense, the CD Defense Honcho Tactical Firearms provides you options. Defend with confidence.

TFB ROUND TABLE: short shotgun shells for short firearms

While there are 4 main manufacturers (plus countless custom shops) that make these fun shotguns there are primarily just 2 ammunition makers. Aguila Ammunition got the ball rolling and Federal Premium was quick to follow. The size of these shells is 1 ¾” which can quickly increase the capacity of your TAC-14, Shockwave, or Honcho! The Mossberg Shockwave will require an adapter from OPSol deemed their MiniClip to run these shorty shells. The Honcho and TAC-14 should be able to eat the smaller ammo no problem.

It is important to note that we are openly ignoring the existence of semi-auto versions (for this article) because they are unreliable with the shorty shells we will shortly discuss. Now onto the actual ammunition. Between Aguila and Federal Premium you can get lead rifled slugs, buckshot, and/or birdshot. It just depends on what type of tomfoolery, recreation, or defense you want to participate in. So in no particular order or rank, take a look at these options for shorty 12 Gauge Shotgun Shells!

As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for TFB’s Round Table brought to you by Ammunition to Go! Also, let us know what you think in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.



Federal’s Shorty Shotshell is aptly named. At only 1.75” long it’s a cute little bugger — but don’t let its appearance deceive you. This shell’s one ounce slug has a very similar muzzle velocity and energy to those which a full-sized shell’s would have offered, so it’s totally effective for whatever activity one could engage a one ounce slug for. Notably, this shell does provide less recoil, a feature you’ll find especially handy whether you’d use it to train a younger, smaller framed shooter or to engage multiple assailants rapidly one after the other.

This shell works splendidly in any single or double barrel break action shotgun, although several pump actions and even some semi-automatics work great with it as well. (Whether your shotgun will work with this shell is a matter we’d best leave to your own considerable discretion.) This little firecracker is still a Federal through and through, and has got the sturdy hull, reliable primer, and consistent propellant to prove it. We have Shorties loaded with #8 shot as well!


Since 1961, Aguila Ammunition has been producing high-quality products in their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Located in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, the company focuses of innovation and uses only the finest components to produce their world-class ammunition. These 12 gauge mini slugs may be small, measuring on 1 ¾ inches, but they pack a powerful punch. Loaded with a 25 gram lead slug, these loads are practical for hunting and home defense.

Each of these 20 shotgun shells produces minimal recoil, making them ideal for youth, women, and other recoil sensitive shooters. WIth faster target acquisition and less shot fatigue, these loads are great for training children and other inexperienced shooters to handle a 2 gauge. These loads function well in single, double, and most pump action shotguns, but will not cycle in semi-automatics. Each round produces a consistent muzzle velocity of 1250 feet per second.


You don’t have to be very tall to rule. Napoleon, Winston Churchill, and Alexander the Great were all 5′ 6″, and Dear Leader Kim Jong-il, Who Is a Perfect Incarnation of the Appearance That a Leader Should Have, stood in at 5’3”. (That was one of his actual titles.) So why, then, should a shotshell have to be the full 2 3/4 inches just to rule as well? The truth is that it doesn’t — if it’s a Shorty Shotshell by Federal, that is to say.

This teeny weeny 12 Gauge shell offers a pattern and accuracy that are very nearly indistinguishable from a big boy’s. It is loaded with #4 buckshot, a fine choice for hunting a variety of medium and smaller game owing to its wide pattern and ability to still penetrate deeply. If your pump action can handle it, you’ll love how little shells will give your home defense weapon nearly twice as many shots as well. Federal’s components are always top notch, even when they’re small. You can count on this shell’s hull, propellant, wad, and primer to do exactly what they’re meant to do.


All Aguila ammunition is produced in the company’s modern manufacturing facility located in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Dedicated to developing and manufacturing high-quality ammo with only the finest components, Aguila has been a leader in the ammunition industry since 1961.

This package contains 20 Aguila 12 gauge mini-shells. Each 1 ½ inch shotgun shell is loaded with ⅝ ounce of lead #7 ½ shot. These rounds are small in size, but deliver big performance. Use these mini-shells and you’ll nearly double the normal capacity of the standard 12 gauge.

Each of these new production rounds produces a muzzle velocity of 1175 feet per second and are well suited for skeet and sporting clays. This ammunition produces light felt recoil, making them perfect for youth, women, and other recoil sensitive shooters. While these loads function well in single and double barrel, and most pump action shotguns, they will not cycle properly in semi-automatics.


Trying to cut down on your weight load when you go out hunting or target shooting? Don’t go on a diet — those are for quitters and for people who don’t appreciate good cooking. Try out Federal’s Shorty Shotshell instead! At only 1.75” long this shotshell is a nifty little package, although in spite of its stature its muzzle velocity, power, and accuracy are all comparable to what a load double its length would provide you.

This shell’s loaded with 15/16 ounces of #8 shot. Federal rightly endorses this shell for target shooting, and it is indeed a blast to use something so novel for destroying recycling in the backyard. We have it on good authority that this shell’s able to dispatch most any little critter you could aim it at too, though. Federal didn’t shortchange this shell when it came to the quality of its lead shot or its other components. We have Shorties loaded with rifled slugs for sale on our site as well!

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